DEAREST ARKANSAS

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 46 Comments

You are officially forgiven for inflicting the second-most repulsive American political family after the Kennedys on the rest of this country.

Speaking of whom, Hillary Clinton, a woman who’s never had any experience governing anything whatsoever and who basically slept her way to the top, has basically dynamited her presidential chances:

That explanation was not exactly robust. The Q&A had hardly ended before Clinton’s critics unearthed an interview Hillary had given a few weeks earlier with Re/code co-founder Kara Swisher. “I have an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone and a BlackBerry,” Clinton said. So much for simplicity. Others remarked on a matter of timing: Clinton did not carry out her business on an existing personal email account. She specifically set up a new private address–hdr22@clintonemail.com–instead of using a government account. This happened on the very day the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held its first hearing on her nomination as Secretary of State.

As for why this might “seem like an issue,” the answer is not complicated. All federal employees have a legal obligation to preserve their work-related email–and the White House advises appointees to accomplish this by using official government addresses. Email sent to and from .gov accounts is generally archived. In this way, a consistent level of security is maintained. The nation’s history is preserved. Open-records laws are honored. And transparency gets a leg up on “Trust me.”

All this once made sense to Clinton. As a candidate for President in 2008, she included “secret White House email accounts” as part of her critique of the Bush Administration’s “stunning record of secrecy and corruption.” Now, however, Clinton is leaning heavily on “Trust me.” For more than a year after she left office in 2013, she did not transfer work-related email from her private account to the State Department. She commissioned a review of the 62,320 messages in her account only after the department–spurred by the congressional investigation–asked her to do so. And this review did not involve opening and reading each email; instead, Clinton’s lawyers created a list of names and keywords related to her work and searched for those. Slightly more than half the total cache–31,830 emails–did not contain any of the search terms, according to Clinton’s staff, so they were deemed to be “private, personal records.”

DAMASCUS ROADS

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 44 Comments

The religious and secular left is going to have to find itself a new pet evangelical as Rachel Held Evans converts to Episcopalianity.  Why on Earth would you do that, Rachel?

If you try to woo us back with skinny jeans and coffee shops, it may actually backfire. Millennials have finely-tuned B.S. meters that can detect when someone’s just trying to sell us something.  We’re not looking for a hipper Christianity. We’re looking for a truer Christianity. Like every generation before and after, we’re looking for Jesus—the same Jesus who can be found in the places he’s always been: in bread, in wine, in baptism, in the Word, in suffering, in community, and among the least of these. No fog machines required.

What should churches be doing?

Sharing communion. Baptizing sinners. Preaching the Word. Anointing the sick. Practicing confession. You know, the stuff the church has been doing for the last 2,000 years. We need to creatively re-articulate the significance of the traditional teachings and sacraments of the church in a modern context. That’s what I see happening in churches, big and small, that are making multigenerational disciples of Jesus.

The problem a lot of us have with that, Rachel, is that the organization you just joined has been “re-articulating the significance of the traditional teachings and sacraments of the church in a modern context” for going on 50 years now.  As a result, the Episcopal Organization is one of the most Millenial-friendly “churches” out there.  Ordained wenches.  Chick bishops all over the place.  TEO’s head cheese is a woman.

Gay-friendly?  There isn’t a gay-friendlier “church” around.  TEO ordains them.  There have been two openly gay bishops selected since 2003, one of them, Gene Robinson, a former diocesan.  And gays have been considered for numerous other episcopal slots (one of these, The Rev. Bonnie “It’s A Dung Beetle, Not a Lamborghini It’s A River, Not A Pie” Perry) has been considered a couple of times but has not been selected, much to the considerable disgust of this department).

Add to that, no real serious sins beyond racism, which doesn’t happen in Episcopal outlets, not believing in global warming “climate change,” and making homosexuals feel bad about themselves.  Throw in a legion of “theologians” ready, willing and eager to offer you complete absolution for boinking your best friend’s girlfriend and you have a “church” that should be a Millenial dream.  Episcopal parishes should be full-to-bursting every single Sunday.

And yet they’re dying.  The last statistics I saw seemed to suggest that TEO’s rate of decline has increased since Robbie got his pointy hat in 2003.  How do you account for that, Rachel?  Evans ducks the question.

Just about every denomination in the American church is seeing a decline in numbers–including many evangelical denominations–so if it’s a competition, then we’re all losing, just at different rates! I felt drawn to the Episcopal church because it offered some practices I felt were missing in my evangelical experience, like space for silence and reflection, a focus on Christ’s presence at the communion table as the climax and center of every worship service, opportunities for women in leadership, and the inclusion of LGBT people.

That answer runs as fast as it possibly can away from my question but moving on.  Rachel?  What do you say to those people who claim that Episcopalianity bears the same relationship to Christianity as Unitarianism does to Roman Catholicism?

Every Sunday morning, I stand in my Episcopal church and join in a chorus of voices publicly affirming the Apostle’s Creed. Together, we declare that there is a good and almighty God who is the creative force behind all things seen and unseen; that this God is One, yet exists as three persons; that God loved the world enough to become flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived, taught, fed, healed and suffered among us as both fully God and fully human; that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born to Mary; that he was crucified on a Roman cross and buried in the ground; that after three days dead, Jesus came back to life; that he ascended into heaven and reigns with God; that he will return to bring justice and restoration to our broken world; that God continues to work through the Holy Spirit, the church, and God’s people; that forgiveness is possible, resurrection is possible, and eternal life is possible.

Possible?  Possible?  I’d think that if Christ did, in fact rise from the dead, resurrection and eternal life are a done deal.  But Rachel?  Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

How about this one?

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Or this one?

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Or this one?

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

See what I’m doing here, Rachel?  You’re not a Christian simply because somebody poured a little water on you back when you had no idea what was going on (if you think you are, then you can explain to your Jewish friends why Adolf Hitler is in heaven).  You’re not a Christian simply because you and a bunch of your friends gather together once a week, read some words from a book and perform weird ceremonies.

YOUR HOLINESS?

Monday, March 9th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 47 Comments

You’re losing the ladies:

In the first two years of his papacy, Pope Francis has stirred great expectations for change among Roman Catholics who believe that the church has not kept pace with the social transformations of secular society.

Nowhere are those hopes felt more keenly, perhaps, than among women, often the driving force behind local church communities, but who say that their voices remain marginalized.

Though the pope has repeatedly cited the importance of women in the life of the church, critics say he has at times proved strikingly tone-deaf toward the sensitivities and needs of women (for example, describing five women he appointed to a committee as “the strawberries on the cake”).

Women are insulted by metaphors?  Okay, you gals can be the cake and us guys will be the strawberries.  Happy?  Jeez, women are high maintenance sometimes; is this a time-of-the-month thing?  Anyway, what does every single female Catholic in the entire world, from infants to adults to the elderly to the dead, want anyway?  Lots of things that basically revolve around one single issue.  See if you can guess what that issue is.

And any debate on the role of women, however, is curtailed by one irremovable premise: There is no place for women priests. Pope Francis has rejected such a change outright.

So Catholics should expect to hear versions of the following a lot.  Anglicans everywhere know what it means.

Women are an untapped resource, [Scaraffia] said. “They should be listened to, seen and heard, instead they are neither.”

In other words, if you don’t immediately agree with us, you haven’t really listened to us. So we’ll need to keep babbling until you come around and admit your errors.

“This is the most sensitive issue in the Vatican, more difficult than so many others because it is fundamental to so many others,” said Tina Beattie, a professor of Catholic studies at the University of Roehampton in London.

“We need to make him understand that this is a make-or-break issue for the church,” she added. “It would be an unbearable blow if he left papacy as he found it with regards to women.”

Why is that, Tina?  Because millions of Catholic women will immediately flee to places like the Episcopal Organization, the Anglican Organization of Canada or the Organization of England?  All of them ordain women and all of them even have girl bishops with miters and hooked sticks and everything.  One of them, the Episcopal Organization, even has a chick pope.  Swear to God.

FACE, PALM, ETC.

Saturday, March 7th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 59 Comments

Apparently, the following is actually a thing.  A Navajo Indian named Mark Beasley wants to take the left’s “Change sports team names that we and only we consider to be personally offensive” crusade [Whoops.  Sorry about that - Ed] to a WHOLE new level:

As an enrolled member of Navajo Nation, it is mine, Mark Beasley’s, and my Native American colleagues’ position that the City of Buffalo and the the news outlet Buffalo News, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, should change their offensive and racist names containing the word “Buffalo.” Buffalo is the name of the animal that was driven almost to extinction by the non-Native forces in order to annihilate and drive out my ancestors from the American landscape. Within only a few years from the beginning of the campaign, all Native nations were driven off their lands and into reservations, where we have prior and since been unduly subjugated and and exposed to genocidal horrors unimaginable to the rest of the world and throughout history. End the use of racist and genocidal imagery and symbols toward Native Americans today. End the pain and denigration these symbols and images incite and the damage to the psyches of Native Americans everywhere. Drop “Buffalo” from the New York city and its main news source and restore Native people’s dignity.

Dude has a point (although I never could figure out how the city of Buffalo got it’s name; I mean, it’s not like there were ever many, if any at all, buffalo around that part of the country).  From one end of the United States to the other, this country is littered with cities and even states with incredibly offensive names.  Here are just five of them:

(1) Seattle, Washington – Seattle was an Indian chief.  See above.

(2) Just about every major city in California – Originally Roman Catholic missions, established religion, etc.

(3) New Mexico – Yeah, let’s just rub American aggression into Mexican faces while we’re at it.

(4) Kansas City, Missouri – Yo, Kansas City, MISSOURI!!  You idiots do know that you’re not in Kansas, right?  And that right across the Kansas border is a town that’s also called Kansas City?

Are you ashamed of Missouri?!  Is that what’s going on here?!  Because unless you change it to Missouri City, Missouri, the rest of Missouri (and by the rest of Missouri, I mean the immediate St. Louis area) has no choice but to assume that you’re embarrassed by us.  And we don’t have to take that.

(5) St. Louis, Missouri -  Even though this is my hometown, this is offensive on multiple levels.  Obviously, there’s the establishment of religion part.  Naming a town after a saint, and a Catholic one at that, is incredibly insulting to me as a Protestant.

But as a Calvinist and someone with Huguenot ancestors, there’s the fact that this area was named for a French king, one of whose namesakes revoked the Edict of Nantes.  Why not just change my hometown’s name to St. Bartholomew and be done with it?

On the other hand, even I have to admit that a professional sports team called the St. Bartholomew Massacres would be WAY beyond awesome.

UPDATE: Never mind.  Although I have to admit that I bought it.  Thanks, Katherine.

IT’S OFFICIAL

Friday, March 6th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 36 Comments

The word “racism” no longer has any meaning:

Historian Abigail Carroll, author of the book Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal, explained to me that the the thrice-daily eating schedule goes back at least as far as the Middle Ages in Europe. When European settlers got to America, they also imported their meal habits: a light meal—maybe cold mush and radishes—in the morning, a heavier, cooked one midday, and a third meal similar to the first one later in the day. They observed that the eating schedule of the native tribes was less rigid—the volume and timing of their eating varied with the seasons. Sometimes, when food was scarce, they fasted. The Europeans took this as “evidence that natives were uncivilized,” Carroll explained to me in an email. “Civilized people ate properly and boundaried their eating, thus differentiating themselves from the animal kingdom, where grazing is the norm.” (So fascinated were Europeans with tribes’ eating patterns, notes Carroll, that they actually watched Native Americans eat “as a form of entertainment.”)

One of the things that’s been hardest to adjust to about not working is the, well, normalcy.  For twenty years, my work schedule ran roughly as follows.  Monday through Thursday, I worked 1:00 PM until 9:00 PM.  One weekend, I’d work Friday from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM and be off Saturday while the next weekend, I’d be off Friday and work Saturday from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM.

There were occasional Sundays in there but they were always afternoons.

So you can imagine what all this did to my eating patterns.  I usually woke up too late to have breakfast.  Some days, I’d have lunch and some days I wouldn’t.  I’d have something microwaved for dinner about six and maybe a snack or two after I got home.

I still do that to a large extent.  Which means that my gastro-intestinal tract and I are frequently not on speaking terms.  It’s only when I get back to something approaching a breakfast-lunch-dinner pattern of eating that things quiet down and my GI tract starts talking to me again.

And while you’re here, apparently speaking correct English is also “racist” or something.

But there’s a difference between understanding standard grammar and demanding it, between believing there’s a time and a place for so-called “proper” English and ridiculing anyone who steps outside of what you deem “acceptable.”

There’s a difference between appreciating language and being a snob.

And the last place that we need grammar snobbery is in social justice movements.

And not just because getting hung up on the correct use of homonyms or subject-predicate agreement is distracting to the job at hand, but also because purporting one form of English as elite is inherently oppressive.

We understand that a reference guide [i.e the dictionary - Ed.] created by a white supremacist, heteropatriarchal system does nothing but uphold that status quo.

Similarly, we have to use that line of thinking when talking about the English language: Who created the rules? And who benefits from them?

And let me be clear that this is only one example of a myriad of similar stories that I’ve heard around this same issue: that the use of “standard” English is considered a very white attribute.

Whatever you say, kid.

KATLIX III

Thursday, March 5th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 46 Comments

Add Patricia Miller’s name to the long list of people whose knickers are in a twist over the fact that the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco is led by an actual Catholic:

Despite media reports to the contrary, it doesn’t appear that San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is backing down from his attempt to dictate the private morality of teachers in San Francisco Catholic schools or from his effort to exempt them from federal anti-discrimination protections.

Among the rules that teachers are to “affirm and believe” are the “sinfulness of contraception,” that “all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations,” and that “the fundamental demands of justice require that the civil law preserve the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

So some Frisco lefties started a protest.

The anti-gay language particularly rankled in the liberal diocese and prompted local parents to organize the Support SF Teachers group

AND a hashtag.

and create the hashtag “#TeachAcceptance” in support of a welcoming attitude toward LGBT teachers, students, and community members.

But Cordileone stubbornly refuses to RESPECT THE POWER OF THE HASHTAG!!

For Allen and other who object to the new rules—which, he notes, include school administrators and some of the religious orders that sponsor the schools—the sticking point is the harsh anti-gay language in a community that prides itself on acceptance and diversity. “We perceive the archbishop’s language to be a real threat to our status and history as ‘an inclusive community of faith’,” he said. “For many of us, the nature of our familiar and diverse community seemed to be changing into something scary and unrecognizable.”

Actual standards do that to people, P.  At this point, Patty’s so upset that she goes positively Protestant on our asses.

But it’s Saletan who’s confused in thinking that the “church” is the Catholic hierarchy or that Catholics turn to them for guidance on how to live their lives. As any good Catholic can tell you, the Catholic Church is the community of believers, laypeople included.

And in the Catholic Church, sensus fidelium, or the sense of the faithful, is imperative. It means that all Catholics play a role in discerning the truth of teachings. Catholics have clearly rejected the teaching that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and same-sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage because they have seen loving same-sex couples in their schools, churches and communities who affirm the value of marriage and family.

Help me out here, Catholics.  Am I nuts or has Patty Miller just frickin’ destroyed the “priesthood of all believers” concept?  I mean, if my sensus fidelium tells me that it’s okay to bang any woman in the parish I care to, who are you to tell me different?

If doctrine is whatever the laity thinks it should be or by opinion poll, as Miller suggests here, what is the point of having a church at all?  Which doctrines are true for all time and which can be debated, changed or eventually completely discarded?

I’ve asked this before and I suspect that I’ll ask this a lot more times.  If you think a “church” like this is a good idea, why in the hell do you get up early on one of your days off and go perform meaningless ceremonies in return for bad coffee?

TEA, BOSTON HARBOR…

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 61 Comments

Some assembly required:

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Monday that President Obama is “very interested” in the idea of raising taxes through unilateral executive action.

“The president certainly has not indicated any reticence in using his executive authority to try and advance an agenda that benefits middle class Americans,” Earnest said in response to a question about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calling on Obama to raise more than $100 billion in taxes through IRS executive action.

“Now I don’t want to leave you with the impression that there is some imminent announcement, there is not, at least that I know of,” Earnest continued. ”But the president has asked his team to examine the array of executive authorities that are available to him to try to make progress on his goals. So I am not in a position to talk in any detail at this point, but the president is very interested in this avenue generally,” Earnest finished.

Obama’s preferred option would be for Congress to pass a corporate tax hike that would fund liberal infrastructure projects like mass transit. But if Congress fails to do as Obama wishes, just as Congress has failed to pass the immigration reforms that Obama prefers, Obama could take actions unilaterally instead. This past November, for example, Obama gave work permits, Social Security Numbers, and drivers licenses to approximately 4 million illegal immigrants.

KATLIX II

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 37 Comments

You know what would really be nifty, asks Christine Haider-Winnet.  If Catholic bishops would just quit running the lives of every single person in the entire world:

For several years now, we have seen a troubling trend in Catholic places of employment. Bishops are overstepping to meddle in employees’ personal lives. Firing competent, beloved teachers for same-sex marriages, requiring whole staffs to agree to statements calling contraception evil, and forbidding discussion of women’s equality in the church are now being included in morality clauses that administrators, teachers, and staff must sign.

The Reformation?  What the hell is that?

New contracts, like the most recent one in San Francisco, now govern whom one can marry, use of birth control and other reproductive choices, and in the most egregious of cases, what events one can attend and whom one can and cannot associate with. Attending your nephew’s wedding to his husband, or posting a congratulatory message on Facebook, could now cost you your job.

Hey, gang!  I heard that some German monk named Martin Luther just nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  Haven’t read ‘em yet but I hear that they’re pretty spicy.

Perhaps the most disturbing part is the hierarchy’s claim that this is for the good of children. What our children need are good teachers and safe, affirming environments in which to learn and grow. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender role models and open, accepting communities are essential not only to the safety of our children, but to their growth and overall well-being. As research indicates, kids who are LGB or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity are up to four times as likely to commit suicide as their straight peers. Being in a community that rejects them increases that risk astronomically.

Yeah, but here’s the thing.  The ONLY job of Catholic bishops is to tell the truth.

What are Catholic school students to think when they see a beloved teacher fired for getting married?

That they forgot to find out where he/she was registered?

Or hear she lost her job for getting pregnant using alternative methods?

That Christ and Zeitgeist are not the same thing?

When it comes to employment, should not the focus be on professional competency? If a teacher can teach, shouldn’t he or she be applauded for this dedication and quality as an educator? Sifting through one’s private life in order to gauge doctrinal orthodoxy as a measure of job performance is disturbing and dangerous. Is this what our Catholic faith has come to? Is this the precedent we wish to set?

Well, yeah, insofar as the Catholic Church

ACTUALLY BELIEVES STUFF

and shouldn’t be forced to employ anyone whose life choices undercut its beliefs.

Let’s go at this bass akwards there, Chrissie.  If I ever went to work for your little group, “Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic organizations committed to LGBT equality,” and started writing about how homosexual activity was a sin, how long do you think that I would I keep my job?  So “morality clauses” are nothing new.

Folks just have to have the correct “morality.”

KATLIX I

Sunday, March 1st, 2015 | Uncategorized | 65 Comments

Northwestern University student Kathleen Ferraro was RAISED CATHOLIC!! and thinks that it’s extremely important for all of you people to understand that fact:

My name is Kathleen and I am a little Catholic schoolgirl. I wore a sweater vest and knee-highs and a skirt that could be no more than two inches above my knees. Rogue nuns wandered the halls of my high school. We “left room for Jesus” at school dances, all of which were supervised by a resident priest. I come from a devoutly Roman Catholic family from a primarily Catholic community largely dominated by Catholic institutions, schools, values and beliefs.

Yet young Katie doesn’t consider herself Catholic any more.

And yet against all odds, I don’t fit into Catholicism. My Catholic upbringing and education seemed the perfect formula for a perfect Catholic. Nonetheless, I’ve developed values and beliefs that significantly diverge from this foundation.

Gee.  Wonder what those might be.

Whenever I think about this question, I always resort to my list-making ways, crafting an inventory of the reasons that Catholicism has not worked for me. Old-fashioned values and traditions, hesitation towards accepting the LGBTQ community and inherent political undertones of church leadership leave me feeling conflicted and uneasy. I will never understand why dressing up in a modest J.Crew dress and sitting in the first pew at church trumps participating in a climate march, or why accepting doctrine on faith alone beats independent thinking, questioning and customizing one’s religious life. For me, religion has been more a culture of privilege than of prayer, a competition of piety rather than a humble quest of personal growth and spiritual connection. These are all examples from my experience with religion that motivate me to reject Catholicism, but as I think about it, are these also reasons that Catholicism rejects me?

No, because that’s just stupid.

I believe it is. Speaking only for the Catholic institutions I come from, I do not fit the prototype of what a Catholic is supposed to be–the by the book churchgoer who accepts Catholicism because that is what is true.

Ya think?!!

I am pro-choice, don’t go to church on Sundays, don’t put stock in the Bible or doctrine, challenge traditional ideas of religion and spirituality and care infinitely more about trying to be a kind, humble person than actively worshipping.

In other words, an Episcopalian.

On one hand, this rejection validates my personal beliefs and their deliberate divergence from Catholicism. On the other hand, this rejection leaves me unfulfilled. I find myself an outsider, subject to the Catholic exclusivity that ostracizes other divergent thinkers and doers: the very exclusivity that prompts me to reject Catholicism in the first place. Its a perplexing paradox – my beliefs exclude me and define me as an independent. And because my beliefs disqualify me from active participation, I am consequently excluded from a community that I want to engage with, though not necessarily be a part of. I would say “its not you, its me,” but I think “its not me, its you” is equally appropriate.

Told you.

I’m not saying that my beliefs are right,

You are so.

but I am saying that I want to be heard, not just listened to.

Every Anglican in the world knows that means that we keep yammering until the Roman Catholic Church realizes that it’s wrong and I’m right.

For me, this conversation is not about stylizing religion to suit the tastes of young adults;

HAW, HAW HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW!!

it’s about aligning all voices with the process of organized religion and earnestly engaging in different conceptualizations of faith.

Whatever that means.  Katie?  I’d like to tell you a little bit about my mom.

Over and over again, I’m amazed at what a visionary my mother was.  Mom was also RAISED CATHOLIC!! but had some sort of major conflict with the Catholic Church in the 40′s, the nature of which she never disclosed to any of us.

I suspect what it might have been but I don’t know for certain so I’m not going to speculate.  But to those of you whose parents are still with you, a word of warning; you find out quite a bit after they shuffle off this mortal coil.

Mom was always a little bit of a rebel.  She was born and raised in New York City and when she was in college at Adelphi, she vocally stood up for the Jews.  She’d married in the late 30′s, early 40′s, somewhere in there, and had a daughter shortly after that.  Her husband was killed during the war and after it, she was a single mom with a little girl to raise and she didn’t have any money coming in.

So Mom found herself a job.  In Montana.  She left New York City and never again entertained the idea of ever going back.

Anyway, Mom’s got this problem with the Roman Catholic Church.  Know what she did about it, Katie?

She left the Catholic Church and joined the Episcopalians.  My mom loved the Episcopal Church until the end of her life.  And as far as I know, she was the only one in her family who ever did anything like that.  Her brother, my Uncle Howard, remained Catholic until the end of his life.

Kid?  The Catholic Church is almost 2,000 years old; you’re not.  Your idea that the Catholic Church needs to conform itself to the bumper stickers beliefs of the Young PeopleTM is too absurd for any intelligent person to even begin to entertain.  So emulate my mother, grow a freaking spine and drop into one of Chicagoland’s many fine Episcopal parishes next Sunday.  You’ll be glad you did.

OSTRICHES

Friday, February 27th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Speaking to a commission of the World Council of Churches Nobody Goes To Any More, the Rev. Canon David Porter, What’s-His-Face’s director for “reconciliation,” drove home why people with functional intellects no longer take Anglicanism seriously.

Violence perpetrated in the name of religion was highlighted as “a defining issue of our generation” by Canon David Porter when he spoke to members of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Porter, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as director for reconciliation at Lambeth Palace in London, joined the WCC meeting via Skype on 17 February. The meeting has brought together CCIA members who will set directions for the work of the Commission in coming years.

At the meeting, Porter said that religiously sanctified violence is a global challenge, and not just an issue of the Arab world. “The reality is that those promoting such violence are looking deep into their own religious traditions and are attempting to find justifications for their actions,” he said.

“It isn’t just a façade; for many it comes with a deep ideological commitment from their tradition, as they understand it. Therefore the challenge for us is to look again into all religious traditions and see how traditions and texts are used to justify violence,” Porter added.

All you really need to know about the worthlessness of Porter’s speech is that the word “Arab” appears exactly once in this press release while the words “Islam,” “Islamic” or “Muslim” do not appear at all.

GREG GRIFFITH?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 49 Comments

Dude, you are REALLY going to have to rein Fischler in:

Because college students have been sheltered all their lives from any information about sex, sexual behavior, or female anatomy (no information about any of these is available on the Internet, last time I checked, which was about 1989), the University of the South has decided to use art to edumacate its otherwise hopelessly naive student body. According to the Daily Caller:

Officials at Sewanee: The University of the South excitedly unveiled a massive golden clitoris statue on Wednesday afternoon. There was a reception.

The giant golden clitoris will reside in the main library at the Episcopal Church-affiliated liberal arts school in Tennessee for two weeks.

The sculpture is part of a project called “CLITERACY” by feminist artist Sophia Wallace.

A Facebook page entitled Cliteracy Exhibit Reception suggests that Wallace believes Americans are confused about female sexuality.

“By occupying public space with information about women’s bodies, CLITERACY destigmatizes the information itself, facilitating open dialogue,” the Facebook page instructs.

Also, somehow, the giant golden clitoris “reveals the ‘phallic as neutral’ bias in science, law, philosophy, politics, mainstream and even feminist discussion, and the art world.”

“The students who brought the exhibit to campus hope to encourage in-depth, healthy conversations about female sexuality and other topics,” Sewanee media relations director Laurie L. Saxton told The Daily Caller.

Yeah.  Sure they do.

POPE FOUND TO BE CATHOLIC

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Slate’s William Saletan weighs in on what San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone expects from teachers in archdiocesan schools:

On Tuesday evening, liberal Catholics in San Francisco announced a vigil to protest new sexual-conduct rules for teachers in the city’s Catholic schools. “We stand with teachers,” they declared, “in rejecting morality clauses that impede their freedom, including the right to choose who to love and marry and how to plan a family.”

The following night the dissidents held their vigil and scolded the local archbishop for issuing the rules. On Facebook, they noted that it was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, “when we reflect on our lives [and] atone for our sins.” On Twitter, one dissident pleaded: “Tell the Archbishop of SF he’s got it wrong.” Another wrote, “I’m ashamed of the church I love.”

Good leftist that he is, Saletan is appalled by Cordileone’s proposals.

The rules are foolish. The problem isn’t their content, which, though I disagree with much of it, comes straight out of the Catechism. The problem is the clumsiness of announcing and applying the rules. By spelling them out in detail, putting them in teachers’ contracts, and defining every school employee as a minister unprotected by secular employment laws, Cordileone has alarmed teachers, students, and parents. He has provoked a panic over inquisitions or purges—exactly what he says he didn’t intend.

The archbishop is wrong. His policy against contraception is disastrous. His understanding of homosexuality is shallow. His injunction against masturbation is ridiculous. Liberal Catholics are right to reject their leaders’ pronouncements on these issues.

But breathes there the man with soul so dead that he will not consider Will Saletan to be an honest man?  Not to put too fine a point on it, says Will, but the Roman Catholic Church is…you know…a…um…church.  And churches…you know…believe stuff.

The protesters are confused. They reject morality clauses but call the archbishop’s behavior sinful, shameful, and wrong. They belong to a church but seem to think it shouldn’t forbid anything. They insist that no one can be judged, except for issuing judgments that contradict their own. They can’t explain or even acknowledge the moral differences between homosexuality, contraception, and abortion. The nonsense of nonjudgmentalism has turned their brains to mush. It’s clouding their ability to think and speak clearly about society’s mistakes—and their own.

The fight in San Francisco centers on rules proposed by the archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, two weeks ago. The rules instruct teachers in Catholic schools “not to visibly contradict, undermine, or deny” church teachings. These teachings include “the inviolability of human life,” “the sinfulness of contraception,” “the grave evil of artificial reproductive technology,” and the evil of “all extra-marital sexual relationships,” including “adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography, and homosexual relations.”

The rules are foolish. The problem isn’t their content, which, though I disagree with much of it, comes straight out of the Catechism.

But the response from the left has been just as clumsy. It’s a mess of new-age babble. It starts with denials of morality. The protesters’ Facebook page, Support SF Teachers, declares: “A morality clause has no place in our schools. We want teachers to be able to be themselves.” Christine Haider-Winnett, the coordinator of Equally Blessed, a Catholic pro-LGBT coalition, says lay Catholics will “make our own decisions about what is right and wrong.” A tweet posted as part of the social media campaign against Cordileone advises: “Be who you are and don’t care who says what.”

The dictionary says churches are supposed to teach doctrines. But the campaign against Cordileone says they shouldn’t. Students at one Catholic school “are very upset” by the new policy, says a teacher. “They’re afraid it’ll lead to indoctrination.” A statement signed by more than 200 opponents of the policy says Catholic leaders should follow their flocks: “Most U.S. Catholics believe very little of what is in the Archdiocesan document and actively reject much of it. The role of the bishop is to articulate the faith of the people.”

It’s called the Episcopal Church.  They do all that stuff and have done it for years.  Check it out.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 40 Comments

Dear public-sector unions.  This is the reason (well, one of them) why people hate you:

An MTA bus driver was arrested Friday after mowing down a 15-year-old girl in a crosswalk, causing a leg injury so severe she may lose the limb.

Francisco de Jesus was driving his Q59 bus south on Union Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when he tried to turn left onto Grand St. and struck Jiahuan Xu about 8:45 a.m., cops said.

Jiahuan, who had a walk signal, was pinned under the left front wheel, police and witnesses said. She was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition.

“She grabbed my hand and said, ‘Dad I felt pieces of my ripped up leg,’” the teen’s father, Jingxiang Xu, who only speaks Mandarin, told CBS 2 News.

Pedestrian advocates said she may lose her leg.

Union officials were angry.  At this young girl’s horrific injuries?  At the incompetence and negligence of one of their drivers?  Not so much, no.

Union officials were outraged by his arrest.

“We drive for a living on the busiest streets in America,” said J.P. Patafio of Transport Workers Union Local 100. “The law of averages has it we’re going to get into an accident.”

Patafio threatened a work slowdown, saying he could tell bus drivers not to move an inch if a pedestrian is anywhere in a crosswalk.

“If they’re going to apply the letter of the law, we’re going to apply the letter of the law — and traffic ain’t going to be moving very fast,” Patafio said. “We have to protect our operators from being arrested.”

Thanks for your concern, dumbass.  If I were running one, the 2015 MCJ Idiot of the Year contest would already be over.

Do any of you guys read Jim Treacher?  He’s one of the house bloggers at the Daily Caller.  If you don’t read Jim, start; dude has mad skillz at this blogging stuff.

And I hope he hasn’t read this story.

I can’t remember exactly when this was but not long after he’d gone to work for the DC and moved to Washington, Jim was crossing the street one night and, like this poor girl, he had the light and the crosswalk sign with him.

That didn’t stop a State Department SUV from plowing into him, blowing out his knee, and subjecting Jim to at least a year’s worth of excruciatingly painful rehab.

Same thing (or worse) almost happened to me a few weeks back.  I wanted to walk to Freddie’s Market to pick up a few things so I pressed the crosswalk button at Elm and Glendale Avenues, right in front of my apartment.

I got the light and the little guy on the crosswalk sign that tells me that it’s okay to walk so I started walking.  I was about halfway across the intersection when this car took a left on to Elm right in front of me.

And by “right in front of me,” I mean I could easily have reached out and touched the damned thing.  Missed me by no more than a foot or so.  If I hadn’t jumped back, I might have been knocked to the pavement and/or badly injured my leg.

The guy did stop and gave me a “Sorry about that” wave.  I just pointed back at him.

LEAVING THE NEST

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments

Disclaimer: direct all angry comments to Fischler who found this.

Your little girl is headed for college in the fall.  She wanted to go to an Ivy League school, and you have the money to pull that off, but even Brown, for God’s sake, her fifth back-up Ivy League school didn’t want her.  So she’s going to Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, a college which, like Bowdoin, Tufts, Amherst, etc., is sort the Ivy League’s Division Two.

Have you got her housing lined up?  If not, you may want to avoid 154 Church Street:

Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderf__k, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.

Um.  It’s Bondage/Discipline, by the way.  Just sayin’.

I don’t know, maybe I’m too cynical or something but I just cannot see this arrangement working out too well.  Think about it.  You’re in your room one night, minding your own business, spanking your girlfriend, when the male [?] Gender Studies major in the room next door pounds on the wall and says, “Keep it down, will you?  My Introduction to Female Superiority final is tomorrow.”

Talk about a buzzkill.

Maybe this happens a few times and you’re eventually brought up on charges in front of whoever at Wesleyan adjudicates these things.  Bottom line is that you’re told that as long as you live there, you may only express the “variety and vivacity of gender, sex and” and your particular ”sexuality” within certain hours.

You’re quite naturally outraged.  Does anybody else in the house have to restrict the hours in which they may express “the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality?”  Eff this.  So until you can find yourself an affordable Middletown apartment, you resolve to ignore the fascists.

And you sue Wesleyan’s ass off.

Seriously, folks?  LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM?  Do you really expect people to keep up with this alphabet soup crap?  You guys badly need to update your terminology.  So might I make a suggestion?

Altersex.  Short for alternate sexuality.  You can include every alternative sexuality there is in that term.  The homosexuals won’t like it since they’re babies and they won’t get to be first any more but I have to think that it’s a much simpler way to express “the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality” than an acronym that may eventually end up becoming at least two or three hundred letters long.

PANDER BEAR

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

At that recent White House Conference on Violent Extremism Which Never Ever Involves The Islamic World In Any Way, Shape Or Form, I Don’t Care What You Read, Hear Or See On Television Because THE CRUSADES, Barack Obama said one of the dumbest things he’s said since the last time he said something:

“Here in America,” Obama stated, “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”

Right.  President Just Makin’ Crap Up Now went on to relate the following story.

As I’ve noted before, Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia — perhaps the first Iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago. And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress — the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. And that’s a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam — like so many faiths — is part of our national story.

Nice story.  Be even nicer if it had actually happened.

Well, not so much. That magical “first Iftar” was a meeting between Sidi Solima Mellimelli, an emissary of the brutal Barbary pirates, and the president. Jefferson had over Mellimelli in an attempt to bribe him into submission after the USS Constitution captured ships from the bey of Tunis. Mellimelli requested food, lodgings, and concubines.

Fact is, that by today’s standards, ol’ Tom J was quite the Islamophobe.

The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.

So was John Quincy Adams.

The precept of the Koran is perpetual war against all who deny that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.

So was practically everybody with a brain back then.

As Thomas S. Kidd writes, philosophers upon whom the founders relied had similarly negative views of Islam. Montesquieu wrote that the Turks were despotic. William Blackstone wrote that religion could be used for despotism, as shown by “terrible ravages committed by the Saracens in the east, to propagate the religion of Mahomet.” Thomas Paine wrote of Islam in Common Sense, but only as a reference point for despotic attempts to stifle liberty: he said that divine right of kings was a “superstitious tale, conveniently timed, Mahomet like, to cram hereditary right down the throats of the vulgar.”

Good thing that Barack Obama is The Smartestest US President EVER.

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