Entries in the Category "religion"

"if they believe that, why, they aren't even Chris-tee-ans!"

Thus spake my late grandmother, pronouncing the faith in three syllables in her inimitable way, while discussing the latest revelation by her Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor about the doctrines of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. So their apostasy and heresy are scarcely newsworthy. It must have pained her to hear that I was Wiccan, though she must have taken the matter up with God, as she never did with me. So I can well imagine her fretting in heaven over HerChurch.org, a San Francisco ELCA church which cross-dresses God.

Now I of all people should have no problem in seeing God as feminine. And indeed, I have no problem, as long as the God you're discussing is a goddess as opposed to the God of the Bible. The problem is that if you "re-imagine" God, you have to throw out the images in God's Word, and thus the Word itself. Without that as an anchor, you're making it up as you go along. I don't even have a problem with that; everyone has the right to go to Hell in their own fashion. But it isn't Christianity, let alone Lutheran, and I do have a problem with calling a thing what it's not. If there's anything that Lutheranism has historically been about, it's the primacy of the Bible. The primacy of pudenda seems like a comedown to me.

A feminine deity takes you different places than a male deity. Even if gender is a social construct, a society still holds that construct, and is not easily moved from it. And they will apply that construct to a gendered God, no matter which gender. "We also create an idol when we worship only a masculine deity, breaking the commandment against idolatry," the site supposedly says (I couldn't find it, but it's cited here.) As one who spent many years worshiping mated pairs of deities, it's pretty obvious that if a male deity is an idol, then so is a female deity, so the Ebenezer-ites are breaking the First Commandment twice, and demonstrating rank hypocrisy in doing so. Even Judaism, which has such a cootie about graven images that they're even loath to write out in full the class of being that YHVH is ("G-d"), considers "G-d" to be male. And one of the big ideas of Christianity (and probably the one most offensive to Jews) is that God has a face and a name...and both are male. If Jesus is an idol, He's the joint artwork of Mary and the Holy Spirit. And if a Person of the Trinity is breaking the Commandments, well, the game is over.

Pope Paul VI caught a lot of flack for saying that women couldn't be priests because they did not have "a natural resemblance to Jesus." Some early feminist theologian (IIRC it was Naomi Goldenberg in Changing of the Gods) noted that this was actually very astute, because people model their images of God from those who serve God, and that a female priest(ess)hood would lead to a female vision of deity. So it's not a surprise that Pastor Boom's first name is Stacy. And the graven image of a woman is at the center of HerChurch's rosary beads (!). I'm sure that Dr. Luther is doing a happy dance right now --NOT! I remember some End Times novel from the 60s with a church very much like Ebenezer Lutheran. Clearly, the gift of prophecy is not dead.

Monsignor Whim-worshipper

The man La Repubblica identified as the Vatican official can be heard saying that "he didn't feel he was sinning" by having sex with gay men and asking his visitor if he liked him.

I'm sorry, but you can't derive doctrine from "feeling". If that's the standard, then we all can do whatever we "feel" like. That was the suspendable offence here, not hitting on another male. As long as the person is of age and not under the priest's direct supervision, I really don't care about that, and I think that Christendom dwells disproportionally on sexual sins in general. As a human, I can understand his "feeling", and I don't at all envy him having to square that with his job. But it just doesn't square, with the church or with rational thought.

Methodists: divest from Caterpillar

I once heard a Methodist minister proclaim from the pulpit that Methodists had "warm hearts and fuzzy minds." Here's some proof.

While they're puttering in the affairs of Caesar, maybe they should sell off any timber interests they have, given that regrettable incident with 2 pieces of wood that happened some 1974 years ago.

The Catholic Jesse Jackson at it again

Bill Donohue has his polka-dot boxers in a bunch over Miller Brewery's support of the Folsom Street Fair, a San Francisco event that is a bit kinky. The fight started over the poster, which bears a mild resemblance to Da Vinci's Last Supper. It was over-the-top enough that Miller wanted their logo removed, which didn't happen because, well, the posters were already printed.

Here's doubtless how it happened: It's a street fair, and street fairs sell BEER, and this one was selling beer to a mircrobrew/import crowd, so why wouldn't Miller want to curry favor with them to take back some market share? And the decision was probably made locally, with no examination of the global parameters. So now, if Miller caves to pressure and backs out, the other side will boycott. It's better business just to ignore the Catholic League.

I certainly don't blame any Christian who quietly decides to drink something else; I think Catholics should be drinking more monastic beers anyway. But Do-no-ho-ho-ho and his buds are so excessive as to be a laughingstock. Especially the Constipated Women for America:

Concerned Women for America first drew attention to the Last Supper poster Tuesday.

The group wants California's elected officials – including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer – to "publicly condemn this unprovoked attack against Christ and His followers."


Now, excuse me, but I didn't see an attack against Christ's followers there, or even against Christ. The guy in "the Jesus position" on the poster is black, and nobody is going to confuse him with the Son of God (who we all know was a blonde...unless we think He's Jim Caviezel.) I think it's time for CWA to take a tour of those parts of the world where they really do make "unprovoked attacks against Christ's followers." They'll be able to see the difference between free speech and dhimmitude (at best), even through their burqas.

UPDATE 10/6: Donohue is now sending pornography (or what he perceives as such) to every parish in the Milwaukee (home of Miller) archdiocese.

Canterbury's loss, Rome's gain

Once, long ago, I had two lovers. And I figured this was fine, because one would get tired of the situation, and then I'd still have one. The problem with this was that the one who first got tired of being played was the one I should have been with.

I was put in mind of this by the Bishop of Rio Grande, Jeffrey Steenson, who is becoming a Roman Catholic:

I am concerned that if I do not listen to and act in accordance with conscience now, it will become harder and harder to hear God’s voice...Now I come before you, asking that you give me the necessary canonical permission to resign as ordinary of my diocese. I should like to do this by the end of this year, and afterwards, in proper order, to be released from my ordination vows in the Episcopal Church...I hope my decision will encourage others who believe they can no longer remain in the Episcopal Church, to respect its laws and to withdraw as courteously as possible for the sake of the Christian witness.

A class act.

Blasphemy at the Emmys

Bill Donohue, the Jesse Jackson of Catholicism, is whacking away at Kathy Griffin and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, for this choice comment:

"I guess hell froze over," Griffin announced. "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this. He had nothing to do with this. ... Suck it, Jesus! This award is my god now."

...which Billy-Boy called "vulgar in-your-face brand of hate speech" from a self-described "complete militant atheist" , demanding that the remarks be censored for broadcast. To which Kathy said: "Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?"

Let's get a grip here.

First, for Billy-boy: Jesus is big enough to take care of himself. So, for that matter, are Catholics, most of whom have remote controls and know how to use them. Quit throwing your weight around as if you actually represent somebody.

For Kathy: If you're going to call yourself a Catholic, there are certain expectations for being in communion with the Church. Not denying or blaspheming God is one of the more basic of those expectations, and doing so isn't funny or necessary. Your parish priest can help you with this. If you don't have one, well, in what sense are you a Catholic? It's not like Catholicism is a STD, after all; you've got to actually do something, like believe. Like I said, Jesus is big enough to take care of Himself, which means He's also big enough to take care of you, take that as you will.

Rev. Tracey Lind in running for Bishop of Chicago

I'd vote for her. Kick her upstairs, and let her finish the job Gene Robinson started. Pimples don't heal until they break.

Oh, and one linguistic correction from the pagan boy: the proper term is priestess.


"Formerly Catholic, now Christian..."

So began the flyer in the local hardware store, looking for members for a support group for similar people who didn't think they had been Christian enough.

This really energized my prayer life, as in repeated cries of "Lord, why are some of your followers such yutzes?" If I wanted to practice a religion that specialized in "voting people off the island", well, I'm a Wiccan initiate; been there, done that.

By any historical or doctrinal measure, Catholics are Christians. They may be heretics, though objectively and historically it's the Protestants who have been doing the choosing. They may even be Damnable Heretics, if your God saves on the basis of works and not faith. But then, isn't that your problem with Catholicism?

Catholic politicians and abortion

There are a number of Catholic politicians who have been attempting to ride the fence on the abortion issue, claiming that they can be good Catholics and still vote in favor of abortion. The Church is increasingly not buying this argument, and bishops are starting to withhold the sacraments from the likes of John Kerry. This in turn makes people fear the church, because it appears that "Rome is giving marching orders" to American politicians (as was claimed in the 19th century, and is claimed for Muslim candidates to Hamtramck MI city council today). I'm sympathetic to the problem, though I am not Catholic; as a libertarian, I am pro-choice, but I'm increasingly convinced by the Church's critique of people so anxious not to breed that they will kill a child in the womb.

I believe that there's a solution that I have not seen discussed before, that will satisfy the Church, square the conscience of the believing politician, and increase the Church's reputation overall. Catholic legislators should simply refuse to vote one way or the other on abortion issues, and Catholic judges should recuse themselves from abortion cases. When asked about their position, they should say, "I accept the teaching of the Church, but I believe this is not a matter for government to decide. So I will neither vote for nor against abortion."

On the pro-abortion side, it could be argued that such a stand weakens their support. And it does, but then, they should vote for non-Catholic governance. On the anti side, a refusal to stop murder could be construed as sin. But there are Protestants willing to do the heavy lifting on this issue. Given the Catholic Church's long history of forcing religion down the throats of captive peoples, they have some image repair to do, and this is one way to do it.

So...tell me why this won't work.

Paging Papa Ratzi

Your Holiness:

You may want to have a chat with one of your bishops in the tolerant land of Holland, who thinks that Dutch Catholics should pray to Allah, so as not to offend Muslims. After all, Arabic-speaking Christians do. But that's their generic word for Mr. No-name. The Dutch word is "god". And let's not forget that Mr. No-name got a name when He came to earth. Which is something Allah hasn't managed yet.

The Dutch bishop ... predicted that within a century or two, Dutch Catholics would be addressing prayers to "Allah."

Of that I have no doubt...mostly because they will all have been forced to accept Islam.

PS 8/18:
Benny...while you're at it, remind him that the Bible does not say "Thou shalt not steal, unless thou art really hungry", and that if God wants popes term-limited, He's perfectly capable of limiting their terms.

Homer Simpson meets the Cerne Abbas Giant

I'm not much of one to jump on the bandwagon when Pagans get their loincloths in a bunch. But if this is the new wave in marketing, I think we need to expand it into larger markets, and what larger market than the Catholic Church? Let's put a statue of Homer in St. Stanislaus; he can stand right next to St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Really...what were they thinking?

G-ville Summerfest

We're just back from Garrettsville Summerfest, the local street fair. We went down mainly for the St. Ambrose Chicken Festival: half a roast chicken, mashed, beans, roll, beverage and dessert for $7. Such a deal! And cute little girls asking if you want drink refills.

Then we walked down to the fair proper. It was the usual stuff, with lots of charities out to make a buck. One bunch of kids was selling baked goods to support missionaries in Latvia. I don't know which church or organization they represented. But 'scuse me; Latvia is a Christian nation, no thanks to the Teutonic Knights (I think technically there they were the Knights of Livonia or somesuch, but same difference). The implication is that they aren't "real" Christians over there. I don't recall if they are Catholic like the Lithuanians, or Lutheran. Given that their native religion was already squashed once by carpetbaggers, it seems only right to let Latvian Christians be responsible for the spread of the Gospel over there.

Then there were the Latter Day Saints and the Howland family tree. Apparently, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, the Bushes, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Smith all have a common ancestor. And they say there's no royalty in America! I think the nice lady was a little shocked when I pointed to the bottom of the chart and said, "So if we jumped into a time machine and killed this guy, we could change the entire course of history." I mean, definitely there was some bad seed there. And I asked, "How do you feel about the founder of your church being related to Richard Nixon?"

Clearly, I was out for trouble. So were the local Democrats, who were hawking pro-impeachment t-shirts. To which I asked, "Can we get a two-for-one deal and impeach Bush AND Nancy Pelosi?"

Oh boy, the Joo-haters just found my blog!

Apparently, sometime during the past 24 hours, a certain group of people have found this post and posted comments. Supposedly the link came from TheBirdman.org, but I didn't find it over there (not that I spent a huge time looking). Ah, what to do? Shall I approve the posts, edit them, or what? Well, I'll take on the substantive one, from appollonian:

This above-noted "Libertarian" is just another moralist-Pharisaist, most probably Jew, not worthy of any serious notation/response

But you're responding, aren't you? Do you always do things unworthy of das Herrenvolk? For the record, even though with my beard and curly hair I have passed for Jewish (particularly among Lubavitchers and anti-Semitic African-Americans), my ancestors for as far back as I am aware have been Gentile. I can't absolutely rule out being Jewish under a "one drop rule", but then, neither can you.

For again, obvious problem for original blog entry/post is all the brainless question-begging and presumption: WHAT IS MORAL?--and there is no basis, hence definition, but as for Immanuel Kant, "hey, we just feel like we want there to be 'morality,' so therefore we declare not only 'morality' to exist, but we think it's so cool be be 'moral' as we feel that 'space-kadet glow' as we pretend to 'moralism.'" It just makes me feel so "good" and "cool," u see, as I pretend to be "moral"--especially in everyone elses' faces--so these people imagine unto themselves. Moralists are just people with inferiority complex--moralism then makes them feel good, see.

OK. You don't believe that morality exists. Then I guess it's OK with you for me to use you for target practice. After all, it's just my desires against yours.

(2) "Rights" are properly matter of social contract and agreement--as so excellently and definitively laid down by Thomas Hobbes in "Leviathan." Jews then never had any "rights" in Germany (or anywhere), being mere recipients of German charity, the poor German volk too unwitting of Jew anti-humanity.
If rights are contractual, they don't exist, except as privileges; they can be renegotiated at the drop of a trigger. And even if they are contractual, then Jews would have had rights in Israel, as they could contract for them there. Fortunately, you realize that you can't cut Jews out of human rights unless you first cut them out of humanity. That exposes your game.
So much for Jews, anti-human filth, scum, and the murderers of Christ, who affirm such Christ murder in their filthy book, Talmud.
So why would they kill one of their own?
CONCLUSION: Thus we see the empty arguments of original poster falling like confetti through the air--as there's no substance whatsover, the argument consisting of nothing more than subjectivistic wishful thinking (as regarding "moralism")

Not at all. Basically, the only hit you scored on my argument is the claim that morality has no objective existence (a claim that 99.9% of humanity soundly rejects). Let's accept that argument for a moment, and rephrase my main point: Would you like it if thugs with guns forced you into a boxcar and took you to another home? Did Hitler have benign intent toward the Jews? If not, how relevant is the actual scale and success of the Endlosung to its moral evaluation?

Mormonism: not so simple?

Speedzzter thinks that I'm being a bit simplistic on the Romney thing.

Well, no. To take his points in order:
1. As my mother would say, it was mighty white of Rev. Sharpton to allow that, yes, Mitt believes in God.

2. Is any criticism of Mormonism bigotry?

Speedzzter begins by submitting a bunch of Christian apologetics dedicated to differentiating Mormonism from Christianity. I don't believe that an objective student of world religions would come to the same conclusion. If this is "criticism" of Mormonism, it is so only because it assumes orthodox Christianity as the measure of truth...which is fine for the Christian, but is irrelevant at best to the secular world of politics. Hoekema on cults is drawing a technical distinction which is theologically valid, but ignores the fact that in American English "cult" means, pretty much, "any religion I don't approve of."

Then we have a discussion of Reynolds v. U.S., which is somewhat more substantive. Reynolds differentiates between beliefs and actions, in regards to religious freedom. In the specific case, it was rather broader than I would be about what is "in violation of social duties or subversive of good order". Most arguments against polygamy (and gay marriage!) are religion-based and in fact constitute an establishment of religion. One could argue that polygamy, if widely practiced, would create large number of unmarried males, which would clearly be socially disruptive. This would be an acceptable secular reason to ban legal recognition of it, though freedom of association means that people can and will have relations with whom they please.

Sharpton's critique was that, since Mormons accepted a clearly racist doctrine during the lifetime of Mitt Romney, Romney must have been either a racist or a heretic. What makes this bigoted is the assumption that an individual acts on a group identity. It would have been more substantive to argue from Romney's record in office whether he's a racist, and leave the LDS out of it. It's also valid to argue that Mormon racism is a theological problem. The theology might lead people to be prejudiced, but doesn't necessarily mean they are so. Similarly, it is not bigotry to examine the violence inherent in the Koran, but one can't assume that any individual Moslem actually believes that; I suspect that most Moslems are as heretical as most Christians. So my answer to speedzzter would be, "Criticism of Mormonism is not bigotry; criticism of people on the basis of their stated religious belief system is bigotry."

3. Is Romney's situation similar to that of JFK?
Speedzzter's argument in support of this is basically that Catholics are Christians and Mormons aren't. Not only is this argument incompatible with Article VI/3 of the Constitution, but it's historically inaccurate. The fear about Kennedy was that he would take orders from Rome; nobody has suggested that Romney would take orders from Salt Lake City. Given that few Catholic Democrats are taking orders from Rome regarding abortion, it seems that the fear was misplaced.

Disclaimer: the Quicks to whom I am related, with the exception of my paternal grandfather and his spouse and descendants, are generally members of the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). However, both my father and I were brought up as Missouri Synod Lutherans.

Sharpton: Southern Baptists are atheists

The fight between Mitt Romney and Al Sharpton is heating up. It began Monday when Sharpton said, to a reference by Christoper Hitchens about Romney, that "Those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway.", implying that Mormons DON'T really believe in God (I thought it was Mormons' extra beliefs that the rest of Christendom had a problem with.) When Romney called Sharpton the bigot he was (and is), Sharpton fired back:

He should explain to Americans whether he believed for half his life that God created people unequally," Sharpton said. "He needs to come clean and say what he believed and when he believed it."

A fair enough question, I guess. But then he said:

"Fine, you take your shot at Sharpton, but now you got to answer the question. If you have a church built on racial discrimination, then I do not believe you are a true believer in God."

Sharpton joined the Baptist Church in 1994, a church which split in 1845 over the issue of slavery. Granted, he is not a Southern Baptist. But since the Southern Baptist Convention was historically built on racial discrimination (even though they have repented, as the Mormons have), isn't Al saying that his Baptist brethren are not true believers in God?

"Now you got to answer the question", Al: are Southern Baptists atheists, pagans ("false" believers in God) or Christians?

Academic and religious freedom in Pittsburghistan

Dutch feminist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali appeared at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and local Muslims were not too happy. The University, to its credit, held its ground.

Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali's appearance.

"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death," said ElBayly, who came to the U.S.
from Egypt in 1976. ...

Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.

"If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment," he said. "It's a very merciful religion if you try to understand it."


So murdering people for changing their mind about a hypothetical omnipotent, omnipresent, invisible and immortal humanoid is "merciful"? Sounds like Imam ElBayly could use some Islamic Mercy himself.

German Jews take theology to court

A few Reform Jews are unhappy with the former Sephardic chief rabbi:

Eliyahu, who is considered the spiritual leader of the National Religious Party, was asked by the radio interviewer, "What was the sin of the six million?" In response, he quoted from Exodus 22:5: "If fire gets out of control and spreads through weeds, and [then] consumes bound or standing grain or a field, the one who started the fire must make restitution."

He then said, "Those people [Jews in general] are not to blame, but Reform started in Germany, those who changed the religion began in Germany. And because it is written that God was angered, even He did not differentiate among the righteous, it was done." The chief rabbi of
Safed, Eliyahu's son Shmuel Eliyahu, said his father's words do not justify the Nazi crimes but "are based on historic facts," and that anti-Semitism rose where there was assimilation.

They've filed a slander complaint...which I don't understand. Eliyahu's argument is that Reform angered God, who allowed the Holocaust to happen. Now, that is a theological proposition. The only way to decide whether it is false and thus slanderous is to have YHVH Himself testify.If you take "God's wrath" out of the equation, you have the claim that Reform is not true Judaism, which is again a theological argument. This case would be thrown out of court in America...but this is Germany, which is a little twitchy about the Holocaust.

Indeed the only person being slandered here is God, who is being accused of overreacting and of having lousy aim. OK, Reform started in Germany, but if God wanted to kill Reform Jews, he could have gotten behind Fr. Coughlin and done it in America, with less risk to the orthodox. And since God is equally capable of dealing with those who slander Him or who slander others in His name, the court system is totally superfluous.

Brookville FL: you VILL pay ze parking ticket!

In this friendly little town, if you don't pay your $5 parking ticket, they can foreclose on your home!

Why don't they just make nonpayment a capital offence and be done with it?

First the taxis, then the checkout line

Apparently, the Caliphate of Minneapolis is developing right on schedule:

I'm a reporter who covers Target for the Star Tribune and the other day, I got a call from someone who said that an employee at the Target store downtown refused to run his bacon through a scanning machine. He was mighty upset, arguing that the cashier had "no right to work as a cashier at Target" if she wasn't prepared to swipe his groceries.

But he was a little vague on the details, so I decided to check it out myself. At the Target store on E. Lake Street, a cashier wearing a hijab looked uncomfortable when I showed up at the cash register with a frozen pepperoni pizza. She immediately called for help, and another employee rang up the pizza and placed it in the basket.

I asked her if it was because she was Muslim, and she nodded her head. "I can't even touch it," she said.

If she was "touching pork", then there was something very unsanitary about the packaging. And maybe she should have been wearing gloves. I'm all for people honoring their religious taboos, on their own time. If I'd been in line and this had happened to me, I probably would have left my entire order at the checkout and walked out. This is not the way to treat customers.

The question is whether this is policy at that particular Target, or if it is corporate policy. Apparently Serres didn't speak to a manager, who could have clarified that question. And if anyone from Target management is reading this, they can also clarify it, in the comments. If it's a local issue, it can be handled locally. If it's national policy, well, customers know how to change corporate policy.

What I found most appalling were some of the blog comments. One compared the pork swipe to underage cashiers having to have alcohol swiped, claiming that is no inconvenience. Well, it certainly effing is, and I fume every time a cashier has to get somebody else to do her job. But that's a government mandate, not lazy management, and much as I'd like to boycott my government, they won't let me. And do the Target workers refuse to swipe beer as well? Of course, the same jerk accused those who objected of "racism"; I wasn't aware that Muslims were a race. And for those who claim that I'm a bigot: I don't care if you think pork is unclean. But then don't work where you have to sell pork. And don't expect me to spend my time to support your superstition. Your right to practice your religion ends at my face.

UPDATE here.


Retailers have accommodated other religious groups over the years. In the Twin Cities, these include those who don't want to sell lottery tickets or work on Saturdays, said Bernie Hesse, local organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 789. Supermarkets in particular have been good about recognizing their employees' religious observances, he said.

"If we ever get to the point of selling wine in grocery stores, I imagine some folks will be excused from doing that," Hesse said.

The difference here is one of scheduling, which has nothing much to do with the employee/customer interface.

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for a person's religious practices if it doesn't impose an undue hardship.

What is reasonable, and what is an undue hardship?

A customer's personal preferences is usually not a factor in deciding whether a religious practice is protected in the workplace, noted Khadija Athman, national civil rights manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington.

In most cases, a cashier should be able to call over another cashier who can scan a product and the shopper shouldn't be inconvenienced, Athman noted.

I'll be the one who decides whether I'm inconvenienced, not CAIR. And if I have to wait for somebody else to scan something, or explain to some dolt that TURKEY bacon is not pork, I've been inconvenienced.

Target's statement:

"Providing guests with consistently fast checkouts is a key, fundamental part of our business and our guest service commitment. As always, we continue to explore reasonable solutions that consider the concerns of team members while ensuring that we maintain our ability to provide the highest level of guest service."
makes it pretty clear to me that they Don't Get It.

Some comrades are more equal than others

Evidently the Bolevikian Revolutionary helps his own:

"We call them the royal family of Barinas," said Antonio Bastidas, an opposition politician in Barinas who grew up playing baseball and catching catfish with Chávez and his brothers. "They started out with nothing and now call themselves revolutionaries, though they are revolutionaries with all the best trappings of power."
Yeah, they're revolting, all right.

Two more Nigerian churches

Truro and Falls Church have voted to go with Archbishop Akinola.

They haven't left; the church heirarchy is out of communion with them, and they are acknowledging the fact. And I understand the political expediency of the Nigerian Connection. But I have issues with Akinola. It's not that he's theologically anti-gay (not my battle, and it's arguably his job), but that he's politically so. He's come out in support of a bill that would ban formal association of gay people, and the possession of gay erotica. In a country where a majority wants to impose Sharia on the whole country, does he want to play along with that? And can any libertarian (or any American) support somebody who seeks to curtail freedom of association and of the press?

So he's in Heaven now?

Jeffrey Dahmer found God before he died.

Fortunately, the minister was a Protestant. The idea of Dahmer receiving the True Presense in the Eucharist is mind-boggling.

Sentamu kicks secularist butt over Christmas

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu,is fighting for Christmas (news which I'm sure will annoy my colleague Mano). The picture makes him look like a pit bull, and he is that, in the best sort of way. I just have to wonder why the C of E has to go to Uganda to find anyone with any sort of convictions.

Clitoris-removal not a tenet of Islam

...says a conference of Muslim scholars in Cairo.

This is not news, really. Non-African Muslims have been on this for awhile now, as it makes everyone look bad. What's tragic are the holdouts who claim, "OK, there's nothing in Mohammed's life to support this...but it's not forbidden."

The new Episcopalians: Shakers with sex lives

The new ECUSA bishopess doesn't think her denomination needs to breed to survive:

“Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.”

The response provoked this query from NYT reporter Deborah Solomon: “Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?”

“No. It’s probably the opposite,” responded Jefferts Schori. “We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.”

...eliciting this tart response:

Domenico Bettinelli, jr, former editor of Catholic World Report,... posted on his website an image of a large Catholic family at a wedding with the words “Halp us Bish-up Kate wee R Catlick”.

“As Catholics we're too busy having, raising, and especially loving our children to worry about such things, added Bettinelli. “And when my kids are paying for the good bishopess's Social Security in 30 years, I won't hold it against her.”

Given current political trends in ECUSA, it ultimately won't be a matter of policy; the only folks left in the denomination will be those practicing naturally unproductive intercourse. The last Episcopalian children will send Father's Day cards to a turkey baster.

Well, at least some Anglicans somewhere have found a bit of welly.

Fighting to save Christmas from Mano Singham

Mano's getting all worked up over the movement to celebrate Christmas, as opposed to something else."Most of the people who are out earnestly looking for anti-Christian activity are pretty stupid and have little else going on in their lives," he says.

Look, I'm a Wiccan. I suppose that I "should" get all worked up about Americans wanting to celebrate their holiday, as opposed to some generic season. But I'm not. I live in a Christian culture (though not, thank Goddess, under a Christian government), and I like it when people practice their cute folk customs. That's part of that diversity thing, ya know...appreciating what other people do. And this is Christmas, which in spite of its name has for many Americans no more to do in practice with Christianity than Halloween has to do with All Saint's Day. It's a potlatch, not a holy day (hey, let's get rid of all holidays; they're religious by definition).

And I do Christmas. What's not to do? I can hang with my family and do the traditional family things. I make springerle, and stare at the little boat and fruit patterns on the springerle pin and think, "I don't see anything here about Jesus, do you?" I hang lights to tell the sun to come back; when you leave for work at 6:30 and get home at 6:30, the time of sunrise and sunset is a major issue. I suppose, symbolically, I could do that any time from Halloween on, but that's too weird, so they go up around Thanksgiving, just like everyone else's. I won't burn them much past the 25th, because that's when the sun starts to return, and it would be impious to keep telling it to do so. But if I were celebrating the Light of Christ, I could logically keep them going until Ash Wednesday, though most cut out after Twelth Night.

And last year, I put up a manger scene. It totally faked my stepdaughter out, who said, "That can't be Mom's house!" and passed by it 4 times. I did it because I was really tired of looking at gaudy inflatable snowmen, candy canes, and lighted-wire reindeer. Creches were common in people's yards while I was growing up; now you only see them on public squares with Stars of David and ACLU lawsuits hanging around them. So I figured that if the Christians wouldn't, I'd do it for them. Besides, I like to keep the neighbors guessing. And why not celebrate the birth of Jesus? It's usually good for some musical work on Christmas Eve; getting paid is always cause for celebration.

The Merry Christmas Movement isn't about wanting everyone to be like Christians, it's about allowing Christians to be themselves. It never would have happened if corporations hadn't gotten a politically correct bone on about not offending people. Why should I be offended at somebody else blessing me on the occasion of their holiday? On the other hand, when you go to Wally World and see the same folks you saw at church saying "happy holidays", you know something's wrong. Most people have a pretty good sense of what's proper behavior in their communities, and it's not the same for everywhere in the US, or even for every person; if a woman in a hijab comes through the door, "Merry Christmas" is probably not the most appropriate thing you could say (though I don't think it would be INappropriate either). Having a corporate policy about saying "Merry Christmas" is just as bad as one about saying "Happy holidays", and the problem was not that the corporate policy was anti-Christian, it's that it was anti-HUMAN.

As for - ohmygod- Keith Ellison swearing his oath of office on the Koran, I probably slum around the dextrosphere a lot more than Mano does, and I haven't heard anyone making a stink. Nor should they. If Ellision really is a devout Muslim, then you WANT him to swear to defend the Constitution upon his holy book....especially since by many interpretations, to defend the Constitution would be to disobey the Koran. Better still would be for him to "testify" by swearing on his testes (with the penalty for perjury being removal), as they did in ancient times. Most people take sex more seriously than their religion; some even take it seriously in the name of their religion (usually not in the good-old-fashioned pagan way though). Maybe that way we could save our freedom from theocrats and secular humanists both.

Elton John: let's ban religion

"From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate."
Well, gee, Elton, lots of people out there want to ban gayness completely. Since you assent to the principle, that must be OK with you, nicht wahr? And if it's a matter of voting in armed thugs to do the job of exterminating religion for you, there are a lot more religious than gays. Leaving principle aside, it's not wise to start a fight you can't win.

Kinky and Hell

Oh horrors! Texas governor Perry (and all of orthodox Christendom) thinks that all those who do not find salvation through Christ are going to HELL!

"He doesn't think very differently from the Taliban, does he?" Kinky Friedman, an independent candidate for governor, told the Morning News.

"Being obsessed with who's going to heaven and who's going to hell is kind of a pathetic waste of time," he said.

There's something even more pathetic: being obsessed with whether people think the unshriven dead go to a small town in Michigan. (Cool! The zip code of Hell ends with 13x13!). Seriously, trying to make points from a passing comment at a religious event is just bad politics, especially in Texas.

OMG! There are Christians in England?!

And they are finding some balls? Amazing!
I'm positive now that once Charles is King, the Church of England will be banned as a subversive organization.

Rum-running in Somalia

You know that flap about Minneapolis Somali cabbies carrying alcohol? It turns out it was never an issue in the old country. The people who have been making it an issue aren't even Somali, but Arab: the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. All the more reason not to make special accomodations.

Yee-ha! Universal indult!

Supposedly (though the document hasn't been published yet) the Pope has signed a universal indult, allowing any congregation to perform the Latin Tridentine Rite mass unless the local bishop has forbidden it in writing.

It's hard to figure out what this will ultimately mean. Maybe it's just an attempt to bring the Lefevrists back in. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's an admission that implementing the Novus Ordo was wrong, much as I'd like to. But it may be a recognition of where the "crowth industry" in liturgy is, at least in the US.

And now for something completely different

People have been accusing "Bush and the Neocons" (sounds like a rock group that way, eh?) of trying to immanentize the Eschaton by fomenting Armaggeddon in the Middle East. Now evangelist K. A. Paul is blaming Bush for delaying the Second Coming, claiming that US foreign policy has hindered the activities of Christian missionaries in Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Silly boy, doesn't he know that if we kill enough Muslims, the rest will be scared enough to convert? If we had control over those governments, we could even use Islamic-style conversion...be a dhimmi for Mohammed today... Doggone it, if Jesus doesn't get here soon, we'll have to fight a revolution just to say the word "Christmas".

Funny how the typical Amishman is a better witness for Christ than the guys riding in private jets.

Mohammed shakes his head

"No depiction of the prophet, even if it is positive, should be made ever - and certainly not one as ridiculous as the bobblehead Muhammed," said Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, an assistant professor at New York University. "I don't think it's about freedom of speech. This is the freedom to insult, which he shouldn't be doing."

Freedom to insult IS the freedom of speech. If everything we said was undisturbing to anyone, nobody would need to worry about "free speech".

This weekend I read Boston T. Party's Molon Labe, and in a "Playboy interview" with the novel's protagonist, Wyoming governor James Preston, Boston (through Preston) draws an interesting contrast between religious fundamentalists (specifically Christian, but this applies to Muslims too) and libertarians. Both groups have trouble separating the impolite, the immoral, and the criminal. Fundies believe that all immorality and most impoliteness should be governed by law, while libertarians believe that only the criminal should have any form of social control at all, that only acts of force or fraud are immoral. Taken to the extreme, one side would save hand-shaking for marriage, while the other would be in favor of sexual intercourse in the streets. Boston sees that there are things worthy of social opprobrium which nevertheless are not crimes and should not be a matter for State intervention.

Bobblehead Mohammed may be one of these things. It's impolite to mock somebody else's prophet, though I see no rational way that any infidel should be bound by the ban on depicting Mohammed. On the other hand, it can be seen as a form of social opprobrium itself. There isn't a big market for bobblehead Lao Tzu, Buddha, Confucius, Moses, Joseph Smith or even L. Ron Hubbard (worthy of bobbledom as he might be). People buy bobbledhead Mohammed because it pisses Muslims off. It's one of the few ways that the man in the street can tell the Muslim world that the behavior of (some) Muslims is not acceptable. The message may not be finely tuned; a spring-loaded Mohammed that flies into pieces when you touch it would be much more apropos. But the message is heard, as surely as somebody asking a punk with subwoofers and rap music to turn it down. And the response is similar: a big "F--- you!" Now, one might argue that there are Muslims being offended who do not bear any responsibility for the actions being protested. But I say that to expect an infidel to obey a game rule of Islam because everyone must obey the game rules of Islam is a bobbleheadable offence. In other words, if you're offended by a depiction of Mohammed, you deserve to be offended.

So where does one draw the line? If you put a bobblehead Mohammed on your dashboard, you're engaging in free speech and sending a message. If you give one to your Arab taxi driver, you're being rude. And if you do it while singing an Islamic version of Plastic Jesus, hell, I might stone you myself.

UPDATE: there's a picture here for the morbidly curious.

Patrick Stewart will have his pentagram

...no thanks to the VA, who is still stonewalling on this issue. But the State of Nevada says it's their veteran's cemetary, and what the VA thinks just doesn't matter.

Good on him, about freaking time, but this really doesn't resolve the issue.If somebody worships Donald Duck and dies for his country, then put Donald Duck on the tombstone, already. That this was even an issue is an insult to the dead...ALL the dead, even the ones with crosses.

Another charming product of Ohio

The leader of the campaign against in-room porn is Phil Burress, a self-described former porn addict who heads the Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values.

"As more and more of these (hardcore) titles become available, we're going to have sexual abuse cases coming out of the hotels," he said. "Hotels are just as dangerous as environments around strip joints and porn stores."

Oh sure. Oh the other hand:

"Really ultraconservative groups try to target the hotels in their zest to eliminate porn," [Kathy] Shepard [spokeswoman for Hilton] said. "In their zest to have their personal morals prevail, they're eliminating choice for others."

Hey Phil, when you rent a room, turn the pay-for-view off. And if you don't like it, don't go there. It's your money, and Mariott's hotel.

Moslem prayers on the plane: not such a good idea

Yes, the airline overreacted. Yes, the man who complained was a drunken fool.

But...

There's a case to be made for suspicion when a Moslem babbles to himself in Arabic on a plane. Non-Arabic speakers don't know what are the normal prayers and what is "I'll take the 72 virgins; into Thy hands I commend myself." If that's ethnic profiling, so be it. I would also be suspicious of a Christian who was babbling Christian prayers in an airplane...not that he would bring the plane down, but that he had a poor sense of boundaries and would be an unpleasant cabin-mate. In either case, there is a simple solution which does not (to my mind) violate the religious rights of those concerned: say the prayers in your head. What, is Allah so deaf that He can't hear what you're thinking?

And in related news: passengers are doing their own ethnic profiling.

This is the worst sort of collectivist judgement. It is also the wave of the future. Look, and weep.

"Crucify him!"

It's not like Mel Gibson hasn't heard those words before, though at least last time they were in Aramaic.

It's a pretty disgusting attitude that the booze revealed. I'm not sticking up for the attitude for a minute. It's low class, literally. But what's even more disgusting is when orthodox Christians like this one get out the wood and nails. (He's cap-O Orthodox these days, a denomination with a history of anti-Semitism at least equal to any other in Christendom, which may or may not be relevant in this case.) You've GOT to criticise your own when they're wrong, if you don't all want to be associated with their sin. But that's different than wishing career-destruction on somebody. I seriously doubt that Jesus wished unemployment on the money-changers in the Temple, just a change of venue. I'm sure that Jesus thinks that Mel (and rightwingprof, and me) is a total ASSHOLE. But those are the people He died for, and He loves them. Maybe some imitation of Christ is in order here.

HERetics

Similar ceremonies conducted by the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests have been held before in other countries, and most of the participants have been excommunicated.
You can't be excommunicated when you're out of communion to begin with. Why can't reporters ever get this right? It's not the Church kicking people out; it's the Church telling people that they've left.

So which Major Arcana card are you?

Today's silliness...

You scored as II - The High Priestess. The High Priestess is a card of intuition, instinct and hidden knowledge. She knows all your secrets, you can hide nothing from her. Yet you will never know the secrets she herself protects.If well aspected in a Tarot spread, this card can indicate the use of intuition to solve problems; trust to your instincts. If badly aspected, it can mean suppression and ignoring of such instincts - following your head at the expense of your heart.

IV - The Emperor

81%

II - The High Priestess

81%

VIII - Strength

75%

VI: The Lovers

69%

XVI: The Tower

69%

XI: Justice

69%

I - Magician

69%

XIII: Death

56%

X - Wheel of Fortune

56%

XIX: The Sun

56%

0 - The Fool

44%

XV: The Devil

38%

III - The Empress

31%

Which Major Arcana Tarot Card Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

"Hail, King of the Beers"

Houston has a billboard with the Second Person of the Trinity hoisting a cold one, with the caption "King of Jews...King of beers".

Given the Man's skill as a vintner, I don't doubt that He would have had a beer occasionally, if they'd served it in Judean inns. But Budweiser? A beer that can't pass the Reinheitsgebot, going down the gullet of the very image of Reinheit?

Given what happened after "King of the Jews" was applied to Jesus, maybe an appropriate public response would be to tack empty cans onto crosses. How do you write "Budweiser, King of Beers" in Latin?

Democrats reaching out to evangelicals

Some progressive type Christians organized a convention and invited Howard Dean to bloviate:

America needs "a social safety net that will take care of people. That is the mark of true Christianity," Dean said.

Is this to say that a good Christian is the functional equivalent of a good Marxist? (Billy Sunday is a good Christian; Billy Graham is not, though he may become one any day now.)

Yep, Jesus was just a political rabble rouser, agitating for trade unions and the 40 hour work week. That's funny; I thought he wanted US (not U.S.) to take care of the poor, not to stick guns in our neighbor's faces to force THEM to take care of the poor.

While I think that the Democrat's pursuit of "moral values" is mere pandering, on another level, I welcome it. The identification of the Republican party with the Religious Right has done it no good. There are people who would vote Republican, but have been scared into thinking that if they do so, we will all have 7 children and dress like the Amish. Linking the Dems to Christianity will help balance and defuse that, or at least pose a counter-scenario: that we will be forced to join hands in a circle and sing "Kum-bye-ya".

Alternative Trinity

Taranto has been having great fun with the Presby's attempts to find gender-inclusive language for the Holy Trinity:

"Mother, Child and Womb"? That's even more sexist than the old patriarchal Trinity. We suspect God will be quite angry at the suggestion that she is no more than an Incubator. It ought to be "Woman, Fetus and Body."

"Rock, Redeemer, Friend" is much better, and it's easy to remember. Rock crushes Redeemer, Redeemer cuts Friend, Friend covers Rock.

Personally, given the Presby's attitude about Israel (fortunately now somewhat modified), I'd go with "Da Jooz Parent, Da Joo, and Da Jooz Ghost."

Can't even agree on Jesus

The Rev. McDowell of the Diocese of North Carolina told VirtueOnline after the floor vote, "In the Episcopal Church we don't do up and down votes on Jesus Christ as Lord, and to do so is potentially a mean-spirited approach, to ask questions that aren't meant to be questions."
Unfortunately, that's not because that theological FACT is not available for democratic decision.

And they've descended to Holocaust references...paging Mike Godwin:

The House of Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church today overwhelmingly refused to even consider a resolution that affirmed Jesus Christ as the "only name by which any person may be saved."

"This type of language was used in 1920s and 1930s to alienate the type of people who were executed. It was called the Holocaust. I understand the intent, but I ask you to allow the discharge to stay," said the Rev. Eugene C. McDowell, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Canon Theologian for the Diocese of North Carolina.

Right now, we're rehearsing my Evening Canticles at the Mac. Old text, veddy English, right in the tradition (though the Mary of my Magnificat is a bit of a tomboy). And I can't help but feel that it's a requiem for the Episcopal Church.

Tracey: not the new Vicky Gene

Rev. Tracey Lind (or "the lesbian heretic", as a congregant at a competing church calls her)of Trinity Cathedral has decided that she doesn't want to be a bishop.

I'm impressed. So much of ECUSA's problems have ultimately been about ego. For somebody to forego advancement for the sake of the church is unexpectedly good. I suspect she'll change her mind once the schism is complete, but there'll be nothing left to save then, and no reason for sacrifice.

Well played, ma'am.

Hard to be positive

Evidently the Apostates Against Blackwell (aka We Believe Cleveland) are having a hard time getting moving. I guess when you aren't used to believing in much of anything, believing in a political campaign or candidate is a stretch.

We Believe has ... created a speakers bureau to respond to attacks from the religious right; and created a bank of sermons on related issues that are available on the Internet.

Hmmm, a bank of sermons on political issues, ecumenically fungible? That's funny, I thought ministers were supposed to preach the Gospel.

Memo to Charles Windsor

You can't be "Defender of Faith" and be "Defender of the Faith".
Well, nobody much cares about the Church of England anyway, so why should its probable eventual titular head? Really, why don't they sell the churches to the congregations and close up shop? It would be better than going through the motions.

Mass last night

I helped Fred out at the Mac (Immaculate Conception) last night. Rore Missa a nota nere, Byrd Viri Galilei, Regnart Ascendit Deus, and part of a Senfl sequence setting (can't remember which; it was one axed at Trent), plus the Credo from Byrd in 3 (it was a solemn high, and they're liking to have polyphonic Credos for those now, and we didn't have the Rore Credo, or have it worked up). 5 parts, 6 singers, so a bit of a tightrope act, especially since the soprano had not been at the Friday rehearsal. We managed though, in spite of the work of the devil...which began when Fred turned the organ on for the prelude, to find a cypher. So no prelude. Then the thunderstorm hit, almost drowning out the Introit (the chant went particularly well, mybe because it was pitched a little lower than usual there.) There were some dropped cues later (we were expecting a homily, and there wasn't one). We repeated the Byrd motet as postlude; I would so love to be able to do the entire Gradualia during one liturgical year.

Nice crowd, about 75. I took a few surreptitious pictures before and after, which I haven't looked at yet. I may post them later, but I'm home for a long weekend and vacation, and uploading pics on a dialup is a bitch.

Apostates against Blackwell

We Believe Cleveland has been formed to counter the Religious Right. They say they're non-partisan. But...

We Believe representatives said the group will openly campaign against Blackwell's proposed constitutional amendment to set a state spending cap. And they will promote a proposal to raise the state's minimum wage, which has not qualified yet for the November ballot.

...apparently they've never read Exodus 20:15

Randall Terry, Roman Catholic

Whoa! Randall Terry has converted to Catholicism!

I've never had much use for Terry or his cause (founder of Operation Rescue), but you've got to respect the guy for this, esp. since he joined without being able to receive Communion, since his first marriage has not been annuled.

A telling passage:

My training and experience were in evangelical Christianity with an evangelical framework theologically, but the Roman Catholic communion had a much better sociology and better stability, coupled with a phenomenal theology of suffering.
I would look at my evangelical friends, who would come and go from the pro-life movement. They would proclaim undying devotion for pro-life activism and then later disappear. Then I would look at my Roman Catholic friends who would never swerve. That had a tremendous magnetism for me.
I also found myself defending Catholics against ignorance and bigotry, and defending evangelicals against ignorance and bigotry.

This will give some people one more reason to hate Catholics...but welcome home anyway.

Dick the Knife

A friend told me about new Cleveland bishop Richard Lennon's propensity for closing parishes, and here it is in the news already. Evidently the issue in Boston was not parish closings, but which parishes...allegedly a number of thriving ones got the axe. The West Side just lost its Latin Mass, and there's concern that Latin at the Mac (Immaculate Conception) could be next... in spite of Tridentine Rite being one of the few growth areas.

Papa Ratzi tells off Señor Chávez

Apparently yesterday's audience with the Pope was a little tense....not surprising considering Chavez' comment to the press beforehand:

"Our Bolivarian revolution is very Christian and I have a friend who isn’t Christian, but lately has said he is a Christian in the social aspect: his name is Fidel Castro," said Señor Chávez.

Theft and murder is "Christian in the social aspect" (whatever that means)?! I think somebody needs some confession and absolution before his next Communion.

"Hymns to the Goddess"

I was cataloging this, and I'm not sure which side of me was more offended, the Wiccan side or the Catholic-sympathizer side. Mary is not a goddess, and can only be worshipped as one by taking her out of the context of her story...at which point is she really Mary? Calling her a goddess is just as offensive to Catholics as referring to the pagan deities as "demons" is to pagans, for the same reason.

And this is a recording of Magnificat settings; i.e., Mary's hymn to a (the) God. So the title is doubly wacked.

Presbys laying off

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) said Monday that 75 employees at its headquarters will lose their jobs as $9.15 million in budget cuts have forced the denomination to reorganize its mission program.

It was the third round of job cuts in four years at church headquarters.

"Presbyterians today do not want to write a check and send that money off for somebody else to make a decision on where it goes or how the mission is done," Detterick said. "Presbyterians more and more want to be involved."

Maybe Presbyterians don't trust the people responsible for this to spend their money wisely.

Render unto Caesar

The Insurgent, a student paper at the University of Oregon, decided to repond to the Twelve Evil Mohammed Cartoons with twelve of their own featuring Jesus. One had Him on the Cross with an erection, another involved Him naked and erect and kissing another man.

OK, tacky student paper stuff.

In rides William Donohue of the Catholic League to the rescue. He wrote to the governor, every state legislator and the chancellor of the Oregon University System, among others. He didn't call for censorship. He didn't have to; if you tell the guys with the bucks and guns to look at what's going on at the college, it's understood.

That was pretty lame. The Moslems raised a bunch of mobs to make the same complaint. That was actually more worthy of respect...I don't see any Catholics with the courage to threaten physical violence. It's a lot safer (and morally equivalent) to get the government to threaten physical violence for you. All the guilt, and none of the glory.

University president Dave Frohnmayer pointed out there was nothing he could do about the situation. This got him called "unresponsive" by Donohue.

I'd recently read a piece by Catholic academic rightwingprof about the dangers of mixing eccelsiastical and mundane law by excommunicating pro-choice politicians. He points out that the fear from the 19th century on has been that Catholic politicians might take their marching orders from Rome and institute theocracy. Calls for withholding communion feed that fear and increase anti-Catholic bigotry (which is already plenty present, the Insurgent being Exhibit A). It strikes me that Donohoe's action is more of the same, and an attempt to bully legislators who are not even Catholic or necessarily even Christian. This can't help but have bad fallout.

Such a review!

I don't do fiction much, but after this review I might have to be the last person on the planet to read The Da Vinci Code:

From beginning to end Brown's book is pagan, even satanic, propaganda. Don't believe me? Then read the following partial list of references which Brown admits time and again in the book are ostensibly pagan in origin:

Hi�ros gamos (a Greek term which he calls "sacred marriage"); Satanic pentagrams (which he sanitizes as "pentacles"); pyramids (one consisting of 666 glass panels); keystones; obelisks; astrology; fertility cults and rituals; goddess cults, goddess art and worship; Wicca; nature worship and Mother Earth; yin yang; witches and crones; "the sacred feminine;" Masonic ciphers, secret codes and puzzles; esoteric knowledge and hidden symbolism; secret societies, lodges and cults; alchemy; Egyptian gods and goddesses; Tarot cards; crystals; magic; anagrams; a pagan astrological device known as gnomon; The Rose Line, Rosslyn and the Rosslyn Chapel; a 33-foot Egyptian obelisk in a church; the secret Masonic brotherhood; fertility rituals performed by people on the spring equinox wearing masks and holding orbs; ritual nudity and chanting; gargoyles; hermaphrodites; Native American "wisdom;" pagan May Day; Friday the 13th; sun worship ...

I'm only half way through this list!

Rosicrucianism; nature-worshipping festivals; pagan priestesses and their instruments: wands, ankhs, rattles and pagan statues; the Obelisk of Ramses; the number 13; phallic symbols; Gnosticism and the Gnostic gospels; the Wiccan five stations of female life; pagan myths and stories; the Astrological Age of Pisces; the New Age of Aquarius; the Luciferian motto: do as you please; Egyptian priests and priestesses; meditation gurus; Nirvana; the fertility god Baphomet; the goddess Sophia/Wisdom; papyrus scrolls with secret messages; the pantheon of gods; Stonehenge; circular churches for pagan fertility rituals; Knights Templar; freemasons; constellations, signs of the zodiac, comets, stars and planets; the Goddess of Astronomy; sarcophaguses and tombs; Eve and the Apple in the Garden; a Mithraic temple with a powerful magnetic field; cornucopias; Masonic seals; stargazing priests and pillars of the Temple of Solomon which are in all Masonic temples.

Pyramids, rituals, dancing and chanting,
Hot temple prostitutes moaning and panting
Women with fish tails and horses with wings,
these are a few of my favorite things.

Masons and gurus and deep meditations,
Samhain and Beltane and such celebrations,
Scrying to see what the coming year brings-
these are a few of my favorite things.

When Fred Phelps comes
When Ted Baehr whines
when I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
and then I don't feel so bad.

1st Amendment void in San Francisco

Apparently the SF supervisors don't have enough to do:

San Francisco supervisors passed the resolution on March 21 after the Vatican's Cardinal-elect William Levada -- the former San Francisco archbishop -- said Catholic agencies "should not place children for adoption in homosexual households."

The resolution reads, "It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great city's existing and established customs and traditions, such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need."

The resolution called Vatican directives against homosexual adoptions "hateful and discriminatory rhetoric [that] is both insulting and callous, and shows a level of insensitivity and ignorance which has seldom been encountered by this Board of Supervisors."

The Thomas More Law Center has sued on 1st Amendment grounds. That's their job, and good on 'em. I haven't found the whole text of the resolution yet, but from what's here, I'd say they've crossed the line.

But who hasn't shown up at the party yet?

Let's turn this around. Let's say that the village council of some Southern town passed a resolution praising the Southern Baptist Convention for all the good they do. Does anybody doubt that the ACLU would be on it like white on rice?

If I were a Catholic San Franciscan (and frankly I will never be ANY kind of San Franciscan, because the place is just NUTS), and the BoS claimed that I was insulted because my church taught what my church teaches, I'd be, well, insulted. And note that Levada only said that CATHOLIC agencies shouldn't put up children for same-sex adoption; he wasn't saying squat about what anyone else should do. Evidently (and this really is the meat of the matter) Catholics are not supposed to practice their faith in SF.

Note that my problem with this has nothing to do with agreement or disagreement with any position on same-sex adoptions. The BoS was out of line, period.

Tip 'o hat to WorldNetDaily.

The Bride of Christ appears on The Bachelor

Spero News:

God or the Girl captures the tension, terror, and triumph of Joe, Mike, Steve, and Dan, four 20-something men at the most important crossroads of their lives, as, over the course of this series, they decide whether or not to enroll in the seminary and become Roman Catholic priests, or to find the love of a woman and settle down with a family. This is the ultimate struggle between the choice of two goods.

Coming on A & E April 16...a detailed preview is here.

Who is in charge of the spiritual life of these men? Who thought it would be a good idea to let a whole country muck around in the most serious decision they can possibly make? I suppose that if alleged clergy of the allegedly-secret religion of Wicca can make utter fools of themselves on Wife Swap, the Catholic Church (which historically owes so much to paganism) might as well follow.

If somebody proves to me that vocations increased as a result of this show, I will publicly on this blog Eat Crow. But I can't believe that this is a good idea.

Tip o'hat to WorldNetDaily.

Sancta Theresa Schiavo, ora pro nobis

On the anniversary of That Unpleasantness in Florida, let me make a prediction:

Terri Schiavo will eventually be made a saint.

I am not arguing that she is deserving of sainthood; it's hard to argue that she lived a life of holiness when basically all she could do was lie there and take what the world gave her. On the other hand, when the most serious sin she gave evidence of is coveting Jello, it's hard to argue that she WASN'T holy. And there was definitely suffering and martyrdom.

If, as I suspect, she served as enough of a catalyst in the euthanasia debate, somebody will ask for her intercession, and a miracle will happen. I expect this by 2050.

Wildmon:"Fox said the s-word"

And what was the s-word? "Was it...Satan?" Nah, couldn't have been, as the AFA said it ended with T. Those evil broadcasters should have known better and time-delayed their intervierw with NASCAR driver Truex so they could beep it out. "...children, were offended by the crude profanity"

Well, I make it at least once a day. I shovel it on a regular basis. And I can well imagine how a car that was literally made of it would handle, so it was an appropriate metaphor.

The AFA is worrying about freakin' (no, wait, fuckin') vulgarisms for dung, manure,feces, poopoo, caca, #2, on NASCAR, some of the cleanest programming out there, while practically every prime-time sitcom is crammed with sexual innuendo and low-class situations.

Maybe some day the Rev. Wildmon will meet Jesus. And Jesus will say, "Every time you opened your mouth, people laughed at my people. And I got really tired of that shit."

Church of Scientology kisses up in DC

"We're just another religion now, and deserve the same rights." I guess if we're going to respect religions that issue fatwas against authors, we have to respect religions that issue fatwas against Suppressive Persons. If the FTC hadn't sent their shock troops after Dianetics, we'd have just another pop psych quack group instead of folks claiming constitutional protection, which, I hate to admit, they are as deserving of as anyone else. In the case of Germany's problem with the Co$, it's well to remember that these are the people who think that the thing to do with a real religion is to throw money at it, and their experience has been that the Co$ was a criminal conspiracy rather than a religion, because at the time, they acted that way. Now that they're free of L. Ron's personality disorders, there's at least the possibility of reform, though as long as somebody is making big money, the possibility of abuse will still be there (see allegations that Isaac Hayes didn't really resign from South Park, but that he "was resigned" by his Scientology handler.)

As for lobbying for longer copyright to ElRon's pulp fiction, Nicholas Wise needs to go skiing with the ghost of Sonny Bono.

CPT forgets to thank somebody

I saw Tube on these guys last night, where they were constantly being referred to as "Christians" (as if most of our soldiers were something else?). Now, it's not for me to say who is a Christian and who isn't, though I suspect most of these folks came from the usual bunch of apostate denominations. But I will note that Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." And there's one fruit conspicuously missing: gratitude. In their initial public statement, there was not one word about the soldiers who risked their lives to save Sooden, Loney and Kember. It evidently "just sorta happened"

Well, Billy Beck, Ed Rasimus, and whole other bunches of the blogosphere pointed out that they were a bunch of ingrates. So suddenly, there was an addition to their statement (3/23 9PM EST):

We have been so overwhelmed and overjoyed to have Jim, Harmeet and Norman freed, that we have not adequately thanked the people involved with freeing them, nor remembered those still in captivity. So we offer these paragraphs as the first of several addenda:

We are grateful to the soldiers who risked their lives to free Jim, Norman and Harmeet. As peacemakers who hold firm to our commitment to nonviolence, we are also deeply grateful that they fired no shots to free our colleagues. We are thankful to all the people who gave of themselves sacrificially to free Jim, Norman, Harmeet and Tom over the last four months, and those supporters who prayed and wept for our brothers in captivity, for their loved ones and for us, their co-workers.

We will continue to lift Jill Carroll up in our prayers for her safe return. In addition, we will continue to advocate for the human rights of Iraqi detainees and assert their right to due process in a just legal system.

Now, do you notice the absence of Somebody in this list of thankees, a notable absence given the professed faith of the CPT? I guess that since the troops of The Great Satan were involved, it was beyond their theology to think that God might somehow have had responsibility.

Chocolate Jesus

St. Paul City Hall won't be celebrating the chocolate bunny that melted to save us from our sins, but who was miraculously reborn from a hard-boiled egg (as are all rabbits). Why? Because that's too Christian.

Whatever.

Cuniculus Dei, miserere nobis.

What next, corned beef and Host?

Oh no! St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday in Lent! What to do, what to do...Indults to the rescue!

The list of parishes is here (but I can't get it right now...Rocco has gotten famous since this story hit the AP). 71 (at least) of 197, including Cleveland.

As a non-Catholic, I really don't have a dog in this hunt. But I feel it's essential for the future of Western Civilization for the Church to be the Church. And they've wimped out on so much during my lifetime. You mean to tell me that corned beef was so much a part of the Irish diet (yeah, right, when they could barely afford potatoes) that you'll lose your ethnic identity if you eat it on Saturday instead? What Would Patrick Do? And is all that green beer conducive to a day of fasting and penance anyway? (Well, maybe if they drink it THURSDAY night!)

Eventually the Holy Convenient Catholic Church is going to institute Drive-Through Mass. They'll take over an old McDonalds, take confessions and contributions at the first window, you'll drive up to the 2nd and receive your Eucharist in styrofoam. We don't need no steenking music, and you can pray by yourselves. Stick some statues of saints out front instead of the Golden Arches.