Culture War: December 2004 Archives

The Canadian Art of Test Tube Sodomy


Believe it or not, this fellow won an award for "art" from our Governor General after sticking a vial of his own blood....well, read the entry at Canadian Republic. As the Governor General is the Queen's highest representative in Canada, this is just another reason why we so badly need a republic north of the border. (Thanks to Kathy Shaidle for the tip off.)

Father Andrew Greeley never presents his credentials for commenting on the Iraq War, so I presume he has no special credibility in the matter. As he is not a bishop, we are obliged to listen respectfully, but his words do not spring from any charism of infallibility. His field of expertise is sociology, which might help him understand why societies make war, but is a rather inexact guide to practical statecraft.

Father Greeley's writing is not always devoid of charm or thoughtfulness, but it is here. You could spend days unpacking the ignorance:

One must support the troops, I am told. I certainly support the troops the best way possible: Bring them home, get them out of a war for which the planning was inadequate, the training nonexistent, the goal obscure, and the equipment and especially the armor for their vehicles inferior.
You could answer each of those clauses with facts — that months of planning went into the invasion and postwar phases (we received endless briefings on those subjects before the war); that when you hear we have the "best-trained" military in history, it's not hyperbole, it's demonstrably true; and as I wrote here, armor plating isn't like a force field on the starship Enterprise.

But once Father has worked himself up into a lather, there's no stopping him. He accuses American officials of being "criminals" but doesn't get around to specifying the crimes, though to a left-wing audience I'm sure those crimes need no enumeration, they merely need to be asserted. You could try pointing out that "reasonable chance of victory" wasn't part of just war theory at the beginning, and that the theory is just that — an ideathat describes the right use of force, but is not de fide or beyond modification. But it's best to just let Father vent his spleen, and hope he takes a nap.

Now, Father might be right about the Iraq War and I may be wrong. It may well be unjust and immoral, although to the depth of my very soul I do not think Jesus looks unkindly on the liberation of the oppressed. But his (Greeley's, not Jesus') public life consists in authoring books with smutty elements, and running interference for pro-abortion liberal Democrats.

Occasionally, Father Greeley takes a stand for something the culture opposes, such as clerical celebacy. On balance, however, a fair observer could conclude that he has harmed the Body of Christ with his writings. Perhaps someone who knows him ought to say: "My friend, my fellow brother in Christ, you are a fool, and have no idea what you are talking about." Someone like Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz:

No Catholics of any sense will take any pastoral advice from Father Andrew Greeley, a superficial writer who appears to spend his time promoting himself to various elements in the secular media....

In his self-important buffoonery, he has appointed himself as instructor to Bishops and to Catholics nationwide. In [writing an article defending pro-abortion Catholic politicians], he merely announces to every thoughtful Catholic that his views are totally self-serving and undeserving of any serious consideration....

My advice to any Catholics who would ask me about that Greeley article would be to give it the same view as you would the words and acts of a clown.

What this country needs is a grass-roots movement to take the "X" out of "Xmas."

Xmas With All of the Exes

"He said, 'Honey, will you please pass the potatoes?' -- and two women reached for the potatoes," recounted Blackstone-Ford, who recently co-wrote a book -- with her husband's ex-wife -- about her extended family experiences, "Ex-Etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After a Divorce or Separation."

I know people think Kathy Shaidle and I ought to be a little more patriotic--or at least cheerful--this time of year, but Canada really is like living in a Michael Moore dictatorship. Here's several reasons why I hope Santa brings me a Green Card this year:

1) In Canada you can get a longer jail sentence for torturing a dog than for raping a child.

2) President Bush puts Middle Eastern dictators out of business, whereas our Prime Minister hob-nobs and conducts photo-shoots with them.

3) Although SCOTUS is far from perfect, it has better things to do than rule over whether or not "The Lone Ranger" is racist.

4) The Sharia carries no legal weight under the US Constitution.

5) Illegal Mexican immigrants is much more tolerable than in Canada's policy of fastracking and special visa exemptions for strippers and prostitutes, as well as allowing Arabs to bribe citizenship judges.

Good grief, the corruption here is so bad up here that we would need to clean up our act before hiring Kofi Anan.

The New York Times continues its slanted coverage of detainees in the War on Terror. Reporting on such things isn't a bad idea: the subject is legitimate, and if a government official did something wrong, he should be punished for it, whether he is a PFC or a major general.

That being said, this article is shoddy and dishonest even by NYT standards. The article conflates prisoner abuse in Iraq with detainee treatment in Guantanamo. I'll save you the trouble of skimming the thing several times like I did. First, there is no doubt that enemy prisoners have been abused in Iraq. (Incidently, the word "enemy" doesn't show up in the entire article.) Second, there is no doubt that the Guantanamo detainees are made uncomfortable before they are interrogated, as a way to break their wills.

But pooping on yourself or being exposed to cold temperatures isn't like having a lit cigarette stuck in your ear. The former actions are uncomfortable and possibly humiliating, but the latter is potentially debilitating. Misleading the illegal combatants in Cuba (who are not, not, not prisoners of war!) by telling them you are an FBI agent isn't even a crime; I question whether it's a sin, unless you think al Qaeda members have a "right to know" who is questioning them.

The article says, "The documents are the most recent in a series of disclosures that have increasingly contradicted the military's statements that harsh treatment of prisoners happened only in limited, isolated cases." Not really — the Pentagon they're investigating the abuse claims. These new documents don't say much about the frequency or degree of abuse.

As I've said numerous times, the legal, just, and prudent thing to with unlawful combatants is to interrogate them, then execute them swiftly as an example to others. Bearing arms against a legitimate authority without wearing a uniform, not answering to a chain of command, and committing atrocities against civilians are each enough to place one outside Geneva protections. Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan and the insurgents in Iraq should have been punished for making private wars (a duellum, in classic Just War terminology) against legitimate authority.

I don't say that because I have lost my love for human life. Quite the opposite: I love life so much that I want to see it defended with the maximum amount of vigor. Nothing but death will deter those who have descended below the level of beasts, and even then the threat of death may not be enough to stop them.

Question: do liberals have to bow several times a day in the direction of New York Times headquarters? Is that a requirement, or just a practice they encourage?

Also: why does the NYT pedantically put periods in "F.B.I." and "D.O.D.," even when quoting written documents that almost certainly didn't have periods within the acronyms?

And finally: The New York Times offers a summation of its case against the Iraq War, including "the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the death of civilians in American attacks, the arrest of Sunni clerics, the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the illegality of the U.S. invasion."

Whoops, sorry: that was a Iraqi Sunni preacher encouraging the terrorist thugs and murderers who bomb Muslim schoolkids and assassinate election workers. My bad — it's hard to tell the difference.

A favorite past-times of Canadian lieberals is to find areas where Canadians supposedly exceded Americans. While I am not a liberal, I'm not sure America can produce an eco-feminist as stupid as those representing Canada at the United Nations. Not even Michael Moore has concocted anything this inane:

"Severe weather caused by global warming can pose greater physical danger to women than men," a Canadian attending a UN conference on climate change said Friday. "'For instance, often women donít know how to swim, so in a flood situation that can lead to a higher instance of death or injury,' Angie Daze, a program manager with a Canadian group called Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change, said.

(Thanks to Kathy Shaidle the Shotgun) This is what I face everyday in Canada. You can understand why I cannot wait to finish the residency for my doctorate and get back to the United States.

I've been wondering when they'd make a movie about anything related to the War on Terror, and shockingly enough, Hollywood is on the verge of starting one. Even more shockingly, the story will be written by a former Marine who observed the battle for Fallujah, and the Marines will be the good guys. And it won't star some second-rate has-been, but Harrison Ford. Granted, Ford is about 137 years old now, but still. Read about it in the Guardian here and here.

It is impossible to make a movie about Marines that don't make them look like badasses. Even when the Marine is the bad guy, as in the colonel in "A Few Good Men" and the drill instructor in "Full Metal Jacket," he ends up being strangely compelling. Plus, the spectacle of Marines administering some rough justice to murderous thugs should be interesting to a lot of people. I mean, the insurgents actually do wear black, kill humanitarian aid workers, and beat women for not dressing properly. You can't make up bad guys like that.

Meanwhile, in other film news, Oliver Stone proved that anti-anti-terrorism is the new anti-anti-Communism. He has apologized for the 1979 movie "Midnight Express," which portrayed Turkish prisons as unpleasant places, and Turkish justice as, shall we say, unenlightened by liberal standards. By this schedule, that means in just seven years, Stone will apologize to the U.S. Army for "Platoon," and in 25 years he will apologize to Greeks for "Alexander." I would like a personal apology for the time I accidently watched 10 minutes of "Natural Born Killers" while flipping through channels in a hotel room.

Last entry of the night! Yes, I spent the evening browsing the Web instead of finishing my thesis project! No, this isn't the first time that's happened!

Growing up, my family lived in a modest townhouse, and often I found myself arguing with liberal kids whose parents' fancy German cars were worth more than my home. Most of them had all the money they wanted for designer clothes. Meanwhile, in order to pay for my share of the family car insurance, I was earning two bucks an hour after taxes to sling popcorn and clean out theaters at the local movie house.

As a Republican, I didn't care they they had it materially better than we did (and I still don't). However, it did gall me to be lectured about "the poor" by another teenager who never lifted a finger in her life. That reminded me of this post by Sarah of Trying to Grok:

When I sat down at our office Christmas lunch, I immediately remembered that I don't like any of the people I work with.
How could any paragraph possibly live up to that intro?
...The table conversation would've been funny, I suppose, if it didn't make me want to throw up. One woman was complaining about health care in the US and about how much better it is in Germany. She said that German doctors weren't motivated by money like American doctors and that they earn the same salary as schoolteachers. "Then what's the incentive to become a doctor?" I asked. She got all flustered and condescending. "But that's thinking like an American! You can't think like that!" "But I am an American," I responded. "I'm an American to the bone." "But life isn't about money!" she whined. So here's where the fun began. "OK," I said, "then since we all work equally hard in our education center to help soldiers, why don't we pool our money and all get paid the same salary?" "Oh, but that's different because we work under the American system..." she trailed off. Different, really, how? Oh, because she makes $61,000 a year and I make $12,000. It's her pocketbook now, so it's different. "Germans aren't motivated by greed like everyone is in the US," she continued. Her mental gynastics were simply stunning: this is the woman who gets an outrageous housing allowance from the American government, illegally rents part of her house out, and uses the profit to buy up property in Germany and re-sell it. I suppose she does all of that out of the goodness of her heart and not for profit or anything.
Sarah, you and your soldier husband are welcome in the Johnson home anytime.

Islam or the homosexual lobby?

Stop dumping on the clergy

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My older two kids and I were leaving our church today, on our way to the back parking lot to meet my wife, who was the cantor at the next Mass. Charlie and Anna scampered ahead of me to our pastor, as they always do, and started pulling on his vestments (as I've told them not to do). Father is a very patient man, with the young and the old. When my kids' enthusiasm has gotten the better of their manners, he is laughingly indulgent, and when adults argue against Church teachings, he is earnest but firm.

Both of those scenarios were happening simultaneously as I walked up to him. As my children begged for his attention, a chubby guy in jeans was haranguing Father, asking where in the Bible it said that homosexuality was a sin. Father seemed surprised that anyone would even question what Scripture has to say about the subject, pointing out that homosexual behavior is condemned several times in the Old and New Testaments.

"No, that was like in a war crime, you weren't supposed to do that during a war," the chubby heterodox guy said. His female companion started looking more embarrassed.

"Well, the Bible also says you're not supposed to engage in that behavior outside of war, too," Father replied.

I have to admit that was a new one for me. I've heard the canard that the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were "violating hospitality" by threatening to gang-rape the angels and men who were visiting them. That seems like a rather mild way of putting it.

The Bible doesn't explicitly condemn genocide, conducting dangerous medical experiments on people without their consent, or poking somebody in the eye with a sharp stick. Yet those are all sins. Homosexual conduct is condemned much more explicitly than any of those things (do I really need to list the passages?) Consensual sodomy is less sinful than male-on-male rape, I'm sure, yet just because a thing is less bad does not therefore make it good.

Even more than this specific issue — and there are few issues that bore me more than homosexuality — I am impressed with the gall the chubby guy had. The only time I've ever challenged a priest after Mass was when he said something that was explicitly unorthodox, and I think that's only happened twice, neither time at my parish. Visiting priests have occasionally said things that made me uncomfortable, but if I gave them the charity to which they are entitled, I could not say they were speaking against the faith.

If you have a problem or a question about something a priest said, you ought to take it up with him privately, either in person or in a letter. When you challenge him on a point of Christian teaching, you ought to make sure that you are supported by the ancient teaching of the Church, not by the secular anything-goes materialism that appeared on the world-historical scene the day before yesterday.

Let me widen my net, to complete my point: if you are an orthodox Catholic, believing all that Holy Mother Church teaches, and you have a cynical, bitter attitude toward the men who serve the Body of Christ as priests and bishops, you are little better than the heterodox. If you say you believe that the bishops are the successors of the Apostles, yet you condemn them en masse as unworthy of their offices, are you not insulting the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church? Can you not see that by acknowledging apostolic succession with one side of your mouth, and insulting the successors of the apostles out of the other, you give scandal to non-Catholics and gladden the hearts of the Church's enemies?

Have you never looked into your own souls, to see what darkness lies there? Have you no fear of judgment?

Hatred of priests is hatred of Christ. Hatred of Christ's commandments is hatred of Christ. Either one will kill your soul.

Unconvincing science

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CWN had a link to this BBC piece with some interesting data bits. For a few seconds some reality was peeking out:

"The survey found that 42% of the gay men, 43% of lesbians and 49% of bisexual men and women had a clinically recognised mental health problem."

Which makes sense: one mental health problem may well be correlated with the presence of others.

However, the story and the researchers seem to cover this with spin and speculation, pretending that this level of mental illness is caused by "anti-gay prejudice". Considering how much mental illness is biological in nature, it seems awfully strained to claim that. Here's the sort of evidence the story presents:

"Eighty-three per cent of respondents said they had experienced either damage to property, personal attacks or verbal insults in the last five years, or insults and bullying at school, with many attributing these experiences to their sexuality."

I'm surprised: only 83%?

Did you notice how broad that list of offenses is? I'd expect virtually everybody, normal or not, gets a verbal insult at least once in a five-year period. But only 83% of gays do: what makes them so lucky?

Really. Anybody (other than a hermit) who hasn't been called names in the past five years just isn't trying hard enough. Even I got called a bleepin' bleepbleep by a dear friend a couple of weeks ago.

So I'm willing to read the study if it's published somewhere, but call me skeptical.

Here's a pic someone posted to ...

The sign being carried by the young ladies states, "Yo Hippy, shouldn't you be working?"

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

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This page is an archive of entries in the Culture War category from December 2004.

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