Contra Mozilla

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Quote of the Day: No Halos without Sacrifice

It's a fitting thought for Holy Week: there can be no halos without sacrifice. Of course, it's Christ's sacrifice which wins us salvation, His suffering which wins us final freedom from sin. But then, He did tell us that we, too, must suffer--no servant is greater than his master--so we, too, must take up our crosses daily to follow Him.

The early apostles made the mistake of wanting glory without sacrifice. The coming of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost helped them overcome this vainglory.

Now the current generation repeats these errors, albeit often without reference to Christ:
Cruelly, the Lord of Social Justice wouldn’t grant us a cause, at least not an easy one. Sure, we could march against Roe v. Wade and defend the unborn. But opposing abortion would have required us to adopt sex lives consistent with that position. No more hookup culture, no more consequence-free sex, no more placing our own desires over the needs of children. Opposing Planned Parenthood would never be our cause. It would have cost us too much fun.

Likewise, fighting poverty couldn’t possibly be our Selma. The annoying thing about defending the poor is that the poor need money, and we had student loans to pay. And sex trafficking wasn’t any more attractive. To be holy, you need a cause no one else supports, least of all those wretched white Southern fundamentalists. While forcing women into prostitution is certainly bad, what’s the point of speaking against it if Jerry Falwell agrees with you?

...Once upon a time in social studies class, my generation learned that moral righteousness was found in opposing an injustice that nobody else opposed. And when we found that injustice, nobody was going to take away our long-desired holiness. So as we march on, don’t expect things to change. We will continue misleading, lying, and slandering. We will continue calling people bigots and klansmen, not because we’re actually debating them, but because those are the words of the spiritual songs we sing as we press toward glory and polish our LGBT halos.
Likewise, we will continue linking the civil-rights movement with the push for gay acceptance without pausing for a second to consider the comparison. We will continue diminishing the bravery of Rosa Parks by claiming a seat beside her as our reward for the one time we boycotted Chick-Fil-A for a month. We will trivialize the death of Medgar Evers by praising his blood for freeing gay couples to financially ruin a florist who hurt their feelings instead of walking one more block to find another purveyor of petunias who was happy to take their money.

In the Kingdom of Heaven, countless children of God will embrace the older saints who gave them lives of far greater dignity on earth by following Christ’s example and enduring insults, beatings, imprisonments, and even death for them. We know this and yet we will insist that we’re owed an equal measure of honor because we tweeted our support for every gay kiss on “Glee.”
I should add that one thing which the social justice warriors have managed to do is to ruin the very term "social justice." Where social justice once might have meant some combination of mercy with justice for the poor and downtrodden, it has now become just one more means of subverting actual justice. Mercy without justice is false mercy, and it thoroughly useless. Mercy requires that there be a debt to forgive, or a shortfall to make up, or a demand of justice which is too great; without these things, mercy is meaningless moral posturing.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Protecting Religious Freedom

I've read a few articles of late about Indiana's recent passage of a Religious Freedom Protection Act. It seems to me that the informed opinion is that this act--like laws in 19 other states which have been passed since the early 1990's--basically just weighs religious liberties against compelling interests of the state. My comment here is that it is not a good thing that we need such an act, a point which I have noted before. Nevertheless, the state has made it quite clear that it will overreach wherever possible, including by attempting to stamp out religious liberties.

The most visible way in which it does this is by trying to invoke so-called "gay rights" (hence all of the hysteria of how this law which never mentions GBLT-etc folks is somehow "anti-gay). Invoking so-called "women's rights" arguably a close second. Forcing Christians to participate in so-called "gay marriage ceremonies" as photographers, bakers, floral-arrangers, and perhaps even as ministers is the all-too-common example of the former; the Obama administration's rather tyrannical HHS contraceptive-abortifacent-sterilization mandate is an example of the latter.

In all, this law is meant to be a sort of shield for religious liberties, though I suspect that it may be a rather nebulous one. Case in point, I have yet to hear of any Christian who is sued for exercising his conscience cite any of the various RFRA-analogs. This isn't the Arizona version of the bill, after all.

On the other hand, it seems that these bills provide a flimsy shield at best, since it will largely end up being the state which gets to decide when the state has compelling interests. Not to mention, that is repeat, but the fact that we have sunk so far as to need a law like this is also a rather ill omen.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Sexism! We can't have that, now, can we?
"Sexism" is apparently feminist-speak for "the act of being a man (human male) in the presence of a woman (human female)." Also, the active avoidance of women so as to not be a sexist. We can't have that, either.

It's also apparently defined as "reporting on Hilary Clinton's campaign in a negative light." Similar words: racism, which is discussing President Barack Obama's administration in a less-than-positive light.

And in related news, questioning the veracity of rape allegations is sexist. It's double-sexist if the questioning concerns whether a particular sexual encounter which might be called "date rape" actually involved a rape, and it's double-plus as sexist if the allegation occurred near a college.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Career Options

It's comforting to know that if your your job isn't working out, becoming a Viking is an option. That's like being a pirate, only legal, right?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Media Sure Does a Good Job...

...of using facts to obscure the truth. Headline: "Woman outside Planned Parenthood says flaming object was thrown at her." The headline reports some facts, while obscuring what was actually happening. The headline, as read by the casual observer, the low-information viewer (a substantial number of people reading the headline) will be interpreted to mean that some anti-abortion protester has thrown a flaming object (incendiary device? it was a Molotov cocktail) at a random woman who was approaching Planned Parenthood to use its "services."

But that's not actually what happened. Instead, it was a hit-and-run incident in which somebody threw this Molotov Cocktail at a group of peaceful protesters, a group who was praying in front of the Planned Parenthood, praying for an end to that evil organization. This group was with Central Texas Coalition for Life--I know a few people who are involved with that organization--and was almost certainly marked as such. So, in actuality, this was an example of pro-abortion violence against a peaceful pro-life protests--such things are actually quite common and at times even deadly--and not of anti-abortion violence against a pro-abortion victim (such occurrences are rare but typically receive saturation coverage).

There is a saying that God can write straight with crooked lines. Our media seems to strive to do the opposite feat, which is writing crookedly with straight lines.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Today's Contrived Dudgeon

Two years ago, St. Mary's Cathedral in Sodom-by-the-Sea installed a sprinkler system to keep its doorways clean and clear of such things as refuse, feces, and needles which were being regularly left in and near the doorways of the Cathedral by the local homeless population. In doing so, they were following the lead of many others in the city's financial district. So why is this of interest today?

Because most people a) don't know this about Sodom-by-the-Sea, b) don't read much more than the headline and first paragraph or two of most news articles, and (most importantly) c) because there is a bit of a publicity battle being waged against his Excellency the Lion-hearted archbishop. This publicity battle is being waged (ostensibly) because the good archbishop said some truthful things about homosexual acts, and is asking those who are employed in positions of authority in his see to refrain from publicly promoting such things as as sodomy (and adultery, fornication, masturbation, pornography, and a host of other sexual sins, etc).

Therefore, anything which can be found to hurt his excellency's image, must be found, dug up, and trotted out on parade before the public. This must be done, even if a retraction must later be reprinted--because who ever notices (let alone reads) those, anyway? And why give the diocese benefit of the doubt in this policy--why hesitate to consider that there just may be some innocuous explanation--in short, why do the work of actually reporting, when the existence of the thing can be used to attack Archbishop Cordileone, or to paint him in an unfavorable light? For that matter, why bother to find out whether the archbishop had anything at all to do with this decision, when you can just assume that he did?

Meanwhile, the archdiocese gives some pretty valid reasons for the sprinklers' installation--and now will be removing it, thanks to the "optics":
This sprinkler system in alcoves near our back doorways was installed approximately two years ago, after learning from city resources that this kind of system was being commonly used in the Financial District, as a safety, security and cleanliness measure to avoid the situation where needles, feces and other dangerous items were regularly being left in these hidden doorways. The problem was particularly dangerous because students and elderly people regularly pass these locations on their way to school and mass every day. When the system was installed,after other ideas were tried and failed, the people who were regularly sleeping in those doorways were informed in advance that the sprinklers were being installed. The idea was not to remove those persons, but to encourage them to relocate to other areas of the Cathedral, which are protected and safer. The purpose was to make the Cathedral grounds as well as the homeless people who happen to be on those grounds safer. We are sorry that our intentions have been misunderstood and recognize that the method used was ill-conceived. It actually has had the opposite effect from what it was intended to do, and for this we are very sorry. We have also now learned that the system in the first place required a permit and may violate San Francisco water-use laws, and the work to remove this system has already started, and will be completed by the end of the day.

My thought is that if anyone is injured or endangered by stepping on (say) a discarded needle or made ill from contact with human feces as a result of the removal of this system, that is on the hands of these media piranhas.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Few Good Links (vol. 18): Responses to that Misguided NYT Article by Gary Gutting

It's tempting to say that it all started when the aptly-named Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone insisted that Catholic School employees not publicly contradict Catholic doctrines (including, of course, moral doctrines, and of course this means sexual moral doctrines too). But Of course, the problem goes deeper, and his Excellency is only doing his job as pastor of the Church of San Francisco, centered in Sodom-by-the-Sea. The latest incident is, of course, a very misguided article in the New York Times, but I repeat myself. Here are some responses:

  1. Since the article itself specifically calls out Profs. Robert P. George and John Finnis, I think it only fitting to give the first link to their response. It is a general (and deserved) shellacking of Gutting's poorly-reasoned piece.
  2. It turns out that some of the school employees actually support the good archbishop. This is not surprising--nor should be the climate of fear created by the schoolyard bullies who oppose him, a climate which largely silences these voices of support.
  3. William Briggs also has a response to these attempts at gutting Catholic moral teaching.
  4. In other, but related, news, the gay Italian fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana have spoken out against "gay marriage" and gay parenting (via artificial insemination, rent-a-womb schemes, etc.). Dolce is a practicing Catholic, so he will be roundly ignored.
  5. The largest evangelical church in Sodom-by-the-Sea has decided that it will now condone (and perhaps even bless?) homosexual acts (sodomy) provided that they are done in the context of "gay marriage." I guess that's a double coming-out.
  6. Speaking of evangelicals, Rob Bell, last heard from for denying the reality of Hell, is now trying to affirm the reality of "gay marriages." He's not just affirming their reality as a cultural phenomenon, of course, but also their morality. In other words, this is not just a matter of saying "it's here, so we'll have to learn how to tolerate it" (as if any sin should be tolerated), but rather, "it's coming, so we should embrace it."
  7. Daniel McInerny also has written a good response to Gutting's propaganda.
  8. Professor J. Budziszewski will be writing a 7-part response to Gutting. The first part is now on his blog.

Please pray for Archbishop Cordileone, for the Church as a whole, and for what's left of our civilization: that he will have fortitude, that she will remain steadfast in truth, and that it will cease its pursuit of the great liberal death wish before it is too late.

Monday, March 16, 2015

On the Importance of Evangelization

Rebecca Hamilton has a nice post about the importance of evangelizing:
The memorial service was a crowded event, the building filled to overflowing. I walked out, gripping my husband’s hand, hoping that in those last extremities my old friend had finally turned to God. Did he go to hell?

I said it aloud when we got back to the car. Was he dead, really, eternally dead and gone to hell? My passionate, crazy friend — had he doomed himself to eternal death?

My husband was silent for a moment. Then, he reached out and squeezed my hand.
Probably, he said.

I changed again after that. My friend’s death shook me out of my somnambulance. I realized that being quiet about Jesus was the cruelest thing I could do to the people around me.
There is much to like in the Hon. Mrs. Hamilton's post. She hits on a few points which I have made in the past, in particular concerning evangelizing as opposed to merely proselytizing, and of putting party loyalty over one's Faith. This latter becomes especially damning when neither major party (and few if any minor ones) party is particularly friendly to genuine Christianity, though one is more openly hostile towards it (and the other possibly more cynical about it).

On the other hand, there is more than one way in which we can evangelize. To literally tells people about Jesus (of better, to do our best to show them in our lives) is of course important, even necessary. It is not, however, sufficient. The simple outreach which attempts to introduce people to Jesus is important, but then again so can be catechesis.

The goal is not merely to get people to proclaim Jesus as Lord, but to go the step further of getting them into right relationships with God, man, and self. Just helping a person to become "Christian" is good, helping them to "find Jesus" is good. But helping them to understand and then embraces the fullness of His teachings is also important, and can help to avoid what I might call the "accidental scandal."

Scandal is that which causes another to stumble, be it stumbling into sin, or stumbling out of the Church. Accidental scandal, for lack of a better phrase, is that which we cause by our own ignorance which then causes another to fall into sin; and falling into sin, to perhaps then embrace the sin, then deny the Faith, and finally to deny Christ. I think we manage that well enough without neglecting catechesis, through probably well-meaning but almost certainly misguided attempts at "pastoral care."

The road seems innocuous enough. First a "lesser evil" is tolerated, then encouraged, and then even embraced as a means of avoiding what was as best as could be discerned the greater evil. But then this "lesser evil" takes seed, festers, and grows; it is not uprooted, and so it takes hold, and while we seem to master teh greater evil we fall to the lesser one, which then leads to some other evil. As Chesterton warned, that road leads down and down.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Prints of Moloch

I've heard tell that there is no evidence for God in the world, a claim which I do not concede. Oddly enough, I've noticed time and again that the men who make this sort of claim will further it by denying that there is evidence of devils; indeed, even many theists would deny the doctrine of demons, and belief in such is treated as being somewhere between fundamentalism and superstition. The atheist might scoff and say that it is apparent that men are the real devils, and the New Atheist types would push the brazen claim that it is religions which makes them that way.

I would write that the last is a risible claim, but in truth there are some religions--or at least some sects within some religions--which really do bring out the worst in men. The Mohammedans have Boko Haram and ISIS to prove the point, and there are some bad sects within most of the larger eastern religions as well. In some ways, the miracle is that the Hindu with his dark gods is not worse on a global scale, that the Thug was a relatively small sect and that the American Quetzalcoatl and the Indian Kali were not worshiped in a similar manner, nor Shiva the Destroyer/Benefactor in a like manner to Ba'al. The atheist fundamentalist believes that Christianity as a religion should be treated as guilty by association with other religions as being as awful as they; though no atheist must ever have the associated guilt of the atheist movements of communism throughout the worlds, or of "enlightenment" projects which culminated in such movements as the French Revolution.

Nevertheless, the fingerprints of the demons should be apparent even today. How else could one explain that the Democratic party would hold human trafficking victims as pawns for pushing more abortions? Or that President Obama is loathe to send requested aide to African victims of Boko Haram, again on account of their rightful hatred of abortion and sodomy?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Women in Currency

President Obama suggested not so long ago that we should have more women on U.S. currency. The simple idea of doing this does not particularly bother me--we have already had Sacagawea and Susan B. Anthony on the dollar coins, plus Helen Keller on the quarter (well, the Alabama quarter) and Martha Washington on the $1 paper certificate.

More recently, there has been a small campaign aimed at getting a woman on the $20 bill--again, I don't really mind this idea. Andrew Jackson wasn't a very good president (and honestly, he beat a better one when first elected), and we do have non-presidents on paper currency (hello, Benjamin!). With that said, my bigger worry is that we would get somebody like Hillary Clinton (if she wins the presidency in 2016, thus continuing what will have been a pair of 8-year tragedies in the White-house); or for that matter a number of the people listed by the campaign. I'd be fine with Rosa Parks (who is a sort of civil rights hero), or Harriet Tubman (ditto), or Sojourner Truth (ditto again); and it would be interesting to see Elizabeth Ann Seton (though that's never going to happen!) on the twenty.

On the other hand, there are a number of women whom I would be appalled to see honored by our currency which are (unsurprisingly) on the campaign's list: Betty Friedan would be awful, and Margaret Sanger would cause me to stop carrying or accepting 20's.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Martyrdom as Witness

It's well known that Mohammedan terrorists (and yes, they are in fact Islamic terrorists, and followers of Mohammed all) which have been running ISIS have been murdering many. Ditto, and perhaps on a greater scale, for Boko Haram, but they're largely forgotten for now.

The victims include a variety of people--Jews, (alleged) Gays, and (most prominently) "Nazarenes," that is, Christians. One recent group includes a set of 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded. Or, so the narrative has gone. In actual fact, there were 20 Coptic Christians who were beheaded by ISIS, and one man who was not Christian but who converted upon seeing the other 20 refuse to deny Christ even on pain of death.

Truly is martyrdom the seed of the Church, including the various schisms and smaller sects. We're all Christian in the end.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Iconoclastic Performance Art

Sometimes I laugh to avoid crying. From the Pan Arabic Enquirer (a humor site): "The Islamic State wins prestigious Turner Prize for modern art."

The Islamic State has sensationally won the prestigious 2015 Turner Prize for its conceptual art piece ‘Smashing Mosul Museum To Pieces: Death To The Infidels.’ 
“By demolishing priceless 3,000 year old statues with sledge hammers, ISIS is asking: ‘What is art?’, while retextualising normative art as transgressive, daring and counter cultural,” said the chairman of the Turner Prize jury, Sir Nicholas Serota. “I was very moved by their performance.” 
The pulvarised pieces of rock left by the Islamic State were later purchased by modern art collector Charles Saatchi for $5 million for an installation entitled: ‘Lumps Of Rock In A Wheelbarrow, 2015′. 
The Turner Prize, considered the greatest prize in modern art, has previously been won by artists using elephant dung, a dead shark and a garden shed reimagined as art.

A civilization (if IS can be called that, which I do not think it can) which destroys its own cultural heritage cannot long last. And I may add that the saddest thing is not that IS will destroy middle eastern culture, since I could take or leave that. It's not even that, if they are victorious over the decadent west, that they will do the same to our culture (which would be very sad). No, the saddest part is that this commentary works as a comparison of our culture's modern arts to the terrorist group bent on destroying civilization. It's as much a commentary against the West's cultural fixation on suicide (or euthanasia) as anything else. In this case, it's cultural suicide.