Friday, January 31, 2003

Art Linkletter time

The following statements about the Bible were written by children. They have not been retouched or corrected (i.e., incorrect spelling has been left in).

1. In the first book of the bible, Guinessis, God got tired of creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off.

2. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark, which the animals come on to in pears.

3. Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.

4. The Jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with the unsympathetic Genitals.

5. Samson was a strongman who let himself be led stray by a Jezebel like Delilah.

6. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.

7. Moses led the hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread which is bread without any ingredients.

8. The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten ammendments.

9. The first commandment was when Eve told adam to eat the apple.

10. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.

11. Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the hebrews in the battle of Geritol.

12. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.

13. David was a hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Finklesteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times.

14. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.

15. When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.

16. When the three wise guys from the east side arrived, they found Jesus in the manager.

17. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.

18. St. John the blacksmith dumped water on his head.

19. Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do one to others before they do one to you. He also explained, a man doth not live by sweat alone.

20. It was a miracle when Jesus rose from the dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance.

21. The people who followed the lord were called the 12 decibels.

22. The epistles were the wives of the apostles.

23. One of the opossum was St. Matthew who was also a taximan.

24. St. Paul cavorted to Christianity. He preached holy
acrimony, which is another name for marriage.

25. Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony.
From Fr Joseph Wilson

Excellent article not only about the Catholic Church but explaining why religious relativism and indiscriminate inter-Communion is wrong from the apostolic point of view:

Here (for the next two weeks or so, anyway)

Thursday, January 30, 2003

From New Oxford Review: 'Old' words translated into newspeak

a.. the House of God => worship space
b.. St. Mary's Catholic Church => St. Mary's Catholic Community
c.. hymn => song
d.. Holy Sacrifice of the Mass => liturgical festivities
e.. sacred Host => bread
f.. precious Blood => wine
g.. Transubstantiation => [huh?]
h.. priest => presider
i.. Bishop Smith => Bishop Bob*
j.. The Holy Father => the bishop in Rome**
k.. Kingdom of God => Realm of God
l.. Our Father in Heaven => Our Parent in Heaven
m.. "...God and His love" => "...God and God's love"
n.. Son of God => Child of God
o.. Our Lord Jesus Christ => the Christ figure
p.. A.D. (Anno Domini) => C.E. (Common Era)
q.. Our Lady of Guadalupe => Our Woman of Guadalupe
r.. husband and wife => partners
s.. shack-ups => partners
t.. orthodoxy => fundamentalism
u.. dissent, heresy => creative fidelity
v.. sin => alternative lifestyles
w.. Hell => [shhh!]
x.. May God Bless you. => Have a nice day.

Pretty accurate decoding of the lingo of aging liberal church workers, but:

* In Byzantine Rite usage, a universe removed from such church workers, clerics go by title, then first name, but of course bishops don't go by nicknames. If Basil Krajlenko is consecrated to the apostolic ministry of bishop, he is Bishop Basil, not Bishop Krajlenko.
** 'The Pope of Rome', on the other hand, is not pejorative, but a title used for him in Byzantine usage by Catholics and Orthodox alike.

On the same subject...

'Reproductive rights' among terms that require clarification
Marina Jiménez
National Post

Friday, January 17, 2003

The Vatican is planning to publish a dictionary of words it says have been hijacked by feminists, abortion advocates and the UN General Assembly.

The 1,000-page text will give interpretations sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church to such terms as "gender," "reproductive rights" and other words commonly used in discussions of the family, life and ethics.

The publication is necessary, said Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council on the Family, because several terms pertaining to the family are under threat from "cultural manipulation."

He told 30 Giorni, an Italian Catholic magazine, the lexicon will clarify the meaning of words such as "gender," which "literally means the masculine or feminine gender, but in international debate is used to indicate radical ideological feminism."

The term "reproductive rights," he said, is in fact used not to promote the right to reproduction, but the presumed right to abortion.

Professor Paul Perron, a semiotician at the University of Toronto, said the lexicon will define vocabulary from a Christian, family perspective and gives a moral basis from which to judge deviations from this interpretation.

"It will succeed in identifying usage of ambiguous words at a given point in time," he said. "However, what it cannot do is control the evolution of meaning ... as new ideas and new forms of social structures and groups evolve."

Cardinal Trujillo said the family as a unit is under threat in part because same-sex and common-law couples are increasingly being given the same rights as married couples. As a result, some words now mean the opposite of their "literal meaning."

He cited the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as an example. The convention, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, is often described as an international bill of rights for women.

"To say something good and just, women must not be discriminated against. But if we dig a little, we learn that this CEDAW is campaigning to protect women from marriage and the possibility of having children, which, according to feminist ideology, are two forms of slavery."

Suzanne Scorsone, a spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, said she has not seen the new lexicon, but suggested it could be the Vatican's attempt to clarify the meaning of certain vocabulary.

"It would be premature to comment on the document itself," she said. "But for fairness in public debate, it is necessary to be clear about the meaning of certain words. No group should seek to hijack a word as though they are the only ones who have a right to it."

For example, she said, some groups use the term "women's reproductive health" to mean access to abortion, instead of all aspects of medical treatment, including pre- and post-natal care.

Father Ronald Mercier, dean of Regis College at the University of Toronto, also noted that, within specific academic disciplines and in theological discourse, it is important to clarify the meaning of language so everyone has a frame of reference.

Mr. Perron added: "Language is always contextual and words will take on enormously varied meanings. You cannot control language."
This just in from Russian Catholic friend Lee Penn.

Civilization Without Religion?
By Russell Kirk
The Heritage Foundation
Sobering voices tell us nowadays that the civilization in which we participate is not long for this world. Many countries have fallen
under the domination of squalid oligarchs; other lands are reduced to anarchy. "Cultural revolution," rejecting our patrimony of learning and manners, has done nearly as much mischief in the West as in the East, if less violently. Religious belief is attenuated at best, for many or else converted, after being secularized, into an instrument for social transformation. Books give way to television and videos; universities, intellectually democratized, are sunk to the condition of centers for job certification. An increasing proportion of the population, in America especially, is dehumanized by addiction to narcotics and insane sexuality.

These afflictions are only some of the symptoms of social and personal disintegration. One has but to look at our half-ruined
American cities, with their ghastly rates of murder and rape, to perceive that we moderns lack the moral imagination and the right
reason required to maintain tolerable community. Writers in learned quarterlies or in daily syndicated columns use the terms "post-
Christian era" or "post-modern epoch" to imply that we are breaking altogether with our cultural past, and are entering upon some new age of a bewildering character.

Some people, the militant secular humanists in particular, seem pleased by this prospect; but yesteryear's meliorism is greatly
weakened in most quarters. Even Marxist ideologues virtually have ceased to predict the approach of a Golden Age. To most observers, T.S. Eliot among them, it has seemed far more probable that we are stumbling into a new Dark Age, inhumane, merciless, a totalist political domination in which the life of spirit and the inquiring intellect will be denounced, harassed, and propagandized against: Orwell's Nineteen Eight-Four, rather than Huxley's Brave New World of cloying sensuality. Or perhaps Tolkien's blasted and servile land of Mordor may serve as symbol of the human condition in the twenty-first century (which, however, may not be called the twenty-first century, the tag Anno Domini having been abolished as joined to one of the superstitions of the childhood of the race).

At the End of an Era. Some years ago I was sitting in the parlor of an ancient house in the close of York Minster. My host, Basil Smith, the Minster's Treasurer then, a man of learning and of faith, said to me that we linger at the end of an era; soon the culture we have known will be swept into the dustbin of history. About us, as we talked in that medieval mansion, loomed Canon Smith's tall bookcases lined with handsome volumes; his doxological clock chimed the half-hour musically; flames flared up in his fireplace. Was all this setting of culture, and much more besides, to vanish away as if the Evil Spirit had condemned it? Basil Smith is buried now, and so is much of the society he ornamented and tried to redeem. At the time I thought him too gloomy; but already a great deal that he foresaw has come to pass.

The final paragraph of Malcolm Muggeridge's essay 'The Great Liberal Death Wish" must suffice, the limits of my time with you considered, as a summing-up of the human predicament at the end of the twentieth century.

"As the astronauts soar into the vast eternities of space," Muggeridge writes, "on earth the garbage piles higher, as the groves of
academe extend their domain, their alumni's arms reach lower, as the phallic cult spreads, so does impotence. In great wealth, great
poverty; in health, sickness, in numbers, deception. Gorging, left hungry; sedated, left restless; telling all, hiding all; in flesh
united, forever separate. So we press on through the valley of abundance that leads to the wasteland of satiety, passing through the
gardens of fantasy; seeking happiness ever more ardently, and finding despair ever more surely."

Just so. Such recent American ethical writers as Stanley Hauwerwas and Alasdair MacIntyre concur in Muggeridge's verdict on the society of our time, concluding that nothing can be done, except for a remnant to gather in little "communities of character" while society slides toward its ruin. Over the past half-century, many other voices of reflective men and women have been heard to the same effect. Yet let us explore the question of whether a reinvigoration of our culture is conceivable.

Surprise Turning Points. Is the course of nations inevitable? Is there some fixed destiny for great states? In 1796, a dread year for
Britain, old Edmund Burke declared that we cannot foresee the future; often the historical determinists are undone by the coming of events that nobody has predicted. At the very moment when some states "seemed plunged in unfathomable abysses of disgrace and disaster ' Burke wrote in his First Letter on a Regicide Peace, "they have suddenly emerged. They have begun a new course, and opened a new reckoning; and even in the depths of their calamity, and on the very ruins of their country, have laid the foundations of a towering and durable greatness. All this has happened without any apparent previous change in the general circumstances which had brought on their distress. The death of a man at a critical juncture, his disgust, his retreat, his disgrace, have brought innumerable calamities on a whole nation. A common soldier, a child, a girl at the door of an inn, have changed the face of fortune,
and almost of Nature."

The "common soldier" to whom Burke refers is Arnold of Winkelreid, who flung himself upon the Austrian spears to save his country; the child is the young Hannibal, told by his father to wage ruthless war upon Rome; the girl at the door of an inn is Joan of Arc. We do not know why such abrupt reversals or advances occur, Burke remarks; perhaps they are indeed the work of Providence.

"Nothing is, but thinking makes it so," the old adage runs. If most folk come to believe that our culture must collapse-why, then collapse it will. Yet Burke, after all, was right in that dreadful year of 1796. For despite the overwhelming power of the French revolutionary movement in that year, in the long run Britain defeated her adversaries, and after the year 1812 Britain emerged from her years of adversity to the height of her power. Is it conceivable that American civilization, and in general what we call "Western Civilization," may recover from the Time of Troubles that commenced in 1914 (so Arnold Toynbee instructs us) and in the twenty-first century enter upon an Augustan age of peace and restored order?

To understand these words "civilization" and "culture," the best book to read is T. S. Eliot's slim volume Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, published forty-four years ago.

Once upon a time I commended that book to President Nixon, in a private discussion of modern disorders, as the one book which he ought to read for guidance in his high office. Man is the only creature possessing culture, as distinguished from instinct; and if culture is effaced, so is the distinction between man and the brutes that perish. "Art is man's nature," in Edmund Burke's phrase; and if the human arts, or culture, cease to be, then human nature ceases to be.

From what source did humankind's many cultures arise? Why, from cults. A cult is a joining together for worship-that is, the attempt of people to commune with a transcendent power. It is from association in the cult, the body of worshippers, that human community grows. This basic truth has been expounded in recent decades by such eminent historians as Christopher Dawson, Eric Voegelin, and Arnold Toynbee.

Once people are joined in a cult, cooperation in many other things becomes possible. Common defense, irrigation, systematic agriculture, architecture, the visual arts, music, the more intricate crafts, economlc production and distribution, courts and government — all these aspects of a culture arise gradually from the cult, the religious de[?].

Out of little knots of worshippers, in Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, India, or China, there grew up simple cultures; for those joined by
religion can dwell together and work together in relative peace. Presently such simple cultures may develop into intricate cultures, and
those intricate cultures into great civilizations. American civilization of our era is rooted, strange though the fact may seem to
us, in tiny knots of worshippers in Palestine, Greece, and Italy, thousands of years ago. The enormous material achievements of our
civilization have resulted, if remotely, from the spiritual insights of prophets and seers.

But suppose that the cult withers, with the elapse of centuries. What then of the culture that is rooted in the cult? What then of the
civilization which is the culture's grand manifestation? For an answer to such uneasy questions, we can turn to a twentieth century parable. Here I think of G. K. Chesterton's observation that all life being an allegory, we can understand it only in parable.

Parable of the Future. The author of my parable, however, is not Chesterton, but a quite different writer, the late Robert Graves, whom I once visited in Mallorca I have in mind Graves's romance Seven Days in New Crete-published in America under the title Watch the North Wind Rise.

In that highly readable romance of a possible future, we are told that by the close of the "Late Christian epoch" the world will have
fallen altogether, after a catastrophic war and devastation, under a collectivistic domination, a variant of Communism. Religion, the moral imagination, and nearly everything that makes life worth living have been virtually extirpated by ideology and nuclear war. A system of thought and government called Logicalism, "pantisocratic economics divorced from any religious or national theory," rules the world — for a brief time.

In Graves's words:

Logicalism, hinged on international science, ushered in a gloomy and anti-poetic age. It lasted only a generation or two and ended with a grand defeatism, a sense of perfect futility, that slowly crept over the directors and managers of the regime. The common man had triumphed over his spiritual betters at last, but what was to follow? To what could he look forward with either hope or fear? By the abolition of sovereign states and the disarming of even the police forces, war had become impossible. No one who cherished any religious beliefs whatever, or was interested in sport, poetry, or the arts, was allowed to hold a position of public responsibility. "Ice-cold logic" was the most valued civic quality, and those who could not pretend to it were held of no account. Science continued laboriously to expand its over-large corpus of information, and the subjects of research grew more and more beautifully remote and abstract; yet the scientific obsession, so strong at the beginning of the third millennium A. D., was on the wane. Logicalist officials who were neither defeatist nor secretly religious and who kept their noses to the grindstone from a sense of duty, fell
prey to colobromania, a mental disturbance....

Rates of abortion and infanticide, of suicide, and other indices of social boredom rise with terrifying speed under this Logicalist regime. Gangs of young people go about robbing, beating, and murdering, for the sake of excitement. It appears that the human race will become extinct if such tendencies continue; for men and women find life not worth living under such a domination. The deeper longings of humanity have been outraged, so that the soul and the state stagger on the verge of final darkness. But in this crisis an Israeli Sophocrat writes a book called A Critique of Utopias, in which he examines seventy Utopian
writings, from Plato to Aldous Huxley. "We must retrace our steps," he concludes, "or perish." Only by the resurrection of religious faith, the Sophocrats discover, can mankind be kept from total destruction; and that religion, as Graves describes it in his romance, springs from the primitive soil of myth and symbol.

Graves really is writing about our own age, not of some remote future: of life in today's United States and today's Soviet Union. He
is saying that culture arises from the cult; and that when belief in the cult has been wretchedly enfeebled, the culture will decay swiftly. The material order rests upon the spiritual order.

So it has come to pass, here in the closing years of the twentieth century. With the weakening of the moral order, "Things fall apart;
mere anarchy is loosed upon the world ... " The Hellenic and the Roman cultures went down to dusty death after this fashion. What may be done to achieve reinvigoration?

No Substitute. Some well-meaning folk talk of a "civil religion," a kind of cult of patriotism, founded upon a myth of national virtue and
upon veneration of certain historic documents, together with a utilitarian morality. But such experiments of a secular character never
have functioned satisfactorily; and it scarcely is necessary for me to point out the perils of such an artificial creed, bound up with
nationalism: the example of the ideology of the National Socialist Party in Germany, half a century ago, may suffice. Worship of the
state, or of the national commonwealth, is no healthy substitute for communion with transcendent love and wisdom.

Nor can attempts at persuading people that religion is "useful" meet with much genuine success. No man sincerely goes down on his knees to the divine because he has been told that such rituals lead to the beneficial consequences of tolerably honest behavior in commerce. People will conform their actions to the precepts of religion only when they earnestly believe the doctrines of that religion to be true.

Still less can it suffice to assert that the Bible is an infallible authority on everything, literally interpreted, in defiance of the
natural sciences and of other learned disciplines; to claim to have received private revelations from Jehovah; or to embrace some self-
proclaimed mystic from the gorgeous East, whose teachings are patently absurd.

In short, the culture can be renewed only if the cult is renewed; and faith in divine power cannot be summoned up merely when that is found expedient. Faith no longer works wonders among us: one has but to glance at the typical church built nowadays, ugly and shoddy, to discern how architecture no longer is nurtured by the religious imagination. It is so in nearly all d e works of twentieth century civilization: the modern mind has been secularized so thoroughly that "culture" is assumed by most people to have no connection with the love of God.

How are we to account for this widespread decay of the religious impulse? It appears that the principal cause of the loss of the idea of the holy is the attitude called "scientism" — that is, the popular notion that the revelations of natural science, over the past century and a half or two centuries, somehow have proved that men and women are naked apes merely, that the ends of existence are production and consumption merely; that happiness is the gratification of sensual impulses; and that concepts of the resurrection of the flesh and the life everlasting are mere exploded superstitions. Upon these scientistic assumptions, public schooling in America is founded nowadays, implicitly.

This view of the human condition has been called — by C S. Lewis, in particular — reductionism: it reduces human beings almost to mindlessness; it denies the existence of the soul. Reductionism has become almost an ideology. It is scientistic, but not scientific: for it is a far cry from the understanding of matter and energy that one finds in the addresses of Nobel prize winners in physics, say.

Popular notions of "what science says" are archaic :, reflecting the assertions of the scientists of the middle of the nineteenth century; such views are a world away from the writings of Stanley Jaki, the cosmologist and historian of science, who was awarded the Templeton Prize for progress in religion last year.

As Arthur Koestler remarks in his little book The Roots of Coincidence, yesterday's scientific doctrines of materialism and mechanism ought to be buried now with a requiem of electronic music. Once more, in biology as in physics, the scientific disciplines enter upon the realm of mystery.

Yet the great public always suffers from the affliction called cultural lag. If most people continue to fancy that scientific theory of a century ago is the verdict of serious scientists today, will not the religious understanding of life continue to wither, and civilization continue to crumble?

Hard Truth. Perhaps; but the future, I venture to remind you, is unknowable. Conceivably we may be given a Sign. Yet such an event being in I he hand of God, if it is to occur at all, meanwhile some reflective people declare that our culture must be reanimated, by a great effort of will.

More than forty years ago, that remarkable historian Christopher Dawson, in his book Religion and Culture, expressed this hard truth strongly. "The events of the last few years," Dawson wrote, "portend either the end of human history or a turning point in it. They have warned us in letters of fire that our civilization has been tried in the balance and found wanting-that there is an absolute limit to the progress than can be achieved by the perfectionment of scientific techniques detached from spiritual aims and moral values.... The recovery of moral control and the return to spiritual order have become the indispensable conditions of human survival. But they can be achieved only by a profound change in the spirit of modern civilization. This does not mean a new religion or a new culture but a movement of spiritual reintegration which would restore that vital relation between religion and culture which has existed at every age and on every level of human development."

Amen to that. The alternative to such a successful endeavor, a conservative endeavor, to reinvigorate our culture would be a series of catastrophic events, the sort predicted by Pitirim Sorokin and other sociologists, which eventually might efface our present sensate culture and bring about a new ideational culture, the character of which we cannot even imagine. Such an ideational culture doubtless would have its religion: but it might be the worship of what has been called the Savage God.

Such ruin has occurred repeatedly in history. When the classical religion ceased to move hearts and minds, two millennia ago, thus the Graeco Roman civilization went down to Avernus. As my little daughter Cecilia put it unprompted, some years ago looking at a picture book of Roman history, "And then, at the end of a long summer's day, there came Death, Mud, Crud."

Great civilizations have ended in slime. Outside the ancient city of York, where York Minster stands upon the site of the Roman praetorium, there lies a racecourse known as the Knavesmire. Here in medieval time were buried the knaves-the felons and paupers. When, a few years ago, the racecourse was being enlarged, the diggers came upon a Roman graveyard beneath, or in part abutting upon, the medieval burial ground. This appeared to have been a cemetery of the poor of Romano-
British times. Few valuable artifacts were uncovered, but the bones were of interest. Many of the people there interred, in the closing years of Roman power in Britain, had been severely deformed, apparently suffering from rickets and other afflictions-deformed spines and limbs and skulls. Presumably they had suffered lifelong, and died, from extreme malnutrition. At the end, decadence comes down to that, for nearly everybody.

It was at York that the dying Septimius Severus, after his last campaign (against the Scots), was asked by his brutal sons, Geta and Caracalla, "Father, when you are gone, how shall we govern the empire?" The hard old emperor had his laconic reply ready: "Pay the soldiers. The rest do not matter." There would come a time when the soldiers could not be paid, and then civilization would fall to pieces. The last Roman army in Italy-it is said to have been composed entirely of cavalry- fought in league with the barbarian general Odoacer against Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths, in the year 491; on Odoacer's defeat, the Roman soldiers drifted home, nevermore to take arms: the end of an old song Only the earlier stages of social decadence-seem liberating to some people; the last act, as Cecilia Kirk perceived, consists of Death, Mud, Crud.

In short, it appears to me that our culture labors in an advanced state of decadence; that what many people mistake for the triumph of our civilization actually consists of powers that are disintegrating our culture; that the vaunted "democratic freedom" of liberal society in reality is servitude to appetites and illusions which attack religious belief; which destroy community through excessive centralization and urbanization; which efface life-giving tradition and custom. History has many cunning passages, contrieved corridors And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, Guides us by vanities.

So Gerontion instructs us, in T. S. Eliot's famous grim poem. By those and some succeeding lines, Eliot means that human experience lived without the Logos, the Word; lived merely by the asserted knowledge of empirical science-why, history in that sense is a treacherous gypsy witch. Civilizations that reject or abandon the religious imagination must end, as did Gerontion, in fractured atoms.

Restoring Religious Insights. In conclusion, it is my argument that the elaborate civilization we have known stands in peril; that it may expire of lethargy, or be destroyed by violence, or perish, from a combination of both evils. We who think that life remains worth living ought to address ourselves to means by which a restoration of our culture may be achieved. A prime necessity for us is to restore an apprehension of religious insights in our clumsy apparatus of public instruction, which -bullied by militant secular humanists and presumptuous federal courts-has been left with only ruinous answers to the ultimate questions.

What ails modern civilization? Fundamentally, our society's affliction is the decay of religious belief If a culture is to survive and flourish, it must not be severed from the religious vision out of which it arose. The high necessity of reflective men and women, then, is to labor for the restoration of religious teachings as a credible body of doctrine.

"Redeem the time; redeem the dream," T. S. Eliot wrote. It remains possible, given right reason and moral imagination, to confront boldly the age's disorders. The restoration of true learning, humane and scientific; the reform of many public policies; the renewal of our awareness of a transcendent order, and of the presence of an Other, the brightening of the comers where we find ourselves such approaches are open to those among the rising generation who look for a purpose in life. It is just conceivable that we may be given a Sign before the end of the twentieth century; yet Sign or no Sign, Remnant must strive
against the follies of the time.


Monday, January 27, 2003

Prolife Catholic bishop has backbone
Wonderful! Like a modern-day St Thomas а Becket; St Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow or Archbishop Oscar Romero (who, unlike the aging liberals who use his name, AFAIK was orthodox): From The Sacramento Bee.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

On the mass appeal of being proabortion
Proabortion propaganda appeals to pride and lust: women’s pride (‘No MAN is going to tell ME what to do!’) and men’s lust (contraception = pig heaven for fornicating or adulterous men).
Two articles on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade
Conversions to prolife

Ethics & Religion

Nothing to Celebrate on This 30th Anniversary

by Michael J. McManus

There is nothing to celebrate on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion. It has transformed America for the worse.

In 1973, Larry Lader, the founder of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) predicted: "The abortion revolution should usher in an era when every child will be wanted, loved and properly cared for, when the incidence of infanticides and battered children should be sharply reduced."

Certainly, those were my sentiments at the time. It was a reasonable hypothesis. If women were not forced to bear unwanted children, a higher percentage of children born would be loved.

But what is the reality? There has been a 20-fold increase in battered children! It has soared from 2 cases per 1,000 children in 1972 to more than 40 per 1,000 children according to the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.

And the infant death rate has doubled from 4.3 to 9.1 per 100,000 residents.

"Abortion was supposed to lead to fewer teen pregnancies. However, it only made pre- marital sex more common by making it seem safer, and changing the options when pregnancy occurred," writes Kristen Panico of the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL).

"In 1962, babies born to single mothers accounted for only 5 percent of all births. That rate has risen to 33 percent of all births...By making motherhood a `choice' for women, abortion made fatherhood a
`choice' for men. Men could say, `You chose to have the child. I didn't want it. If you didn't want the responsibility, you should have had an abortion.'"

In the past, if a woman became pregnant with a man she loved, the honorable man would marry her. And the marriages were happy and lasted. Since 1970 the marriage rate has plummeted 39 percent. Even
so, the divorce rate has doubled.

The flood of 40 million abortions has made Americans more callous and more devaluing of life in other respects. Oregon has legalized assisted suicide and some frail, elderly people are being prodded by their own children and HMOs to kill themselves to "save money."

Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that even the horrific partial-birth procedure, in which fully developed babies are murdered as they are being born - is legal.

However, there is good news.

First, the number of abortions has fallen from a peak of 1.6 million in 1990 to 1.3 million in 2001. More importantly, "the abortion rate has dropped to 21.3 per 1,000 women of child- bearing age, the lowest rate
since 1974," says Wanda Franz, President of National Right to Life.

Second, public attitudes toward abortion have shifted. In 1995 Gallup reported that 56 percent of Americans identified themselves as "pro-choice" while only 33 percent were "pro-life." That 23 point margin has disappeared as 46 percent are now pro-choice and 46 percent, pro-life.

Third, this shift has registered politically. In nine closely contested Senate races in which a pro-life Republican faced a pro-choice Democrat, 41 percent said the abortion issue affected their
vote. Of those, the pro-life candidate got a 7 point margin, which gave the race narrowly to Republicans in Georgia, Minnesota and Missouri.

Although Republicans now control the Senate, it still has a 53-47 margin supporting Roe v. Wade. Even so, several bills that passed the House last year and died in the Senate, are likely to become law.
Gruesome partial birth abortions will probably become illegal. But that will save only 5,000 babies a year.

The Abortion Non-Discrimination Act should pass that protects Catholic hospitals from being forced to perform abortions.

Half of the states now require that a parent be informed that a daughter under age 18 wants an abortion. However, thousands of men who impregnated a minor in such a state as Pennsylvania, now transport them
across a state line for an abortion in New Jersey. Why? They are protecting themselves from being prosecuted for statutory rape.

Congress should pass a Child Custody Protection Act to make that illegal.

Each of these proposed bills, if passed, will do little to reduce the number of women who kill the life within them. However, they will restore a measure of increased respect for life.

Hopefully, they will accelerate a trend toward chastity, which can be seen in America's teenagers. The percentage of sexually active high-school students has fallen 10 percent in the last decade.

Can teens inspire more women in their twenties and thirties to refrain from sex outside of marriage?



Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 00:28:16 EST
From: David Virtue
Subject: The Lessons of Roe by Frederica Mathewes-Green

The Lessons of Roe
By Frederica Mathewes-Green

I was what the sociologists call an "early adopter" of feminism. Soon after arriving at college, in 1970, I knew that it was the religion for me. I had discarded the religion I grew up with, Christianity, as an
insultingly simpleminded thing, but feminism filled the gap. Like a religion it offered a complete philosophical worldview, one that displayed me as victim in the center, a feature with immeasurable
appeal to a female teenager. Feminism had its own gnostic analysis of reality, by which everything in existence was decoded to be about the oppression of women; it had sacred books, a secret vocabulary, and congregational gatherings for the purpose of consciousness-raising. It even had a habit and tonsure, in a sense; we didn't don wimples, but we cast off oppressive undergarments and shunned the razor.

I was the first in my dorm to become a feminist, which caused my friends some worry. I printed up posters, yelled chants at marches, and arranged to bring Ti-Grace Atkinson to campus as a speaker, one of the more interesting disasters of my life. But the real cause, of course, was abortion. Laws varied across the land; in my home state it was illegal, but friends could travel to New York or California to end a
pregnancy. Unfair! We wanted all abortion laws everywhere repealed, because otherwise women were slaves. The bumpersticker on my car read, "Don't labor under a misconception. Legalize abortion."

When the Roe v. Wade decision came down, in January 1973, I was doing an independent semester in film studies and working in Washington, DC. I volunteered at the flagship underground feminist newspaper, "off our backs," and was proud when the first issue I worked on included my
review of a French movie. That same issue carried a long editorial about Roe. Mostly, we felt it was OK. However, the Roe decision says that a woman must have a medical reason to have an abortion at the end
of pregnancy. That struck us as meddling. What do nine men in black robes know? Why can't a woman decide for herself whether to end a pregnancy, even in the ninth month?

Thirty years later, there are many things I regret about those years - don't get me started! - but chief among them is how short-sighted I was about the impact of Roe. What can I say, except that I just didn't
know. I thought that women would only have abortions in the most dire circumstances.

I thought that the numbers of abortions would be small. I thought every child would be a wanted child. I thought the unborn was nothing but a glob of tissue. I thought abortion would liberate women. I was wrong.

Roe has taught us many lessons which now govern our lives in ways we can barely perceive. Instead of being one small tool for women's advancement, abortion opened a chasm, and a lot of unexpected things
fell in. It turned out to be an irresistible force., because abortion makes things so much easier for everyone around the pregnant woman. Before Roe, unplanned pregnancy created many problems for many people-
the woman's lover, her parents, her siblings, her boss, her landlord, her dean. Abortion changes the picture instantly: just go get it taken care of, dear, and it will be as if it never happened. Women were
expected to do the sensible thing and save everyone else a lot of fuss and bother. Overnight, unplanned pregnancy became her private problem, a burden for her to bear alone. Abortion rights rhetoric compounded this effect with terms emphasizing her isolation: My body, my rights, my life, my choice. The flip side of all that first-person assertiveness is abandonment. Th! e network of support that once existed had been shattered.

To continue a pregnancy came to look like an insane choice, one which placed an unfair burden on others. Having a baby in less-than-perfect circumstances came to look like a crazy and even selfish whim. A woman in an unplanned pregnancy was not just permitted to have an abortion - she was expected to. And that has made all the difference.

There were a number of beliefs I held back then, things that I thought Roe would prove true. One by one I have seen them fall over these thirty years.

1. "Abortion liberates women." The initial argument about the time of Roe was that exercising self-determination was in itself empowering. This thesis did not stand the test of time. Before long it was obvious that women were choosing abortion in sorrow and distress rather than as daring self-expression. They usually didn't feel liberated afterwards, but a complex of numbness, sorrow, and relief.

2. "It's a woman's choice." The next argument was that, even if abortion isn't a fresh blast of emancipation, at least it's her own idea. But too often women themselves disproved this, saying, "I didn't have any choice, I had to have an abortion." Roe didn't add more options to a woman's plate; it made one option nearly inevitable, because it would be overwhelmingly attractive to those with an interest in keeping her life to be unchanged.

3. "Women have abortions only in extreme circumstances." I believed this in those pre-Roe days, even though my friends were traveling across seven states to have abortions simply because they were in
college and not married. That seemed extreme enough at the time. Pro-choice leader Kate Michelman has been credited with saying that Americans believe in abortion under only three circumstances: rape,
incest, and "my situation." Under those generous criteria, the numbers of abortions has risen to over 40 million. About 3500 each day. No one expected this.

4. "Men don't have to lose their careers when they're going to have a baby." Abortion seemed the perfect solution, allowing women to compete with men in the workplace by discarding pregnancies to keep in
fighting trim. But we had accepted a false premise. Men don't have to lose their children in order to keep their careers.

5. "Men don't have any right to a say in her decision." Of course they do; a father has as much right as a mother to care for his biological child. But the majority of unwed dads, of course, greet this proposition with relief. Another way of phrasing it is, "Men don't have any obligation to be involved in her problem."

6. "Anti-abortion activists want to turn back the clock." Not true; whatever America will be post-Roe, it will not be what it was before. Rather, it's abortion that pretends to turn back the clock, by offering a woman the illusion that she can push the rewind button on her life and go back to the time before she was pregnant. It can't be done. Once you're pregnant, a new life has begun. That may have been a topic of
debate thirty years ago, but not any more.

7. "It's just a glob of tissue." This was probably the biggest shock I sustained in my changing views of abortion. I really thought that the unborn was an unformed mass and not technically alive till some point
late in pregnancy. A physician's pamphlet showed me a being that looked remarkably like a baby at 6 weeks gestation, before most abortions are done. Even prior to that, when it looked more like a crawfish, it still was a human being. From the time the sperm dissolves in the egg it's alive and has a unique genetic code never before seen on earth, with 100% human DNA. It's a different shape, that's all. I'm a different shape now than I was at 8 or will be at 80. When did we start discriminating against people based on their shape?

8. "It's so small." When I first began to lean toward pro-life convictions, I had a hard time getting over how tiny the unborn is. How could something so little deserve human rights? I came to realize that that is an irrelevant, and even pernicious, consideration. Do children deserve less protection than adults, because they're smaller? Why would feminists advocate such a view? Most women are smaller than most men.
Should a tall guy get to vote twice?

9. "Every child should be a wanted child." Now that Roe is 30 years old, every person in America under the age of 30 could have been aborted. Every child *is* a wanted child-the unwanted ones were all
aborted, to the tune of one abortion for approximately every three live births. So how come the rate of reported child abuse is so high? In the early years after Roe there were 60,000 cases of child abuse reported annually. Today there are 3 million cases reported annually, a fifty-fold increase. The reasons for this increase are debatable, but one thing's for sure, abortion didn't prevent it. Aborting "unwanted" children hasn't helped. Instead, it's taught us that an unwanted person has no right to live. A child might be wanted very much during pregnancy, and not so wanted a few months later when she's crying in
the middle of the night. But abortion has taught us that a child deserves to live only if her parent wants her. It's a bizarre principle for feminists to endorse, who were vigorously fighting on another front against the idea, "I'm nothing unless a man wants me."

10. "My right to control my body." When a woman realizes she is pregnant and doesn't want to be, she may feel understandably panicked. It can feel like her body has been taken over against her will, and she
can block out any thought except the desire to get rid of it. As one post-abortion woman told me, "It's like looking down and seeing a tarantula on your arm; you don't stop to think that some people keep them as pets." However, it's not truly the woman's body that's at risk here. The unborn child has a right to control her body, too, and that must at a minimum mean the right to keep her arms and legs attached to
her body.

11. "Women are full-fledged adults and deserve more rights than fetuses." Yes, this is true; adults have the right to vote and drive, and I don't think anyone is proposing giving such privileges to the unborn. However it's a long way from regulating rights that come with increasing maturity to denying the right to be alive. This is an abiding fallacy in abortion discussions, and both pro-life and pro-choice advocates fell for it. We both assumed that abortion concerned a conflict between the rights of a woman and a fetus. But in no sane culture are women and their own unborn children presumed to be mortal enemies. If continuing a pregnancy has become that unbearable, the problem is not inside the woman's body, but in a culture that is placing overwhelming burdens on her. The love between mother and baby is the icon of human connectedness, and when we complacently assume that one may want to kill the other, something has gone seriously wrong.

What does the future hold? The predictions I would have made thirty years ago turned out to be so wildly inaccurate that I offer the following with fistfuls of salt. But first I'd note that legal restriction of abortion is not on the horizon. The pro-life movement has not made efforts to pass legislation that would prevent abortion since the early 90's, when the Casey decision dealt a massive and discouraging blow. Legislation proposed since then has been like planting hedges, focused on clinic regulations, parental consent, and
the like. These are not laws that protect unborn life. Pro-choicers view laws like these as dangerously "incremental," but that pays pro-lifers a compliment we don't deserve. Our powers of persuasion are not so great that we can lead a citizen who supports a parental consent law
to outlaw abortion. In fact, there's a danger that these "incremental" laws will be all we get. The average citizen may conclude that the pro-lifers got a little, the pro-cho! icers got a little, and now
everything is square. The situation may be analogous to the nation's liquor laws after the repeal of Prohibition. States passed laws regulating when and where liquor could be sold, but any adult who can
read the store's sign can still buy as much booze as he wants.

Let's stay with that analogy for a moment. After Prohibition was repealed there was a vigorous backlash in which drinking was celebrated as fun and sophisticated. If you look at movies from the ’30s and ’40s
you'll see a lot of stylish drunkenness, with the leading man stumbling and mumbling, and the leading lady clapping an icebag to her hangover. It took several decades before people were able to admit that excess drinking causes a lot of pain. By the ’80s it had become acceptable to decline a drink at a party; by the ’90s cocktail parties had gone out of style. In 1981 the comedy "Arthur" was criticized for treating
alcoholism as fodder for jokes - a complaint that didn't occur to audiences in 1950, as they laughed at drunken Jimmy Stewart and his invisible 6-foot rabbit in "Harvey."

The cultural rethinking on drunkenness didn't come about because the Women's Christian Temperance Union had finally devised the right slogan to "win hearts and minds" to their cause. It came about because
drunkenness hurts, and eventually that truth couldn't be ignored.

Abortion hurts, too. It is a classic example of acting in haste and repenting at leisure; before the fact it looks like abortion is the only choice ("I had to have an abortion") and the woman may want to get
it over with as fast as possible, like slapping off that tarantula. There are a lot of long nights afterwards, though, when she goes through the day the baby would have been born, the anniversary of the
abortion, the first "wanted" pregnancy when she feels her baby move, and all the years to ahead.

But how can she speak of this grief? It's supposed to be "private" and "personal." She expects people would say, "Look, it was your decision, stop whining about it." She may fear that voicing regrets will give
fodder to the pro-life movement, whom she has been told is an enemy trying to oppress her. All the insistent language of privacy makes her feel that her grief has no place; it should not intrude on others and
disturb them, it should be kept inside. Everyone else has forgotten that she was ever pregnant. It's time to get over it. So why does she still feel so sad?

My hunch is that as the abortion debate cools off, as the status quo settles further into place, the instant association of "abortion" with "hot, ugly argument" will ease. This will make it easier for people to
think about without being thrown immediately into taking sides (presented usually as the cool, thoughtful people against the stupid, screaming people.) And that will be a good thing, conducive to honest
reflection. When women are no longer afraid of being stigmatized for voicing their grief, the grief can begin to come forth. We will find that there is a great deal there-not just among aborted women, but
among the fathers and grandparents of these lost children. Over 40 million abortions means a lot of grief. It may be something just barely held back, like a tidal wave. I don't know what will result when that
grief begins to be expressed, and we admit that abortion hasn't done all the wonderful things we thought it would, thirty years ago. But, speaking as a pro-lifer! , I believe there is reason for hope.

Frederica Mathewes-Green

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Spam, spam, spam, spam
(yes, I know it's unoriginal and kind of naff but it fits)

It's been fun watching my old AOL account fill up with spam the past month, waiting for the cyberdoor to slam in the senders' faces when it expires. Still waiting for the ultimate spam: an offer to sell both porn and penis-enlargement products in a MLM scheme for a deposed Nigerian dictator.