Sunday, 4/6/14

    1. Scapegoating
    2. The world undone by a red-haired girl
    3. Patrick didn’t get mad – or get even
    4. Putin’s jujitsu – or is it deeper than that?


Activists in Uganda report that plain-clothes police raided a U.S. military-affiliated AIDS services clinic in Kampala today, accused it of promoting homosexuality, and ordered it to close. The clinic has been one of relatively few health-care facilities in the city that willingly treat LGBT people. […] Dozens of HIV-positive people relied on that clinic for ARV treatments.

Are you getting this? In Uganda, now, apparently, treating HIV-positive gay people is seen as promoting homosexuality and therefore verboten.

Shameful, isn’t it? If you treat people for a disease that’s predominantly acquired through gay sex, you’re promoting gay sex. Did I add “stupid” to “shameful” yet?

How about giving a pretty trifling amount to reverse same-sex marriage’s judicial imposition in California 6 years ago? Is that a reliable proxy for hating gay people? For discriminating against them in the workplace? Isn’t it a good enough reason to hound the donor out of business?

This mash-up brought to you with a tip of the hat to Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who then goes deeper:

Scapegoating is a movement of collective violence wherein the community’s sins are imputed on a sacrificial victim. The sacrificial violence brings harmony to the community by uniting it against a common, demonized enemy. Of course, this harmony only lasts very briefly, because scapegoating is a lie and hasn’t actually solved anything.

Following René Girard, there’s a very good case to be made that every human society is based on scapegoating. Every human society finds its unity and harmony by demonizing someone, whether it’s black people in the South, or gay people in Uganda, or whoever it is. Every human society has a founding myth, and that founding myth is a scapegoating myth.

To be a Christian is to refuse, reject and denounce scapegoating. To be a Christian is to immediately recognize it and have instinctive revulsion towards it.

That last paragraph might be a surprise, since a lot of ill-formed Christians are among the most vehement of scape-goaters.

It’s not scape-goating to oppose SSM or even to oppose protected class status for sexual orientation. It is scape-goating to lay blame for the erosion of marital stability, at least as of 2014, at the doorstep of SSM.

Don’t even get me started on the pseudo-prophets who confidently pronounce that gays are to blame for earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, global warming, polar vortices, and such. It’s not impossible; it’s not absurd; it’s not unprecedented for God to visit sin with consequences in the form of natural disaster. But it’s beyond our knowledge, as I see nobody I’d trust to channel God’s will rather than just shoot his mouth off.

You can always tell that scapegoating is going on when, when defending a scapegoat, you are accused of defending the scapegoat’s actions …

Scapegoating is always built on a lie. Scapegoating is demonizing and Othering. The scapegoat might be guilty, but he is never a demon or an Other. In fact, it is because he is guilty that he is our brother, because we are guilty too–and this is the hard truth that scapegoating lets us evade.

Sadly, such Christianity is largely alien to North America, and our post-Christian secularists are behaving like reverse mirror images of the worst Christian fundamentalists.


With the red hair of one she-urchin in the gutter I will set fire to all modern civilization. Because a girl should have long hair, she should have clean hair; because she should have clean hair, she should not have an unclean home: because she should not have an unclean home, she should have a free and leisured mother; because she should have a free mother, she should not have an usurious landlord; because there should not be an usurious landlord, there should be a redistribution of property, because there should be a redistribution of property, there shall be a revolution. That little urchin with the gold-red hair, whom I have just watched toddling past my house, she shall not be lopped and lamed and altered; her hair shall not be cut short like a convict’s; no, all the kingdoms of the earth shall be hacked about and multilated to suit her. She is the human and sacred image; all around her the social fabric shall sway and slip and fall; the pillars of society shall be shaken, and the roofs of ages come rushing down; and not one hair of her head shall be harmed.

(G.K. Chesterton via Michael Brendan Dougherty)


Patrick was stolen away as a teenager, taken from his family and friends. Brought to Ireland by Irish marauders, he escaped after six long years.

Boy, I’ll bet he came back with troops and just kicked the crap out of his kidnappers, huh?

He was dragged to Ireland as a slave, but when he became a bishop, he returned to Ireland with the Gospel. And in this is true love—the antithesis of revenge and self-serving vengeance.

(Gabe Martini, Saint Patrick and the Emptiness of Revenge)


Curiouser and curiouser:

Putin is plugging into some of the modern world’s most powerful currents. Not only in his defiance of what much of the world sees as America’s arrogant drive for global hegemony. Not only in his tribal defense of lost Russians left behind when the USSR disintegrated. He is also tapping into the worldwide revulsion of and resistance to the sewage of a hedonistic secular and social revolution coming out of the West.

(Pat Buchanan) I know that post-Communist Russia is not a traditional society. Or should I say “not yet a traditional society”? (Is it possible to regain that status after losing it?) Or is Putin trying not to become “traditional” again, as if donning a costume or playing a role, but merely to become a fully Christian nation, traditional in all aspects or not, for the good of the world and as an antidote to Western Fever?

Does anyone dare say Putin – or Buchanan – is 100% wrong, and that America is on the side of the Angels?

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.