Saturday, 4/12/14

    1. Lined up to behold the wonder
    2. Of one mind with himself
    3. $65,000 per year for this!?
    4. An omission de-omitted
    5. Riddle me this


Nine astronauts visited Purdue University Thursday, and Eugene Cernan donated an Apollo 17 Lunar Roving Vehicle map book to Purdue. People lined up to look at the maps. Do I really need hyperlinks? Does not everyone get the gist of this?

Meanwhile, in St. Francisville, Louisiana,  the Kursk Root Icon visited a tiny Orthodox mission parish, and over 100 pilgrims came venerate the ancient image of the Mother of God and her Son.

The former helps me, with almost 50 years of Protestant baggage, appreciate the latter.


“I’m Catholic. I don’t know how not to be Catholic.” This is the voice of a sensible young man, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who understands something of the importance of ecumenism without going wishy-washy and trying to find a least common denominator. It’s also the sound, I think, of a man with integrity, whose self isn’t divided between “secular” and “sacred” personae (maybe I’m reading that into it).

He’s wrong about Orthodoxy, of course: “an ecclesiology of a confederation of national churches structurally renders to Cesar what is God’s”. This is just, it seems to me, flipping over the incorrigible Roman Catholic idea there can be no “one” Church without one visible head.

But what do I know? I’m Orthodox. I don’t know how not to be Orthodox. (Except for the baggage I carry.)


The demonstrators had a 72-point manifesto instructing the college to establish pre-set racial admission quotas and a mandatory ethnic studies curriculum for all students. Their other inspirations are for more “womyn or people of color” faculty; covering sex change operations on the college health plan (“we demand body and gender self-determination”); censoring the library catalog for offensive terms; and installing “gender-neutral bathrooms” in every campus facility, specifically including sports locker rooms.

We rarely sympathize with college administrators but we’ll make an exception for Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon … The occupiers filmed their confrontation and uploaded the hostage video to the Web, where Mr. Hanlon can be seen agog as his charges berate him for his “micro-aggressions.” Those are bias infractions that can’t be identified without the right political training.

(WSJ Review & Commentary) Sounds like these students have been meditating on the testimonies of a strange god, and have thus surpassed their teachers.

Is it really worth $65,000 per year just to get drunk and fornicate with other Dartmouth students when you’re smarter than your teachers and under constant – uh, er – micro-aggressions?

Or maybe Dartmouth could borrow the cojones for a little macro-aggression against these precious snowflakes?


Dartmouth notwithstanding, it’s a consolation, as I descend into geezerhood, that morally sane people I’ve known of for 30 years or so have gotten their intellectual and academic (the two aren’t the same) legs under them and become established, “leading figures.” Such is Helen Avaré, to whom congratulations are due, not to mention overdue for earlier accomplishments I neglected to mention.


According to the Huffington Post, yesterday in Baskin v. Bogan, (SD IN, April 10, 2014) an Indiana federal district court issued a temporary restraining order requiring the state of Indiana to immediately recognize the same-sex marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler.  The TRO was granted because Quasney has stage 4 ovarian cancer, and recognition of the marriage that took place in Massachusetts is needed so Sandler can handle her spouse’s affairs after her death and access benefits available for a surviving spouse and children of the marriage (who were born to Sandler through reproductive technology). The order comes as part of a case that more broadly challenges Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. (Links to pleadings.) (See prior related posting.)

(Religion Clause)

The forest is obvious enough: a federal judge has ordered Indiana to recognize, if only for one couple in tragic circumstances, what some other state calls a “marriage” though Indiana does not.

Thus far has the camel’s nose slipped under the tent-flap. Do you think it will come any further?

But at the risk of sounding heartless, let’s look at just one tree in the forest: in what sense there are “children of [this] marriage”?

Professor Friedman inserts a parenthetical allusion to the means whereby Sandler was once with child. Most media do not.

I’m aware that the same locution would be used for a husband and wife where conception was through the “reproductive technology” formerly known as AID. That strikes me as averting our rhetorical gaze from the couple’s distressing but incidental, not intrinsic, infertility. Ditto a child of adultery who has despite that been treated as a “child of the marriage” that survived infidelity.

But I’m interested in the legal sense of the fictive “of the marriage,” which in this case puts me in mind of Mr. Bumble. How far dare we go before the law loses the respect of sane people who know how babies are made?

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“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.