Friday, 9/26/14

  1. Free speech at Berkley 50 years later
  2. Neologism alert
  3. One cheer for Ted Cruz
  4. Channeling a demeaning caricature of Reagan
  5. Christian Philosemitism in action is sectarian
  6. Karen Armstrong calls “Bullshit!”
  7. Politician Serenity Prayer
  8. Banned in Boston (and Bangor, and Kennebunk and …)

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Sunday, 9/21/14

  1. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, 1955 version
  2. A Kronstadt moment, I hope
  3. Just “Gay People of Irish Ancestry” – nothing more
  4. An excuse to exclude?
  5. Common Core Automatons
  6. Elect disabled self-taught hod-carriers!
  7. Cal State bans discernment

Continue reading “Sunday, 9/21/14”

Thinking some more about contraception

I’ve been thinking more about Elizabeth Anscombe‘s 1972 Contraception and Chastity, as I urged (and urge) you all to do if you consider yourselves faithful Christians who are willing to be inconvenienced by the requirements of your faith.I might as well publish this now as no matter how long I wait, my thoughts are unlikely to be settled.

Where I’ve arrived so far is that contraception is a morally fraught decision. It ought not to be a default assumption for Christians. It’s not simply a “no-brainer” technological blessing. Oh, yeah: intentionally “child-free marriage” is a sham.

Continue reading “Thinking some more about contraception”

Ted Cruz is a demagogic ass

I remember when my wife and I began worshiping with the Maronites in Brooklyn back in 1999. It struck me one day that these people’s ancestors in Lebanon were worshiping Jesus Christ when my ancestors back in northern Europe were still praying to trees. It was shocking, and embarrassing, to discover how little I knew about Arab Christianity — and in turn how these ancient Christian communities didn’t really exist in the minds of most American

You will appreciate, then, what a diplomatic feat it was to bring a group of top Christian leaders from the Middle East together in Washington for a summit to talk about the crisis of the persecution of Christians in the region. The Washington Free Beacon shamefully characterized the event as a pro-Hezbollah hootenanny, citing the anti-Israel politics of some conference participants as if that were the most important thing about this religious and human rights event. As if Israelis were the only people in the Middle East whose suffering matters.

And then, Sen. Ted Cruz showed up at the conference and made a fool of himself, lecturing these Middle Eastern Christians on what they ought to think about Israel …

(Rod Dreher, introducing his lament over U.S. conservatives’ contempt for Arab Christians.)

I’m told that Ted Cruz is really smart. If so, he’s also really rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. “[H]e has proven time after time to be a shameless demagogue ….” (Daniel Larison) He even accused these Arab Christians of being “consumed by hate.”

The near-certainty that he was posturing for the cameras, and for the Evangelicals who will see the footage and mistake audacious rudeness for courage and sound “he’s one of The Tribe” Krustianity, makes me happy that I left that Evangelical tribe (albeit equivocally for the first 20 years) two epiphanies, and now more than 35 year, ago.


Five Christian patriarchs of persecuted Christian peoples came to the United States to meet and to talk about what their people are suffering, and these right-wing jackals, including Sen. Cruz, jumped them and tried to trash and exploit them for American political purposes …

They deserve to be spited and mocked and used by a US Republican senator from Texas who now has the footage he needs to make a campaign commercial, and to pull in donations from home state megachurches? Meanwhile, the Christians of the Middle East, who have been worshiping there since the days Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth, are slowly being ground down to nothing. But hey, the American right-wing media machine took its pound of flesh out of the Christian patriarchs’ backsides, so it’s all cool, right?

I was ahead of the curve when I wrote the preceding material, but late to the party by the time it will be published.

Proof that Cruz was setting up a pander campaign? How about his website?


Molly Hemingway also is on it, with Ted Cruz is no hero for insulting a room full of persecuted Christians. She shares the circumstantial evidence that the insults were a premeditated media event in conspiracy with the Washington Free Beacon (Motto: “Do unto them.” Also, “Free, and worth every penny.”) Jonathan Coppage has transcript and audio recordings. He cut his insults short when they predictably were greeted with resistance:

I will say this, if you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Thank you, and God bless.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry is no Cruz antagnist, but gives him both barrels: Ted Cruz and the most cynical, despicable political stunt of the year

Dear GOP: You want to guaranty that I vote for a third party candidate instead of yours? Nominate this contemptible provocateur.

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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.