- Today’s top heresies
- More blameworthy than honest dissent
- Heavy and selective editing
- Homogeneity reduces dissent
- More like a pinball than an arrow
Debates about the nature of God, of salvation, and of the Church never disappear, of course. But today, the most pressing heresies—the newest challenges for the Church’s teaching and mission—center on the nature of man. The tribulations that marked the twentieth century and continue into the twenty-first—totalitarianism, genocide, abortion, and the sexual ideology that has battered the family and redefined marriage—have sprung from a faulty humanism … they all spring from faulty anthropology, a misunderstanding of the nature of man.
JFK was able to build a career by being more WASP-y than the WASPs, but the next generation of Catholics will need to do otherwise.
What will that mean? It will mean first of all being willing to press back on those points where the world presses against us. Condemnations of “culture warring” that suggest Christian belief on sex is innately uncivil; tone policing by concern trolls who decline to reject church teaching outright but deem any expression of it (except — perhaps? — the Catechism’s) homophobic; and the usual and universal cowardice are all more real and pressing threats than outright denial. We’ve faced this temptation before. After the release of Humanae Vitae, the Canadian bishops issued the Winnipeg Statement, a document that didn’t deny church teaching out right but instead gave Canadians permission to ignore it. Such cynicism is more blamable than honest dissent.
CNN’s first piece on the Planned Parenthood scandal is actually a really good and fair story, in my initial read. It presents alternate points of view without siding with one or the other or accepting anyone’s claims at face value.
I did get a kick out of the accompanying video, which begins, “In this heavily and selectively edited video …” What’s funny about this is that 100 percent of video news reports not involving live guests are very “heavily and selectively edited.” Because that’s how you do broadcast journalism. We don’t see journalists introduce their reports by noting that fact, usually.
(Mollie Hemingway, The Bad, Worse, & Ugly: Media Coverage of Planned Parenthood’s Organ Harvesting Scandal; emphasis added)
Although many qualified conservative psychologists were nominated to serve on the highly influential American Psychological Association’s (APA) Task Force (2009) concerning “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation,” all of them were rejected. This fact was noted in a book co-edited by a past-president of the APA (Yarhouse, 2009). The director of the APA’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns Office, Clinton Anderson, offered the following defense: “We cannot take into account what are fundamentally negative religious perceptions of homosexuality—they don’t fit into our world view” (Carey, 2007).
To no one’s surprise, only psychologists unsympathetic to sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) were appointed—and at least 5 of the 6 Task Force members were LGB identified. It appears that the APA operated with a litmus test when considering Task Force membership—the only views of homosexuality that were tolerated were those the APA deemed acceptable. Of course the APA has every right to stack the deck however they wish on such matters, but they should at least publicly acknowledge that they represent a firmly and consistently left-of-center take on the science and politics of sexual orientation.
This was made even clearer in 2011 when the APA’s leadership body—the Council of Representatives—voted 157-0 to support same-sex marriage (Jayson, 2011).
I continue to have a strong sense of foreboding about the future of the United States, and it turns out I’m not alone. (Sorry. I didn’t keep the citation.) But the more I watch, the more I think that the melt-down will come in quite unexpected way(s).
While it’s not possible to accurately sum up the Benedict Option in a tight little metaphor, I think it is possible to sum up the predicament of orthodox, non-cafeteria Christians by borrowing from the ’70s rock group Steelers Wheel:
Fools to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with Christ
(The Mighty Favog) That’s how I feel in social media these days. Some old friends post right-wing-nuttery obsessively, while others post left-wing-nuttery the same way. The old lefty friend I’m thinking of just can’t stop treating Donald Trump as a serious candidate and pointing out where he’s wrong. (Although, frankly, much of what he posts resonates more than the right-wing-nuttery I typically encounter – and I consider that a bad sign.) I can’t get worked up about it beyond an occasional bit of teasing.
But NRO has become more unhinged than I remembered, and there seem to be plenty of equivalents on the left.
This extreme polarization is scary. Yeah, it’s only anecdotes, but that’s all I have except for idiocy like this from (I’m not making this up) the front page of the July 17 USA Today:
This is both factual and a parable of how media make us stupider.
So I don’t see America’s future as a straight-line triumphal march of the lifestyle left with its groin pieties, trampling Christians in their paths. I expect some right-winger – not some kid named Muhammed – to “lose it” and unleash mass slaughter on some assembled left-wingers (or even on some group at random). I expect many Christians to fall away from their casual Krustianity (see item 2), while others get into a safer, more historic Church.
The possibilities are endless, and unpredictable. But my time is too limited to tease out more of what I’ve been musing about.
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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)