Tuesday, 8/4/15

  1. ART that only a libertarian could love
  2. The prophetic vocation
  3. What’s wrong with the sting videos?
  4. Audacious lying and posturing
  5. Giving The Donald his due


I’m sure you’ve seen them in the media: attractive, well-off, smiling parents holding adorable infants created by third-party reproduction and assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Of course, the narrative goes, this development is a win-win for all. Who could object to children being created for those who through either infertility or biological sex are unable to reproduce?

But this picture hides the highly profitable fertility industry’s dirty secrets. It ignores what is required to create these children: exploitation, health endangerment, and the commodification of human life. An honest look at the facts and circumstances surrounding third-party reproduction and ART should give any thinking person pause.

(Kathleen Sloan, emphasis added) Libertarians will have no problem with this, but then they’d legalize prostitution, too. Everyone else, I think, should look now and take your stand.

There’s probably going to be an uptick in use of these technologies as the “right to marry” becomes “the right to have babies” despite the intrinsic infertility of same-sex unions. “Love is love” is a lie when it comes to the procreative meaning of marriage, so the people who last year were arguing “procreation is not central to marriage” will next year be yelling “We’re married! Therefore, we have a right to procreate! We demand government medical coverage for ART!”

(Yes, I do have about 90% of the same concerns when the well-off smiling parents are a man and a woman who brought a third party into their reproductive picture.)


[W]e do not always have a choice in how others view us. The prophetic vocation of Christians requires us to bear witness to the truth, not to maintain our good standing in society. A Christian cannot choose not to speak on behalf of the poor, the immigrants, the elderly, the disabled, and the family. A Christian cannot be silent when our society presumes to redefine marriage at children’s expense. A Christian is obliged to decry the slaughter of the unborn child, and the parceling of his body parts for profit. Some may judge our plain testimony “mean-spirited” and “divisive.” But Scripture forewarned us that no prophet would be loved in his own country.

(J.D. Flynn, replying to David Brooks, whose “back off” advice to Christian culture warriors Flynn mostly rejects.)


I think Flynn is right, even when he admits Brooks is right:

Brooks does make one important point. He says that Christians need to be “more … Dorothy Day than Jerry Falwell.” I agree. Very often, Christians engage the culture with truth on their side, but lack the inspirational transcendental of beauty, and the disposition of charity. Very often, we appear headstrong, arrogant, and intransigent.

On a related note, although I would not want the deception involved in the sting videos to overshadow the evils they expose, I concur with J. Budziszewski (who should be read in full, though I don’t feel at liberty to quote in full):

Lying has traditionally been defined as deliberately saying what one knows to be false with the intention to deceive. The justification of this definition is straightforwardly teleological. As one of the subordinate powers of rational beings, the power of language has an inbuilt purpose which surpasses any motive we might bring to the act. Speech must never be used in a way which makes it an enemy of truth.

If this definition is complete and correct, then what the agents provocateurs did to expose Planned Parenthood’s evils was lying, and should not have been done even for the sake of the good result that it achieved. One must not lie to expose lies.

Did I mention that I would not want the deception involved in the sting videos to overshadow the evils they expose? This is the side-show, a mere peccadillo; Planned Parenthood’s blood guilt is the main act. To discount the truth the videos unmask because of how they did the unmasking would be a grave logical error, and discounting the evil of Planned Parenthood on those grounds would be moral error as well.


I wouldn’t bother with this were it not for the audacity.

Dignity USA, emboldened by the success of the slogan “marriage equality,” are now agitating for “sacramental equality” in the Latin church:

Dignity USA on July 5 announced support for “full access to marriage and ordination” in the Catholic Church. The group’s annual convention, held in Seattle, approved a resolution that said Catholic leaders should “ensure that all of the sacraments of our Church be administered regardless of the gender identity, sexual orientation, or relational status of the person(s) seeking the sacrament.”

The group already rejects Catholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, Dignity USA’s executive director, claimed that LGBT people are “officially banned from marriage and ordination” and often denied other sacraments.

We can’t be fully equal if we are barred from any of our Church’s sacraments,” she said.

The audacious lie, in case you didn’t catch it, is “that LGBT people are ‘officially banned from marriage and ordination’.”

I’m confident that lots of Gs are knowingly ordained; indeed, the Pope famously said of a (celibate) G-Priest, “who am I to judge?”

And if a B showed up saying “I’m committed to to following the teachings of the church on sexuality and my fiancé and I wish the sacrament of Holy Matrimony before our first marital act,” there’d be both rejoicing in heaven and a quick check of the church calendar for available dates.

Dignity is right about one thing, though: Ls are denied ordination, with the exception of those Ls that are genderqueer men who love women. Dang! It’s just so complicated! I’m not even sure I’ve got my terminology right!

The other audacity, not exactly a lie, is that if you’re not allowed to redefine a sacrament to suit your preferences, you’re denied the sacrament.


I may have underestimated Donald Trump’s qualifications to be President:

  • He owns a bunch of casinos and “real estate development.” The government, too, is a racket.
  • People while away their casino hours in denial of reality and in hopes of a big score. The government sponsors bread and circuses to keep us from noticing how much we’re losing.
  • Some of the casinos have gone bankrupt. [Fill in the blank]

* * * * *

“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)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.