Monday, 8/30/15

  1. Don’t mystify the “sex industry”
  2. What if Hillary implodes?
  3. How NYT celebrates Sunday
  4. Hatfield, McCoy, rattlesnakes, Republicans
  5. Heaven & Hell


Please don’t mystify the sex industry. Don’t assume it’s vastly different from other types of exploitation and human cruelty. The real lives of those who are trafficked or prostituted or made into pornography are often indistinguishable from the real lives of victims of rape, incest and intimate partner violence. The main difference is money. Profits turn sexual assault of children, rape, domestic violence, humiliation and sexual harassment, and pictures taken of those things – into a business enterprise.

(Melissa Farley, Pornography: Prostitution’s Identical Twin) Thank goodness, a New York Times Op-Ed also gets it right. Amnesty International gets it perversely wrong.

Hillary can carp all she wants about “war on women,” but the real war on women of the last 50 years has marched under a progressive banner.


Speaking of Hillary, I’ve been assuming that she has the Democrat nomination sewn up, but I’m starting to wonder.

Terry Mattingly, a savvy Christian of Democrat affiliation, has urged Joe Biden to run because he thinks Biden remembers and understands what the Democrat party used to be — the party of the working man (I’ve said repeatedly that the party forsook the working man in 1972) — and that Biden would at least lend an ear to the concerns of the working class and Biden’s own Catholic Church. If Hillary is the candidate, he says, he won’t vote for her because of the history of Clintonian corruption and the signs that it’s ongoing. He even speculates that Biden may be testing the waters because he knows what’s in Hillary’s e-mails.

Meanwhile, Conrad Close at Red State proposed that (among other things) a New Republican party reel in those socially conservative working class Democrats. If they try that, I think they should point out that a lot of progressive social causes have produced luxury goods for the rich that are devastating when they trickle down to the working and poor — for instance, starlots (rhymes with “harlots”) and popstars whelping out of wedlock.

(Side note: Mattingly questions the supposed Evangelical support of Trump since the polling omits the ever-crucial “how often do you go to church?” question and because no major Evangelical leader supports the diabolical thrice married vice lord.)


The New York Times on Sunday had both a story about a transgender pioneer and a storywall for transgender stories.

I suppose I could fulminate about “propagandizing” and “desensitization,” and my fulminations would be justified because trans stories are, in addition to being very trendy and marketable, in the same progressive key the Times always sings in on social issues. But I’m not going to go there.

Instead, I’m going to note that if I had time to learn about trans issues, the Times is not what I consider a reliable source.

Sadly, I don’t know who is reliable (no offense meant to my young acquaintances who fall various places in today’s alphabet soup of gender descriptions; that you’re “living it” gives you a distinctive perspective, but also subjects you to confirmation bias, just as I’m subject to it). I’ve seen debates in conservative fora (Public Discourse here and here), and they are conducted around the aspects that strike me as important, whereas the Times and other progressive fora seem to reflexively want instant affirmation for every expression of an aberrant inner state.

I know the Bible starts off and is pervaded with “male and female he made them.” But it also refers to “heavens above” and “waters under the earth” — locutions that encouraged incorrigible scientific error for too long (as least in the mythology of science and religion). It’s too common to try to make the Bible say more, and say things more literally, than is warranted. Historic Christianity has never viewed the Bible as a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about everything. For that matter, even those who may get carried away and say the Bible does contain everything you need to know about everything don’t really live as if that were true. They still study all kinds of things other than Bible (starting with Bible commentaries).

But the reality is, I don’t have time to learn much about trans issues, and if I did have much spare time, I can think of more pressing issues with which to while away the hours.

So I think my default is going to have to be (1) treat every human person I meet with dignity; (2) don’t take as gospel everything people say about their “identity” in this confused age (but do take introspective reports seriously); (3) expect to hit verbal tripwires and to apologize for any legitimate offense given; but (4) don’t be cowed into silence by bogus offense taken by precious snowflakes. Did I miss anything?


True story from about 40 years in my past.

I was working in a small town in Oklahoma. I was surprised that the business office of the hospital where I worked had several women who were in stable marriages formed at age 16 or 17, and I enjoyed talking to them. (One key seemed to be they always knew how to work and were not indulged with 10 years of nonstop partying from menarch or first shave to B.A.)

Well, rattlesnake hunting (and eating!) was big in that part of Oklahoma. One of the young women in the business office mentioned that her husband, brothers and dad were going rattlesnake hunting.

Me: Why are they so eager to kill rattlesnakes? I hear they keep down rats and other vermin.

Her: Oh, they hate rattlesnakes!

Me: Why do they hate rattlesnakes? I hear they pretty much leave people alone unless startled.

Her: One bit my dad and he almost died.

Me: Oh, he startled it?

Her: No, they were hunting ’em. They hate ’em!

I suspect she’s still married to the same man and that they’ll both vote Republican next Fall (because that’s the kind of state Oklahoma is and that logic sound like GOP foreign policy in the Muslim world).


Heaven and Hell are a condition of relationship with God that is either theosis or perdition. The lake of fire and heaven occur within the same realm, both being not about places, but about relationship. For one who hates God such a place as in the presence of God, will be eternal suffering. The Orthodox Church teaches that Heaven and Hell are in the same realm, and that Hell is not separation from God symbolically or physically, Hell is a place chosen.

(Abbot Tryphon) I quoted the most abstract, doctrinal part. Most of the short devotional is down-to-earth and painfully personal.

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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)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.