Sunday, 10/4/15

  1. What Protestants want from Catholics
  2. Dissenters to America: Resist!
  3. Tipsy changes his mind
  4. Carry Nation
  5. I’m just a Pope who can’t say “no”
  6. I have no idea what this means


Ethika Politica has begun an interesting series, written by Protestants: “What I want from Catholics.”

We need to know what Protestants think about Catholics. We may not want to hear what they have to say, but we need to hear it anyway.

As lots and lots of people have noticed, in a secularizing culture the serious Christians find themselves thrown together in ways they weren’t fifty years ago, or even thirty, or perhaps even ten. Lots of people celebrate it. Few seem to think about the cost.

The Catholic holding his rosary may admire the Baptist singing “What a friend we have in Jesus” as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue on a cold day in late January to protest Roe v. Wade. The Baptist may admire the Catholic. They could even link arms or hold hands. But they’re still deeply divided on very basic matters and those differences don’t go away just because they unite in opposing abortion.

(David Mills) The first installment, from Bruce Riley Ashford, of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, begins with an accurate admission:

In recent months, conservative Catholics and Protestants have been reminded of the important ground they share on matters of public import. Together we read the Supreme Court’s majority opinion redefining the institution of marriage. Together we watched the video footage of Planned Parenthood executives and medical staffers speaking so flippantly about taking the lives of unborn children and selling the dismembered body parts—and were together unsettled to find that many of our fellow citizens consent to such practices.

I mean no disparagement toward the many Protestant Christians and public theologians who have spoken on public square issues, but an honest assessment reveals that for nearly half a century, Catholics have most often been the ones best prepared to speak to issues like these and have taken the lead in speaking out in the public square. Thank God they have.

What do I want from Catholics? I want them to continue to stand in the public square and speak with moral clarity and conviction. I hope Catholics will continue to produce many of the nation’s most compelling and articulate opponents of abortion and marriage redefinition—just as, in decades past, they produced many of the most powerful and compelling opponents of Communism. I hope they will continue fostering an ecclesial environment that yields such public intellectuals as Richard John Neuhaus, Robert P. George, R. R. Reno, and David Mills.

(Emphasis added)

It might be more accurate to say “the ones best prepared to speak to issues like this in terms you need not be a Protestant fundamentalist to understand.” I’ve been in public meetings where the (I hate to use a pejorative, but in this case it fits) Bible Bangers inveighed, sometimes literally with worn black Bible in hand, with “abomination” and such. I’m convinced that they left the tacit impression that there was no reason to oppose what they did oppose (as did I) other than a rather dogmatic religion …


… and that’s a shame because all you really need to do sometimes is to slip the white-hot needle of truth into the balloon of hubris, as does Austin Ruse in calling for demoting the Supreme Court from its high horse:

They imposed faux marriage on the whole country with the majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy getting snickers from left, right and center ….

More simple truth, quoting Matthew Franck:

Obergefell presents us with judicial aggrandizement on a truly grand scale … What was stunning about the decision was its peculiar brazenness. The sheer boldness of the pretense that the Constitution guarantees a right of same-sex marriage was breathtaking. And the blundering incompetence of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion, which almost defies analysis because it answered to no legal norms or categories, was infuriating.

Franck (paraphrased by Ruse) continues a provocative suggestion that the terminology of the dissents to Obergefell may be an invitation for the dissenters’ fellow citizens to resist the majority’s brazen usurpation:

In his Obergefell dissent, Chief Justice Roberts refers only seven or eight times to the Justices in the majority as “the Court” and each time in reference to what the Court has “done.” When it comes to the Court’s reasoning, Roberts refers to them as “the majority” and he does this a whopping 66 times. Franck says, “This in itself indicates that for the chief justice, the opinion of “the majority” is not to be dignified with the honorable title ‘opinion of the Court.’ It lacks the constitutional legitimacy such a description indicates.”

The dissenters nevertheless treat the majority opinion as having settled the issue, it would appear, leaving me to wonder what resistance would look like. Tree-spiking?

It’s clear that Ruse/Franck are challenging some version of “judicial supremacy.” I invite you over to Ruse’s article to figure the rest out.


I still change my mind sometimes. After hearings some horror stories about denials of due process to the accused and catching a glimpse of the institutional conflicts of interest, it seemed clear to me that courts, not campuses, should decide sexual abuse cases. But the debate, and one debater’s points in particular, changed my mind.

My position now is that the person claiming to have been sexually assaulted should be able to keep it on campus if <stereotype>she</stereotype> wishes. I just wish the bureaucrats who administer Title IX could come up with some model “safe harbor” policies for investigating sexual assaults on campus that respect due process. Campuses are often screwing that up badly.

But let’s not fail to think outside the box of “who decides?” There may be groping in the laboratory, but the big cases, the rapes are overwhelmingly alcohol-fueled. When even a Missouri Synod Lutheran university girls dorm room has “drink till he’s cute” painted florescently the wall (I saw it with my own eyes), there’s a problem. Do you think we could maybe do better about campus binge drinking?


Speaking with characteristic Bush inelegance, Jeb Bush came closer to the truth with “stuff happens” than does Obama with his suggestion that we’re numb to mass shootings and really should get up and do something.

Not if anything we do would make things worse, we shouldn’t.

There’s a word even beyond “ADD” for the compulsion to never let a good tragedy go to waste: “reactionary.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If there’s no solution, there’s no “problem.”

"If there's no solution, there's no problem."
“If there’s no solution, there’s no problem.”

Solutionless problems are properly called “evils,” and evil is ineradicable.

Yes, I’m aware of cute mêmes from the Onion, like this and this timeless classic. And I’ve seen bar charts an other scientific trappings. But there are an awful lot of variables, not even counting the Second Amendment, and I dare say if conservatives attacked a liberal shibboleth (few shibboleths are as vacuous as the call for “common sense,” by the way) with mêmes and bar charts, they’d be rightly called “simplistic.”

I probably should note that my mind is not closed on this topic. Maybe there are some things we can do that won’t make things worse overall.

(Notice that I didn’t even try to change the topic to the anti-Christian animus of the latest shooter?)


This kind of makes sense of Pope Francis:

Bergoglio wants to be loved by everyone and please everyone. In this sense one day he will talk on TV against abortion and the next day he will bless the pro abortionist in the Plaza de Mayo; he could give a marvelous talk against the Masons (Masonic Order) and, an hour later, eat and drink with them at the Rotary Club…….this is the Cardinal Bergoglio whom I know close up. One day busy in a lively chat with Bishop Aguer about the defense of life and the liturgy and the same day, at dinner, having a lively talk with Mons. Ysern and Mons. Rosa Chavez about base communities and the terrible obstacles that are presented by the Church’s dogmatic teachings. One day a friend of Cardinal Cipriani and Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga speaking about business ethics and against the New Age ideology and little latter a friend of Casaldaliga and Boff speaking about the class struggle and the “richness” of Eastern techniques which could contribute to the Church.

I have a State Representative who’s sorta like that. (H/T Rod Dreher, by the way.)

If this is the key Pope Francis insight, though, does it rule out “steel in the spine” when it’s needed? If the Pope smiles and makes nice with everyone at the next Synod, are there enough Cardinals of orthodox leaning who know they’ll need to step up to the plate while the Pope plays umpire/Chairman of the Board?


Speed was involved in a jumping-related incident while a fox was brown.

(According to official records, a personage calling him/her self Vijith Assar was involved in the authorship of An Interactive Guide to Ambiguous Grammar)

* * * * *

“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.