Thursday, September 9, 2010

Questions regarding the Brave New Definition of "Marriage"

Take the Halpern definition of marriage as a "union of two persons." Not only is this definition new, lacking any historical or legal pedigree, it is also vague to the point of being unsustainable in public policy. Certainly we must ask many questions of it that are difficult to answer. Exactly what sort of union does it have in view? Given that the union no longer answers to a procreative norm, what marks it out as something of particular value to society, worthy of public recognition and support? Is there even a standard against which it can be measured? If it is a union based on love, how shall we define love, and is the mere profession of love sufficient? Need the love, or at all events the commitment, be sexual? Sexual or otherwise, why should the union in question be a union of only two? And if a union of two, why should it continue to be exclusive? Why, for that matter, should it be for life? Such questions are not merely hypothetical. They are being put, and they will be put, not only in civil discourse but if necessary also in the courts.
--Douglas Farrow, Divorcing Marriage, "Facing Reality", pp. 155-6

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Theism does not require

The purpose of this post is not to argue against the Atheist that God exists. The point of this post is simply to remind certain Theists in this country that belief in God does not imply other beliefs. For instance, belief in God does not imply belief that America is His special messenger or His special Angel of Vengeance. From this it follows that a Theist need not believe that it is America's divine mission to spread its version of democracy throughout the world or to kill millions of people to do so. Theism also does not require belief that the free market is God's way of rewarding the righteous on earth. In fact, nothing about Theism prevents the devout believer from thinking insanely successful Capitalists are not righteous at all but thieving bastards, whose outrageous larcenies and depredations cry out to God for sulfurous vengeance. It should also be noted that whereas it is possible to defend Theism with philosophical argument (e.g. the Five Ways of Aquinas), the beliefs in the divine mission of American Imperialism and the virtue of Capitalism can be held only by a willfully blind faith.

Other examples of beliefs commonly mistaken to be corollaries of Theism are: the notion that Israel has the absolute right to treat Palestinians like pieces of shit, the idea that Chastity Balls really prevent fornication and do not indulge the incestuous fantasies of really, really creepy dads, the belief that Glenn Beck is NOT a certifiable lunatic, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Theism is merely the proposition that there is a personal, almighty being that created the universe and sustains it. Such a proposition has NOTHING to do with murderous American Imperialism, Capitalist Catastrophes, the fascist state of Israel, the sleaziness of Chastity Balls, or Glenn Beck's hyperventilating histrionics. And for this only one thing is appropriate to say: Thank God!

Friday, July 30, 2010

De gustibus vero disputandum est

One night my dear mother (may God rest her eternal Soul!) and I were in the car, coming home from somewhere. Probably from the grocery store, but I really can't remember (because I am old and decrepit). We were listening to the radio. It was a classical musical station, most likely 99.1 FM (Now Joy FM--you happy-clappy evangelicals can go fuck yourselves because you are barbaric boobs who, if you ever attain the Beatific Vision, will be utterly unable to appreciate it because you have shown yourselves utterly impervious to the sublime, but I digress). I have no idea what was playing but shall never ever forget that it was a piece in which violins were quite prominent indeed. For I said to Mother that I thought violins sounded like cat screams. Mother got angry and proceeded to chide me for what by her lights was an obvious aesthetic stupidity on my part.

Right now I am listening to a recording of Bach's works for solo violin, and the violin is miked rather closely. In other words, the violin is rather loud. It does sound like a very raw, shrill scream even when it plays Bach's blissful fugues. But a cat scream is not at all an apt description, of course, and my Mother was right to dismiss it as an idle stupidity of a child who just wants to hear his own chatter. The scream of the violin does not express the ephemeral irritation of a savage id. It expresses the pain of human longing. And if one cannot see the beauty in that, then he might as well be a self-absorbed cat.

I shall be forever grateful that my Mother bullied me into liking the painful sound of the violin. Especially now that she is dead, and even after twenty-two years of her absence, I still long to see her, and the only thing I know that can articulate this enormous, enduring, and ineradicable ache is a persistently screaming violin.

Mutti, ich liebe Dich, and Du gehst mir schmerzlich ab.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why I am not a Protestant

[This is a scene from a play that I never wrote. Actually, I just wrote this scene, and it's not very good. I include it here because it does have the merit of explaining why I would never be a Protestant.

The play was supposed to about Marlene Nowotniak. She is a very bright 16 year old girl and a very beautiful one as well.  She likes to frequent a used bookstore, owned by Friedrich Nietzsche (I just decided to put Nietzsche in for the hell of it), who has as his indentured servant a very bizarre but orthodox Catholic, Ken Silenus.  Ken tries to convince Marlene of the need to believe in Catholicism to understand  Shakespeare properly.  Marlene will have none of it, though, saying that she likes Shakespeare just fine as an atheist. 

Much to Ken's horror, the charming and elegant and witty Marlene falls head over heels for a quaterback from her High School.  His name is Scott Coiler, and he is a grunt, the type that thinks poetry is for the limp-wrists.  Ken, alarmed by Marlene's rather embarrassing public displays of affection with Scott, sternly warns Marlene of the dangers and sinfulness of pre-marital sex, but Marlene does not heed and does it, anyway.  Then Scott goes off and gets saved at a Bible Youth Camp.  Upon his return Scott promptly dumps Marlene because she is an imbiber of secular humanism.  Other boys at the High School dump their girlfriends for the same reason.  Marlene starts to fight back.  She starts the Dumped by Elmer Gantry Club, which proceeds to trumpet loudly the names of the boys who were players before they got saved--and after.  This irks the Christian Youth Group, named Dudes for Christ.  The Youth Minister, John Knox, has a sit down with Scott about this matter.  Scott suggests that the kook at the used book store put Marlene up to this, whereupon John Knox and he go pay Ken Silenus a visit.]

(Mr. Knox and Scott enter. Ken is at the cash register, puffing away.)

Ken:  Yeah, I am just about to close. What the fuck do you want?

John Knox:  Hello, Mr. Silenus, my name is John Knox. This will just take a second, I promise.  I think you know Scotty here.

Ken:  (exhaling a great big wad of smoke) Yeah, I've seen him around.

JK:  Well, I am with the Dudes for Christ, and Scott here is my main dude in Christ.  Aren't you, Scotty?

Scott:  Amen, Dude.  (High fives Mr. Knox)

Ken:  (muttering under his breath) Ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.

JK:  And we're here to... (finally notices Ken's T-Shirt, which reads:  "I'd rather be a gay porn fluffer than a Protestant.")  Mr. Silenus, I realize, we live in a free country and you have the God-given right to express whatever you want...

Ken:  (exhales yet another great big wad of smoke, this time in the direction of John Knox)

JK:  ...but I must tell you that your T-Shirt does not send off good Christian vibes.  Scotty here told me you're Catholic, and that's cool.  We respect that.

Scott:  Did your priest tell ya to be his fluffer in confession?

JK:  Now, now, Scotty, that doesn't send off good Christian vibes, either.

Ken:  (throws his cigarette down on the floor, stamps it out, and fishes in his front pants pocket for another)

Scott:  Well, did he?

Ken:  No, I was too busy sacrificing Protestant babies in the crypt.  (lights the next one in the chain)

JK:  Our Lord told us not to dis our enemies, remember?  Scotty?  Not that we think Catholics are our enemies, of course.  No, Mr. Silenus, we are, as Vatican II, your most recent council, decreed, Brethren in Christ.  That t-shirt of yours really does not jibe with the Spirit of your own denomination, does it now, Mr. Silenus. As one Christian to another, as one brother in Christ to another brother, I would tell you to take it off.

Ken:  Nah, it's cold.

JK:  I got some extra Dude for Christ t-shirts in my duffel bag.  You want one of those?

Ken:  No, I do not.  See, I really would prefer to be a cocksucker than a Protestant, especially one in his late fifties who goes around carrying Dude for Christ t-shirts.

JK:  Now, look here... I'm 49, and...

Ken:  Just, please, state your business here.  I am about to close.

Scott:  Stop feeding Marlene all your bullshit!

Ken:  And what bullshit would that be, Scott?  Praytell, like telling her any guy who would fuck her and leave her is a paradigmatic asshole?  Bullshit like that, Scott?

Scott:  Whatever

Ken:  You are a textbook example of a grunt.

JK:  Yes, Scott sinned, Mr. Silenus.  "There is no one who does good, not
even one."  Romans 3:12.  We're all sinners, Mr. Silenus, but we've all been
washed clean and pure of our iniquities in the blood of the lamb, Jesus

Ken:  That one righteous dude!

JK:  (JK is ready to high five Ken, and Ken in a moment of reluctant charity
lets him)  Yes, isn't God awesome?

Ken:  Now, let's do the wave.

JK:  Mr. Silenus, this is an awesome message of mercy and love that we are trying to spread in an area where the kids desperately need it.  Their parents make them feel worthless if they get anything less than a five on their AP exam or they don't make the first string of the football team.

Ken:  Of if they throw six interceptions for three consecutive games.

Scott:  Hey!!

JK:  Now, Scotty, he has a point.

Scott:  Whatever.

JK:  The kids have no hope unless they can prove themselves to be successful candidates for the upper-middle-class.  And we want to tell them that hope does not depend on that kind of social status.  No, it is light years more permanent than that for it rests in the permanent and final sacrifice of that one righteous dude, Jesus Christ.  He'll love you no matter what, even if you do get a four on the AP or make it only to second string.

Ken:  Your point:

JK:  This is a message that is really saving kids' lives and is giving them hope, and now it is being undermined by Marlene Nowotniak's club.  She is making us look bad.

Ken:  Yes, and?

JK:  Could you just talk to Marlene for us?  Could you tell her that she is doing much more harm than good?

Ken:  No, and I got to close.  Bye.

JK:  I know you think we are spreading anti-romanist heresy.  Yes, I know you are a very, er, gung-ho Catholic.  But we are bringing people to Christ. We are snatching kids away from their despair...

Ken:  ...and their responsibility.

Scott:  Look, I sinned, okay?  The whole state knows I boinked Marlene.  But
you sin, right?

JK:  The Lord knows I do, my man!

Ken:  Please, no high five this time.

Scott:  And you sin.  You're sinning right now by filling your body with
that shit.   And you're body s supposed to be a temple for God.

Ken:  (blowing smoke in Scott's face) So, sin is sin, eh?

JK:  Exactly.  We are sinful by nature, and it is by Christ's mercy alone
that we are covered with that awesome grace that makes us acceptable to Him.

Ken:  So, smoking a fag is as depraved and rancid as deflowering a sixteen
year old. 

Scott:  I would never blow a fag.  I don't do that shit.  I ain't no homo.

JK:  Scott, "fag" is British for cigarette.  Calm down.

Scott:  Well, I don't smoke neither.

JK:  In God's eyes, yes.  It's all equally evil.

Ken:  Mr. Knox, I will not dissuade Marlene from her campaign.  I will only encourage her.  Now, if you will be so kind as to remove your heretical asses from my establishment.

Scott:  But she don't even believe in God.  She believes in Darwin and that crap.

JK:  Scotty here has a point.  Do you really want the secularist poison to
prevail over the Gospel?

Ken:  Yup.  I really do.  Because I vomit at the notion that the theft of a paper clip is as evil as, say, the systematic gassing of millions of innocent men, women, and children.

JK:  Not one of us is innocent.

Ken:  Oh, yes, we are all totally,  comprehensively, fucking depraved.  So depraved that God has to mask us with a bodycast of grace just to look at us.  I want to be loved for who I am, not for some mask I wear.  And if God can love us only with a mask, then fuck God.

JK:  "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body."

Ken:  Oh, shove James up your ass.  You people love James 3, but you're not so hot on James 2.  Or James 5, where he mentions sins that cry out to the heavens for vengeance.  Well, what your main dude Scotty did is just such a sin.

Scott:  Show me that in the Bible, asshole.

JK:  Now, Scotty.

Ken:  Fuck the Bible.  I am talking about what was in front of your very eyes, what you touched, whose sweet voice whispered "I love you" in your ear.  A beautiful woman who loved you so much she gave you her everthing, her body, her soul.  She put her very temple at your disposal.  Even though you are the Protestant paragon of the totally depraved Adam, whose good deeds, if thereare any, are nothing but filthy rags.  But she loved you all the same, and if that's not the incarnation of gratuitous grace, of amazing grace, of the free, unmerited gift that you Prots always yap about, then fuck Luther's God.  And to reject such amazing grace is nothing less than the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.  A cocksucker, as perverse and vile as he is, shows more gratitude towards God's creation than do you, and that's why I wear this t-shirt with pride.

JK:  It sounds like you worship earthly creatures.  It is my duty as a Christian to warn you against idolatry.

Ken:  It is my duty as a very tired shopkeeper to tell you to leave, please.

JK: I'll be praying for you.

Ken: Sure. Now go, please.

Scott:  (on his way out)  Marlene is not God, and Mary isn't God, either.

Ken:  Whatever.

Targeted facebook ads

Well, there's been a lot of concern and consternation about privacy on the social networking site facebook. The Powers that Be at facebook want information from you, so that they can tailor ads just for your specific needs and wants. This is creepy, I must admit, but after seeing the latest ad targeted at me, I must say that the Huckstering Big Brother at facebook is not prying all that much into my facebook page. In the last two days I have been writing quite a bit about Israel. And, what do you know, I get this ad:
Tell Congress you support Israel and we'll send you a free book. Join Christians United for Israel and sign the Israel pledge today!
Facebook Huckstering Big Brother is obviously a dumbfuck that needs to take a remedial reading course for everything I've written about Israel has been denunciatory such as, say, "Israel can go fuck herself." Or facebook Big Brother's data-collecting program just saw that I am a Christian who mentions Israel repeatedly, sufficient criteria to trigger the program's algorithm to send that ad to me. In other words, facebook Big Brother has even less understanding than Searle's Chinese Box, and this is supposed to worry me?

Yeah, I am a Christian, but hardly one who has a hard-on for Israel. I'm Catholic. The New Israel for me is the Catholic Church. The Modern State of Israel has no religious significance for me at all. I don't believe that slitting the throat of a Perfectly Red Heifer will hasten the Rapture. I don't believe that a rebuilt Temple is God's will; it is nothing but an insane fantasy that, if actually realized, would make the whackoes in the Middle East even more apeshit than they already are.

No, I don't stand with Israel. I think the world would be a better place if the United States stopped sending Israel billions of dollars in aid every year and gave that money to a worthier cause like, say, CitiBank. And it could give the weapons to a worthier clientele, too, like, say, English Soccer Fans.

I must note that the Israeli Propaganda Machine is getting very desperate indeed if it is now asking Christians to sign an "Israel Pledge". If it's as successful as all those Virginity Pledges have been, AIPAC will soon see 50% of its base bearing bastards by Palestinians and Chomskyite self-hating Jews.

Of course, I could be all wrong about the fuck-up that sent this ad to me. Perhaps, it isn't a fuck-up at all, but a Mossad marker. They're on to me. Targeted ad leads to targeted assassination. Makes sense after all. I am critical of Israel. I have knives in the kitchen. I have chairs. And while I don't have any pipe handy or crowbars, I do have real scary yard tools. I must be a terrorist.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yesterday's Thunderstorms

Apparently the St. Louis Area was afflicted with tremendous thunderstorms yesterday. There were ferocious and frequent cracks of lightning. Downpours. Motorists had to pull off to the sides of highways. Bows broke. Down came baby, cradle and all. It was, from what I heard, all quite Wagnerian and Apocalyptic. So, my question is: what St. Louisan in the Eighteenth Century made a pact with Satan? Someone must have. How else can one explain such Götterdämmerung-like weather? The question is who. Inquiring minds want to know, Mr. Robertson.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Seven years ago yesterday the United States of America committed an international crime. It invaded a country that had not attacked it. This country did not even pose a credible threat to the U.S., imminent or otherwise. It was a war of aggression, pure and simple. This is not just any international crime. It is what Robert Jackson, the chief U.S. Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, called "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." Mr. Jackson was, of course, referring to the Wars of Aggression waged by Nazi Germany, and some will say, of course, that Jackson would never ever say this of us because the U.S.A. always goes to war with the noblest of intentions. This is supposed to mean that it is fine and dandy when we kill people because we are, unlike the Nazis, noble. Yeah, I'll remember that when I hold up a convenience store. Hey, officer, I robbed and killed the clerk because I am noble. I was fighting for freedom. So, how dare you treat me like a criminal.

Every official reason for the Iraq War has turned out to be a lie and a sick, ugly joke. Iraq was a big, bad, ominous threat even though it could not knock out one plane enforcing the two no-fly zones over its territory despite twelve years of repeated attempts. Well, Iraq was stockpiling WMD even though its defense budget could barely afford spitballs. These WMD stockpiles were never ever found because they did not exist.

We said we went to war to make Iraq a better place. If that's true, then why does Iraq have the biggest refugee problem of any country on the planet? If Iraq is truly better for our having invaded it, bombed the shit out of it, and saturated its soil and air with depleted uranium, then why do the Iraqis want to flee?

We said we went to Iraq to bring freedom. Tell that to thousands of women who have become sex slaves just so they can feed themselves. Tell that to the millions more who have lost the rights that they had under the Baathist Regime and are now subject to the cruel whimsies of Sharia Law.

I repeat, Iraq did not attack us. Iraq did not threaten us. Iraq could not threaten us. We did not make that country better. He have made it worse. We have fucked it over. More children are starving and dying of preventable diseases than under Saddam's Tyranny. We did not fight the war to bring freedom but to bring profits to Haliburton, Bechtel, Exxon, etc. We invaded Iraq to feed our gluttony and because we just like to kill and kill and rape and kill.

All this is obvious, but there are incredibly still people who support the Iraq War, and among these psychopaths are people who have the temerity to call themselves "pro-life". They claim to stand up for the weak and defenseless, and yet they cheered Bush on when he bombed and bombed and bombed a very weak country. They cheered him on while he committed the "supreme international crime", the crime that made Nazi Germany infamous. And yet these neo-Nazis have the gall to call themselves pro-life.

I want them to stop. I have stated this many times before and I shall state it until the message gets though every thick skull of every loathsome, bloodthirsty bastard that sullies the pro-life name. You people who support American Foreign Policy have forfeited your right to call yourselves pro-life. American Foreign Policy is pro-torture, pro-murder, pro-death, the very opposite of pro-life. Do you understand that you are making a mockery of the pro-life cause? Do you realize that you are doing damage to the pro-life cause? Do you understand that when you call yourselves pro-life and yet rally behind a patently unjust war the way the Germans did at the Sportpalast, "pro-life" becomes for any sane person an object of scorn and disgust? Do you realize this? If you don't, then you can go fuck yourselves and go to hell.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We're next!

So, all the plates around us have moved. God's Wrath has been working overtime. Haiti got hit because a few uppity slaves made a pact with Satan two centuries ago. Chile elected as president an agnostic woman who wears pants. It was obviously a matter of time before God would unload his can of whoopass on them. The Japanese worshiped Hirohito, exported defective cars, and eat really ugly, slimy bottomfeeders that squirt out black ooze. But the Japanese know they are evil, hellbound heathens and have made all their buildings earthquake proof in anticipation of God's ire.

Now, we haven't had a major earthquake in the States for decades. Even though we elected George Bush der Zweite, made Brittany Spears a star, and forced everyone to listen to Madonna. We've just been begging God to pulverize us, and I'd expect the New Madrid Fault will soon split wide open in the middle of this blaspheming and oh so tacky nation, and every single American will fall into the pit of hell. If Haiti, Chile, and Japan have to pay for their many sins, we do as well. We're next.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. All Catholics are obligated under pain of perpetual perdition not merely to abstain from the consumption of meat but to fast as well. Now, fasting does not mean not eating. It has a very specific meaning, having been defined with the greatest of rigorist care by expert and holy Canon Lawyers.

On Ash Wednesday, Catholics between the ages of fourteen and fifty-nine are allowed only one full meal, and the other two meals must each be half the size of the single permitted full one. If either is more than half, then get used to an eternity of searing, screaming AGONY IN HELL! And, remember, you may not have any meat (fish and crustaceans excepted), either.

So, today I plan to have lobster for breakfast, lobster for lunch, and, because I am an obedient son of the Church, two lobsters for dinner. God, how I love my Jesuit Education!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A good line

One of the more worrisome aspects of being a lonely middle-aged guy is the bad habit of laughing at one's own jokes and quips. But I think I had a fairly good line today. Of course, being a lonely middle-aged guy, I would think this. Self-flattery is rather icky, true, but it does stave off desperation.

Anyway, I was at one of my favorite haunts where I learned that one of the prettier barmaids (I use the term loosely, mind) is slated to be married this coming October. Her wedding will be in Las Vegas even though she and her fiancé both live in St. Louis. Upon receipt of this information, I quipped, "Yes, nothing says undying love and devotion like a wedding in Vegas.

Her fellow barmaids (remember that this term is quite loose) burst out laughing. The soon-to-be bride did not. Oh, well. A majority thought it was funny, and who am I to contradict democracy?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why is Pat Robertson so stupid?

Well, I am glad you asked that, my token black sub-host, because I can give you the answer since I am the host of an international television show watched by millions of people who have read only one book--if any, that is--and have mercilessly been spared the burden of critical thinking. So, it doesn't matter whether I am a historical authority or no; my viewers think I am, and, God bless 'em, who am I, a lowly servant in God's vineyard, to say that they are wrong?

Anyway, a long time ago back in 18th Century England, when Lord Cromwell was king--or was it Otto von Bismark, it doesn't matter--Pat Robertson's great-great-great-great-great granddady, the Earl of Robertshire, wanted to spend a little extra time reading Holy Scripture with his young maid. But he did not want his wife finding out. So, the Earl made a pact with Satan. He would give his soul to Satan if Satan distracted his wife while he shared some Biblical knowledge with the maid. Now, the Earl of Robertshire knew that once saved, he would always be saved, and he had definitely been saved once. So, he knew that Satan would have no power over him, regardless of the terms of the pact.

Unfortunately, it was the Earl who was duped because it was not Satan with whom he made the deal, but Satan's stupid twin brother, Virgil, who did not understand the Baptist Doctrine of Eternal Security. And so, when the Earl of Robertshire finally died of what was then known as the French Disease, Virgil, utterly ignorant of Baptist Theology, took the Earl's soul down to hell, and everyone in the Earl's family has been stupid ever since down to this very day.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I have to add

Pat Robertson claimed that the Haitians sold their soul to the Devil in exchange for freedom from the French. I did some checking on this. Haiti was a French Slave Colony in the Eighteenth Century. And then the French Revolution happened, and news of this momentous event reached the Haitian Slaves. Well, those slaves weren't stupid. They thought that if the French People could throw off their shackles, the inhabitants of Haiti could do so as well and, therefore, started a rebellion. This rebellion was long and very bloody. The French demonstrated therein their conviction that the Universal Rights of Man did not extend to poor black slaves. Nevertheless, the Slaves fought on and eventually defeated the French racists. This was the only successful slave rebellion in history, and that's what irks Pat Robertson. The nigger can't be superior to his White Betters, and if the former defeats the latter, well, that is contrary to Divinely Ordained Nature of Things and, hence, can be explained only as a Satanic Perversion.

Pat Robertson, you are a vile racist, and racism is a Satanic Perversion. For all I know, you may be the incarnation of Satan. That would not surprise me in the least.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pact with Satan

Someone observed today on Mark Shea's weblog that had Haiti really made a pact with the devil, as Pat Robertson has claimed, the country would now be rich instead of the pathetic basket case of a mudball that it now is. It would be a country like, say, Great Britain or The United States of America. I wholeheartedly agree.

Think about it. Satan is in the damnation business. No one really likes damnation. And so if Satan is ever gonna get people to accept eternal perdition, he must advertise. And the history of Haiti is just a lousy commercial for the sale of one's soul. Hey, everyone, sell your soul, and end up like Haiti, a poor country that the United States likes to fuck with just for fun. Doesn't work, does it?

This pitch works a lot better: Sell your soul and become the most powerful nation on earth, be able to fuck over poor countries like Haiti, and have self-righteous pricks tell you that the Haitians deserve to be the fucked-over poor because they are Satan's Spawn. Now that sounds like fun. That would get me to sell my soul.

But, alas, I am a citizen of the U.S.A. I already have.