The Circular Firing Squad

It seems now that some of the Revolutionaries of the New Order are having second thoughts about burning America to the ground.  Too much blood has been shed they fear.  They worry that blood is not just a literary metaphor, but may soon be flooding the streets of America.

They are not the first socialists to have second thoughts about the guillotine or scaffold.  Maxim Gorky too realized his mistake in 1918, but his protest was too little, too late.

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When the streets of Moscow and Petrograd (St. Petersburg) were flowing with blood, Gorky watched from his office window, as Lenin’s Cheka execution squads shot dozens of men without warrant or charges.  Gorky was horrified at what HE and other socialists had brought about.

Lenin and the Bolsheviks were their creation; their “Frankenstein.”

When he confronted Lenin in the Kremlin about the mass shootings, Lenin became enraged and said,

“How can you have a Revolution without firing squads?  What other means of repression are there?  Prisons?  Who puts any validity into that stupid idea during a civil war?  We are in a Revolution, and in a Revolution we must smash their heads and smash them without mercy!” 

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Maxim Gorky realized, too little, too late that he had helped to create a Frankenstein that he and the other socialists could no longer control.  He left Russia the following year.

Now, the Revolutionaries in America are having second thoughts about the Frankenstein that is running amok.

Harper’s Magazine is publishing the first regrets.

I fear it is too little, too late.

But as with ALL socialist revolutions waged in the name of justice and equality, every firing squad is a circular firing squad.  Justice and equality always consume their young and “useful idiots.”

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate

July 7, 2020
The below letter will be appearing in the Letters section of the magazine’s October issue. We welcome responses at letters@harpers.org

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.

Elliot Ackerman
Saladin Ambar, Rutgers University
Martin Amis
Anne Applebaum
Marie Arana, author
Margaret Atwood
John Banville
Mia Bay, historian
Louis Begley, writer
Roger Berkowitz, Bard College
Paul Berman, writer
Sheri Berman, Barnard College
Reginald Dwayne Betts, poet
Neil Blair, agent
David W. Blight, Yale University
Jennifer Finney Boylan, author
David Bromwich
David Brooks, columnist
Ian Buruma, Bard College
Lea Carpenter
Noam Chomsky, MIT (emeritus)
Nicholas A. Christakis, Yale University
Roger Cohen, writer
Ambassador Frances D. Cook, ret.
Drucilla Cornell, Founder, uBuntu Project
Kamel Daoud
Meghan Daum, writer
Gerald Early, Washington University-St. Louis
Jeffrey Eugenides, writer
Dexter Filkins
Federico Finchelstein, The New School
Caitlin Flanagan
Richard T. Ford, Stanford Law School
Kmele Foster
David Frum, journalist
Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University
Atul Gawande, Harvard University
Todd Gitlin, Columbia University
Kim Ghattas
Malcolm Gladwell
Michelle Goldberg, columnist
Rebecca Goldstein, writer
Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
David Greenberg, Rutgers University
Linda Greenhouse
Kerri Greenidge, historian
Rinne B. Groff, playwright
Sarah Haider, activist
Jonathan Haidt, NYU-Stern
Roya Hakakian, writer
Shadi Hamid, Brookings Institution
Jeet Heer, The Nation
Katie Herzog, podcast host
Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College
Adam Hochschild, author
Arlie Russell Hochschild, author
Eva Hoffman, writer
Coleman Hughes, writer/Manhattan Institute
Hussein Ibish, Arab Gulf States Institute
Michael Ignatieff
Zaid Jilani, journalist
Bill T. Jones, New York Live Arts
Wendy Kaminer, writer
Matthew Karp, Princeton University
Garry Kasparov, Renew Democracy Initiative
Daniel Kehlmann, writer
Randall Kennedy
Khaled Khalifa, writer
Parag Khanna, author
Laura Kipnis, Northwestern University
Frances Kissling, Center for Health, Ethics, Social Policy
Enrique Krauze, historian
Anthony Kronman, Yale University
Joy Ladin, Yeshiva University
Nicholas Lemann, Columbia University
Mark Lilla, Columbia University
Susie Linfield, New York University
Damon Linker, writer
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate
Steven Lukes, New York University
John R. MacArthur
, publisher, writer
Susan Madrak, writer
Phoebe Maltz Bovy
, writer
Greil Marcus
Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center
Kati Marton, author
Debra Maschek, scholar
Deirdre McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago
John McWhorter, Columbia University
Uday Mehta, City University of New York
Andrew Moravcsik, Princeton University
Yascha Mounk, Persuasion
Samuel Moyn, Yale University
Meera Nanda, writer and teacher
Cary Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine
Mark Oppenheimer, Yale University
Dael Orlandersmith, writer/performer
George Packer
Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University (emerita)
Greg Pardlo, Rutgers University – Camden
Orlando Patterson, Harvard University
Steven Pinker, Harvard University
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Katha Pollitt
, writer
Claire Bond Potter, The New School
Taufiq Rahim, New America Foundation
Zia Haider Rahman, writer
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, University of Wisconsin
Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Institution/The Atlantic
Neil Roberts, political theorist
Melvin Rogers, Brown University
Kat Rosenfield, writer
Loretta J. Ross, Smith College
J.K. Rowling
Salman Rushdie, New York University
Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment
Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University
Diana Senechal, teacher and writer
Jennifer Senior, columnist
Judith Shulevitz, writer
Jesse Singal, journalist
Anne-Marie Slaughter
Andrew Solomon, writer
Deborah Solomon, critic and biographer
Allison Stanger, Middlebury College
Paul Starr, American Prospect/Princeton University
Wendell Steavenson, writer
Gloria Steinem, writer and activist
Nadine Strossen, New York Law School
Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Harvard Law School
Kian Tajbakhsh, Columbia University
Zephyr Teachout, Fordham University
Cynthia Tucker, University of South Alabama
Adaner Usmani, Harvard University
Chloe Valdary
Lucía Martínez Valdivia, Reed College
Helen Vendler, Harvard University
Judy B. Walzer
Michael Walzer
Eric K. Washington, historian
Caroline Weber, historian
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers
Bari Weiss
Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
Garry Wills
Thomas Chatterton Williams, writer
Robert F. Worth, journalist and author
Molly Worthen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Matthew Yglesias
Emily Yoffe, journalist
Cathy Young, journalist
Fareed Zakaria

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I often post a trivia question to “Social Justice Warriors” to test their knowledge of history and to gauge the level of Marxist propaganda that they have been subjected to.  I ask:

Who has killed more card-carrying members of the Communist party in history?

The answer I most often get is, “Hitler.”

The second most popular answer is, “The U.S. Government.”

Both answers are wrong.

The correct answer is; Stalin.

Millions of loyal, hard-working, devoted to the cause Communists were shot on Stalin’s orders by other Communists.  The single most common factor in the mass-extermination of Soviet citizens was membership in the Communist Party.  Ordinary, non-party members largely escaped the firing squads.

All firing squads are circular firing squads.

Farewell to a Comrade-in-Arms | Прощай, боевой то

 

No, It’s NOT “Censorship”

OK, for those of you who have wondered and asked….

Yes, I turned off the comment section of this blog.

No, that is not “censorship” as you think of it.

And no, that does not make me, “just like Twitter or Facebook” or even Hunter Wallace’s blog Occidental Dissent.  (I know he has “culled the heard” so to speak and good for him.  Some of the people posting on OD were just insane and unstable.)  And turning off the comment section does not make me a Hitler, a Stalin, a Lenin, or a Mao.

First, I am NOT a “platform” and this blog is not a “public platform” in the way that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Gab are.

You may be thinking of this blog as some kind of “nationalist” or “Christian platform,” but you would be wrong.

This blog is NOT a public platform.

In fact, you can, (and I do), argue that these big tech social media giants are actually public utilities no different than the phone company or electric company and should be regulated as such.  However, this blog does NOT fall into any of those categories.

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Second, I do NOT make any money from this blog.  I do NOT sell anything to anyone.  I receive absolutely NOTHING from my writing.  Which is far different than social media platforms, including Gab who make money off of YOU.  I do not make money from anyone who visits this blog.  Zero.  And that is what I have in my bank account.

Third. although one could argue this blog is “public” in that anyone can visit and read my posts, I have never “tagged” this blog for wide public consumption.  In fact, this is probably the most “private” blog out there in the sense that I write mostly for myself: I am my first audience.   If there is any other “audience” my preference is to keep it small: The masses do not like, and have no interest in seeing my point of view or understanding it.

I tend to think of this blog as a cross between a private “diary” where I express my inner thoughts, and a close conversation between close long-time friends.  You can think of it in either terms.  I don’t have a problem with a small segment of “the public” reading my words, (you are welcome to do so) but I do have a problem with them (the public) expecting something from me in the way of a platform for their views.

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Fourth, I began this blog as a hobby, a release; not as debate club for people who may, (or may not), share my views on issues.

At the risk of sounding rude or blunt: I do not “owe” you, the “public” anything except perhaps honestly and etiquette.  I have never been very good at sharing things, which is why I have a innate aversion to anything that sounds like a group, a collective, or a party.  I do NOT intend to “share” this blog with anyone; even those who may agree with me.

Listen, I’m sorry if this upsets you.  But if you really want to express yourself, and say what you want without anyone hitting the “delete button” then do what I did: get your own blog and domain name.

It cost about $50 per year to own a blog like this.  Many blogs are FREE (but you have to accept ads with the free blogs.)  That’s cheap, and you can say what you want.  (Within reason; no one, even Gab, is going to host you if you make threats of violence.)

In fact, one of the many motivations to get my own blog (after years of thinking about it) was this constant de-platforming of my accounts and a “moderation” of my views of social media.  By the way, WordPress who host this blog, have never asked me to “moderate” my essays or censor my views.  I would recommend WordPress to anyone.

So, I hope you enjoy what I say in these posts, but if you do not; oh well.  There are a million other blogs out there, and one of them may be yours, if you are willing to put in the time and effort to maintain one.

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Specters of Truth

Deconstruction:  “In its simplest form it can be regarded as a criticism of Platonism and the idea of true forms, or essences, which take precedence over appearances.   Deconstruction instead places the emphasis on appearance, or suggests, at least, that essence is to be found in appearance.    Deconstruction perceives that language, especially ideal concepts such as truth and justice, is irreducibly complex, unstable, or impossible to determine.”

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I was first introduced to the concept of “Deconstruction” in the fall of 1993 when I transferred from a community college to Ohio University and began my pursuit of a BA in History.  I was 34 years old and I will never forget one of my first professors lecturing us on our “outdated” views on the nature of truth and reality in Philosophy 101.

“There is no such thing as Evil: it is an artificial construct of hegemonic Western dogma rooted in Christianity and Whiteness.  Everything you think you know about the world is an illusion.  What you think of as truth, or reality, are just specters without form or substance.  You cannot claim to know truth, because truth is unknowable.  It does not exist.  Truth, right, wrong, love, hate, justice, or morality are all subjective, artificial concepts, and constructs, and cannot be thought of as absolutes.”

(That, is what $1,400 per academic full-time quarter bought you at Ohio University back in 1993: Pure deconstruction nonsense and cultural-Marxist propaganda.)

What was once only silly deconstruction gibberish in the university classroom has now become the ruling philosophy in the United States of America and the rest of the developed Western world.  (Only China and Russia seems to have escaped this madness.)  Sex, gender, truth, morality, history, science, mathematics, and even reality itself is now thought of as “fluid” and “subjective.”

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Non-Binary

Non-binary (also spelled nonbinary or abbreviated as enby) or genderqueer is a spectrum of gender identies that are not exclusively masculine or feminine ‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary.  Non-binary identities can fall under the transgender umbrella, since many non-binary people identify with a gender that is different from their assigned sex.

Non-binary people may identify as having two or more genders (being bigender or trigender); having no gender (agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree or neutrois); moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid);  being third gender or other-gendered (a category that includes those who do not place a name to their gender).

Non-binary gender identities are not associated with a specific gender expression, such as androgyny. Non-binary people as a group have a wide variety of gender expressions, and some may reject gender “identities” altogether.  Some non-binary people are medically treated for gender dysphoria with surgery or hormones, as trans men and women are.  

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Summer Taylor was a WOMAN

She was born of a woman, and sadly, she died a few days ago as a woman: not as a “non-binary” creation of her own making.

She was made in the image of God, and in a sane, Godly society, she would have lead a normal, healthy life.  She would have gotten married, had a husband, had children and probably lived to a ripe old age.   Her sex, the reality of her God-given biology, is not a specter: without form or substance and subjective.  She was a woman.

This is Biology 101

In a world that has lost it’s mind…

In a society who’s Moral Compass is shattered and broken…

In a nation where the concept of Men and Women are thought of as, “artificial constructs”….

We must speak the TRUTH. 

Telling the truth is not “misgendering” someone.

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Klaatu’s Speech

A Black Lives Matter activist/revolutionary has died.

Her other comrade in the BLM/Antifa Revolution to destroy America is still in critical condition: she is not expected to live.

They were both standing in the middle of a freeway in Seattle, which was I-5, which is a major expressway, when they were ran over.  They were both trying and hoping to bring down the constitutional republic in which we all live.  She was, and her Black Lives Matter Comrades still are; Enemies of America.  The enemies of everything that is right, wholesome and good.

Seattle’s New Che Guevara

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Of course the driver has been arrested, and they are not showing his face so we can all assume he belongs to the tribe of Diversity.

But some haunting questions still nag me…

Where are the police?

Why were dozens of people and vehicles allowed to blockade a major interstate highway in Seattle?  What about public safety?  Who, in the end, is really responsible for this young woman’s death?  The driver? (Who they have not identified.)  Or the law enforcement authorities who we pay to keep us safe?  Why have the police abandoned the streets and allowed death and destruction to flourish unimpeded?

Thousands of years ago we came together and formed governments because we grew tired of sleeping with our swords under our pillows, with one eye still open and policing ourselves.  We knew then, and have largely forgotten now, that even the most imperfect, corrupt, unjust, “racist,” police force is better than the alternative which is this;

Bellum omnium contra omnes

A war of all, against all.

Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called War; and such a war as is of every man against every man

In such condition there is no place for Industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continual Fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.  Thomas Hobbes, 1651

Time to revisit Klaatu’s Speech

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It strikes as supreme irony that a fictional character, in a fictional science fiction film from 1951 can speak such truth to us today. 

As you watch Black Lives Matter and Antifa lay waste to this once great nation, as the local, state, and federal police stand by like impotent stone statues as they watch it all burn down, think about what Klaatu said in the film, The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Klaatu’s Speech

I am leaving soon and you’ll forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day and the threat of aggression by any group anywhere can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all or no one is secure. Now this does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly. Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves and hired policemen to enforce them. We, of the other planets, have long accepted this principle. We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets and for the complete elimination of aggression. The test of any such higher authority is, of course, the police force that supports it. For our policemen we created a race of robots. Their function is to patrol the planets in spaceships like this one and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression we have given them absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. A t the first signs of violence they act automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is we live in peace without arms or armies, secure in the knowledge that we are free from aggression and war, free to pursue more profitable enterprises. Now, we do not pretend to have achieved perfection, but we do have a system, and it works. I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.

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“There MUST be security for all, or no one is secure.”

“Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves and hired policemen to enforce them”

Please note two things:

First, Klaatu’s policeman enforcement robot “Gort” is described exactly as Thomas Hobbes described his ideal government ruler in his book Leviathan written in 1651.  Hobbes wanted a strong, central government, not a “liberal democracy” to keep citizens safe and secure from harm; much as the fictional Gort is described in the film, The Day The Earth Stood Still.

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Two, notice the faces of the crowd that Klaatu is addressing in his final speech before leaving Earth.  Every race, every nation, every faith, and every culture is represented in his film scene.  Everyone needed to hear this speech: not just Americans.

This is THE speech that Donald Trump needs to give to all Americans as he invokes the Insurrection Act and deploys federal troops and police to restore order put BLM and Antifa leaders in prison.  (I doubt that will happen; but it is what he NEEDS to do.)

Here is the video of Klaatu’s Speech.

 

The Cost of Courage

How much does courage cost these days?  Quite a bit actually.  For speaking the unvarnished truth, especially Biblical truth, you can lose your job, your home, your education, and even sadly your very life.

Just ask Father Rothrock.

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Last week in the small town of Carmel, Indiana, a priest named Father Theodore Rothrock of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, drew the attention and rage of the ungodly mob destroying this nation, when he spoke the TRUTH about Black Lives Matter from the pulpit.

The Voice of God’s True Servant

Original story, June 30: The priest of a Catholic church in Carmel is under fire for comparing the Black Lives Matter movement and its organizers to “maggots and parasites” in his weekly message.

The newly-formed Carmel Against Racial Injustice group wants the Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana to remove Rev. Theodore Rothrock of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church from leadership.

The only lives that matter are their own and the only power they seek is their own,Rothrock wrote in his weekly message on Sunday, June 28. “They are wolves in wolves clothing, masked thieves and bandits, seeking only to devour the life of the poor and profit from the fear of others. They are maggots and parasites at best, feeding off the isolation of addiction and broken families, and offering to replace any current frustration and anxiety with more misery and greater resentment.”

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Where is the lie?

I can find NOTHING but TRUTH in what Father Rothrock just said in a sermon to the faithful on Sunday morning.  Where is the lie?  Where is the offence?  What is the ungodly mob and the wicked masses upset about?  That he pulled off the sheep costumes they have all be wearing, exposing them as the hungry wolves?  Lambs and sheep do not burn, destroy, rape and pillage: only wolves and other predators do that.

The smear campaign continues….

He went on to say the church must oppose Black Lives Matter and Antifa and carry the “message of peace.”

(Note: Father Rothrock was only drawing a contrast between BLM and ANTIFA violence and the message of hope, peace, and love to be found in the Gospels and Jesus’s message of redemption.  The two very different views and behaviors are incompatible.  Christians, real Christians, who follow Jesus cannot be a part of BLM and the violence and hate that they spread.  That is what Father Rothrock was teaching.)

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He also criticized the destruction of monuments and questioned whether Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. would have been marching with the Black Lives Matter organizers because of the “alleged systematic racism.”

“Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and the other nefarious acolytes of their persuasion are not the friends or allies we have been led to believe,” Rothrock wrote. “They are serpents in the garden, seeking only to uproot and replant a new species of human made in the likeness of man and not in the image of God.”

Again, where is the lie?

Anyone with an IQ above 70 and can read a sentence, knows full well that Black Lives Matter is an neo-Marxist, anti-Christian, anti-white, anti-church, anti-family organization: They explicitly boast about it.

Father Rothrock says that, “They are serpents in the garden, seeking only to uproot and replant a new species of human made in the likeness of man and not in the image of God.”

That is exactly correct.  BLM makes no denial of this truth.

“Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and the other nefarious acolytes of their persuasion are not the friends or allies we have been led to believe,”

Father Rothrock is correct: BLM are not the “friends” and “allies” we have been led to believe.  They have no interest in peace and brotherly love.  BLM has no interest in Godly, wholesome pursuits: violence and destruction is at the the core of their organization.

Look at BLM: Do they sound like “friends” and “allies?”

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From the Black Lives Matter Website:

We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.  We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.  We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

Does BLM sound good and Godly?

‘Expect Father Rothrock to issue a clarification’

Rothrock was ordained in 1983, according to a Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana newsletter.

Now comes the best smear of all: the DUI

Why bring up an 11 year old DUI from 2009?

What does this have to do with BLM and Antifa?

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In a statement posted online titled ” Pastoral response to racism,” Bishop Timothy Doherty from the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana said he hadn’t approved or previewed the article.

“Pastors do not submit bulletin articles or homilies to my offices before they are delivered,” he said. “I expect Father Rothrock to issue a clarification about his intended message. I have not known him to depart from Church teaching in matters of doctrine and social justice.”

And now, to the scaffold….

Father Theodore Rothrock from St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel has been suspended from public ministry by Bishop Timothy Doherty Wednesday after calling Black Lives Matter organizers “maggots” and “parasites.”  (Which they are!)

“The Bishop expresses pastoral concern for the affected communities,” the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana said in a statement Wednesday. “The suspension offers the Bishop an opportunity for pastoral discernment for the good of the diocese and for the good of Father Rothrock.”

Father Rothrock, who previously was poised to become pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, will no longer transition to that role. Deacon Bill Reid will serve as administrator of St. Elizabeth Seton.

(Yes, they punished him by taking that away from him too.)

According to the diocese’s statement “various possibilities for his public continuation in priestly ministry are being considered.”

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They forced him to apologize, but…

…. the “apology” wasn’t exactly what they expected.

The “apology.”

“It was not my intention to offend anyone,” he wrote, “and I am sorry that my words have caused any hurt to anyone.”

He continued on to say that all people are welcome in God’s kingdom and the church must condemn bigotry, which is “a part of the fabric of our society.”

“We must also be fully aware that there are those who would distort the Gospel for their own misguided purposes,” Rothrock wrote. “People are afraid, as I pointed out, rather poorly I would admit, that there are those who feed on that fear to promote more fear and division.”

Apology at the point of a sword.

Even when they forced him to apologize and threatened him with everything you can imagine, Father Rothrock stood his ground and spoke the TRUTH:

“We must also be fully aware that there are those who would distort the Gospel for their own misguided purposes… that there are those who feed on that fear to promote more fear and division.”

What is the cost of courage?

It cost Father Rothrock everything.

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What Do I Know?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my life-long obsession with empiricism.  This song (one of my favorites) by Sara Groves starts to get at the heart of the limits of verifiable knowledge and why “sola fide” (faith alone) is the only way out of the dilemma.

What Do I know

By Sara Groves

I have a friend who just turned eighty-eight
and she just shared with me that she’s afraid of dying.
I sit here years from her experience
and try to bring her comfort.
I try to bring her comfort
But what do I know?
What do I know?
She grew up singing about the glory land,
and she would testify how Jesus changed her life.
It was easy to have faith when she was thirty-four,
but now her friends are dying, and death is at her door.
Oh, and what do I know?
Really, what do I know?
I don’t know that there are harps in heaven,
Or the process for earning your wings.
I don’t know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels,
Or any of those things.
She lost her husband after sixty years,
and as he slipped away she still had things to say.
Death can be so inconvenient.
You try to live and love.
It comes and interrupts.
And what do I know? What do I know?
I don’t know that there are harps in heaven,
Or the process for earning your wings.
I don’t know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels,
Or any of those things.
But I know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord,
and from what I know of him, that must be pretty good.
Oh, I know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord,
and from what I know of him, that must be very good.

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Roy Clark Jr. 1952 – 2017

I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately.

Maybe it’s the Covid-19 pandemic and 48,000 new cases in just one day.  Maybe it’s my age; I am 61 so it is getting harder to put that unpleasant thought out of my mind.

But today I was thinking about Roy Clark Jr. 

Yes, he was the son of that Roy Clark senior who was a country music star and host of the 1970s TV series “He-Haw.”

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(Here is Roy Clark Jr. in the middle of this photo playing fiddle in 2016 just a year before he died in 2017 at the age of 65.)

I met Roy in September of 1984 at a small Bible college in West Virginia.  Roy and I were both going to be ministers in the Church of Christ, but with his impressive knowledge of the Bible, Roy could have been an instructor instead of a student.

I vividly remember sitting at my kitchen table having a Bible study with Roy as my wife made us dinner and we talked well into the night about many things.  In fact, many a night Roy didn’t leave our home until 2 or 3 AM because our discussions were so intense.  Roy was like an Old Testament Prophet but with a mischievous sense of humor.

Roy was always smiling and laughing, as if everything was a joke, except the Gospel, in which his eyes would narrow and he would point to a passage and say, “Have you read what God said about that?”

Roy humbled me in ways I can’t begin to list or explain.

He always got to the point of a serious topic, then he would tell a joke or a story to lighten the mood.  I can still hear his thunderous laugh all through our home some 36 years ago.

Yes, it was 36 years ago when I last saw him.  Like me, Roy dropped out of Bible college and was fighting “inner demons” and struggling with his faith.  That year I had lost my brother to a car accident and shortly after that Roy moved away, stopped going to church, and we lost contact.  In fact, we all lost contact with Roy that year: he cut ties with everyone in the church.

I miss Roy Clark Jr.  I can still hear him laugh in our kitchen.

Roy Clark Jr. 1952 – 2017

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New Faiths of The Self

I just stumbled across this awesome book review in First Things by Justin Lee.  The book is called, Strange Rites: New Religions for A Godless World by Tara Isabella Burton.  I downloaded the book and can’t wait to read it.  Here is Justin Lee’s review of it.

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New Faiths of The Self

By Justin Lee

C. S. Lewis wrote that to be modern is to be consumed by the magical impulse “to subdue reality to the wishes of men.” This entails giving up one’s soul in exchange for power. “Once our souls, that is, ourselves, have been given up, the power thus conferred will not belong to us. We shall in fact be the slaves and puppets of that to which we have given our souls.” We will also have forsaken the ancient wisdom which holds that the soul is only truly free when in harmony with what is real.

Strange Rites, Tara Isabella Burton’s survey of America’s post-secular religious landscape, examines prominent twenty-first-century attempts to “subdue reality” by force of will. Contrary to the popular perception that America has become increasingly secular, Burton shows that religion is flourishing, albeit in non-traditional guises. Insofar as “religion,” in Burton’s functionalist usage, names those beliefs and practices that serve “both individually and societally to give us a sense of our world, our place in it, and our relationships to the people around us,” it has always and everywhere suffused human life. Today that suffusion is apparent even in avowedly “secular” institutions like the Supreme Court, which recently enshrined the sacral metaphysics of gender theory in law. The George Floyd protests also demonstrate the power of the progressive social justice religion to effect a nationwide Durkheimian “collective effervescence.”

Burton describes the new religions practiced by more than fifty percent of Americans today as “Remixed.” The religiously Remixed, “shaped by the twin forces of a creative-communicative internet and consumer capitalism,” prefer “intuitional spirituality” to institutional churches. They mix and match different practices to form their own rituals and belief systems. While most Remixed are “nones” or “spiritual but not religious,” many self-identified Christians also practice Remixing.

Remixed religion, Burton suggests, would be impossible apart from our long conditioning by consumer capitalism. At its heart, Remixed religion is selfish, choice-obsessed, therapeutic, and adaptable to expediency—making it a natural bedfellow of progressive politics. These new religions of the self may partially satisfy the human need for narrative and wonder, but they threaten to dissolve our civic institutions in a sea of “personal authenticity and experiential fulfillment.”

Burton traces the roots of the Remixed to the intuitionalist faiths of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially Transcendentalism, Spiritualism, and Quimby’s New Thought. While the postwar economic boom accelerated individualist trends in American religion, America has always been fertile ground for self-worship and charlatanry.

Today’s charlatans are the “spiritual entrepreneurs” who reinvent snake oil in the myriad guises of a “wellness” industry worth $4.2 trillion, exemplified by Gwyneth Paltrow’s pseudoscience bazaar Goop. The theology of wellness is gnostic, pitting the intuitional self against society. According to the gospel of wellness, we each have a “moral responsibility to take care of ourselves first before directing any attention to others.” But because the work of “self-care” is never complete, care for the other is never quite justified.

Among the darker forms of self-worship, Burton examines the recent explosion of occultism among American progressives. This movement drew scrutiny last year when the proprietors of Catland, an occult supply store in Brooklyn, ritually cursed Brett Kavanaugh and President Trump. Modern witchcraft combines “progressive feminist politics with a fervent opposition to institutional Christianity—which is dismissed and derided as a bastion of toxic patriarchy, repression, and white supremacy.” Dakota Bracciale, co-owner of Catland, is an apologist for “black magic,” which is countercultural, dangerous, and a tool for resisting oppression. Bracciale, a white male, argues that non-whites and queer people should “decolonize” witchcraft and restore its African roots by embracing the language of white European Luciferianism. Such farce is typical of the incoherence of the Remixed.

Even apart from witchcraft, Remixed religions consistently exhibit Lewis’s magical impulse. For the Remixed, nature—especially our sexual nature—exists to bear the imprint of human will. “If wellness culture centers the perfectibility of the body as the locus of personal spiritual growth,” writes Burton, “then sexual utopianism takes that corporeality to its logical conclusion . . . why shouldn’t sexuality be the place for us to access not just pleasure but meaning and purpose?” Remixed sexuality casts a vision of a transformed social order. And that vision is increasingly popular. One-fifth of Americans admit to experimenting with “ethical non-monogamy”; even more have experimented with BDSM and other kinks. Authenticity, after all, requires acting on our desires. Refusing to indulge one’s kinks is thus to forsake one’s own perfection.

While the Remixed faith of the sexual utopian may seem like New Thought by way of Thelema, it is perhaps best understood as—to coin a phrase—neoliberalism of the body. Remixed religion is so appealing, in part, because it “is inseparable from a consumer-capitalist model of sexuality.”

But not everyone has the same purchasing power in the sexual marketplace, and thus not everyone can access the meaning-making power of Remixed sexuality. In her penultimate chapter, wryly titled “Twilight of the Chads,” Burton examines the ressentiment of “incels,” men who for want of good looks, money, or social skills are “involuntarily celibate.” Incels want to burn the world down (along with all the sexually successful Chads and Staceys), and Burton’s characteristic empathy is muted as she walks us through their misogynistic world. Incels are a small but noisy subset of what Burton calls “nihilistic atavism,” a Remixed religion focused on reclaiming ground lost to feminism and progressivism. At its most reasonable, the new atavism may resemble Jordan Peterson’s program of renewed male responsibility. But it is best characterized by outsized denizens of the “manosphere” such as Bronze Age Pervert (BAP), who advocates a muscle-bound, homoerotic Nietzscheanism that longs for the emergence of Übermenschen worth submitting to. It is hardly accidental that BAP’s obsession with submission resembles the sexual utopian’s affinity for kink.

Burton believes three rival strands of Remixed—social justice culture, nihilistic atavism, and Silicon Valley’s techno-utopianism—are battling to become America’s new civil religion. Each belligerent resembles the others. Whereas intersectional feminists want to destroy society for its misogyny and racism, new atavists want to destroy it for having yielded to the enervating forces of progressivism. Both the cult of social justice and the cult of techno-utopianism prize disruption, valorize the self, and see nature as an obstacle to the body’s perfection.

By emphasizing narrative, Burton renders complex phenomena accessible to general readers without sacrificing precision, and her analysis flows directly from the testimony of the Remixed themselves. But readers will be left with questions. To what extent is the egocentrism of American religion intrinsic to the American project itself? In the context of liquid modernity, are genuinely new faiths possible? Or are all new faiths doomed to serve only as therapies for the “spiritually fluid”?

Remixed religion is mutable and prone to imitation because, at its heart, it preaches only the self and its will to power. No civilization whose civic religion is so crassly nihilistic can long survive. And no self whose faith is Remixed can long endure as a self. Remixed religion is in the business of producing what Malachi Martin called “aspiring vacuums”: denatured souls dispossessed of the ability to will that which is proper to their natures; that is, individuals ripe for possession by the will of another. Most despairing of all, the Remixed are trained to welcome such demonic subjugation. One woman interviewed by Burton explains that during BDSM sessions she pictures herself as a “hollow cane of bamboo,” an empty vessel for external will (“energy”), rejoicing in the annihilation of self.

This is the false re-enchantment of the magician’s bargain. The unmaking of one’s soul is disguised by therapeutic appeasement. And yet re-enchantment remains perhaps the most important task for a civilization incapable of experiencing the meaning inherent in our world. That meaning cannot be “chosen” by humans. It can only be discovered—by participation in what Lewis called “Deep Magic,” the unbegotten power that sang the world into existence. Burton says in her introduction that she has rediscovered such enchantment in a return to faith. I’m not alone in hoping she will share that journey in her next book.

Justin Lee teaches undergraduate writing at the University of California, Irvine.

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It’s Morning again in America?

Some of us suspected this back in 1981.

Some of us were deceived.

But all of us should have read this passage over and over again until it sunk in and we embraced this Truth of God:

Do Not Love the World

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1st John 2:15-17

It was “Morning again in America” in 1981.

I remember it well.  I was a young man back then.

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Christians all over the US were rejoicing, but we should have suspected the worst of those “Christian leaders” and politicians who tickled our ears and made promises of turning back the clock and “conserving” Christian values and Christian traditions.

I vividly remember Jerry Falwell saying this on national TV;

“With a Ronald Reagan administration, we will restore America to it’s Christian origins.  I have been assured by Ronald Reagan that we will get at least two, maybe three Conservative, Bible-Believing Supreme Court Justices to overturn Roe V Wade and make abortion illegal in every state.  With a Conservative president like President Reagan, we will force homosexuals back into the closet and restore morality back to America.  Every Bible-Believing Christian needs to vote for Ronald Reagan and support the Republican party.”

President Ronald Reagan and Rev. Jerry Falwell

Yes, I remember it well.

40 Years later, we have this….

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And this….

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And this…

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And this….

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And this….

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And this…

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And now of course, today, we have this…

John Roberts sides with liberals on Supreme Court to block controversial Louisiana abortion law

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It’s Morning Again in America?

The last 40 years have been more like a nightmare.

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Of course we could have saved ourselves a lot of time, heartache and trouble if we had only taken seriously what God said about the World.

Did we really expect a shallow, worldly Hollywood actor, who had numerous homosexual friends and as California Governor signed the most pro-abortion law in California history, to serve the interests of godly Christians who wanted to restore the old America?

We eagerly deceived ourselves for 40 years.

We have only ourselves to blame.

Do Not Love the World

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1st John 2:15-17

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Why Now?

As a follow up to a blog I wrote yesterday on the “LGBTQ affirming” church in Austin, Texas called, Austin New Church, I ask a very fundamental question: Why now?

First some history.  Not long ago history, but within my lifetime.

In 1978, I became a Christian.  I was 19 years-old.  I was baptized in the Biblical manor in a Church of Christ in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Acts 2:38, 1st Peter 3:21)

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At that time, I had fellowship with a lot with other Christians in other congregations and I knew many in other denominations and I was always keeping up with the latest news of church happenings in Arizona and the US.

NOT ONE CHURCH or Christian I knew in 1978 was “LGBTQ affirming” and accepting of homosexuality.  No “Gay Pastors” or “Lesbian Ministers.”  No rainbow flags flying above church steeples.  No churches, pastors, or evangelists were saying “Gay is OK.”  There was no such thing as “Queer Christians.”

This was only 42 years ago.  (I am 61)

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So what happened?

Why now?

Why in 2020 is this sweeping churches like a plague?

These questions become more chilling the further you go back into history.  Why now?  I don’t have all of the answers, and I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories or far-fetched interpretations of the Book of Revelation.  But the history of the church and our faith provides some clues to the answer of; “why now?”

For almost 2,000 years now, some of the greatest minds in and out of the church have studied every word, every phrase, every parable, every aspect of the Holy Scriptures.  They have examined canonical and non-canonical books: most are in the Bible, others are not.  They have looked at every context, every Greek and Hebrew word.  Some names are known:

Augustine of Hippo, Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome,

Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, Billy Graham, C. S. Lewis, etc., etc……

I could go on and on.  Many of them you have never heard of.

And what do they all have in common?

What do all of these Christians from all over the planet going back to the 2nd Century all agree upon?

That Homosexuality is a grave sin. 

That there is no dispute in scripture on Homosexuality.

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So why now?  Why in 2020 are there thousands upon thousands of “Bible-Believing” Christians, one church after another, embracing Homosexuality and dismissing what the Bible says about it?

What has changed from 180 AD to 2020 AD? 

What new Biblical “truth” about homosexuality has emerged in the last 20 years that was hidden from Biblical scholars for 2,000 years?

What new evidence has emerged that God wants homosexuals to be preachers and teachers and accepted in the church?

The answer?  NONE.  No new evidence.  No hidden Biblical truth revealed in just the last 20 years.  No new scripture that contradicts 2,000 years of Biblical theology and scholarship.  No new Dead Sea Scrolls have been found that say, “Gay is OK.”

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Why now?

I have no definitive answers, only suspicions.

Suspicions that the World, with all of it’s evil, now controls many large denominations and churches.

Which is more likely, applying an “Occam’s Razor” to the question?  (William of Ockham was a Christian by the way.)

What is more likely?

(A) Over 4,000 years of Jewish and Christian theology and Biblical scholarship is wrong, and only now, in the last 20 years had God “revealed” his true feelings about Homosexuality.  Namely, that Homosexual conduct is right and proper and part of God’s plan for humanity.

Or,

(B) That rather then the church “salting” the culture, the culture at large, steeped in sin, wickedness and rottenness, had rotted Christianity and the church from within, destroying it’s “saltiness” and rendering it malleable and soft for a takeover.  4,000 years of Biblical teaching has been rendered null and void in the last 20 years under the guise of “progressiveness” “God’s love” and “church reform.”

I believe that Homosexual activists and infiltrators have undermined churches from within, and renamed sin and degeneracy as “God approved loving relationships.”

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”  Matthew 5:13

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