Tag Archive for: religion

Is Harvard hopelessly woke? What Harvard is really like

Like most things, Harvard is what one makes of it — and this can include experiences rooted in faith and friendship. 

Harvard is often seen as the archetypal American university, offering a model that many others seek to emulate. So, as a new school year and new application season begin, it seems fitting to ask: what is this storied institution really like anyway? Is it home to heroes or heretics? Maker of gods… or the godless? My response is quite simple: neither extreme is accurate. Harvard is not as heavenly as some think; fortunately, it’s not as bad either.

My college decision was practically effortless. Harvard, I was told, offered everything a motivated, book-smart student could want: challenging courses; fabulous research opportunities; world-class professors; and, most importantly, insightful, intrepid, intellectually curious peers.

I envisioned a campus alive with students who genuinely loved learning, who asked big questions and pursued them to their limits, who discussed Dostoyevsky at lunch and astrophysics at dinner, and who would challenge, shape, and inspire me over the course of our college journey.

Needless to say, this vision wasn’t entirely accurate. Arriving on campus last fall, I was surprised to find that many of my peers did not choose Harvard out of a deep, reverent hunger for veritas. Rather, their motives were primarily mercenary: they had enrolled for the degree and the connections. Almost every Harvard student I know really is a smart, accomplished individual; test scores and ambition, however, are not necessarily synonymous with intellectual curiosity.

Lowered standards, heightened biases  

Critics of Harvard tend to focus on academic standards and political bias. In terms of academics, it is telling that Harvard’s two most popular concentrations are economics and government. Read: wealth and power. Students with these two goals are incentivised to take easy courses whenever possible: between grade inflation and the competitive nature of consulting applications, a B from a fabulous but challenging professor just won’t do.

As such, students offset rigorous concentration requirements with “gems,” pleasant, untaxing courses in which A’s are guaranteed and learning is optional. Last fall alone, over 800 students enrolled in a gen-ed course fittingly entitled “Sleep,” though how many attended more than one lecture remains unclear.

Administrators, meanwhile, do little to counter this trend. Notorious gems (“Sleep” excepted) are occasionally identified and restructured, but with tuition-paying customers to please and a reputation to maintain, addressing lowered standards will be essentially impossible.

The real tragedy is not the proliferation of easy A’s but the slow suffocation of liberal arts education. In lieu of a robust core is a smattering of “distributional requirements” easily satisfied by niche, fringe, or downright non-substantive courses. In other words, “Sleep” might be the only science course a Harvard student ever takes.

Thus, it’s possible to graduate from Harvard without challenging one’s prejudices, without genuinely exploring different disciplines, and without ever diverting one’s gaze from the holy trinity of law, finance, and consulting. Alas, the utilitarian ethos prevails; it was never about veritas anyway.

Harvard critics’ true concern, however, is not academic standards but politics — just how radical is the “Kremlin on the Charles”? According to the numbers, very. While 82 percent of Harvard faculty identify as liberal or very liberal, a mere 1 percent identify as conservative, and none identify as very conservative. The student body, luckily, boasts slightly more ideological diversity: conservative or very conservative individuals made up 6 percent of the Class of 2022, and nearly 70 percent were progressive or very progressive.

Can academic freedom, civil discourse, or mere open-mindedness thrive in such an environment? Here are a few illustrative examples that make it tempting to view Harvard as a powerful brainwashing machine:

First, my hallmates and I attended a mandatory, dorm-wide meeting at the start of the academic year to discuss the hookup culture. We were tasked with creating explanatory posters exploring the hookup culture in its various dimensions. One group of students crafted a suitably vague definition of “hookup” for their poster, while another brainstormed adjectives to describe hookups (highlights include “exciting” and “experimental”). Not once were other approaches to sex and dating, let alone inconvenient biological realities (sex not infrequently makes babies), ever mentioned.

Second, this past semester I watched a trembling professor issue a formal apology at the behest of her outraged students and teaching staff. Her crime: reading aloud a passage from Invisible Man — a novel advocating civil rights and equality — that contained a racial epithet. Although this incident had occurred during a discussion section before a small subset of enrollees, critics swiftly and loudly demanded that she ask the entire class for forgiveness. Pressuring a professor to apologise for her language threatens academic freedom. Critics certainly deserve a voice, but not at the expense of their professor’s.

Finally, I saw a formerly well-liked friend ostracised by her residential housemates during her last month at Harvard. This jovial, whip-smart senior was a Latina Democrat; she volunteered regularly at a youth homeless shelter, vocally advocated racial justice, and actively disliked Trump. Just participating in two pro-life rallies, it turns out, was enough to outweigh all of that.

Faith, friendship, and signs of hope

While such everyday occurrences make it tempting to believe that Harvard is a lost cause, there are two important limiting factors that suggest otherwise. First, because Harvard is a very large institution — with twelve graduate and professional schools, fifty concentrations in the undergraduate college, and an extensive array of administrative offices — centralised or consistent strategic communication is next to impossible. Having many supervisors, counterintuitively, leads to little supervision — within this large bureaucratic institution are many conservative niches, ranging from a controversial pseudonymous publication to a philosophical debating society to a growing pro-life presence on campus.

The second limiting factor is Harvard’s inherent elitism. Prestige and influence require class distinctions; in a truly equitable world, Harvard does not exist. Thus, Harvard will continue to champion progressivism — but never enough to endanger its own future. Harvard students of all political stripes perceive this hypocrisy; if anything, they graduate not more liberal but more cynical. So much for the formidable brainwashing machine.

In addition to these two limiting factors, my first year — which was hands-down my happiest in a decade — suggests that Harvard is not a lost cause. I learned to read ancient Greek, solved triple integrals, and wrote an essay on Fredrick Douglass’s conception of the human soul. I kayaked on the Charles, explored Boston’s fabulous art museums, and attended a weeklong seminar in Oxford. I befriended the dining hall workers, learned how to swing dance, and performed Schumann with my chamber ensemble.

Despite the prevalence of secularism and credentialism at Harvard, faith and friendship were central to my joyful first year. In fact, Christianity, particularly Catholicism, is alive at Harvard. Every morning, a dozen students attend daily Mass before eating breakfast together in a nearby dining hall. Weekly talks at the Harvard Catholic Center precede solemn adoration accompanied by a student band. And this past Easter alone, thirty-one members of the Harvard community were fully initiated into the Catholic Church.

Outside of the Catholic and Christian communities, Harvard students are very respectful of religion. Talking openly about my Catholic faith elicits not smirks and grimaces but genuine curiosity and the occasional request to join me at Mass. Although I attended Catholic school all my life, my faith life has never thrived as at Harvard.

Nor have I ever been blessed with such strong, beautiful friendships. Just one week into freshman year, I had already found a group of kind, intelligent friends. Yes, our everyday conversations are less intellectual than anticipated; yes, our educational goals differ significantly. But far more important is character. My friends at Harvard are truly virtuous and generous people.

What’s more, my experience is hardly singular. Personality is an important factor in Harvard’s admissions process — so while many admitted students are indeed ambitious and career-oriented, they are for the most part essentially decent people. This emphasis on personability combined with its unique housing system, active extracurricular life, and countless study abroad and fellowship opportunities means that Harvard intentionally and successfully fosters friendship.

One year into my Harvard career, I can report that no stereotype of the university is entirely accurate. By no means is Harvard an immaculate place: intellectual curiosity often suffers at the expense of utility, classes and administrators can be overly political, and students with unpopular views are often frightened into silence. Still, I have great hope for Harvard.

While it’s true that students can avoid Homer, Shakespeare, or Tolstoy if they wish, it is equally true that those fascinated by such literary giants will encounter first editions of their texts in the rare books library and brilliant professors eager to elucidate them.

Though Harvard students can graduate without having explored questions about God, morality, and the meaning of life, those brave enough to ask can consult prominent theologians and learned priests, travel to Jerusalem on Harvard’s dime, or simply walk down Bow Street to pray in magnificent St. Paul’s.

In the end, Harvard, like most things, is what one makes of it. It can never be perfect; what it can be is a haven for faith, friendship, and the pursuit of veritas.

This article has been republished with permission from The Public Discourse

AUTHOR

Olivia Glunz

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

The Shroud of Turin Defies its Sceptics

Even though it failed a carbon-dating test 40 years ago, new findings suggest that the scientists were wrong.


In April 2022 new tests on the Shroud of Turin — believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ — dated it to the first century. This dating contradicted a 1980s carbon dating that suggested the Shroud was from the Middle Ages. Some people would have been surprised, but not anyone who had been following the build-up of evidence indicating the Shroud is authentic.

A total of four tests have now dated the Shroud to the first century. In addition, an immense body of other evidence suggests the cloth, which appears to carry an image of Jesus’s crucified body, is genuine.

Experiment

Debate about the Shroud has been going on for centuries, provoking heated exchanges, revealing a tortuous trail of evidence full of unexpected twists and turns, and prompting more unanswerable questions than any other artefact in history.

Only days before the new dating results were announced, one of the main players in the drama, British filmmaker David Rolfe, issued a million-dollar challenge to the British Museum to replicate the Shroud.

The Museum oversaw the carbon tests on the Shroud and Rolfe explained: “They said it was knocked up by a medieval conman, and I say: ‘Well, if he could do it, you must be able to do it as well. And if you can, there’s a one-million-dollar donation for your funds.’”

Rolfe’s challenge might have seemed like a stunt, but it was serious. He said if the museum accepted the challenge, he would place a million dollars in a legal holding account pending the outcome.

You would think if anyone could copy the Shroud, the British Museum could. It certainly has the resources: around a thousand employees, including research scientists, links to major universities — and I’m sure the museum would not refuse outside help.

So, was Rolfe’s bet risky?

Those familiar with the evidence would say no. Given all we now know about the Shroud of Turin, and the fact that no one has ever been able to copy it or even explain how it was made, Rolfe’s million dollars appears safe. The reason he and so many others are convinced the burial cloth is genuine is that there is a mountain of evidence supporting that conclusion.

One reason most people don’t share this view is that they seem to know as little about the Shroud as they do about carbon dating. They are not aware that, contrary to the popular idea that the Shroud is a fake, it has become, in the words of a number of researchers, “the single most studied artefact in human history”.

Solid science

The most recent verification of its authenticity came in April this year. A member of Italy’s National Research Council, Dr Liberato de Caro, used a new X-ray technique designed specifically for dating linen.

He used a method known as wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS), which he says is more reliable than carbon dating. He said this was because carbon dating can be dramatically wrong due to contamination of the thing being dated.

If you are one of those who know little about the Shroud, here are some basic details: It is a long strip of linen, covered in blood and carrying a faint image of the front and back of a dead man, apparently beaten and scourged, bleeding copiously from the scalp, and showing all the signs of Jesus’s crucifixion, including a lance wound to the heart. It first appeared publicly in western Europe in 1355 when it was put on display in France. The owners refused to say where they got it — understandable, given that it was probably stolen.

The Shroud’s sudden appearance set off the fiery debate that continues to this day. You may know that many books and articles have already been written. Over the years, I have read many of them, but none offered what I was looking for — an up-to-date introduction to the subject that was accessible to non-academics.

I couldn’t find one, so I decided to write it myself.

Overwhelming data

Soon, I felt like this was a mistake. They say the worst thing you can do to journalists is to provide them with too much information, and the information on the Shroud is very close to being too much. To get an idea of how much information is involved, search for “Shroud of Turin” on Google Scholar. You will get around 12,000 links.

Even a search on academia.edu turns up about 4,000 academic papers begging to be read. The oldest Shroud website, shroud.com, has among its extensive resources, one comforting list of a mere 400 “essential” scientific papers and articles. But even this is a lot if you are already struggling to get through books, videos and papers from academic conferences, podcasts and documentaries going back decades.

Most people, including myself (until recently), closed their minds to the Shroud when the 1988 carbon dating results were released. Those tests suggested the relatively high levels of carbon 14 on the cloth meant it came from around 1325 — give or take 65 years.

That sounds precise, but what most of us weren’t told was that carbon dating had been wrong many times, sometimes by as much as a thousand or more years, due to contamination of the article being dated. In the case of the Shroud, there is a long list of reasons it could be contaminated, including the fact that it has been handled by countless people, exposed to fire, water, repairs, and other materials capable of causing contamination.

Most interesting of all, as indicated by a growing body of evidence, its carbon levels could have been raised by the radiation that appears to be the most likely cause of the image it carries.

So, even though many people still assume the carbon date was the end of the story, it may be just the beginning. If, like me, you take the time to review the evidence, it wears you down. These days, if anyone asks me if I really think “that Shroud thing” could be Jesus’ burial cloth with his image on it, all I can say is: given the evidence, I can’t think what else it could be. I am open to being talked out of this view, but so far nobody has managed to do it.

Whatever your own view, following the trail of evidence is possibly the most fascinating and rewarding journey you will ever undertake. This is partly because the case for the Shroud does not hinge on a single fact — certainly not on the radiocarbon date. It involves many interlocking facts — a big picture painted by intriguing details. My experience is that the Shroud asks more unanswerable questions than anything on the planet.

Excerpted from Riddles of the Shroud with permission.

AUTHOR

William West

William West is a Sydney journalist. More by William West

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Secularism: The Forgotten Factor in Falling Fertility

The decline in faith has precipitated a drop in procreation.


James McHenry is a lesser-known American Founding Father. A Scots-Irish Presbyterian born in County Antrim, Ireland, he came to the colonies in 1771, just five years before independence.

McHenry eventually became a military surgeon, signer of the Constitution and Secretary of War for Presidents Washington and Adams. Fort McHenry, of Star-Spangled Banner fame, bears his name. James McHenry was of the early American elite. He wrote:

“The holy Scriptures… can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness.”

Holy Scriptures? How unwoke can you get?

Are we to assume that McHenry was racist, “homophobic,” nativist or a bigot? Can you imagine a member of the Biden cabinet referencing holy Scripture? Why, that would be a violation of “separation of church and state,” the Jeffersonian doctrine intended to prevent government from meddling in matters of faith. Today that doctrine has been wholly transmuted, weaponised to eradicate religious expression from the public square.

A different century

McHenry wasn’t the only American Founder whose words would get him cancelled today. How about the “father of our country” George Washington? Here is what Washington told a gathering of Delaware Indian leaders:

You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.

A compilation of religious sentiments by early American leaders would consume more terabytes than MercatorNet can handle. Needless to say, the Founders were people of faith. Back then, the West was commonly referred to as Christendom. As far as I know, no one found that offensive.

What does any of this have to do with demography?

Well, according to the World Atlas, “American women reaching child-bearing age in 1800 had on average of seven to eight live births in the course of their reproductive life.” In 1800, America was mostly rural and practising Christian.

In the early 1800s, two overarching factors influenced family life. The first was faith. The Biblical injunction “And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.” (Genesis 9:7, KJV) was taken quite seriously.

Also, having children was sound economics. Children meant more hands on deck at the farm and family business. That was early American family planning.

From 1800, however, US fertility steadily declined, bottoming out in the 1940s. Then the postwar “baby boom” brought a 60% bump. The decline has since resumed, attributed to better public health (lower infant mortality), urbanisation, industrialisation, higher incomes and women in the workforce.

However, one tremendously significant reason for fewer children is usually omitted from demographic analyses: secularism.

What is secularism?

The term was coined c.1850 to denote a system which sought to order and interpret life on principles taken solely from this world, without recourse to belief in God and a future life. It is now used in a more general sense of the tendency to ignore, if not to deny, the principles of supernatural religion.
— The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

According to Merriam-Webster, secularism is indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations.”

The US is today’s secularist imperium. Secularism is a major contributing factor, usually overlooked, for persistent below-replacement fertility worldwide.

It is no secret that, on average, religious folks have more children than the non-religious. Why? Quite often, people of faith seriously follow the Biblical injunction to go forth and multiply. They believe in salvation and are usually somewhat less egocentric and materialistic than the average modern Joe.

But today we are in the age of Economic Man, defined by Merriam-Webster as

… an imaginary individual created in classical economics and conceived of as behaving rationally, regularly, and predictably in his economic activities with motives that are egoistic, acquisitive, and short-term in outlook.

By adopting the model of Economic Man, Western societies abandoned believing that humanity’s intellectual, spiritual and moral essence were in the image of God, a view that had sustained them for at least 18 centuries. This stone-cold secularism would eventually lead to Communism and the many other atheistic ideologies we suffer from today.

Major General JFC Fuller, in volume 3 of his Military History of the Western World, posited that “the myth of Economic Man [was] the fundamental factor in Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism.”

We are also addicted to the Idea of Progress, defined by the web’s Conservapedia as

… a worldview mainly promoted by globalists and liberals that argues “that the human condition has improved over the course of history and will continue to improve.”[1]

It is closely associated with the concept that man is perfectible and at some point in the future will, in fact, be perfect. While popular in contemporary culture, this idea has several serious flaws.

Flawed indeed. Shallow belief in the inevitability of human progress and unlimited temporal advancement disregards the transcendent, giving rise to the “prosperity gospel” and rank materialism.

Many prosper, but post-World War II affluence is proving to be ephemeral. Something is lacking. That is why China popularises Confucius, Russia subsidises Orthodoxy and Hungary promotes Catholicism in hopes of boosting birthrates. The US mandates wokeism and relies on immigration.

Today politicians rarely invoke religious faith except in throwaway lines for public consumption. People made of sterner stuff like James McHenry and George Washington are vilified and cancelled, their names expunged and statues removed. What will tomorrow’s children know of their heritage?

Yes, we’re oh-so-modern, high tech, sophisticated and secular. Having children is uncool. Modernity is slowly but surely killing us. The idea of progress that venerates Mammon, radical environmentalism, egocentrism and wokeism has Homo sapiens on the path to extinction. But as the old saying goes, “Fish are the last to notice the water.”

AUTHOR

Louis T. March

Louis T. March has a background in government, business and philanthropy. A former talk show host, author and public speaker, he is a dedicated student of history and genealogy. Louis lives with his family… More by Louis T. March

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$30K a year, and my kid can’t tell the difference between a boy and a girl

Parents must hold their local school systems accountable for what is taught to their children.


Everything has a price.

Like every American family, our family runs a constant cost/benefit analysis on our lives. There are the small decisions: is it worth the time to drive to Target for the cheaper diapers? Or should I just get the pricier ones at the grocery store? And there are the bigger ones: like, should I live in the suburbs and pay lower taxes but more for car expenses and gas? Or flip that decision?

For our family, one of the toughest decisions was where to send our kids to school. We could send them across the street to the poorly performing public school for free. They’d meet a wide variety of kids and learn some valuable self-advocacy skills, but they would not be academically challenged. For $30k, I could send them to the nearby private school, where they’d benefit from engaged teachers, kids, and families. We’d have to drop the music lessons and fancy trips, but hey — I don’t like Disneyland anyway.

So, with some scholarships, sacrifices, and family assistance, we made the choice to send our kids to a fancy private school. The benefits have been great: warm, caring, patient teachers; outstanding academics; beautiful buildings; even a pretty good lunch. But there’s been a hidden cost, beyond the incredibly painful tuition bills: my kids can’t tell the difference between a boy and a girl.

This seems shocking, I know. How can a concept so obvious, so instinctual that nearly every 2-year-old on the planet can master it, be an idea that my very expensively-educated children don’t understand?

Simple-minded educators

Because some teachers don’t understand it. Because some administrators don’t understand it. And this is where I have to remind myself of something true: half the world is dumber than average.

I know this sounds incredibly snobby. I know this sounds judgmental and awful, but this is true. And this fact helps me take a breath, find some compassion, and slow down.

These teachers are good people. They are kind. They like kids, and want the best for children. They believe that education can make the world a better place. And additionally, they were hired for their people skills: they are empathetic, good communicators, patient, and open-minded. Those are exactly the skills my tuition dollars are paying for.

But these teachers are not well-trained critical thinkers. They were not hired for their ability to analyse complex research studies, nor to follow the various paths of different complex scenarios. They are not philosophers, ethicists, or religious scholars. They are not lawyers or developmental psychologists. They are not endocrinologists or pediatricians. They are experts at connecting to kids and explaining the types of K-12 content that kids should learn. Thank god for teachers and their talents and skills. Our society needs them. But they are not the experts here. They are just trying to do their jobs.

So when faced with the concept of “gender identity” — the idea that “people have an innate feeling of being female or male,” the typical teacher will say “Sure — that makes sense. I’m female, I know it. That’s not a controversial idea.”

When faced with the diagnostic definition of “gender dysphoria”, the idea that “some people have great distress with their biological sex, and wish they were the opposite sex,” these teachers say, “Sure — I know about Jazz Jennings and Caitlyn Jenner. That’s a real thing.”

When faced with the fact of “Disorders of Sexual Development” (formerly known as Intersex conditions), the scientifically observed and natural phenomena of various biological sexual characteristics and markers, teachers say, “Yep — I learned about that once.”

And when urged to consider the negative impacts of the difficulty of being an outlier, and the impacts of social isolation and/or ostracism, the teachers say, “Not on my watch. My cousin was gay and poorly treated. I won’t let any of my kids be bullied or left out.”

So when teachers combine all these ideas and impressions and blend them into their natural “be nice” personalities and “open-minded” natures, they are primed to become believers and advocates of transgender ideology. If Johnny likes skirts and thinks he’s really a girl inside, who are we to judge? We really can’t blame the teachers. They were born this way.

So our society has laid yet another burden of expectation on teachers. They must educate kids, they must socialise kids, they must address and resolve the emotional and behavioural dysfunctions of these kids. And now they must be responsible for nurturing, protecting, and advocating for the “internal feeling of being female or male” for a kid, otherwise they’ll be held responsible for the kid’s ostracism.

This is nuts. These teachers don’t stand a chance.

To the top

So we can’t fight the teachers. We’ve got to get the administrators and school boards to stop, listen, and think. These people were hired to be critical thinkers, to balance different opinions, to consider the different consequences of different choices. They still aren’t likely to read the studies or think through the ethical or philosophical consequences of different complex scenarios, but they are primed to consider one thing above all: legal threats.

Right now, principals and school boards are hiding behind the guidelines that WPATH (an activist-led organisation), the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals have created. These organisations have good intentions, but they are also human and flawed (and remember — half their members are below average). Even the ACLU seems to have lost its mind on this topic.

I suggest American parents adopt the “Maya Forstater Approach.” This strategy, based on the case in England, relies on fundamental and constitutional American legal rights: free speech and free religion. I don’t care if you haven’t been to church ever. This is what you say to your school board:

“For scientific, religious, and social reasons, I do not believe that you can change your sex, and I do not want my children to be taught “gender identity”, the belief that you have a gendered soul, and that your gender soul feelings trump your biology. How is your school protecting my family’s religious beliefs and our right to be free from compelled speech?”

Ask your school’s principal this question every Fall. Send it as a statement to your kids’ teachers every fall. Tell them to inform you of any lesson on gender identity before it happens so that your children can have a substitute lesson. Ask them what their policy on requesting pronouns is, so that your child does not feel compelled to use certain speech. Ask them how they balance different opinions on this topic in the community.

I can guarantee you they do not see this as a religious issue, but as a social justice issue. Say the magic words “freedom of religion/freedom from religion” and “freedom of speech” and see if that works. We’ve got a long history of protecting underdogs in this country, and right now the culture glorifies the status of victim. Use this knowledge wisely.

And here’s the thing: this is going to cost you. Be ready. Do the cost/benefit analysis. Whether your kids are getting a free public education or an expensive private one, when you ruffle the feathers of the principal, the winds blow. Then again, if you remain silent, your kid may not understand that sex never changes. Be prepared. Everything has a cost.

This article has been republished from Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT).

BY

Anonymous author

In exceptional circumstances, MercatorNet allows contributors to publish articles anonymously. Sometimes the author’s privacy or safety might be at risk. More by Anonymous author.

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Self, Sex, and State: The Three-Poisoned Gods of Our World

Anthony Esolen: “Self, Sex, and State” are no trinity, to be sure, but a triad. Find one, and the other two will not be far away.


  1. I have written before of the three-poisoned god of our world: Self, Sex, and State. These poisons dance about in a nice perichoresis of mutual corroboration. It is hard to tell which of the three is father or son or spirit proceeding from them both. If you look to sheer gigantic size, you might think that the first begetter was the State. If you look at the rotten hole of evil where a good heart should be, you might think it was the Self. If you look at actual begetting and a wrong approach to created order, you might think it was Sex.

Let us be as wise as serpents here, consider each possibility. Suppose the principle devil is State. Imagine it in the person of Milton’s Beelzebub, in the council of Pandemonium. He is about to recommend not open war, as Moloch advises, or hiding, as Belial advises, but a sly side-move against the new created world and man there placed:

                         With grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A Pillar of State; deep on his Front engraven
Deliberation sat and public care;
And Princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic though in ruin.

You desire to increase your power, to grow the State at the expense of those you rule. How to do that? Satan’s plan, put in the mouth of Beelzebub, is to sever the new creatures from God, the source of their freedom and their strength. That must inevitably sever them from virtue both natural and supernatural.

To accomplish it, Satan appeals to Eve’s sense of Self, but in strange isolation, as if she were a kind of island-goddess to whom every creature must bow in homage. “Sovereign mistress,” he flatters her, begging her pardon for daring to address her, while suggesting that her beauty cannot be rightly prized by any of the creatures among which she lives, not even her loving husband Adam, bearer of the image of God:

                                           One man except,
Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who shouldst be seen
A Goddess among Gods, adored and served
By Angels numberless, thy daily Train.

Divide and conquer: so does Satan extend his realm, by every petty peacock of a king and queen self-ruled, and therefore self-enslaved.

Such enslavement in man is made manifest most clearly, the book of Genesis suggests, in sex: in what should have bound man and woman to one another, and each generation to those that came before and to those that will follow. “Be fruitful and multiply,” says God when he blesses the first human couple, but the fall turns what should have been pure blessing into a source of trouble, division, treachery, and violence.

The wisest king who ever lived did not withstand the temptation, for Solomon, Milton says, “beguiled by fair Idolatresses, fell / To idols foul.” A thousand wives had he, but his sons would fall out with one another and divide his kingdom. His kingdom – not Satan’s.

But we might begin with the idol Sex. We remove it from its natural order, and we make our children and our neighbors bear the cost of the ensuing chaos. Love is not Love, despite what the smug and silly sign on your neighbor’s yard says. “Spirits when they please,” says Milton, describing the fertility gods of the Phoenicians, “can either Sex assume, or both,” to “execute their airy purposes,/ And works of love or enmity fulfill.”

“Such love is hate,” says the poet Spenser. Sexual sin does its worst to keep children from growing up with a mother and father who have plighted their troth for life. Since man is by nature a social creature, when he sins against what binds him in wedlock and what binds the generations, he sins against society.

He calls it liberty when it is mere thoughtlessness and worship of Self. It cramps or tends to destroy altogether the liberty of his neighbors, because what strong and self-sustaining families no longer do, State must attempt. Every antisocial sin must give State leave to intrude where it does not belong, to provide a semblance of that order while families and the parishes, schools, and towns they build used to provide. He who sells wheelchairs is pleased to find cripples.

In the end, says C. S. Lewis, there are only two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.” In the dead hollow of every sin, there is a false Self, a wraith, a phantasm, an idol. “I am that I am,” says God, revealing to Moses his name beyond all circumscribing names. (Ex. 3:16)

But I am a creature: I am circumscribed. I derive my being from God, and at every moment my existence is sustained only by his will. When I set myself against God, I slip back toward non-being, toward the hollow that is well suggested by the Germanic word Hell. 

But as I fall, I assert my false independence with all the greater desperation. I must be my own, exist on my own. The magnetic poles that draw me are two. If I am soft and tender, I turn to Sex as the boldest expression of Self: sex, as I will, when and how and with whom I will.

These days, swallowed up in idiotism, I may even fashion my own “identity,” turning sex in upon itself in self-abuse of any of a thousand kinds. If I am hard and ruthless, I turn to State and its accoutrements. I worship power, wealth, and prestige of my own, or I bow to State as the extension of or the realization of sheer will. State will save us, State must be our cure. It hardly matters then in what form State appears.

No trinity, to be sure, but it is a triad. Find one, and the other two will not be far away.

COLUMN BY

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. Among his books are Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World, and most recently The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a professor and writer in residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, in Warner, New Hampshire.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

“The Devil and Karl Marx”: A Review

Robert Orlando: In his new book, Paul Kengor plunges a stake into the heart of the devil and Karl Marx. But as we know, such vampires are not so easily killed.


Paul Kengor is a teacher and writer who has always had an eye for the spiritual dimension in history, politics, and economics. (He was the perfect partner for me in our book and documentary film, The Divine Plan: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Dramatic End of the Cold War.)

Prof. Kengor’s new book, The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism’s Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration, is a hammer and sickle dismantling of the diabolical character of Karl Marx (1818-1883). As Michael Knowles writes in the book’s foreword, “Kengor knows, like few others writing today, that terms such as collectivism and individualism only take the debate so far. . . .Ultimately the fight comes down to spiritual warfare: good versus evil.”

Indeed, Kengor’s book is all about the clash of the modern, devilish forces of socialism and communism – the key Marxist systems – against the eternally divine force of faith.

The book opens with a portrait of Marx’s formative early years, an approach similar to Paul Johnson’s in Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky (1988). Johnson was accused of being moralistic for judging Marx’s ideas through the lens of his character. Of Marx’s writings, Johnson says their “actual content can be related to four aspects of his character: his taste for violence, his appetite for power, his inability to handle money and, above all, his tendency to exploit those around him.”

Professor Kengor goes even further, depicting Marx as possibly under the Devil’s spell. The young Marx wrote some very dark poems filled with the sort of anti-religious sentiments that would inspire his Communist Manifesto. “It is in part, a tragic portrait of a man,” Kengor writes, “but still more broadly so, an ideology, a chilling retrospective on an unclean spirit that should have never been let out of its pit.”

Here’s an example from Marx’s poem, “The Pale Maiden” (1837):

Thus Heaven I’ve forfeited,
I know it full well.
My soul, once true to God,
Is chosen for Hell.

Kengor (like Johnson) makes the case that Marx, a self-absorbed intellectual, never lived out his own convictions when it came either to money or the redistribution thereof, evidenced by his dismissive attitude towards providing for those under his care. For instance, Marx exhausted the resources and goodwill of his parents, and instead of becoming remorseful or apologetic, he defiantly disowned them once they were no longer of value to him.

When it came to money, everything Marx touched turned to straw. His combustible life was filled with tragedy, debts, and, with the exception of the death of his wife Jenny, an apparent lack of regret in the face of his greatest losses. Family suicides, sexual exploits (including the possible abuse of a family maid) enflamed his life with bloody anger and fueled his revolutionary spirit. In this troubled background are the origins of his communist worldview – a complete rebellion against anything traditional or sacred. Thus the title of Kengor’s book.

Although I agree with the inescapable connection Kengor makes between Marx’s life and his philosophy, I might not place so much emphasis on the man’s early life. Many historical figures were wayward in youth, even some of our saints. Paul the Apostle aided and abetted murder as he tried to violently eradicate the Early Church. We don’t define Augustine by the reckless years prior to his conversion. In fact, these men are saints precisely because they changed.

In Marx’s case, of course, he never changed. He drank the nectar of the devil (my words), and it poisoned him – just as communism poisoned so much of the world.

The middle sections of the book track the rise and fall of the Left’s great messiah and his closest apostle, Friedrich Engels. It continues with a history of Marx’s disciples, from Vladimir Lenin in Russia to Saul Alinsky in the United States.

Kengor also explains how these and other henchmen have assaulted the Catholic faith. Although vigorously opposed by Catholic leadership, Marxism would nonetheless gain a foothold in parts of the Church. Kengor highlights Pope John Paul II’s success in his confrontation with Marxism and communism. Having lived much of his life in a communist regime, St. John Paul knew well Marxist ideas, which enabled him to deal effectively with the liberation theologians in South America.

I think of Kengor as plunging a stake into the heart of the devil and Karl Marx. But as we know, vampires are not so easily killed. Marxism in the 20th century used class warfare, and that was mostly a failure. In the 21st century, Marxists are employing identity politics, lately with some success. But the aim is the same: to sow cultural destruction. If this doesn’t make you angry, you’re not breathing.

Bizarrely romantic revolutions – from Mao’s China to Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone – Marx’s ill-conceived utopias aren’t just destructive, they’re murderous. The death toll of communism worldwide exceeds 100-million! Kengor calls it “nothing short of diabolical – truly a satanic scourge, a killing machine.”

Without question, America has had its share of betrayals and unrealized ideals, but what other country has made such progress with the rule of law, individual freedom, and shared prosperity?

Marx believed religion was a drug (the opium of the people) used by the wealthy to maintain disproportionate power. In retrospect, of course, communism peddles its own drug: an idealized global world, in which inequality disappears in the obliteration of all human distinctions. Kengor sees the seeds of our current flirtation with Marxism in the promotion of sexual freedom, “that plagues us to this today.”

Scripture teaches that, after the Resurrection, Lucifer was left only with the power to accuse, with rhetoric his only weapon. This is why Satan and Marxists prey on the most vulnerable: those least sure of their own identity. Satan comes as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:1), but he and his disciples, Marxist groups such as Antifa and the founders of the Black Lives Matter organization, bring only darkness.

Paul Kengor shows us the light.

COLUMN BY

Robert Orlando

Robert Orlando is a filmmaker, author, and entrepreneur. He’s the founder Nexus Media, and his latest films include The Divine Plan, and Citizen Trump. He also has a new book, The Tragedy of Patton: A Soldier’s Date with Destiny, forthcoming in November. His work has been published in HuffPost, Patheos, Newsmax, and Daily Caller. As a scholar, he specializes in biography, religion, and military history.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Catholic and “catholic”

Fr. Paul D. Scalia: The Church’s children should resemble her. We ought to strive to be catholic (universal) in our zeal, our mercy, and our embrace of Truth.


In today’s Gospel, our Lord likens the Kingdom of heaven to “a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” (Mt 13:44-52) This net, which gathers not just one kind of fish but fish of every kind, serves as a good description of what we confess every Sunday: the Church is catholic.

Now, most people probably think of “Catholic” as the brand name of a particular Christian denomination. Yes, we speak colloquially of the Catholic Church as distinct from the Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist churches, etc. But that’s a fairly recent designation, only since the Reformation. Before the Church was “Catholic” she was already “catholic.” It’s a truth we find expressed in the Church’s earliest years. The word “catholic” means universal, embracing and bringing all things together into a unity (from the Greek kata holos, “according to the whole).

Now, the distinction and relation of “Catholic” and “catholic” is important: one cannot be Catholic without also being catholic. To be a member of the Church means to share in her catholicity. So, what does that entail?

First, the Church is catholic – universal – in the most obvious sense: for all people. “Here comes everybody” is James Joyce’s famous description of the Church. She welcomes all comers, embraces and incorporates all people – “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, all peoples, of every race, nation, and country throughout the world.” (Rev 7:9) She leaves no group or kind of people beyond her mission and solicitude.

Now, catholic in this sense does not mean everyone thrown together willy-nilly, as you might toss all your clothes into the closet. Rather, it means all people brought together as one, as a unified whole. In the United States, we are now witnessing what happens to a society when its various peoples have lost their principle of unity. The Church, however – and, in the end, only the Church – is truly universal because she both embraces all people and makes them one body in Christ.

The implications of this universality should be clear. It means, first, that we welcome all people into the Church. Anyone who repents and believes is welcome regardless of any accidental qualities.  Further, this catholicity requires that we actively seek to bring the Gospel to all peoples, and all peoples to the Church.

Second, the Church is catholic in the sense that she forgives all sins. This is a consequence of her being the continuing presence of Christ Himself in the world.  Our Lord has authorized her to act and speak in His Name. He entrusted to her ministers His own power to forgive, a power limited only by a person’s desire to be forgiven.

Through the ministry of the Church, any of our sins, from the most trivial to the most severe, can be forgiven when we repent and ask forgiveness. Which also means that we should desire the extension of that forgiveness and reconciliation. Indeed, we should participate in the Church’s ministry of reconciliation. As such, our own personal forgiveness should extend as far as the Church’s, from the most trivial slight to the gravest sin against us. As regards forgiveness we can never say, “thus far and no further.”

Throughout her history, from Tertullian to Calvin, the Church has seen plenty of rigorists who would like to shorten the reach of her mercy. Like the slaves in the parable of the wheat and tares (Mt 13:24-43), they want a Church of saints not sinners. In the current “cancel culture,” the mobs of secular rigorists give us a sense of just how brutal a society is that desires pure justice (or what passes for it) and no mercy.

Finally, the Church is catholic in the sense that she possesses all truth. Everything necessary for salvation is found within her doctrine. All religions possess some aspects of the truth. Only Christ’s Church possesses the fullness of the truth.

Notice that the net in the parable brings in “all kinds of fish,” both the desired and the undesired. Similarly, the Church holds both pleasing truths (human dignity, forgiveness, heaven) and hard truths (sin, judgment, hell). To be Catholic means to assent to all that the Church teaches – not just to the parts we like.

The Church’s history is littered with heresies, a word that indicates the choosing of one truth to the exclusion of others (Greek again haerisis, not kata holos). Those who do so cease to be catholic, because they are embracing not the fullness of the truth but only the parts they like. If we call ourselves catholic, we must show ourselves to be truly catholic, embracing all truths — not just the convenient ones.

Mother Church’s children should bear a resemblance to her. So it is that we ought to strive to be catholic in our zeal for souls, in the reach of our mercy, and in our embrace of the truth.

COLUMN BY

Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy. His new book is That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

NEW YORK CITY: “IDOL” painted on 100-year-old statue of Virgin Mary

Leftists have been indulging in an orgy of destroying statues lately, but their favored graffiti for statues is “RACIST” and the like, not “IDOL.” A Leftist may have done this, or conceivably some fanatical Protestant, although that is extremely unlikely. But could it have anything to do with the introduction into Miami of a large population of people who believe that Christianity is a false, indeed idolatrous, religion, and that they are commanded to fight unbelievers so that Allah may punish them by the hands of the believers (cf. Qur’an 9:14-15)?

Could it have anything to do with the Qur’an’s suggestion that the destroyed remnants of ancient non-Muslim civilizations are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth? “Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth.” (Qur’an 3:137) The ruins of non-Muslim civilizations thus bear witness to the truth of Islam. What ensues from that idea? The creation of more ruins.

Watch the video. Is the perpetrator wearing a robe or thobe? Or is this the work of a Leftist who is unwittingly (or knowingly) advancing the same agenda as that of the Islamic State and the Taliban?

“Vandals Allegedly Target Statues of the Virgin Mary in Boston, Queens,” by Amy Furr, Breitbart, July 12, 2020 (thanks to the Geller Report):

Two statues of the Virgin Mary were reportedly vandalized over the weekend in Boston, Massachusetts, and Queens, New York.

At around 10:00 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a call about a fire in the area of 284 Bowdoin Street in Dorchester, the Boston Police Department said in a Facebook post.

“On arrival at Saint Peter’s Parish Church, officers observed a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which had been set on fire,” the department noted…

In a similar instance on Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn said the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was investigating the vandalization of another statue of the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens.

“Security footage shows an individual approaching the 100-year-old statue shortly after 3 a.m. Friday morning and daubing the word ‘IDOL’ down its length,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported.

Friday, the Brooklyn Diocese Press Office tweeted video footage of the alleged incident:

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Pro-life Hour met with counter-demonstration in Ottawa

Posted by Eeyore

This is a few moments from two intersections where a one hour pro-life expression took place. At one corner there was a counter-demonstration which seemed to attempt to profane the Catholic Church, suggesting that for them, it is more than a right-to-abort issue, and perhaps more of a complete rejection of Western values.

On the Knights’ Stand…

Picking up trash and donating school supplies used to be considered good deeds. Now, they could disqualify you from public service! That’s the absurd conclusion of at least two Democratic senators, who are holding one judicial nominee hostage for daring to help a couple of Catholic charities.

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) aren’t exactly champions of religious liberty. After skewering Amy Coney Barrett, Russell Vought, and other nominees of faith, it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Brian Buescher, the president’s pick for U.S. District Judge, was next on the Democrats’ hit list. During his hearing in late November, the liberal duo insinuated that anyone who’s a member of a Catholic organization is incapable of being “fair or impartial.” “[Your beliefs] don’t suddenly go away just because you become a judge,” Hirono argued.

But what are those “extreme” beliefs Hirono is talking about? Social service, for one. As the Knights of Columbus explained in an open letter to both senators, what’s so objectionable about giving away more than $4,000 worth of coats to needy children or collecting diapers to mothers in need? There’s nothing nefarious or controversial about donating pop tabs to help the developmentally disabled or providing an ultrasound to a clinic — unless you’re a U.S. senator bent on religious intolerance.

“We recently read about statements which expressed the fear that the Knights of Columbus held many extreme beliefs,” the organization wrote. “It is our great pleasure to assure you that this fear is not grounded in any truth. The Knights of Columbus in general, and O’Boyle Council in particular, are dedicated to the three fundamental principles of charity, unity, and fraternity.” The group went on to explain all of the good the Knights are doing for the local community. “We hope this list of activities help to assure you that we are simply a group aiming to do God’s work while building friendships.”

Despite those assurances, Hirono asked in a follow-up questionnaire of Buescher if he would quit the Knights of Columbus. After all, she wrote, “it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.” Senator Harris followed suit, demanding to know if the Nebraskan was aware of the group’s fanatical pro-life and pro-marriage positions.

But what’s so radical about an opinion that the plurality of Americans hold? Based on last November’s exit polling (of primarily Democratic-leaning voters), man-woman marriage is still the predominate view (48-45 percent) in America! If anyone’s extreme, it’s the increasingly anti-Catholic Democratic Party, who believes that the only people who are fit to hold down a job in this country are the men and women who reject the Bible’s teachings.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’s had enough of the far-Left’s religious tests, blasted his colleagues for trying to undermine Buescher’s qualifications with another faith-based witch-hunt. “Hopefully, in the eyes of Democrats, you are not disqualified to be a judge because of your religious affiliations and beliefs.” Later, he promised that he and the rest of the Senate majority “will not tolerate disqualifying judicial nominees because of charitable works and personal religious opinions.”

With two more senators in his column heading into 2019, President Trump has a chance to add even more solid constructionists to the bench. Let’s just hope that none of them have to go through what so many nominees already have: a bigoted interrogation meant to chase Christians out of public service. America was founded on faith predominately by people of faith. It’s time for Democrats to stop their religious test.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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The Answer To Our Nation’s Ailments Is So Easy To See.

This week has witnessed the destructive and sinister actions of two deranged and evil men who sought to sow havoc and hatred upon others.  The first, of course, was the attempted (or feigned) mail bombings by an unstable individual in Miami targeting prominent Democrats.  The second is the vicious, senseless, and horrible mauling of Jews assembled within their own synagogue in Pittsburgh for the purposes of prayer, fellowship, and worship.  Obviously, neither of these events is in any way tolerable in a Republic or in American society.   And although there is, I expect, complete unanimity on this matter, the consensus breaks down with the attempt at identifying the root cause of our malady.

Many explanations can be posited for the deterioration in the interactions between Americans we have recently witnessed.  Some blame the faster-paced society in which we live.  Others discuss video games and television violence.  Still others suggest that the issue lies in the vitriol with which politicians and reporters alike engage the public and each other.  And of course, the deceitful opportunists will go further and place the blame squarely on the President of the United States.

In reality, the problem is much more elemental than this and vastly more ominous.  What we are witnessing is, quite simply, the latest manifestation of the eternal battle of good against evil where evil is winning.

The devastating consequences of a society’s abandonment of God have played out on numerous occasions.  God’s destruction of His creation in response to widespread corruption, the Jews’ struggles with their own moral frailties as they trekked across the desert in search of the Promised Land, the destruction of Sodom due to its wretchedness even before Lot’s escape, Israel’s suffering brought about by David’s moral indiscretion are but a few examples of the inverse relationship between destruction and famine and closeness to God.

But the association is not merely a physical one. Patrick Henry was correct when he wrote that religion “hath a natural tendency to correct the morals of men, restrain their vices, and preserve the peace of society.”  It was an insight shared by Congress in its creation of the Northwest Ordinance prompting it to include the words in Article 3 of its charter, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Unfortunately, the agenda-driven courts bent on sealing any porousness in the wall of separation between church and state described by Thomas Jefferson, abandoned those fundamental concepts.  And the results, similar to the countless examples painted for us in the Bible, have been nothing short of cataclysmic.  In the same time since the courts stripped our schools of prayer, the United States has seen the dissolution of its relationship to God, a deterioration in the collective faith of its citizens, and an acceleration in the hostility, hatred, and overall mayhem taking place within its borders.

Make no mistake about it, what we are witnessing is no less a complete destruction of a society than the evaporation of Sodom.  Only this time the destruction is much more foundational than a physical one.  We are witnessing the destruction of a nation’s soul, and those pointing to Donald Trump, or the Republicans, or social media, or anything short of our devolving devotion to God is losing sight of the real culprit.  The culprit is evil itself, and the only path to salvation lies in following the mandates of a Judeo-Christian God.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist Pages. It is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash.

End of the Democratic Party: Meet the Faces of the Socialist Democrat Party of America

The Democratic Party is fielding candidates that show just how far they have moved away from the party of Thomas Jefferson.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland, in a 2013 article in the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence titled “The Emerging Red-Green Alliance: Where Political Islam Meets the Radical Left” noted:

No matter how unlikely it may seem, radical Leftists and Islamists have come closer in recent years. Drawing on substantial ideological interchange, and operating at both state and non-state levels, the two movements are building a Common Front against the United States and its allies. In this article, we use framing theory to examine the contemporary convergence of political Islam and the radical Left. Both radical Leftists and Islamists have utilized the master frame of anti-globalization/anti-capitalism and the master frame of anti-colonialism/anti-imperialism to elicit support from the widest possible range of people. The emerging Red-Green alliance presents a complex challenge that will require careful attention from U.S. and European policymakers.

Here’s a video flashback when Chris Matthews asks key leaders of the Democratic Party about the difference between a Socialist and Democrat:

Today America’s Democratic Party resembles a real red/green alliance.

The Democrats are truly the party of Karl Marx and Mohammad. The new faces of the Democratic Party are either Socialist Democrats, like Ocasio-Cortea or Islamists, like Linda Sarsour and Rep. Keith Ellison. Many have written about the coming Red/Green alliance. We are now seeing it in the form of candidates who are winning Democratic Party primaries.

Watch Ocasio-Cortex try to describe the difference between Socialism and Democratic Socialism on ABC’s The View:

The Oxford Dictionary defines Socialism and Democratic Socialism as follows:

Socialism:

A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism. (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.

Democratic Socialism:

A form of socialism pursued by democratic rather than autocratic or revolutionary means, especially by respecting a democratically elected legislature as the source of political change; (also more generally) moderate or centrist socialism.

Groups like Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Occupy Wall Street, Women’s March and Families Belong Together all demand radical changes to American policies.

The July/August 2017 issue of The Atlantic had an article titled “What’s Wrong With the Democrats?” by Franklin Foer. Foer wrote:

Leaderless and loud, the Resistance has become the motive power of the Democratic Party…  The feistiness and agitation of the moment are propelling the party to a new place.

But where? The question unnerves Democrats, because the party has no scaffolding… Resistance has given the Democrats the illusion of unity, but the reality is deeply conflicted…

To produce a governing majority, the party will need to survive an unsettling reckoning with itself. Donald Trump didn’t just prevail over the Democrats; he called into doubt their old truths. [Emphasis added]

The Democratic Party is eating its own. Watch this video about how Hispanic Democratic Socialist candidate Ocasio-Cortex won the Democrat primary in New York because she targeted her Democratic opponent was white.

As a young man I was a JFK Democrat. He was my American idol. It was the time of Camelot and at the peak of American economic, political and military power. JFK embodied a vision of the future that Americans embraced.

The party of JFK is long gone. Rising from its ashes is the red/green alliance.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is titled “Red Green Axis, Alliance, Flag A” by CaciqueCaribe.

Judicial Secularists Attack Religious Freedom

On June 7, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida dealt the latest blow to religious freedom in our country.

The case arose from a request by Cambridge Christian High School, which had earned the opportunity to compete in the 2A division playoffs finals, to use the stadium’s public announcement system in prayer prior to the beginning of the game. The team’s opponent was another Christian school equally devoted to serving God and to conducting itself in His image with every activity it undertakes.

Citing issues of potential coercion and fearing that such prayer might be offensive to others, Dr. Roger Dearing, the executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), declined the request.

Of course, in so doing, Dr. Dearing dismissed the fact that the same FHSAA had approved such a request in 2012. He also dismissed the national tradition of engaging in prayer prior to the start of a football game. And most astoundingly he ignored that both teams, meaning all parties involved, wished to engage in a unified prayer as one community under Christ.

Following the denial, Cambridge Christian brought the case to the judiciary for consideration. After all, they weren’t asking for the announcer to lead everyone in prayer. They weren’t asking for the FHSAA to buy new equipment. They weren’t even asking for the game to be delayed for one moment because, in point of fact, the two teams were going to pray on the field and in front of the fans anyway.

No. The only question they were asking was, “Hey, man, can I borrow your microphone?”

Court predictably quashed religious freedom

But almost predictably, the court ruled against religious freedom citing issues of perceived endorsement of religion by government and of the infringement praying might have on the rights of others (yes, this is not a misprint).

Every time I learn of a case like this, I am baffled at the extent to which the state squashes the public’s ability to pray in an open forum merely because of government’s presence. This catastrophic road upon which the Supreme Court of the United States has placed us suppresses our right to worship and to pay reverence to God — in direct violation of the original intent First Amendment.  It ignores the spiritual aspects of human existence, and most importantly, casts aside the foundational roles of religion and religious worship in our nation’s birth.

Repeatedly, I am told that the reason for following this road is the wall of separation between church and state espoused by Thomas Jefferson in his letter written on the first day of 1802 to the members of the Danbury Baptist Church.

But there is so much that runs counter to this assertion.

First, President Jefferson’s comment was completely extrajudicial in nature.

Second, the concept of a wall of separation between church and state has been tainted by the agenda-driven nature of the Supreme Court’s 20th-century opinions. Following the 19th-century Court’s introduction of Jefferson’s wall into the legal corpus, the first two 20th-century cases invoking it did so in an effort to keep the government from interfering with state-based, religious-supporting programs.

But in 1947, the Court changed direction to one that would inhibit, rather than support, religious worship. With its McCollum decision, the court prohibited Bible verses from being recited in public schools, and later, it struck down prayer in schools as well as the observance of even a bland and neutral moment of silence.

The subsequent deterioration in the nation’s moral posture and the breakdown in the family as a central societal unit are the predictable consequences of these actions.

An alternative route ensuring freedoms

But lost in these recitations is the overt bias the Court displayed in selecting Jefferson’s wall of separation in its interpretation of the First Amendment.

Let’s consider a few similarly applicable observations made by some of the nation’s foundational greats in equally extrajudicial fashion.  George Mason, in writing the Virginia Bill of Rights, wrote, “all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and. . . it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.” His proposed amendment was subsequently approved by the Virginia legislature, the same legislature Madison and Jefferson inhabited — a far greater weight of influence than one man’s personal letter.

Based on Mason’s language, would it not have been more appropriate for a 20th century court to hold that in interpreting the First Amendment we should recognize that our nation was created with the purpose of guaranteeing that all men be able to engage in Christian forbearance? If so, wouldn’t using a public microphone for spontaneously requested prayer be not only allowed, but encouraged?

Or how about using John Marshall, the most prolific justice in the history of the Supreme Court? When asked about the nexus of Christianity and the nation’s government, he wrote in a letter, just like Jefferson did, that, “The American population. . . is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institution did not presuppose Christianity.”

Consequently, wouldn’t a more appropriate truism for the Supreme Court to follow in its interpretation of the First Amendment be that the United States of America, through its foundation and its culture, presupposes Christianity?

Or consider the observation made by Justice Joseph Story, one of the early members of the Supreme Court, who extra-judicially wrote, “My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government cannot long exist without an alliance with religion to some extent; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.”

From this, wouldn’t a more appropriate guide for the interpretation of the First Amendment be that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests, foundations, and existence of these United States of America?

Back the need for a legislative override

If any of these guides had been adopted instead of, or perhaps in addition to, Jefferson’s wall of separation, imagine how different American jurisprudence would be as it relates to religious liberty and our freedom to worship! Sharia law would be an impossible legal threat, and the concepts of love for one’s neighbor and respect for the dignity of man would be freely taught in our schools under the direct supervision of the community’s parents.

From this analysis a few conclusions may be reached.

First, there is no inherent reason for Jefferson’s wall of separation, at least as the courts apply it today, to be the only compass in interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution. So long as all religious views are respected, the government can peacefully cohabitate with worshipers be they Christian, Jewish, or any peace-loving faith.

Second, neither the people of this great nation nor its elected representatives selected the road our nation has traversed regarding religious liberty. Instead, it was embraced by an oligarchy of legalists unaccountable to the will of the people.

Consequently, if it is true that the Courts have interpreted the Constitution in a manner inconsistent with the will of the people, then isn’t it up to We The People, as the true purveyors of the Constitution, to override an opinion of such a Court and reverse an ill-conceived opinion? We know, through their writings, that at least Jefferson and Madison would think so.

Truly, the road we are following regarding our religious freedom is nothing short of harrowing. It has diminished our sense of morality and has curtailed our abilities to teach our children that there are things bigger than themselves.

It is time for our country to navigate back to the road built upon Christian forbearance; the same road that would lead us to the shining city on the hill.

RELATED ARTICLE: 2 Cases Threaten to Shut Down Public Prayer. Why the Supreme Court May Need to Act.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.

Religious Protection Gone Wild

The First Amendment guarantees Americans the freedom of religion in the “establishment” clause:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Words matter, so the first question that must be answered is a matter of definition. What is religion?

The dictionary defines religion as:

  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
  2. A particular system of faith and worship.
  3. A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes superhuman importance.

Dictionaries have been used for centuries to help codify the meaning of words in an attempt to make language useful. Without accepted specific meanings for words it is impossible to communicate through language effectively. Language is the common denominator of speech. Even biblical stories express the importance of the meaning of words as they are understood or misunderstood in any language. The most famous example is the biblical story of The Tower of Babel that begins with everyone on Earth speaking the same language and able to understand each other. Whether the scattering of people around the world was a punishment for hubris or not, the consequence was that people began speaking different languages and could no longer understand each other.

But what happens when people speaking the same language no longer understand each other because they interpret the meaning of the same words differently? That is the situation we are facing in contemporary American society today.

The second question that must be answered is a matter of interpretation. What does religion mean to you?

Thomas Jefferson wrote eloquently on the subject in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists who worried about their minority status in Connecticut. Jefferson was reassuring the Baptists that being a minority religion would not be a problem in a Protestant majority state as far as the federal government was concerned.

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”(Wikipedia)

Jefferson’s letter clearly indicates that for Jefferson, religion was a matter of Man and God. Jefferson’s interpretation was the widely accepted and understood view of religion in the early 18th century. By the 20th century the U.S. Supreme Court “incorporated” the Establishment Clause and expanded its application from the federal government to the state governments as well.

The practical application of the freedom of religion also requires a uniform understanding of the meaning and interpretation of the word religion. The Exercise Clause clarifies the supremacy of Constitutional laws and freedoms over religious laws and freedoms. This is particularly important in contemporary America because we are facing “religious” practices of Islam that threaten our Constitutional freedoms.

The Free Exercise Clause distinguishes between religions beliefs and religious practices. It is the equivalence of distinguishing between thinking and doing. In America an individual is free to think murderous thoughts but he is not free to murder. Islam is a religion governed by religious Sharia Law that endorses honor killings, female genital mutilation, murder of apostates, murder of homosexuals, wife beatings, child marriage and pedophilia. American jurisaprudence does not have the will or authority to change people’s beliefs whether they are citizens of the United States, guests in this country, here illegally, or citizens of other countries, but we most certainly have the right and legal obligation to disallow any and all practices in conflict with the U.S. Constitution and our cultural norms. Free Exercise Clause (Wikipedia)

“Freedom of religion means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to take action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order.”[28] In Reynolds v. United States (1878), the Supreme Court found that while laws cannot interfere with religious belief and opinions, laws can be made to regulate some religious practices (e.g., human sacrifices, and the Hindu practice of suttee). The Court stated that to rule otherwise, “would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government would exist only in name under such circumstances.”[29] In Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940), the Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied the Free Exercise Clause to the states. While the right to have religious beliefs is absolute, the freedom to act on such beliefs is not absolute.

In Jefferson’s time as in Truman’s time the meaning of the word religion was understood as items 1 and 2:

  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
  2. A particular system of faith and worship.

Seventy years later in 2017 we must reconsider the meaning of the word religion and ask the question What is Islam?

Islam is not a religion like Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, or Judaism. Islam is a unified supremacist socio-political system with a military wing and a religious wing. Islam is governed by religious sharia law. The goal of Islam since the 7th century is to make the world Islamic and impose sharia law worldwide.

Islam is tyrannical in its demand for conformity to its barbaric sharia laws. Islam is intolerant. Islam is a political force seeking world dominion and cannot be allowed religious protections like the Baptists in Connecticut during Jefferson’s times.

Islam is far more like the Nazis during Hitler’s time. Consider this question. What if Hitler declared Nazism to be a religion. It certainly qualifies as a religion according to Item 3. A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes superhuman importance.

If Adolph Hitler declared his Nazism a religion would the left-wing liberal apologists for Islam defend Nazism and its determination to rule the world and rid the Earth of every Jew? Would the lefty-wing liberals declare murder of Jews protected by religious freedom? How is this different from allowing Muslims to perpetrate honor killings, female genital mutilation, murder of apostates, murder of homosexuals, wife beatings, child marriage, and pedophilia.

There is no difference.

If, as apologists for Islamic barbarity claim, Islamists have perverted their religion – then it is also true that they have perverted our concept of religious freedom. Islam is not a religion like any other and its savage practices do not deserve protection under our religious freedom laws and the free exercise clause.

U.S. Catholic bishops complicit in Muslim persecution of Christians

Recently I was interviewed about the persecution by Catholic bishops of Catholic priests who enunciate unpopular truths about Islam.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

“Islamic Expert: US Bishops Complicit in Muslim Persecution of Christians,” by Anita Carey, ChurchMilitant.com, May 8, 2017:

DETROIT (ChurchMiltant.com) – A prominent Islamic expert is comparing the bishops’ silence on terrorism to sex abuse cover-up. Robert Spencer, an Islamic terror expert and author of 16 books on Islam, released an editorial Sunday excoriating the U.S. bishops’ actions to punish clergy and schoolteachers who speak out against Islam, including Spencer himself.

“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops moves actively and swiftly to silence and demonize voices that tell the truth about the Muslim persecution of Christians,” Spencer noted, naming various bishops who’ve refused him, as well as other Muslim critics, a platform in their dioceses.

“You can reject every element of the Nicene Creed and everything the Church teaches, and still the U.S. Catholic Bishops will consider you a Catholic in good standing,” he continued. “But if you believe that Islam is not a religion of peace, you have no place in the U.S. Catholic Church.”

Church Militant spoke with Spencer on his thoughts regarding the reasons why the U.S. bishops are so reluctant to speak out against the evil of Islam.

CM: At what point do you think the bishops started to pander to a politically correct agenda?

RS: This is an outgrowth of the confusion that overtook the Church in the wake of Vatican II, and the popular but erroneous idea among liberal Catholics that the Church had discarded its tradition and dogmas and essentially embraced the leftist agenda. This idea took root in earnest in the 1960s, but began germinating long before that.

CM: Knowing the historical conflicts between Islam and Christianity, why would the bishops be so quick and severe toward those who are informing the laity? Why would they want the laity ignorant?

RS: This mystifies me, but my best assessment is that this is an outgrowth of the spirit of Vatican II, which called upon Muslims and Christians to set aside ancient antagonisms and find common ground. There is a general assumption among the bishops that just as Christianity has changed since the time of the Crusades, so also has Islam, and dialog will iron out any remaining differences.

In reality, this is an unfounded assumption, as Islamic teaching has not changed, and still contains an imperative to wage war against Christians and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. I would expect that most bishops, however, would dismiss the idea that Islamic teaching contains such an imperative as an “Orientalist” and “Islamophobic” false claim. They, however, are the ones who are ignorant.

CM: What do you think the bishops’ problem is with your talks and position on Islam?

RS: I’m told that Bp. Nicholas Samra believes that I am “spreading hate,” and since I was a member of his diocese, he himself told me that many bishops had approached him at the USCCB conference telling him that he had to “do something” about me. They apparently believe that I am harming the dialog they are conducting with Muslims, and they apparently also think that this dialog is producing results, even though Muslim persecution of Christians has increased exponentially since it began.

For my part, I reject the charge that I am spreading hate, and challenge Samra or any other bishop to quote a single hateful statement from my work. I am exposing facts that many would prefer to keep concealed; the “hate” charge is simply an attempt to make people of good will turn against my work.

CM: If the bishops do start to speak out against Islam, will it make Christian persecution worse or start an all-out war? 

RS: In Islamic law, Christians must live in subservience and submission to Islamic law. If they speak out about their plight, it will get even worse for them, and their lives could be forfeit. Thus they generally adopt an attitude of publicly praising and siding with those who persecute them, so that it won’t get even worse for them. This is the attitude that the bishops now appear to have adopted as well: Samra himself told me that I shouldn’t speak out against Muslim persecution of Christians, as doing so would only make matters worse for Middle-Eastern Christians.

While I am aware of that possibility, at the same time to dissimulate about the nature and magnitude of that persecution only misleads Christians outside the Middle East into complacency. It also just validates and reinforces violent intimidation. It is incumbent upon the bishops as messengers of the truth to tell the whole truth about what is happening to the Christians of the Middle East, and to reject a submission to Islamic intimidation that would condemn our children and our children’s children to slavery. To accept that intimidation and lie or remain silent because of it is only to encourage more such intimidation. They could speak out while working to ensure that the United States and other powers do everything they can to protect the remaining Christians in the Middle East from further persecution.

CM: What can the faithful do to influence the bishops or fight back against the liberal media?

RS: Call them to tell the truth. When they issue statements about Islam that are dishonest and misleading, challenge them. I have been severely criticized for criticizing bishops. Many Catholics seem to think that to do so is disloyal to the Church. On the contrary, I believe that not to call out bishops when they are sinful and wrong is even more disloyal to the Church. It is the kind of thinking that led to the pedophilia scandals.

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