Tag Archives: Catholics

Moments of Clarity

Standard

After having been told in our marriage prep that the choice of contraception was up to my wife and I, and while deliberating about whether or not we wanted to stop at 2 or 3 kids so that we could have that perfect American family, a strange thing happened.

You see, I had been reading a lot about this little thing called the Catholic Church, and I was all-in on the fact that this whole thing made good, logical sense.   It was clear – Christ called Peter the Rock, the teachings on faith and morals that were bound here were a bound because it was divinely inspired teaching.   Scripture and Tradition – got it.

I was also all-in on contraception.   After all, a man of the cloth had clearly informed us that this was not, in fact, a teaching of the Church.  If we were OK with it, then God was OK with it.

As both my wife and I grew in our faith, though, we started spending a lot more time with other Catholic families, and at some point my wife informed me that she wasn’t sure we should be contracepting.   This was not part of my plan, and I clung to that initial piece of advice we had received as if my life depended on it.  Was this the same woman who wanted me to get snipped not that long ago?   (I didn’t for two reasons: (1) there was something deep down that told me it wasn’t right, and I could never get past that, and (2) I really cringed and felt pain in my nether region every time I thought about it, and could never get past that.)   It finally reached a point where this was causing some real stress in our relationship, and I had a brilliant idea.   It was time to go to the Catechism.   Yeah, that was it.  These other people were taking the extreme position on this, and the Catechism would be my proof that we were OK.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

If I’ve been blessed with anything, it’s the ability to be pretty honest with myself.   I am, by nature, a logical and analytical person.   Truth is truth, and if it’s presented to me clearly and definitively, I accept it even if I don’t like the answer.

I can still remember that day, opening up the Catechism and reading about the use of contraception.   I don’t remember anything I read except two words:  “Intrinsically evil.”

My conversion was immediate.

Don’t get me wrong.  It wasn’t an “Alleluia” moment.   It wasn’t a refreshing moment.  It wasn’t a happy moment at all.

It was a moment of clarity.  And I could not, in good conscience, ignore it.

And so my new life began.   The life that would lead me to a family that now includes 9 children who are both a tremendous joy and blessing, while at the same time – in my darker moments – secretly wondering what my life would be like if I had never had that moment of clarity.

I can recount a couple other moments like that in my life.   I think God gives all of us those moments.  He wants to move us in the right direction, but He often finds ways to make that happen where the choice still has to be ours.   Every conversion story I have ever heard is defined by particular moments, and there is not one of them that doesn’t believe that God had a hand in the process.   We may all be delusional, or it could be that God actually really does love us and is ready to forgive us and welcome us back to the fold, from whatever distance it is we have strayed.   It’s all well and good to have some excuse for a while that you can blame on someone else for why you are doing what you are doing.   But if you are not doing right, at some point God will make it your choice, and from that point forward it’s your decision to own.

I think we have these moments as individuals, as families, as parishes, as communities, and as nations.

I believe the recent scandal regarding Planned Parenthood is such a moment.

The discussion and sale of baby parts is nauseating and disquieting.   But it changes nothing at all about the abortion issue.   It is a stark reflection of who and what Planned Parenthood is, and it unveils the evil that lurks behind the facade of an organization that claims to be a champion of women’s health.   But in reality, we’ve had decades of technological capabilities of informing people that the baby is really a baby and not a clump of cells.   Ultrasounds brought us pictures of the baby in the womb.   Advancements in DNA technology and understanding have reached a point where even the unscientific common folk know enough that all humans have a unique DNA, and that the baby in the womb is human and distinct from the mother’s DNA.

We already know all that, but because many people don’t want to let the abortion issue go, they cling to the “it’s just a lump of cells” argument from 40 years ago as gospel, and continue to avoid confronting their own sense of reason on better understanding the humanness of the “fetus.”

Then there is another group of people – Christians no less – that have managed to convince themselves that abortion is just another issue.   They are against it, but because of other influences they have chosen to either minimize its importance or how evil it actually is because they have other political issues they feel strongly about.  Whether it’s education or the poor or the economy – good and legitimate issues – they are willing to overlook the fact that abortion should be a disqualifying issue for any candidate.   What does that mean?   For example:  if a candidate came out in favor of re-instituting slavery, but otherwise supported the issues you support, would you vote for him?   Most would (hopefully) say “no.”   Why?   Because that one issue shows a depravity of mind that cannot possibly qualify him for legal office.   Period.   If he is so out of bounds on that issue, we cannot trust that he will make wise decisions in other areas, regardless of his stand on other issues.

If we can agree that there are issues of disqualification for a candidate, then on what basis can any of us who believe that life begins at conception ever not disqualify a candidate who believes it is perfectly acceptable to kill a child in the womb?

The recent Planned Parenthood scandal is not so much about the strict legalities or illegalities of trading in body parts as much as it is about making it entirely clear to us that abortion is about killing babies with developed baby parts.   Those who are arguing that it really is legal, and for research, and all that are entirely missing the point.   The entire point is that these are actual developed organs, tissues, heads, livers, you name it.   These things come from some living being, and in this case we know that living thing to be human.

In other words, this is a moment of clarity.

Because of these videos, politicians will be required to stake out a position.   Everyone will be asked to either align with or against Planned Parenthood.   Based on this new information, we know ever more clearly that abortion is about killing human babies.    Any politician who continues to align with Planned Parenthood is making a choice that, to be perfectly honest, imperils their soul.    Any person who, in turn, aligns with a politician who has aligned with Planned Parenthood is doing the same.   I am not the judge, and I am not making any final statements about any individual person’s salvation.   But what I do know is that we are given these moments as a gift – a blessing – so that we can correct injustice in a particular area that is a grievous sin against God and humanity.

Making the choice to do this may or may not require putting other things that are important to you on hold.  It may not be an easy thing to do.   But we are given these moments to make a difference and to take a stand.   It may mean that another issue of less importance (Even though important to us) does not go exactly the way we’d like for a few years.    Well, it is my opinion that if we all made it clear that we are disqualifying any candidate on this issue, then within 2-3 election cycles it wouldn’t be an issue.   Politicians are funny like that.   And this does not make us “one-issue” voters.   I hate that characterization.    That implies that this is just one of many issues.   While it is true that it is one of many issues, there are different categories of issues.   By definition, a disqualifying issue takes precedence before consideration of other issues.   By all means, if there are two pro-life candidates then I will make it perfectly clear that I consider a lot of other issues and will speak to those.   If you are not pro-life, well, then your head is not right and I just can[t trust your judgment.   It’s actually pretty simple.   If you’re still confused, go back to the slavery example and read it again.

We must be honest with ourselves when God gives us a moment of clarity like this.   And if we don’t, there will be consequences to us as a nation and as individuals.

Advertisements

Speaking of Facebook…

Standard

I think I’ve caught up with the turn of the new millennium and I now have a facebook page.    So now all my blog posts will get posted to my Diatribe Guy Facebook page.   [update]I think I’ve got it set up so that you can just follow me without being a friend.   If I somehow screwed that up, you can send me a friend request and I will accept, but I’ll unfollow you because I don’t care to have anything else show up on my timeline..

Anyway, if any Facebook experts wanna check to see if I have it set up correctly and help a brother out if it’s apparent that I don’t know what I’m doing, then I’d appreciate it!

Feel free to follow and share any posts that strike your fancy as share-able with your friends.

Where are the Lawsuits Against the Muslim Bakeries?

Standard

First, a caveat.   I really don’t know the guy in the video I posted above, I don’t know what religion he is, and yada yada yada.

But I had personally been musing about the context of the gay marriage decision as it relates to the Christian community, while realizing the near-silence on any acknowledgment that other religions also have an issue with this.

In finding this video, I forced myself to read an accompanying article lamenting this guy and what he did, and they dismissed it as “Yeah, yeah…  all you did was show that there are bigots in all religions.   Big surprise.   Nothing to see here.”

Talk about missing the point.

it’s worth viewing this, and I think it’s pretty clear what point he is making.    While he does throw in some off-the-cuff stereotypical comments on Islam (I guess in today’s world it’s called Islamaphobia) that I probably wouldn’t choose to make, he is NOT saying that the refusal of the Muslim bakeries to bake a same-sex wedding cake is bad.   In fact, he fully supports their position, and is using this video to make the point that it’s a perfectly reasonable thing for them to do.

If not obvious by now, the entire point is that what is a reasonable consideration/accommodation for one religion should be reasonable for another.

Yes, some Muslim-owned bakeries would have baked this cake.  Likewise, many Christian-owned bakeries would do the same.   Yet, one couple decides that’s not the business they want to participate in and they lose their business, are fined $135,000, and are told they can’t even talk about it.   They are Christians.   And I thought this was America.   They were targeted, and the couple could have easily found another place to make the cake.   But they didn’t and they sued, all for the purpose of making an example of these folks.

So, the question is, why no lawsuits against the Muslim bakeries?   Again, I am not desiring or supporting such an action.   It’s just a reasonable question – why is one group being targeted but not another?

Let’s see…   when one group is targeted and another isn’t, we have a name for that.   What is it again?    Hmmm…   if only there were laws against targeting people unfairly because of their religion.

If only.

How Did We Reach a Point Where Disagreement = Judgment and Hate?

Standard

“Love won today!”

I saw this statement and claim made shortly after the 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court that legalized gay marriage.

A couple days later, my wife posted a video on Facebook.   The purpose of the video was to once again lay out the case for the traditional definition of marriage.   It was not in any way presented hatefully, but it was not apologetic, either.   It simply presented the facts about what marriage has been considered forever, why it was considered that way, and why same-sex marriage doesn’t properly fulfill the requirements to be considered marriage.

Responses to her sharing this were that it made someone “sad that you feel that way.”   In a followup response, once again the idea that “well, I just choose to love people” came up.

Whether intended or not, these responses and reactions have as a premise that if the Supreme Court did not rule as they did, then love would have lost.   Or that thinking about this issue in the traditional sense must mean you don’t love people – at the very least, you don’t love them as much as someone who supports redefinition of marriage.   They’ll say “oh, that’s not waht I mean, or what I’m implying.”   That’s a shallow retort.   You can’t make a statement about love winning and then backtrack and say that you don’t mean that others are haters, or at least not as loving as you.   It’s a logical impossibility.

This, of course, is poppycock.

It has long been a tactic of those engaged in policy, social, and moral debate to appeal to emotion and the impugning of character in order to advance an opinion or agenda.   And while neither side of any issue is immune to that temptation, I do think there is a definite difference in applicability of that approach.   In general, the more “conservative” position on an issue is an argument based on the logical or rational merits of an idea.  This may be to a fault in many cases, where the human side of things may not be fully considered, and it’s something that conservatives need to guard against.    That is not to say the right cannot get emotional and accuse others of this thing or that, but I would venture to say that the underlying view of an issue has more of a logical train of thought to it.   The more “progressive” elements try to paint their side much more as on the side of compassion and tolerance.   This is a very emotional plea – one of inclusiveness and love (except for those who disagree, anyway).   I am not saying there is never anything deeper to have formed their opinions, but the overriding element is feelings.

The gay marriage argument is really a very easy case study on this, and I’m sure people will disagree with me on it.   Well, it’s OK to be wrong, because this is about as simple as it gets.    The main argument that the progressives have on this is “we just want people to be happy and have a companion, and be recognized for it so they are not viewed differently and they can get the same benefits other people get.   Because we LOOOOVVVVVEEEEE them SOOOOOOOOO much!”   It really is that simple.   I have yet to hear any gay marriage supporters really even attempt to suggest there’s more to it than that.   “We want what you have” is pretty much what it was all about.

Those on the other side of the argument seldom thought all that much about the individuals enough to say that we love, like, dislike, or outright hate any given person or group.   The simple fact is, this has never been about emotional and personal feelings as much as it just simply doesn’t make one friggin’ bit of sense to us at any rational and reasonable and intellectual level.    It’s about a series of facts and observations:  (1) who do we think we are to redefine an institution that’s thousands of years old into something new? (2) Men’s parts are made for women’s parts by natural design or order or however you’d prefer to characterize it; (3) the sexual relationship is pretty much designed for one purpose – procreation.    Yes, it feels great, and we’ve turned its purpose into a self-serving thing of pleasure, but most people recognize that the entire reason there are men’s parts and women’s parts is so that there end up being more people.

Of course, morality and religion come into play, and it’s somewhat ironic that this generates protests from the progressives who claim that there should be no place in the debate for religion, when their entire platform is not actually based on anything of substance on any level.

Attempts to bridge this chasm usually do not go all that well.  Let’s focus on the Christians who have both purely rational reasons for believing what they believe, and also the affirmation of the good book to boot that really solidifies their position.  One of the problems that will occur on the one side of the debate is that, even though the root of the belief is based on sound judgment and logic, the emotional element does kick in for an entirely different reason than the progressive side.    It could be a few different reasons, but it’s generally something in this universe:   I love God so much and want others to love God, and this is so wrong that my head’s going to explode, and I JUST CAN’T UNDERSTAND HOW OTHERS CAN’t SEE IT!; or there are numerous reasons and examples already that create a fear/anxiety that my own religious liberty will soon be at risk; or it just flat out makes so much sense that anyone who can’t see it is completely rationalizing in their opinion for some purpose or another (likely to appease the conscience of a loved one, or they can’t bear to believe that someone they know or love may be sinning), or just flat-out stupid.    So, because we Christians are not impervious to sin, these emotions do move us past the “hate the sin, love the sinner” frame of mind and we become uncharitable.   And this causes all sorts of issues that make us sound like haters.

But before the progressives get all puffy, you’re at fault too.    Because you simply cannot tolerate dissent, or anything other than complete complicity in both thought and action, you are unable to have a reasoned and rational debate.    A Christian can be utterly loving and charitable, but let’s face it…   if we believe something is sinful, there really isn’t a way to say that, even in the most loving way, that isn’t a little bit harsh.   And a Christian can present this without talking directly about “you” and recognize that God alone ultimately judges, and can throw all the caveats under the sun in there, but once the word “sin” is mentioned, every other word that has been said is forgotten.   All the love, compassion, delicate weaving of the argument or opinion…  gone.    After all, we dare not use the word “sin” these days.    YOU THINK I’M SINNING?!!!!   (even though I never said “you are sinning”)   YOU HATEFUL BIGOTED CHRISTIAN LOOOOSSSERRRR!!!    JUDGER!   JUDGER!

Don’t get me started on the perversion of the “Though shalt not judge” scriptural reference, which has been transformed into such a meaning that it eviscerates Paul’s requirement that we admonish the sinner.    But that’s a digression I won’t get into right now.

Sigh.

As a Diatriber, I guess I’m a judger.

All we can do as Christians is continue to strive for our balance point.   We must love, yet admonish.   But we must admonish with utmost charity.    But we cannot judge, especially without looking at the log in our own eye.    We must not capitulate our beliefs and participate in something that is wrong, but we cannot discriminate against people unfairly in our day-to-day lives, nor should we withhold our assistance and generosity to them either.   We must stand firm, publicly if necessary, in favor of what is good and right, while not being unnecessarily confrontation and mean-spirited in the way we make our stand.

That is a tough balancing act, and most of us will stumble around – possibly our entire lives – trying to figure out how to get it right.

Step 3 in the Re-definition of Marriage

Standard

As a quick recap for a couple previous posts, in my opinion (and the opinion of many others) the whole marriage debate has a lot of nuance to it, and the sudden realization that marriage has been re-defined carries with it no shortage of fault and blame going back centuries.    I won’t re-hash that detail, but it is important to remember the following points:

1) Marriage never has been universally defined.   Ages of people and cultures have viewed it, its purpose(s), and its structure differently.   Never has it meant same-sex relationships, though, to my knowledge.   But the historical nature of it has not been, and is not, universal.

2) The above point is not an argument that there should not be a universal definition.   Just as Jesus started the spread of the Gospel in a small area with a small group of people, there is some providential design that is apparently very important in the way Christian teachings are to take root in the world.   God wants us to live in a certain way and believe certain things, but He didn’t make that happen by zapping everyone in the world with a magical laser beam of perfect knowledge.   The Church was to grow over centuries and millennia and reach people at the designated time.

3) As with all things Christian, the true nature of marriage was revealed slowly and steadily throughout the world.   The lack of uniformity is not, and cannot be, an argument that there should not be uniformity.   And so the true nature of marriage became more understood and accepted and adopted not just in a religious sense, but in a secular and civil sense.  This truth largely prevailed, and even further, was recognized as a necessary base for a strong society and nation.

4) Some would say that marriage started to be redefined when governments (often backed by the churches) got involved.   This is not really correct.   It may have changed the way governments decided to view married people or treat married people.   It may have added conditions to the marriage arrangement that would later set in motion the redefinition of it, but none of these things fundamentally changed what marriage actually was, or what its purpose was.

5) Luther cracked the nut when he declared that marriage was not a Sacrament, which meant it was not covenental in nature.   It was a vow or promise, but between people.    When we talk about “redefinition,” we are now talking about this relative to the Christian ideal.

6) The next post was a review of how divorce moved from a rare and generally unacceptable thing to a very prevalent and acceptable thing.   The very idea that this is even possible stems from a belief that there is not a true, very real, singular unity of the spouses that cannot be broken.   This took a long time to take hold as a belief, but once it did it spread very quickly.

The fundamental purpose of marriage is not to have a companion for life.   The foundational purposes are to (a) unite with someone who can help you get to heaven, (b) have children, (c) raise children with the primary idea that you want them to get to heaven.

That, of course, is entirely simplistic, and it says nothing of all the things that go into actually having a “good” marriage.   There’s all sorts of love and sacrifice and struggle that goes into all that, but those are not what marriage actually is.  It’s what it should look like to the outside world.   What it actually is is more real at the spiritual level, and invisible to us all.   We don’t see a physical contraption binding husband and wife, nor do we see the Sacramental graces that come from God in the marriage arrangement.

OK, so that recap is nearly an entire post’s worth of words.   Sorry.

But now I move on to an issue that generally is a hard sell to people who really really really don’t like the implications of re-thinking what it would mean to change how they view it.   Wait for it…   wait…   almost there…

Contraception.

There.  I said it.

It shouldn’t be anything new.   After all, Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae at a time when boatloads of theologians and clergy alike all thought he was going to give the green light to the use of contraception.    He pretty much pulled the rug out from underneath them.

I am not going to re-write that document or St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body here.   There’s a wealth of information for all who have the desire to be honest with themselves about really learning and understanding the Church’s teachings on the issue.    All I’ll say here is the top line summary:   Contraception is considered an intrinsic evil (yes, these words from the Catechism nearly instantaneously caused my own conversion on this issue after never receiving appropriate catechesis prior to marriage).  Why?   Boiling thousands of pages of detail into one sentence: The sexual act in marriage is about bringing life into the world through the act of love between man and woman that is our human and physical mirror image of the love between Jesus and His Father that gives us the Holy Spirit.   (It’s kind of a run-on sentence, but once I typed “into one sentence” I was pigeonholed.)   I admit, that comparison can seem quite odd, and even a bit disturbing if not viewed in its fullness of meaning, which is why I encourage much deeper study on it.

If this purpose of the marital act can be relaxed into one of pure pleasure without the life-giving nature of it, then it takes one of the foundational pillars of the purpose of marriage away and once again redefines it.   Yes, I know that these relations can still be an act of love, and a joining of two people, and all the good things that can come from that.   It’s not that every intimate embrace using contraception is entirely selfish.   But it almost always has at least some element of selfishness to it, and in many cases it really is just all about the pleasure of the act without the potential rewards of it. (I always hear “ramifications” as if begetting a child is like the aftermath of pressing the nuclear button.   I prefer “reward” when speaking about a new life coming into the world.)   And even removing the purity of motive, there is still the plain, old, legalistic, can’t-get-around-the-fact, aspect of using contraception that takes away the procreative aspect of sex.   Even if only intended to be a temporary measure for this reason or for that reason, you’ve removed the life-giving element of the act, which means you are no longer emulating the life-giving love between Jesus and the Father, which in turn means that act is no longer a human reflection of the Family that is the Trinity.    The longer one uses contraception, the more reasons one uses it for, and the fewer kids you decide is “right for you” because of it, the further away from the procreative foundation of marriage we get.

All the Christian religions universally agreed on the importance of this aspect of marriage until the Lamberth Conference in 1930.   The Church of England cracked open the door.   The Federal Council of Churches followed in 1931.   These initial allowances were conservative in nature – only when abstinence was deemed impractical for limited reasons.    But by 1961, nearly all Protestant religions followed suit, and many relaxed the standards, and the National Council of Churches finally declared that the only requirement was mutual consent of the couple.

The slippery slope is always an amazing thing to see historically.   And yet, every time someone proposes some relaxation of standards on just about any issue, they always seem to dismiss the future implications and the slippery slope argument.

From a social standpoint, the Federal ban on birth control in the US was lifted in 1938.   In 1965, states were no longer allowed to make their own decision on the matter.   The Supreme Court determined that contraceptive use is a Constitutional Right between married couples.    In 1972 the Supreme Court extended the right to unmarried couples.

The current prevalence of contraception, and its presentation as a good thing for women and “reproductive rights” has led to a world where numerous “Christian” nations are not even replacing themselves.  The sexual act is no longer reserved for marriage and comes (seemingly) without consequence.   The sexual act, primarily, is self-serving even within marriage.

Combine divorce and contraception, and you get a non-permanent arrangement where sexual gratification is one of the primary purposes of your maybe-lifetime-maybe-not relationship.   How many people call it quits when they are “no longer compatible sexually” or “that passion isn’t there anymore?”   How many don’t bother to get married in the first place?

This all needed to happen to get us to where we are today.   The Catholic Church stands alone, once again, in preserving the complete sanctity of what marriage is.    Unfortunately, an alarmingly high percentage of Catholics have decided that they do not need to follow Church teachings on this particular matter.   So, while the Church isn’t devaluing marriage in general, they are devaluing their own marriage, and likely passing that attitude on to their children and others.   I can empathize.   Many of those people simply do not know any better.   I thank God for revealing the truth to my wife and I after a few years of marriage before we did anything stupid and permanent, and I thank God for the grace to accept the truth.   It isn’t always easy.   Doubtless we would not have 9 children right now had we continued along our previously merry, but darkened, path.   We would have decided wrongly that 3 kids or so was the “right” number for us.

I digress a bit from the main point, but I don’t think we can understate what this has done to the mindset of marriage and relationship.   This, more than anything, has entrenched the idea that marriage is really about sexual companionship that has been given an official stamp of approval from someone or some institution that makes everything you do from here on out OK.

There are a couple more things that have assisted in re-defining marriage, though they are not, strictly speaking, a foundational thing.   By themselves, they wouldn’t be absolutely critical.   Combined with these foundational things, they acted to move things along, or were contributory elements in accepting some of the more fundamental changes.  I plan on posting about those as well.   May as well upset everyone while I’m at it.

Co-opting The Rainbow

Standard

If you asked a hundred random people today what they think of when they hear the word “rainbow,” or perhaps what they associate the rainbow with, I wonder what the results would be.

Taken further, if you asked a hundred random people today what the colors of the rainbow represent, I wonder what the results would be.

Even the most devout among us, who would answer correctly that it is the sign of God’s covenant with man, would nonetheless have a picture of a rainbow flag come into our mind.   We would suppress that as our correct answer, and we would shoo it away to the best of our ability, but the imagery is there.   The co-opting of the rainbow as the symbol of LGBT rights is one of the most dramatic progressive marketing achievements in all of history.

And for this reason, I have to believe it’s by design not limited strictly to the genius of men.

It follows then that – despite all the Christians who are arguing that favoring gay marriage and embracing the complete and total acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle is simply Christ-like love – it is the most devious and diabolical marketing campaigns ever undertaken.

I’ve talked about this before, but the word “diabolical” conjures up extreme pictures of evil in many peoples’ minds.   But in actuality, the more diabolical something is the less evil and more good it looks to someone who does not recognize the nature of the thing.   That, in fact, is what makes it diabolical.   The horrible and contorted imagery may be an accurate one in God’s eyes as He looks at it, but to our human eyes the diabolical can take all sorts of seemingly pleasant, and even good, forms.

Everyone recognizes certain and extreme examples of evil actions.   We haven’t (so far) lost our way so much that when we hear stories of small children being used or abused in horrific ways that we collectively get a sick feeling in our stomach.  Nearly all of us say “that is evil.”   One does not have to even believe in God to recognize it.  This blatant evilness is not of a diabolical nature.   There is no attempt by anyone to mask it as a good or pretty thing.

Something that is diabolical is akin to a spiritual Trojan horse.   It is something that people want to embrace as good or useful.   It is not self-evident to many that it is not good.   It needs to be a thing that festers and grows and takes over, and the only way it can do that is to continue to look nice and shiny and appetizing.   But anything that is diabolical usually has what poker players would call a “tell.”

A “tell” is when a player gives away the kind of hand he or she has because they can’t completely control their reactions or emotions in certain situations.   (If anyone has watched “The Middle” you will know that their son, Brick, has a “tell” when he is lying.   After he lies, he drops his chin to his chest and loudly whispers “I’m lying.”   Most tells aren’t that obvious.)  Someone may nervously scratch their ear every time his hand is strong.   They may tap their cards on the table when they are bluffing.    Good Poker players are masters at picking up the subtlest of signs and using those things to their advantage.    This is one reason I’m not a great Poker player.   My female wife (I feel the need these days to distinguish the nature of my marriage, you know) could change the carpeting in my house and I wouldn’t notice.   As if I’m going to pick up on the fact that some guy itches his ear lobe when he has pocket aces.    But I digress.

Anyway, the Devil – believe it or not – has a few tells.   His hatred for God drives everything he does.   And he can’t help trying to find ways to either mock God’s authority or to usurp it.

So, the devil knows the following:  Marriage is the image of the inseparable bond of love between Christ and His Church.    The Family is the earthly image of the Triune God.   Children conceived because of an act of love between man and wife emulates in a human way the eternal existence of the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, because of the love between the divine Father and Son.   The primary human reflection of Christ and of the Triune God in our world is marriage and family.

Since the Devil knows this, it only makes sense that if the goal is to destroy all imagery of God in this world, the way to do that is turn marriage into something that is sterile.   To turn it into something other than life-giving love and about self-fulfillment.   And to then destroy the very nature of it by making this the preferred and promoted version of marriage accepted by man, while causing animosity and hatred towards those who accept the actual natural concept of marriage.  It’s not enough to just dismantle family, it is better to find a substitute for it that actually mocks God instead of reflects the nature of God.   And the entire time he does this, it’s done in such a creative and ingenious way that a majority of people – including those who profess belief in God – actually partake in it, are complicit in it, celebrate it, believe it is actually good, and claim that God Himself would approve of it.   What a complete and comprehensive victory that is!   (Yes, we know the ultimate victory is Christ’s.   But this particular battle, at least for the moment, resides in the opponent’s camp.)

But what is the “tell?”   The “tell” is that Satan can’t help himself.   From a marketing standpoint there could have been many ways to represent the desire for acceptance, tolerance, and diversity so desired by the gay community.    What they chose is a Biblical symbol.    In many ways, they chose “the” Biblical symbol that was the first real promise by God to man.  The most amazing thing about this tell is that it is about as subtle as a sledge-hammer.   Satan went all-in on this one.   Either the use of the rainbow would be a cause of great alarm and its use would greatly backfire in promotion of the cause, or it would gain acceptance and serve as a tool of complete and utter victory on more than just one spiritual level.   Inexplicably, we Christians sort of fell asleep at the wheel on this one.   It’s not that nobody thought about it, and there were a few little minor attempts to “take back the rainbow,” but we never really fought it to a great degree.   Admittedly, there seemed to be bigger battles to wage.   But looking back, this was a miserable failure.

Christians who may not know any better may truly believe they are acting in love by supporting this progression of what marriage means in the secular world.  I mentioned the rainbow profile pics I’ve seen on Facebook.   Some of the people who changed I know are church-going people.  It is sad, but not surprising.   That is the nature and allure of the diabolical.   But if this were truly something from God and acceptable to God, would He really allow one of the most important signs He ever chose to give to us to be used in a manner that wipes its original meaning from the memory of men?  I, for one, can’t comprehend that this is the case.

A few short decades ago, the answer to “What does the rainbow mean?” would have been primarily known as a religious reference.   Anyone else would have simply not known or would have answered in a meteorological way.

But not today.

And the devil could not be more pleased.

It Appears That I Am Not Alone in My Assessments of Catholics

Standard

As it regards the most recent election results, anyway, the Bishop of St. Louis seems to think that Catholics bailed out on their faith.  Good for him.

Click here for the story.

In our Supreme Court and in our Congress, we have a plethora of so-called Catholics who are failing to live their Catholic identity. Over 50 percent of our electorate voted for a president who is one of the most pro-culture-of-death candidates from a major party to run for the highest office of the land.

Yes, we can thank one-half of our Catholics for bailing out on their faith!

After almost 50 years of having 50 percent of Catholics abandoning their Catholic identity, we cannot expect to turn this culture around by short-term political efforts.

Thanks, Bishop, for just saying it like it is.

And then, there’s the incomparable Archbishop Raymond Burke (my former Bishop – whom I almost trampled over in one unfortunate incident…) He shares the same point of view of the U.S. Catholic Bishop’s Document on Faithful Citizenship that I do… muddy, confusing, and a direct contributor to electing a pro-abortion President.

ROME, January 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A document of the US Catholic Bishops is partly to blame for the abandonment of pro-life teachings by voting Catholics and the election of the “most pro-abortion president” in US history, one of the Vatican’s highest officials said in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, named a document on the election produced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that he said “led to confusion” among the faithful and led ultimately to massive support among Catholics for Barack Obama.

The US bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion because of “other grave reasons,” as long as they do not intend to support that pro-abortion position.

Archbishop Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louise Mo. and recently appointed head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, told LifeSiteNews.com that although “there were a greater number of bishops who spoke up very clearly and firmly … there was also a number who did not.”

But most damaging, he said, was the document “Faithful Citizenship” that “led to confusion” among the voting Catholic population.

“While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions.”

Exactly.

And the fruits have started producing. Embryonic stem-cell research has already expanded and will continue to be expanded. Obama almost immediately lifted the ban on overseas abortion funding. This stimulus package contained millions of dollars for contraceptives to Family Planning.

I continue to hold out some glimmer of hope that Catholics who voted for Obama will not be afraid to stand up and fight against FOCA. But I’m not holding my breath.