Friday, February 27, 2004

Golden Glendon. Mary Ann Glendon's essay in the Wednesday WSJ is must reading. This is one of those essay's with no money 'graf. The whole thing is golden.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Two by Chesterton
The next great heresy, is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality... I say that the man who cannot see this cannot see the signs of the times; cannot see the sky signs in the street that are the new sort of signs in heaven. The madness of to-morrow is not in Moscow but much more in Manhattan....” (G.K.’s Weekly, June 16, 1926)
Source: Catholic Insight, November 2003.

It has been left to the last Christians, or rather to the first Christians fully committed to blaspheming and denying Christianity, to invent a new kind of worship of Sex, which is not even a worship of Life. It has been left to the very latest Modernists to proclaim an erotic religion which at once exalts lust and forbids fertility.
--Gilbert Keith Chesterton
From "Sex and Property"

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Locke'd out. This has been a day on the go -- which was not how I had wanted to spend Ash Wednesday. Maybe next year, I'll schedule a day off. I just opened my e-mail with the sylabi of the Supreme's latest abomination: Davey v. Locke. The Court cleared the way today for states to discriminate against the religious when awarding public benefits. [here's Scalia's dissent]

I am extremely dispondent -- I didn't think there was anyway this would happen.

It's Ash Wednesday -- a day that is holy for Christians everywhere, but I always associate it with the Catholic Church, probably because of the practice of attending early Mass or noon Mass and receiving ashes.

The statute in Washington was adopted in large part, if I remember correctly, as a result of anti-Catholic bigotry.

I guess CJ Rehnquist, a nominal Lutheran, is using his well-known wicked sense of humor to stick it to the Catholic in his own way.

But this is a loss for all religions and a loss for the republic.

But, what the hell, the Court doesn't give a fig about us anyway...


For substantive commentary, look to Prof. Bainbridge[scroll down] or Eugene Volokh. Eugene concludes:
The result, I think, genuinely is the discrimination against religion that people have complained about (sometimes wrongly, but here rightly) -- not just exclusion of either pro-religion or anti-religion messages from the government's own speech, but a regime where the government may discriminate against private religious institutions and programs, but may not discriminate in their favor. Now this is a wrong that is indeed worth amending the Constitution over.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Kreeft Audio On-line. Several talks by Peter Kreeft are on-line here in .mp3 format.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Fat Tuesday Housecleaning. I'm cleaning out stuff, getting ready for Ash Wednesday and a good season of Lent.

Did you ever see the film Chocolat? Here's how the studio describes it:
When a mysterious stranger and her child arrive in a tranquil French town in the winter of 1959, nobody can imagine the impact the striking Vianne Rocher and her spirited daughter will have on this old-fashioned, buttoned-up community. Within days, Vianne opens a very unusual chocolate shop, filled with mouthwatering confections. Her uncanny, almost magical ability to perceive her customers? private desires and satisfy them with just the right confection coaxes the villagers to abandon themselves to temptation and happiness.
What this short description misses is that this doesn't just take place in Winter -- it takes place during Lent, a time the Church catholic has designated as a time of prayer and fasting. A time to forsake the momentary pleasures that temptation offers, in return for an emphasis on the lasting peace and happiness.

But, I'm digressing*; I'm here to toss out a few things -- some of those momentary pleasures -- in preparation of Lent. Mind you, just because these are momentary pleasures, doesn't necessarily mean they're sinful. But they can be distracting. So, here's some housecleaning.

I've got the first season of Green Acres on DVD. Some other shows I'd like to own on DVD:
  • More of the Twilight Zone (I have one DVD).
  • Another season of The Simpsons (I have Season Three).
  • Moonlighting, seasons 1-4. In particular, I'd pick season 3 which had the "Atomic Shakespeare" episode.
  • Miami Vice, early seasons, 1 and 2. Nevertheless, there was this tremendous story arc that ran from "Forgive Us Our Debts" [Crockett works to free a man on Death Row] in season 3 through "Deliver Us From Evil" [No spoilers, but if you saw both, you'll remember this one] in season 4 that was tremendous.
  • The Decalogue, which was produced by Krzysztof Kieslowski. (I actually have this on order, thanks to a nice Christmas check.)
  • A few of the original Star Trek shows (especially Vol. 14, with City on the Edge of Forever) -- while I know them all by heart, these, like Green Acres are fun to watch with the kids.
  • Actually, popular culture can speak to us in the form of a parable, just as our Lord used to. For example, when I read what is coming out from the Episcopal Elites, such as Mr. Griswold or Peter Lee, the scene that goes through my mind is one from Terry Gilliam's Brazil. The main character and his mother and his mother's friend and her daughter are all having lunch together. This is how the script portrays it:
    (to Sam, after attracting her mother's attention and receiving a nod) Salt?

    They are just about to dip into their respective splodges when there is a terrific explosion - a huge hole is blasted out of the wall to the kitchen. Chaos erupts around the carnage as WAITERS try putting out the flames with extinguishers. PEOPLE, bloody and dying, are moaning. The DINERS not actually affected by the blast look up for a moment and then, with a few raised eyebrows, go back to their meals.


    MOTHER What were we saying?

    SAM (picking bomb debris out of his brown lump) This isn't rare!

    MOTHER By the way, I saw a wonderful idea for Christmas presents at the chemists. Gift tokens. Medical gift tokens....
    I'm not the only one who has seen this imagry. Rector John Yates of the Falls Church recently observed:
    Repeatedly our own bishop and others in leadership at General Convention were told that if these unbiblical steps were taken, there would be a dramatic, worldwide Anglican response, and we would see accelerated movement towards division in this church. This would probably be the "tipping point" after two generations of steady movement away from our biblical Anglican Reformational roots. Our warnings were scorned but now that E.C.U.S.A. has more clearly than ever before rejected the authority of Scripture, and the long term direction of our denomination is more clearly set than it has been in many years, we are told that it is just a small matter and will eventually settle down. As someone commented, it's like a bomb going off and then being told, "Let's have a tea party together."
    Yes, so very Episcopalian...

    Lent is a good time for focusing on the eternal. I pray that I will be able to do that.

    Also (since I'm meandering all over the place), I need to be mindful of those "PEOPLE, bloody and dying..." including the Peter Lees of the world.

    Pray for us all.

    * For a much better review of Chocolat, consider this by Frederica Mathewes-Green.

    Sunday, February 22, 2004

    A Time To Pray. For those who are concerned about the future of the Anglican Communion, and who desire to see revival and a recommitment to Biblical truth in the Episcopal Church, USA and the Anglican Church of Canada and worldwide, please join with others around the world in united prayer and fasting this Lent. This site can be a place to start.

    I ask for prayers from my brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what denomination you are in. Please pray for us.
    D-I-V-O-R-C-E, Part Two, Preface. Here's the springboard to my second essay on Divorce and the Christian, taken from yesterday's San Antonio Express-News:
    The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas passed a resolution Friday that reaffirmed Christian marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman . . .

    The Rev. C. Don Baugh, interim rector of St. Margaret's Parish in San Antonio, said declaring marriage to one person for life the only standard of marriage also makes second-class citizens of everyone who's been divorced and remarried — including him.

    "Many people here today either have been divorced and remarried or have family members who have been divorced and remarried," he later said. "Going by the literal wording of what they passed, my marriage is wrong.

    "They're interpreting biblical teachings so they affect other people but not themselves," Baugh said.
    More on the EDWT meeting here and here.