Saturday, January 28, 2006

What the [bleep]? In today's WaPo, Washington Post Staff Writer Caryle Murphy liberally throws around the "C" word (I count 8 uses), but no description such as the "liberal Episcopal denomination." Indeed the "L" word is not used once. I've written about this before -- the lack of context, that the Episcopal denomination is on the far left of the theological spectrum and that all the conservatives in that denomination are long gone.

One of the most disturbing examples of biased writing (and editing) by Ms. Murphy is when she quotes Truro Rector Martyn Minns:
The Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax City, a leading conservative church, said that "unless the diocese of Virginia moves in a different direction, it's hard to see how [conservative] congregations can survive in that setting." (emphasis added)
This is pretty appalling -- she edited his statement to make it reflect Murphy's own biases, inserting that "C" word. I'd like to know what Minns really said, without the bleeps and insertions.

Friday, January 27, 2006


  • The 13th Man: Jumbotron.
  • We already knew he was a pompous blowhard, but a plagiarist? Try claiming you were inspired, Fr. McBrien.
  • What does "Cruel and Unusual" mean?
  • Fake protests to gin up support? From the LA Weekly:

    [Bill] Bowers remembers collaborating with [Tim] Barrus on an erotic photo exhibit called Sadomasochism: True Confessions. After the opening night of the show drew lukewarm interest, Barrus assumed the fake name John Hammond and wrote an open letter to The Weekly News [a Key West gay paper] attacking the exhibit.

    “Sadomasochism is a disease,” the letter read “and gay men who are into that scene are wrong.” He then had Bowers write a response to their mythical antagonist Hammond, inviting him to “take a Valium, take a douche,” and published it in The Weekly News. “The next time Mr. Hammond wants to show his ignorance he should do some heavy research before he rejects his very own brothers.” The ensuing controversy rallied the gay community around the artists and propelled the exhibit to a successful run.

    “He would do anything to shock people,” said Bowers. “It works every time if you want a reaction, be it good or bad. Bad is good too, sometimes better.”
  • Finally, Happy Birthday Wolfie -- thanks for the music.
Test Results: I'm a near heretic, your mileage may vary (edited, since the tables weren't displaying):

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant 100%
Nestorianism 58%
Pelagianism 58%
Monophysitism 33%
Donatism 17%
Adoptionist 17%
Modalism 17%
Apollanarian 8%
Monarchianism 8%
Albigensianism 8%
The rest were 0%
Are you a heretic?
created with


You scored as Amillenialist. Amillenialism believes that the 1000 year reign is not literal but figurative, and that Christ began to reign at his ascension. People take some prophetic scripture far too literally in your view.

Amillenialist 60%
Moltmannian Eschatology 50%
Postmillenialist 45%
Premillenialist 45%
Preterist 30%
Left Behind 25%
Dispensationalist 25%
Quiz was here.

Finally, I forgot to copy and paste this one, but I’m a Chevrolet Corvette!

You’re a classic – powerful, athletic, and competitive. You’re all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.
Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Munich. As my nom de blog indicates, I am of (partial) Slovak descent. Accordingly, when you say Munich to me, I associate it with "Peace in our time" and the coming of WWII. Steven Spielberg apparently wants you to associate Munich with the attack on the Twin Towers.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Mild Spoiler Warning! (I don't think I'm giving away much, however.)

There are about five things I liked about the movie Munich (in no particular order):
  1. It equates marital fidelity with life, adultery with death. If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about.
  2. I found myself thinking about it many days later -- to me this is always good (well, unless I'm just thinking of some pointless gore...)
  3. It reminds the world that a group of Palestinian Terrorists attacked and deliberately murdered Israeli athletes during the Olympics violating the ideal of a time of truce for all countries.
  4. It shows the Israelis (who are engaged in a new type of warfare) wrestling with their consciences.
  5. It showed how the media can really screw things up (the terrorists were watching the attempted rescue in the Olympic village and called the negotiators to warn off the rescuers.
Yet the negatives far outweigh the positives:
  • It treats the Israelis engaging in a defensive military action as the equivalent of the Palestinian terrorist who attack defenseless innocents. More about this below.
  • It uses a grossly offensive Jewish stereotype to malign the Israelis ("Bring the receipts" bellows a Jewish accountant over and over.) Compare this from the real ex-spies.
  • It uses fictitious history -- and especially fictitious statements -- to support its case, which is...
  • Fighting back is wrong and leads to a cycle of violence.
  • It implies that the United States was behind the attack on the Israeli athletes, or at the very least, sheltered the terrorists following murders (i.e. the US is an "accessory after the fact").
  • Finally, as best put by David Brooks, "There is, above all, no evil. And that is the core of Spielberg's fable. In his depiction of reality there are no people so committed to a murderous ideology that they are impervious to the sort of compromise and dialogue Spielberg puts such great faith in.
    Because he will not admit the existence of evil, as it really exists, Spielberg gets reality wrong. "
This event happened when I was about 13 and still had a dream to make the 1976 US Olympic Swim Team. This was the Olympics in which Mark Spitz won 7 gold medals, Dan Gable won the gold medal without having a point scored on him, Olga Korbut, Dave Wottle's run from behind Sugar Ray Seales.

Yes, there were ugly politics, the US-USSR basketball game, the suspension of Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett, the revocation of Rick DeMont's medal.

Then came September 5, 1972 and the Yasser Arafat backed (via Fatah) terrorists.

My blood still boils when I think about this attack
-- during the movie, it took all my self-control from crying out "Waste those..." well, you get the idea...

The movie is full of fake dialogue and fact facts designed to portray the Israelis and the terrorists as engaged in some sort of yin and yang struggle, some sort of co-equal forces; both equally moral or immoral.

For example, the movie's 'Golda Meir' says "Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values." This is her justification for ruthlessly attacking other members of Fatah -- albeit those who planned the massacre. This is baloney.* What Mrs. Meir actually said was this:
From the blood-drenched history of the Jewish nation, we learn that violence which begins with the murder of Jews, ends with the spread of violence and danger to all people, in all nations. . . We have no choice but to strike at the terrorist organizations wherever we can reach them. That is our obligation to ourselves and to peace.
from Michael Medved, USA Today (quoting Mrs. Meir's Sept. 12, 1972, address to the Israeli Knesset). That was the case then; it's the case today. If there is a rattlesnake in the yard, you don't wait for it to strike before you take action.

The fact is the terrorists who hit the Israeli athletes in Munich were pure evil. Their backers and planners were evil. Their supporters and apologists are evil. This can not be denied, ignored, or spun away with false history.

By definition, terrorists strike innocent victims; helpless people in a defenseless situation. Their goal is to spread terror. This is evil, pure and simple. It must be crushed, not appeased.

Negotiating with terrorists, like negotiating with Hitler, only allows evil to grow stronger and the innocent to suffer.

You would think the man who directed Schindler's List would know this.

Big Spoiler Alert

Last, and this is a definite spoiler, Spielberg closes with a long shot dwelling on the World Trade Center. He has made an argument throughout the movie that striking back at evil just causes the evil to escalate and his unmistakable conclusion is that Israel's decision to strike back at terror instead of negotiate with it is what led to 9/11.


*Similarly, Premier Meir is said to have avoided attending the athletes' funerals because she was afraid of being booed (because she refused to negotiate with the terrorists). However, a Jerusalem Post poll found her the most popular figure in the nation, just one week after the killings.


More. Here's a good story looking back at the Massacre, by CBS News:
Back again. As I indicated, I was out for awhile on a trip for work. I've got a piece I started on Munich -- maybe I can get it up tonight.

In the meantime, here's the sunrise from where I was on my birthday while I was gone:

Call to repentance. I've been traveling, yet again, but in the meantime, here's this, regarding The Falls Church:

Virginia's largest Episcopal parish, in a letter to the church's 2,200 members, yesterday called on Virginia's the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee to "repent and return to the truth" over supporting the ordination of the openly homosexual bishop of New Hampshire.
Leaders of the Falls Church Episcopal said in their eight-page, single-spaced letter that "no compromise on this issue is possible," although they refrained from specificthreats. In the past, the parish's rector has threatened schism.
"A Christian leader does not approve of sin, or purport to declassify it," the letter said to Bishop Lee, who backed the 2003 consecration of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. "Rather, he calls sinners to repentance and proclaims the Good News that sin can be forgiven and new life can be obtained in Christ."
The letter was sent to Bishop Lee on Oct. 4 but was not made public until yesterday. Calls to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia yesterday for comment were not returned. Bishop Lee, however, did meet with parish leaders soon after the letter was sent.
The letter is modeled after Matthew 18:15-17, which advises Christians that "if your brother sins against you," one is to first privately show him his fault, then repeat the message accompanied by "two or three witnesses."
If the exhortation still is ignored, Christians are to "tell it to the church," the pattern that church leaders followed yesterday. If still nothing happens, the offender is to be treated "as you would a pagan or a tax collector," the verses say.

The remainder of the story is here.

I do not believe the letter is available on-line, as yet. The letter is available here in .pdf format. And here is the Rector's letter to the congregation regarding subsequent discussion with Bishop Lee.