A Very Important Reminder: Tweet #Gosnell

A Constitutional Right: ending up in a bag in a Philadelphia basement

Just a quick post to urge you to Tweet with the #Gosnell tag today. The media has created a deliberate blackout on the story of mass murderer/abortionist Kermit Gosnell because it disrupts their narrative about abortion. I wrote about the story when it first broke, and read the entire Grand Jury Report. It remains the most disturbing thing I have ever covered as a professional reporter.

The media has blacked out the story, even as one horrifying revelation after another comes out of the trial. A harmless country song has generated more outrage in the mainstream and leftwing media (but I repeat myself) than a man who killed a woman and countless babies born alive in the most brutal ways imaginable and under nightmarish conditions.

That the victims and the perpetrator were all minorities, that the government utterly failed to inspect the Gosnell clinic even as much as it inspects pet stores, and that the entire story flies in the face of the pro-abort lie about the unborn not being actually human are driving the coward media away.

Well, we now have an answer to that. We can seize the controls of communication. We can make damn sure that if the rich and powerful try to ignore us, at least they’ll have to hear our voices first.

You are America. Not the government. Not the corporate media conglomerates. The power is yours. Take it. Use it. Defend life.

Benedict is Fading UPDATED Fr. Lombardi Denies

20130410-080304.jpgDamian Thompson writes what we all suspected: our beloved Benedict XVI is fading fast. In the video with Francis, he appeared very frail and, in my opinion, nearly blind. Here’s what Thompson writes:

I think all of us were distressed by the fragility of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI when we saw him greet his successor, Pope Francis. The footage was almost too painful to watch. Now, according to the excellent Fr Ray Blake, a Spanish newspaper says he is suffering from something “very severe”, and that “we won’t have us with him for very much longer”. His condition has apparently continued to decline. I thought twice about repeating this, but I’m sure Catholics and others would wish to pray for the man many of us regard as the most inspiring pope of modern times. No pontiff for centuries has written and preached so brilliantly about the relationships between liturgy, evangelism and the shape of history. If only he had been a younger man when he was elected to the chair of St Peter!

Pray for his comfort and peace at the last.

I consider myself blessed to have lived at the same time as this great man. Although I will miss him, his work for us will not end as he brings our prayers before the heavenly Father.

UPDATE: Vatican spokesman denies report that Benedict XVI is ill

Vatican City, Apr 10, 2013 / 12:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi says that contrary to a report in the Spanish daily El Mundo, the Bishop-emeritus of Rome, Benedict XVI, is not suffering from any illness.

The report in El Mundo by Rocio Galvan quotes statements made by Spanish Vaticanista Paloma Gomez-Borrero in Madrid during the presentation of her most recent book.

“Benedict XVI has something very serious. In 15 days his physical condition has deteriorated tremendously, that’s the news I have,” Gomez-Borrero said.

In comments to CNA on April 10, however, Fr. Lombardi underscored that Benedict XVI “does not have any illness” and that “this has been certified by his doctors.”

For Fr. Lombardi to say that Benedict “does not have any illness” after the video we’ve already seen–and the fact of his resignation–seems like overstatement. Let us hope that whatever the case, Pope Benedict is at peace and comfortable, and let us continue to keep praying for that peace and comfort.

“Go and learn what this means…”

“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

That’s Jesus, quoting Hosea.

In my post on the suicide of Matthew Warren, I focused on the mercy of God, as is proper in the wake of a tragedy. There’s more that can be said about the mentally ill, suicide, the soul, and salvation, and in time I hope to say it. The piece circulated pretty widely, and some commentators expressed concern that the de-emphasis on damnation as the just punishment for self-murder might remove one of the last obstacles holding back some suicides: the fear of Hell.

I get that concern, and I realize we’re walking a fine line here. We can’t rule out the possibility of damnation, but we can certainly hope it is not the case, and hope was all I wanted to offer. Hope and mercy.

The Church is the hospital for souls, and many of those souls die in sin: sin so black that the possibility of salvation seems unthinkable, even unjust. Yet even without embracing controversial ideas about universal salvation, we may hope that the souls of those who die in sin or disbelief may still be purified in the flames of Purgatory, as if by fire. The Fatima Prayer is pretty clear on that point: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.”

Note the “all.” Note the “mercy.”

No Christian should ever hope for the damnation of anyone, or even casually suggest its likelihood  Even atheist Penn Jillette, to his eternal credit, gets that. Although he doesn’t believe in the soul or Hell, he knows this much: you must really hate someone to wish eternal suffering on them. That much hate cannot be reconciled with real faith.

Which brings me back to the internet, and the shambling souls of the living dead who mock life, death, grief, and all that anyone of any reason should approach with at least some small measure of dignity. People used to know to observe simple propriety when dealing with someone who is suffering, or someone who has died.

But given the ability to comment instantly, widely, and anonymously, a sizable portion of the population has reverted to a subhuman kind of behavior that truly does shock, and not in the ways they hope to shock. Even dingoes have been observed grieving. There is, in the face of death, a moment where your hatred gives way to your humanity.

The internet erases that through some kind of mass psychosis, leading to people to taunt parents grieving the death of their cherished son and celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher. The vitriol boiling up from the bowels of the internet was nothing short of satanic. I don’t remember a lot of cheering when Hugo Chavez died, since those who didn’t like him tended to be a) conservative and b) Christian, and thus usually know better than to mock the dead. Most responses were, “May God have mercy on his soul.” It was certainly nothing approaching the large scale mockery and celebration that the Warrens and the Thatchers had to endure.

It’s monstrous, and I hope should the worst ever happen to us we have half the dignity and Christian charity displayed by Rick Warren:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s the power of grace. It doesn’t come from your brain: it comes from the Holy Spirit. It’s a gift.

The people who are displaying their hate and inhumanity are striking out from the darkness of fear and disbelief and ignorance. You cannot gleefully mock the death of a 27 year old stranger or a sick old lady and make any reasonable claim to being a happy, well-adjusted person. I don’t even do that to my enemies.

God doesn’t want your hate. He doesn’t even want your sacrifices. As Hosea–as Christ himself–said: God wants your mercy.

UPDATE: Fr. D: Anger, Hatred, and Irrational Rage

The Weird New Racism

Before we start, let’s listen to a song. It’s called “Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley with LL Cool J:

In case the video goes away (the official video was already yanked), here are the lyrics:

To the man that waited on me at the Starbucks down on Main, I hope you understand
When I put on that t-shirt, the only thing I meant to say is I’m a Skynyrd fan
The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the south
And I just walked him right in the room
Just a proud rebel son with an ‘ol can of worms
Lookin’ like I got a lot to learn but from my point of view

I’m just a white man comin’ to you from the southland
Tryin’ to understand what it’s like not to be
I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done
And it ain’t like you and me can re-write history
Our generation didn’t start this nation
We’re still pickin’ up the pieces, walkin’ on eggshells, fightin’ over yesterday
And caught between southern pride and southern blame

They called it Reconstruction, fixed the buildings, dried some tears
We’re still siftin’ through the rubble after a hundred-fifty years
I try to put myself in your shoes and that’s a good place to begin
But it ain’t like I can walk a mile in someone else’s skin

‘Cause I’m a white man livin’ in the southland
Just like you I’m more than what you see
I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done
And it ain’t like you and me can re-write history
Our generation didn’t start this nation
And we’re still paying for the mistakes
That a bunch of folks made long before we came
And caught between southern pride and southern blame

Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood
What the world is really like when you’re livin’ in the hood
Just because my pants are saggin’ doesn’t mean I’m up to no good
You should try to get to know me, I really wish you would
Now my chains are gold but I’m still misunderstood
I wasn’t there when Sherman’s March turned the south into firewood
I want you to get paid but be a slave I never could
Feel like a new fangled Django, dodgin’ invisible white hoods
So when I see that white cowboy hat, I’m thinkin’ it’s not all good
I guess we’re both guilty of judgin’ the cover not the book
I’d love to buy you a beer, conversate and clear the air
But I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn’t here

I’m just a white man
(If you don’t judge my do-rag)
Comin’ to you from the southland
(I won’t judge your red flag)
Tryin’ to understand what it’s like not to be
I’m proud of where I’m from
(If you don’t judge my gold chains)
But not everything we’ve done
(I’ll forget the iron chains)
It ain’t like you and me can re-write history
(Can’t re-write history baby)

Oh, Dixieland
(The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin’)
I hope you understand what this is all about
(Quite frankly I’m a black Yankee but I’ve been thinkin’ about this lately)
I’m a son of the new south
(The past is the past, you feel me)
And I just want to make things right
(Let bygones be bygones)
Where all that’s left is southern pride
(RIP Robert E. Lee but I’ve gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me, know what I mean)
It’s real, it’s real
It’s truth

It’s not Paisley’s best stuff, but it’s okay. I have no idea how it rates with LL Cool J’s work, since the only thing I know him from is Deep Blue Sea, an enjoyable film in which Samuel L. Jackson gets bitten in half by a shark while standing in a room delivering an inspirational speech. I’m pretty sure the scene was racist. Everything is nowadays.(Yeah, like it was an accident that a white Nordic filmmaker had a Great White shark chomping down on the coolest black man in modern film. Pull the other one.)

For those who don’t pay attention to contemporary country, Paisley is the most gifted of the new generation: a songwriter, producer, singer, and one of the best guitarists out there. He moves between old-school “real” country and Top 40 with ease, and he seems to be a pretty likable, sincere guy. His work is guileless, which naturally strikes a tinny note for the irony-saturated arbiters of modern hip culture.

Now that you’ve read the lyrics. What was your first reaction? Because people are exploding: “That song is racist!” “Is this a joke?” “Wrongheaded.” “White supremacist .” “Toxic.” “Horrible.” “Clueless.” “An 11th grade AP US History Project.” And so on.

Well okay then. Isn’t that interesting.

The song is a bit plodding for Paisley, using the key and tempo he usually reserves for love songs, which he happens to write very well. I guess he didn’t think a rousing uptempo number like his optimistic paean to modern life and racial tolerance, “Welcome to the Future” (which was as much of a pro-Obama song as country music is likely to produce), fit the seriousness of the material.

The song actually tackles a couple of pretty central issues, which the smart set waves away in their contempt of all things Southern, white, and country. It begins by recognizing the problems people have with the main symbol of Southern pride: the Rebel flag. The rectangular Confederate Battle Flag wasn’t the official flag of the Confederacy, and didn’t really become adopted by racist groups until the Civil Rights struggles. Since then, it’s retained its pride of place for southerns as a benign symbol of all things Southern while also taking on, for some, a sinister meaning of oppression and intolerance.

Paisley acknowledges this, saying “I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done” and “caught between southern pride and southern blame.” In his section, LL (Cool? LLCJ? Mr. J?)  says he feels like he’s “dodgin’ invisible white hoods” and “when I see that white cowboy hat, I’m thinkin’ it’s not all good and “I see that red flag and I think you wish I wasn’t here.”

As lyrics, they’re not great, but they’re honest: a rural white southerner and an urban black northerner explaining themselves in simple words.

But that’s not enough, you see. Every single DIALOGUE ON RACE!(TM) has to begin with the proper oblations. The self-excoriation of the white man. The umpteenth rehashing of a history we all already know. The acknowledgement of every white person’s inherent bigotry. The assertion as fact of the idea of “institutionalized racism” as though nothing has changed since Selma. All of it must be dragged out, beaten to death, hoisted up for examination, poked a bit with a pointed stick … and then we can start talking about how a rebel flag shirt makes the black man uncomfortable, and how a group of black teens in saggy pants on a dark city street makes the white man uncomfortable, and how this makes the white guy horrible.

People are particularly outraged at LL Cool J’s line “If you don’t judge my gold chains / I’ll forget the iron chains,” as though he’s drawing some kind of equivalence between the two rather than just making an awkward symmetrical rap, while pointing out that slavery was a long time ago and maybe we can stop beating each other up over it.

The vast majority of poor southern whites did not own slaves. In fact, they suffered greatly during the war, and bore the burden in blood, land, stability, and treasure for a minority of slave-holding landowners. They didn’t fight for slavery. They fought for their states and their homes.

Here’s the thing: smug white liberal northern twits like Brandon Soderberg and Nate Jones and Max Read and many others are basking in their self-satisfaction as they hurl insults at Paisley for not being properly brainwashed about current identity politics. They ape their masters (pundits, college professors, political demagogues) well, spouting trendy nonsense about race, “privilege” (for heaven’s sake check your privilege, people!), and the latest batch of BS wafting out of the academy: microaggressions  (If you don’t know what that last thing is, I beg you, please don’t Google it. You get dumber just being exposed to some ideas.)

Bad theory suits this current generation of young white writers, at uniformly white media outlets, suddenly noticing the whiteness of every institution (conservatism, corporate America, Southern culture, country music) except their own. Ace and Twitchy have been documenting this strange trend in which white people (“Persons of Pallor”) insult whites and whiteness in order to gain some weird kind of multi-culti hipster cred. It’s both infantile and frightening, because this kind of public racial demagoguery is only done as a social shorthand that says, “I notice the important things and I’m better than those other people. Also, I’m not a racist, so please like me!” In the process of burnishing their liberal credentials they’re just poisoning the well.

You know how you signal that you’re not a racist in a healthy society? You don’t be racist. But that’s boring and not proactive enough and might actually be a kind of unconscious privileged reverse microaggression, so you have to incessantly point out the racism and racial homogeneity of others.

It makes perfect sense that someone exposed to a well-intentioned, non-racist white Southern country superstar in a rebel shirt singing about race with a black man would go all explodey-head. Rich White Famous Redneck doesn’t check his privilege! He thinks his problems matter! He acts like slavery ended 150 years ago!

I’m a Yankee to the bone. I have a framed photo of Sherman on my library wall, and I think Robert E. Lee was a traitor. When the war was over, it was Sherman who immediately set about trying to help and protect the south, so much so that he was accused of being soft on them. And it was Lincoln who said “We are not enemies, but friends,” and proposed generous terms of Reconstruction: terms which were abandoned in favor of a more brutal policy by Johnson. The experience of both whites and blacks would have arguably been quite different under Lincoln’s original plan, but instead we got decades of white southern anger and black southern oppression which only began to be righted in the 1950s.

In other words, it’s complicated, just like the relationship between southern whites and blacks, who share a land and a culture and are not at all the bitter enemies of the Northern Liberal imagination. The knee-jerk assumption that whites are inherently racist and blacks are inherently oppressed is offensive to both races. Thirty years ago (!!!) Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder were able to perform the wonderfully hokey “Ebony and Ivory” without the hand-wringing and head-wagging we’re enduring from the Smart Set over “Accidental Racist.”

Forty years ago (!!!), Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor and Andrew Bergman were able to mock racists, hicks, Westerns, Jews, Hollywood, Germans, and gays in a pointed, brilliant, hilarious film that could never, ever, ever be made today under the gaze of the same people haranguing Paisley and LL Cool J. (Even Tarantino wouldn’t try it without the distraction of violence.)

The truth is, we were more honest about race in the 1960s and 1970s than we’ve been since the rise of political correctness. Django wasn’t something new: it was a throwback to a kind of entertainment we don’t make anymore: bold, racially charged, dangerous.

Everything now is wrapped in a cozy cotton batting of theory and must come with a long litany of disclaimers while also being the product of Ritually Pure Sources (elite, college educated, liberal, politically correct). A redneck singing about why he wears a rebel flag on his chest without just offering an apology and admitting his obvious and inherent racism? That just won’t do.

The Mysterious Joy of Matthew Warren

Let us begin with prayer: Heavenly Father, bring healing to the parents, family, friends, and community of your son Matthew in this time of grief. May the light of your Divine Mercy banish the darkness with which he struggled, and may this same mercy see him into your kingdom. We ask all these things through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetuae luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

***

I know very little about Pastor Rick Warren, and nothing at all about his son, Matthew. Since I learned of Matthew’s suicide last night, however, I have thought of little else.

When this kind of high-profile act of self-destruction happens, we pretend to search for answers for a time. Society imagines it’s having a “national dialog on mental illness.” People will talk of what to do, how to recognize the symptoms, how to help those you love. Perhaps some will become more sensitive to the warning signs in the process.

But in the end, things will return to where they were. People will go back to not understanding mental illness, because it is not something that can be understood from the outside. The mentally ill will forever remain an enigma to a population that can look at a person torn apart by a darkness that devours and say, “Everybody gets depressed” or “You’ve got a good life, so what you have to be down about?”

The issue will be further clouded by the vast number of people who are medicated–and in most cases mis-medicated and/or over-medicated–for “depression,” and thus think they understand something about real, clinical depression: not the boutique blues that doctors like to smother in Prozac, but the clammy parasite that attaches to your soul and sucks out your life day by agonizing day, until annihilation appears to be the only relief.

I come from a long line of mental patients, alcoholics, and suicides. My family tree is full of people who completed their short and tormented lives in a madhouse, at the bottom of a bottle, or at the end of a rope. Had I not met my wife at the point when I did, and made the ongoing effort to “heal” (you’re never healed) under the motivation of her selfless love, I would have been one of them.

What will probably disturb people the most about the death of Matthew Warren is that those around him seemed to do everything right. He had the love and support of a faith-filled family who understood that this was an actual illness that needed the best doctors, treatments, and medications available, and they had financial resources to get that help. Judging by his father’s statement, the Warren family “got it” as much as they possibly could.

When your child has cancer, the course of action is self-evident. Tests, doctors, treatment, nurturing, healing, fighting. When your child has a sick mind, it’s much harder for a family to come to grips with how–and in many cases if–to proceed. And, as with cancer, the treatment might not succeed. Mental illness is both biological and psychological. Both aspects need to be treated, and you need to deal with the brain chemistry before you can hope to work on the psychological elements. Finding the right combination of meds isn’t an exact science. It’s just trial and error, usually over a grueling period of time that can grind down the patient.

From the few facts that are out there, it’s likely Matthew has been pursuing these solutions since his teen years (a common time for mental illness to really manifest or worsen), meaning he’d had a decade of ups and downs, successes and failures. You can only ride that roller coaster so long. It wears on you. It weakens you. In the end, if you don’t hold on tight, it can destroy you.

There is one striking moment in Rick Warren’s statement: “Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.”

Did you catch that? Because I could read an entire novel into that statement. Depressives should recognize it right away. Matthew had a good night with his family. He was “high.” No, not on drugs. Depression is a like suffocating fog in the brain. Sometimes, seemingly for no reason, it lifts, and you feel like a human should feel again. You experience joy. You say, “Oh, that’s what it feels like.” And then the fog rolls back in, as it always does, and the final condition is worse than the first.

Perhaps this is what Rick Warren meant by a “momentary wave of despair,” except that it wasn’t momentary. It was perpetual. It returned as surely as the tides, year after year. Matthew had ridden that wave before. He was tired of it.

There is, of course, one other likelihood, which is something else people don’t understand about suicide. They often say, “I don’t get it. We had a great time just that night! He was so happy!”

Often, that happiness is because the decision was already made. The fight is over. The relief is coming. You can let yourself be happy. You can have one really beautiful moment with parents who you know love you, even though you want to tear yourself apart because that love–unconditional, overwhelming–will never be enough. You feel the joy of a person who comes in sight of the finish line after a long and brutal race.

No doubt Pastor Warren and I are separated by sharp denominational differences, but we both preach the Gospel of the risen Christ, and that makes him my brother. We certainly have different ideas about what happens to the soul after death.

For centuries there was a sense that self-murder was a grievous and unforgivable sin: so bad that suicides were denied Christian burial. I have a great aunt who committed suicide, and in the place where cause of death should have been listed are merely the words “body viewed.” The person who filled out the form knew the family, and didn’t want to impede her chances for a Catholic burial.

None of this was dogmatic, however, and the Church now emphasizes mercy for those who, in a diminished mental capacity, kill themselves. The Catechism says

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

Which brings us back to that mysterious joy; that final happiness some suicidal people feel just before the final act.

The grave sin at the heart of suicide is despair, which is the opposite of hope, one of the three theological virtues. Suicides were thought to have sinned against hope and thus, in a sense, denied God as well as committing the most horrible violation of the 5th commandment: throwing away God’s gift of life to you.

Despair is a great danger in the life of the mentally ill: perhaps the greatest. Hope is what keeps people going. When that hope is lost, all is lost. Thus suicide would seem to be the absence of hope and surrender to despair.

But I wonder, sometimes, in some cases, if the distortion of thought that accompanies mental illness gets it exactly backwards; if, at some point, hope and despair become crossed in the mind of the sufferer. Death mistakenly appears to be a hopeful act. There’s something else in Rick Warren’s statement that suggests this point of view:

I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said “ Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?” but he kept going for another decade.

Putting aside the vast theological issues with that quote, you get a sense of the great burden carried by the mentally ill, which makes up seem like down. Few people can imagine a suffering so great that death would seem like a relief, and no reasonable person would embrace self-annihilation to gain it. Worse, the idea that you can kill yourself into Heaven is a terrible perversion of core Christian teachings. Certainly, the son of a minister knew this, which means–at the end–he’d lost his reason, and was no longer in control. He needed to just hold on until the wave passed, but he just couldn’t. Holding on is the key.

There are some taking to social networks to say Matthew Warren’s final act dooms him to Hell. I prefer the question of Hans Urs von Balthasar: Dare we hope that Hell is empty? Dare we hope that all are saved?

Yes. We dare. We’re Christians. We live a life of love with faith in God and hope for eternity. Hope is central to our being. Hope is a beautiful gift, and certainly the greatest of hopes is that the desire of Christ that none shall be lost is fulfilled. I don’t know if it will be or will not be, nor does anyone else. I do know that I hope it to be the case.

Today Catholics celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, in which we recognize the pure power of God’s infinite mercy. We trust the soul of a troubled young man to a merciful God: a God who breaks chains and frees captives, who lifts up the broken-hearted and wipes away every tear. May He wipe away the tears of the Warren family. And may He, in his mercy, comfort Matthew at the last, and show him the final, true, and lasting joy found in the heart of God.

UPDATE: Max Lindenman adds a powerful and lovely Prayer for Suicides.

Timothy Dalrymple: When a Loved One Takes His Life.

US Army: “Al Qaeda, Hamas, KKK, Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity, Orthodox Judaism”

From “Extremism and Extremist Organizations” training for the US Army Reserves.

Three of these things are not like the others:

Orthodox Jews (Haredim), Evangelical Christians, and Catholics oh my! Also, “Sunni Muslim” is a pretty broad category. And why Sunni and no Shia? And who is this “Morman” you would have us fear?

Statement from The Archdiocese for the Military Services and Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty:

The Archdiocese is astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist.

According to an investigation and reply from the Army Chief of Chaplains office, the training in question appears to have been an isolated incident not condoned by the Department of the Army. The Archdiocese and the Chaplain Alliance explained that the Army can and should take steps to prevent such incidents in the future.

The Archdiocese calls upon the Department of Defense to review these materials and to ensure that tax-payer funds are never again used to present blatantly anti-religious material to the men and women in uniform.

HT Dale Price via Facebook

Can The President Launch a Drone Strike on Columbia University?

Kathy Boudin, like President Obama’s friends Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, is a terrorist. That’s not up for debate. Like Ayers and Dohrn, she plotted bomb attacks on Americans, and participated in the slaughter of three police officers during a robbery to fund her terrorist activities. She spent 20 years in an American jail because that’s what a civilized nation does to murderers, not keep them in some extra-legal status in a shadow prison far from the eyes of American justice.

Boudin is now out of jail. She shouldn’t be, but that’s beside the point. She’s done her time and is now out. Does she still provide material support to terrorists? I don’t know, but Wiki has anointed her as a “former” radical and we’re supposed to celebrate her rehabilitation and restoration to society. Is she remorseful and redeemed? As one who believes in redemption, I hope that’s the case, but the history of her particularly insane brand of leftism–one separated from the actions of the Manson Family only by a hair–doesn’t lend itself to introspection or regret.

Now let’s turn from Boudin to Anwar al-Awalki, who may or may not have been directly involved in terrorist activities, but was certainly a propagandist for them. For that matter, so are Ayers and Chomsky and the late Edward Said and a whole host of American “intellectuals” who lend their support to myriad murderous causes as long as they’re sufficiently anti-American.

President Barack Obama found al-Awalki’s role in inspiring terrorists sufficient to order his assassination by drone strike, along with the deaths of anyone in his proximity, who were immediately classified as enemy combatants by virtue of that proximity. In a separate attack two months later, al-Awalki’s 16-year-old son was also killed. al-Awalki, along with his son and so many others, was tried, judged, sentenced, and executed in the shadows. Americans don’t do that.

Which leads us back to Kathy Boudin. We actually have proof of the blood on Boudin’s hands. We know for a fact that she conspired in a crime that led to the deaths of Peter Paige, Waverly Brown, and Edward O’Grady, and attempted to kill a room full of 18-year-olds at a dance.

Does she plan to inspire others to do the same? I don’t know. Did Anwar al-Awalki?

Will she provide material or moral support to anti-American activities? I don’t know. Do we have proof that Anwar al-Awalki did? If so, can we see it? If not, why not?

The next question is the title of this post. If we did have such suspicions (suspicions, mind you: not proof that can be presented and challenged in a court of law), would the president be within his rights to fire a missile into her office at Columbia University, where this vile witch recently took up residence?

Would the teachers and staff in adjoining offices be declared enemy combatants because of their proximity to her?

American teen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki: murdered by order of Barack Obama

Yes, I understand that Obama’s homicidal drone campaign is used for people who are otherwise out of our reach, and Columbia University is, regrettably, on American soil. Let’s put that aside for a moment and just focus on the parallels, which we tend to get overlooked when comparing our relative treatments of dusky Islamists in foreign locales and white-bread American girls in cushy university postings.

The question is similar to the one Rand Paul asked, and to which he got a only begrudging and not-wholly-satisfying answer. The legal issues are still in flux, but I’m not a lawyer and thus legal issues are not of primary interest to me.

My area of expertise is theology, and so the moral question is paramount for me. Kathy Boudin is being feted by the smart set, restored to a society in a privileged position where she can affect the impressionable minds of students for years to come. Whatever the status of her soul, she has, in the eyes of society, paid for her crimes and been publicly redeemed.

Let’s imagine an alternate scenario 20 years hence. Anwar al-Awalki has spent his time in jail, found Christ, and embraced peace. He’s written poetry! And smart papers! Just like Kathy! His public sins are washed away in the eyes of society. He receives a cushy university position, where no doubt people–such as myself–can protest this as a step too far for a former sworn enemy of the state.

We’ll debate the appropriateness of that job, as we are debating Boudin’s. We will revisit his crimes, which are open for all to see because the evidence for them was presented in a court of law, presided over by a judge with courtesy of council, and decided by a jury of twelve men good and true.

Except that will never happen, because Obama’s America is Mega-City One, and the president is not a chief executive, but the Chief Judge with the power to try, sentence, and execute enemies. Noble Peace Prize winner Barack Obama has turned al-Awalki, who as far as we know posed no clear and present danger to America, into a bloody splotch on the sand.

Please let me clear: I don’t weep for al-Awalki. I’ve read the disgusting Inspire magazine with which is was associated, and it’s a dark and satanic product of pure evil. For that matter, so is The Nation, but we’re not launching drone attacks on Katha Pollitt. (“More’s the pity,” some of my readers are thinking. Now, now…)

Disgusting as I find the presence of Boudin–and Ayers, and Dohrn–among the American intellectual and political elite, American greatness is measured in part by our ability to conduct this kind of debate in the sunlight. In another place or time, these three would have been disappeared in the shadows of something like Gitmo, and although there would be a kind of rough justice in that, it would not be American justice. It would be neither Christian nor civilized. We don’t do it because we’re better than that.

Boudin will not end her life with the last sound she hears being the hum of an inbound Hellfire missile. Whether her redemption is real or not, she has had her chance at redemption–and justice–and the rest is between God and her. Do I believe al-Awalki was capable of redemption? I seriously doubt it, but hope is a virtue, and I have to hope that the light of Christ can shine even in the darkest of places, even in the heart of a Muslim fanatic urging the murder of innocent people.

But America is not a nation of priests: we’re a nation of laws. And even if he didn’t deserve a Boudin-like chance at redemption, he deserved something more than summary execution at the hand of a tyrant. If America can’t offer the world so simple a thing as justice, it can offer nothing.

Gate to Hell Discovered

And it’s in New Jersey! (Audio link.)

Nah, just kidding.

It’s actually in Turkey. 

The Plutonium was believed to be the portal to the underworld in the ancient world, and it was known for its lethal properties, provided courtesy of carbon dioxide. It was long believed to be at the Phrygian city of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale). Strabo wrote of it: “This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death… I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.”

The site has finally been located by a team led by Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento, who announced his discovery of the tomb of St. Philip in 2011.

“We found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring. Indeed, Pamukkale’ springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave,” D’Andria told Discovery News.

Featuring a vast array of abandoned broken ruins, possibly the result of earthquakes, the site revealed more ruins once it was excavated. The archaeologists found Ionic semi columns and, on top of them, an inscription with a dedication to the deities of the underworld — Pluto and Kore.

D’Andria also found the remains of a temple, a pool and a series of steps placed above the cave — all matching the descriptions of the site in ancient sources.

“People could watch the sacred rites from these steps, but they could not get to the area near the opening. Only the priests could stand in front of the portal,” D’Andria said.

According to the archaeologist, there was a sort of touristic organization at the site. Small birds were given to pilgrims to test the deadly effects of the cave, while hallucinated priests sacrificed bulls to Pluto.

The ceremony included leading the animals into the cave, and dragging them out dead.

“We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes,” D’Andria said.

It’s Raining Fundie Atheists Today!

You know, they’re actually less entertaining than fundie Christians.

Judging by the sewage suddenly washing up on my shores, it was pretty obvious that I was linked somewhere evangelical atheists roam. Turns out the always-hateful “Friendly Atheist” was offended by the Happy National Atheist Day post and the comment that atheism is as intellectually credible as Holocaust denial.

Because the very height of comedy is having a troll who posts things like this and this and this and this and this lie about what I say while claiming I made “all sorts of unfounded, unfair accusations about us… because, I presume, he believes in God and thinks he can get away with it.”

This from the site that called Catholics a “crumbling, obsolete, and hateful syndicate,” and has never come across a lie, slander, slur, cliche, or bilious blast of hatred too  low to publish.

But, hey! Thanks for the traffic, FA!

As I’ve said, I don’t debate fundies (atheist, Christian, or otherwise) because they bore me. If it you gives you a cozy feeling inside to think this makes me an intellectual coward, go right ahead. If you have actual questions of substance having to do with God, Christ, His Church, theology, or history, feel free to wander the site and post a comment in the appropriate forum. And please read the comment policy.

If you just want to hear the sound of your own voice denying the existence of God, there are plenty of other places for that. Reiterating the five proofs for the existence of God for the umpteenth time to people who refuse to listen just doesn’t do it for me any more.

Pssst, Michelle: I Think Jesus Is Involved Somehow

Our Nanny-in-Chief has repurposed the most important day on the Christian calender, the celebration of the risen Christ, into some kind of nutritional Nuremberg Rally, calling the White House Easter Egg Roll (mmmm, eggroll) a “celebration of nutrition and health and activity.”

Because everything has to be jammed through your little agenda, Shelly.

Here’s the whole thing. (Bonus!: See if you can spot the missing word in the following. Aw, you can do it without even reading, I bet.)

Remarks by the President and First Lady at the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll

THE PRESIDENT: This is Jessica Sanchez, everybody! Give her a big round of applause. (Applause.) Kid President — give Kid President a big round of applause. (Applause.) The Easter Bunny is here. Give the Easter Bunny a big round of applause. (Applause.)

It is wonderful to see all of you. And I just want to say welcome. You guys brought the great weather. It was a little shaky this morning, but all of you did a great job sending a message upstairs, and now we’ve got beautiful weather.

And I now want to introduce the star of the Obama family, my wife, the First Lady, Michelle Obama. (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Kid President, Robbie Novak. Isn’t he wonderful? (Applause.) Robbie, we’re so proud to have you here. You have been so inspiring. I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who hasn’t seen your video, right? You make us all want to work hard and be better. That’s right. So you’re going to spend a little time in the Oval Office just fixing things up for this President, aren’t you? All right, well, it’s good to have you here.

And it’s great to have everyone here this morning. We are so excited. The Easter Egg Roll is the biggest event that we have here on the South Lawn of the White House each year. Today we’re going to have more than 30,000 people who will pass through this yard in celebration of nutrition and health and activity. And we could not do this if it were not for all of our wonderful volunteers, our staff, all of the terrific performers and athletes who have taken time out of their lives and their busy days to make this important. So we need to give all of them a round of applause for all their hard work. (Applause.) Yes, indeed!

So today, we want you to have a great time. We want you to run around. We want you to go over and see the White House Garden. We want you to learn about making tasty, healthy food. We’re going to come down and do some Easter egg roll. We’re going to read some stories. But overall, we want you guys to have a good time and keep moving and be healthy. And, kids, eat your vegetables, okay?

All right, you all, take care. We’ll see you down there. Bye-bye. Thank you. (Applause.)

“Eat your vegetables”: the motto of the Democratic Party.