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The Very Unfunny Truth Bill Cosby has Taught Us

Bill-Cosby

Published at The Stream

It seems very likely that Bill Cosby is not the kind of man we thought he was. While he hasn’t been convicted of a crime, and perhaps never will be, there is a growing mountain of accusations, and now sworn court testimony, that reveal a pattern of grave and disgusting abuses on his part against women.

More than anything, this makes me very sad. I have been a Cosby fan for decades. I’ll say it — I love Bill Cosby. At least the public, creative Bill Cosby I’ve known all my life.

As a kid, I remember marveling to myself that Cosby made me laugh and care so much about some cartoon kid named Fat Albert.

I still remember the commercials he made for Jell-O Pudding Pops. The pudding pops were yummy, but Cosby’s charming antics made them just plain awesome. It was the treat to have back then.

I can’t count how many times I listened to his Noah’s Ark routine. We had the LP version (yep, a record player!), and my entire family would stop whatever else they were doing when they heard it playing, and come sit down and laugh. We’d laugh, and laugh, and cry, and hold our aching stomachs, and howl with delight. It was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. In fact, it still is.

Even without the benefit of seeing his hilarious facial expressions, we enjoyed cheek-hurting laughter time and time again. “Noah!” “How long can you tread water? Hahahaha!”

And his parenting routines? Classic. I still remember the one about him feeding his kids chocolate cake for breakfast, patting himself on the back for his ingenious insight: Eggs! And milk! In the chocolate cake!

Not until I became a mother did I fully appreciate the wisdom and accuracy of his repertoire of parenting jokes. Remember when he and his wife brought home their first child, a daughter, and they marveled at the adorable little poopy diapers she made? “Then one day, God put odor in the poo-poo…” It’s true!

And who can forget Little Tiny Hairs? Simply hilarious.

Cosby’s humor was unique and rare even 40 years ago. It’s practically unheard of today. It was classy, intelligent, clever, truly creative, and clean. He didn’t rely on profanity or R-rated (or worse), crass, derogatory, or sexually explicit material.

He was incredibly funny without ever assaulting my ears or my innocence.

And yes, I know how very ironic that statement is now. That’s why it makes me so very sad. A brilliant and happy legacy is now forever tarnished and left in ruins. A man with rare talent, beloved by so many for so many years, now will be remembered as a lecher and possibly a rapist.

I wish it weren’t so because I would have loved to share Cosby’s humor with my own children. Mostly, I wish it weren’t so because my heart aches for the women he has hurt, especially his wife. It seems clear that if nothing else, he’s guilty of serial adultery.

We are in dire need of learning the lesson his wreckage has to teach us about ourselves and our self-indulgent, debauched culture.

He was a master on the comedy stage; a slave to his own passions in real life, and those passions weren’t impressed by his accomplishments or his fame. They just took him down.

It may be unfashionable these days to speak of virtue, and positively appalling to speak of chastity, but such are precisely the remedies that would have saved Cosby’s life and legacy. They’ll save us, too, if we’re smart.

It’s a simple as this: work continually toward self-mastery and be happy, or live as a slave to destructive passions and be miserable and hurt other people. That truth runs completely counter to the directive of our culture, but with such a stunning exhibit of the culture’s handiwork, let’s have a good look at it, shall we?

What’s the key to self-mastery? Virtue.

“Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good. The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1804)

Which virtue in particular will help us learn self-mastery? Chastity.

“Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. “Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.” (CCC 2339)

“The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.” (CCC 2341)
“Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life.” (CCC 2342)

It’s a terrible shame that Bill Cosby’s remarkable genius was sullied by destructive passions. But the point is, the potential for such disaster is not outside our doors, not just out there in the fallen world, but within our own selves. No one is immune to temptation or struggle in this life.

Still, each one of us is charged with the task of mastering those passions which will otherwise destroy us and those around us. The good news is that we’ve been given the means to do it. Pray for supernatural strength and practice virtue, particularly chastity, every day. Flee from the devil, resist temptation, and if you fail, don’t give up the long and exacting work of self-mastery. Start again. Exercise freedom properly, and choose what is good and honorable. We each have everything to gain if we do, and everything to lose if we don’t.

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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

If you haven’t heard, the Rev. Rob Bell has a dire warning for the church in America.

It was against the backdrop of Ash Wednesday, in the still-numb reality of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians being martyred for their faith by monstrous Islamic terrorists that I first read about Bell’s pronouncement.

The Church was irrelevant. Christianity itself was becoming more irrelevant with every passing day that it did not embrace same-sex “marriage”.

More irrelevant. This supposedly Christian pastor told Oprah that it was only a matter of time, and he expected the Church to get over itself very soon or perish. He said that since that was the direction society was heading, it’s the direction Christianity needs to be heading as well. Otherwise, the faith founded upon the Eternal God and his Incarnate Son will simply disappear and be left behind.

“I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense…”

Alrighty, then. According to Bell, the inspired, holy Word of God is merely a collection of 2,000 year old letters which are no longer relevant to our modern culture. God is past His expiration date.

Bell’s disdain for the authority of Christ, for Sacred Scripture, and for the purpose and nature of marriage is all too clear, and I know I won’t persuade him otherwise today. But this characterization of the Church as an irrelevant body that is essentially prejudiced, woefully out of touch, and dying on the vine is just feeble, smarmy perfidy.

Bell is a little boy sitting at the table with his Play-doh. But rather than making planes or buildings or weird animals, he’s squishing together beliefs and opinions and preferences to form his own religion. He is the latest architect of Play-doh Christianity: those heretics who prefer a religion, fashioned by an ever-changing culture, in which the only true doctrine is there is no sin.

Since there is no sin, there’s no need for a Cross. No need for a Christ. No need to mention repentance at all. (Except to demand repentance of the sin of intolerance of all the culture says is good and necessary.)

Play-doh Christianity says that since God is love, then He happily allows whatever His children decide will make them happy, and bows to their conclusions about what is right and wrong. He serves at the pleasure of His children, from age to changing age. He bends with the times — or rather, they mold Him to the times and He cooperates — pliable, good-natured deity that He is.

play doh

Bell can have his happy-clappy, navel-centered religion and his wimpy god. He just can’t call it Christianity, and he can’t claim it’s the Church.

If Bell’s Play-doh creation was a jarring contrast to the profoundness of Ash Wednesday and those heroic men who clung to Christ when death was at their throats, it seems mild compared to the formless mound of doh being sculpted by the next “Reverend”.

Let me introduce you to John Schuck. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister and considers himself a Christian, despite the fact that he doesn’t believe in God.

He believes that Christianity is merely a human construct, like all religions; that Jesus Christ may have been a historical figure, but is mostly legend; the Bible is a human product and not the Divinely-inspired Word of God. In short, he says, he “regards the symbols of Christianity from a non-supernatural point of view.”

And by the way, he doesn’t appreciate being told he’s not really a Christian.

“Why is that so many people think my affirmations are antithetical to Christianity? I think it is because Christianity has placed all of its eggs in the belief basket. We all have been trained to think that Christianity is about believing things. Its symbols and artifacts (God, Bible, Jesus, Heaven, etc) must be accepted in a certain way. And when times change and these beliefs are no longer credible, the choices we are left with are either rejection or fundamentalism.”

(Again, God serves at the pleasure of the people and their changing times. Otherwise, how could he be credible?)

“I think of Christianity as a culture. It has produced 2,000 years of artifacts: literature, music, art, ethics, architecture, and (yes) beliefs. But cultures evolve and Christianity will have to adapt in order to survive in the modern era…”

(Mr. Shuck, ours is not the first era Christianity has “survived” and it will not be the last unless Jesus returns.)

“I believe one of the newer religious paths could be a “belief-less” Christianity. In this “sect,” one is not required to believe things. One learns and draws upon practices and products of our cultural tradition to create meaning in the present. The last two congregations I have served have huge commitments to equality for LGTBQ people and eco-justice, among other things. They draw from the well of our Christian cultural tradition (and other religious traditions) for encouragement in these efforts. I think a belief-less Christianity can be a positive good for society.

“Belief-less Christianity is thriving right now, even as other forms of the faith are falling away rapidly. Many liberal or progressive Christians have already let go or de-emphasized belief in Heaven, that the Bible is literally true, that Jesus is supernatural, and that Christianity is the only way. Yet they still practice what they call Christianity. Instead of traditional beliefs, they emphasize social justice, personal integrity and resilience, and building community. The cultural artifacts serve as resources.
“But what about belief in God? Can a belief-less Christianity really survive if God isn’t in the picture? Can you even call that Christianity anymore? In theory, yes. In practice, it is a challenge because “belief in God” seems to be so intractable. However, once people start questioning it and realize that they’re not alone, it becomes much more commonplace.”
“Since posting my article — and in response to my ministry in general — many have opened up to me that they didn’t believe in God but they liked coming to my church. One young woman, after going through my confirmation class, joined the church. She read her faith statement in front of the congregation. It was a powerful articulation of her social justice commitments in which she added that she didn’t believe in God. The congregation enthusiastically welcomed her, of course.”
“Someone quipped that my congregation is BYOG: Bring Your Own God. I use that and invite people to “bring their own God” — or none at all. While the symbol “God” is part of our cultural tradition, you can take it or leave it or redefine it to your liking. That permission to be theological do-it-yourselfers is at the heart of belief-less Christianity.”

your image hereBelief-less Christianity, in which there is no God but the one you bring with you, or none at all.
Have you ever read anything so dopey in your whole life?

When you get past the dopeyness of it, you recognize the melody. Same old song been sung since forever. “I shall not serve.”

Shuck’s Play-doh design goes way beyond Bell’s. Shuck has squished God out altogether. He simply clings to the name “Christian” for, what reason? Artifacts and resources?

It is Lent. The season set aside for reflection and contemplation of all that Jesus Christ suffered for our sakes. The season given to us as a time for purging and cleansing our lives of sin and obstacles to faith. The time when we are asked to follow Christ into the desert and in the silence, to listen and hear God.

It’s almost Holy Week; soon we will stand in solemn remembrance of a particular Friday in Jerusalem, long ago, when two pieces of wood became a bridge; became a Divine splint; became that thing Bell and Shuck have no use for any longer.

The “faith” Bell and Shuck preach is merely a vehicle for social justice according to their terms. It’s not a religion but a political and secular movement trading on God’s generosity and good nature.

But Christianity is first and foremost about the Cross.

There is no Christianity without Christ, and no Christ without the cross. There was no need for the cross except for our Redemption, and no need for that except for our sin. To preach Christianity without preaching repentance from sin and taking up your cross is just wicked babble.

Bell and Shuck both want a “Christianity” in which there’s no cross for them to carry, so first they must do away with the cross. Let us not speak of Calvary, they whisper. Let us not speak of sin. How ugly and accusing. God is looove!

God — whatever he may be to you, or nothing at all if you choose! — does not dwell on unpleasant things like rules, laws, right or wrong, good or evil. He cares only for your pleasure and satisfaction. All that offends him is the intractableness of some folks who insist that Jesus Christ is Lord; the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

It’s a very popular message in our culture today, where rights and opinions are paramount, and autonomy is inviolate. Obedience is a very bad word. Humility and reverence and sacrifice are spit out like sour milk. We’re quite sickened by the very concepts.

Bell’s and Shuck’s words sound very sweet indeed to ears itching for such pleasing affirmation and permission. Come, be your own god. Establish your own law. Determine for yourself what is good and what is not. Worship yourself. Worship your own ideals. Make social justice your religion, and by your own decree establish what justice means. Listen to the wisdom of the age and mold your god accordingly.

Bell and Shuck are fools handing out Play-doh to more poor fools who listen to them and start molding and squishing their own god.

Their malleable inventions will never save them. For that you need solid wood.

I’ll take the foolishness of the Cross over the wisdom of this world any day.

crucifixion“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor 1:18-21,25

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Fifty Shades of Madness: No Gray Area Here

alice

I can’t say it any better than the Dowager Countess of Grantham: Have we all stepped through the looking glass?

Yes, I’m afraid that collectively, as a culture, we have indeed. We no longer seem to recognize the plainly absurd as absurd. Up is down; out is in; wrong is right; insane is normal.

I have been holding out hope that the rapid descent of our culture into utter madness would be stopped, or at least slowed because enough people would come to their senses and find their backbones. I’m not sure I can hold that hope any longer.

Things that are as fundamental to the human person as being male and female, mother and father, are being jettisoned as oppressive and discriminatory, in favor of bizarre and thoroughly fabricated, convoluted notions of human sexuality. All sense of sacrifice and obligation toward children and their true best interest seems to have also been rejected in favor of the feelings, desires, and “rights” of the adults.

Imagine standing in a crowded stadium full of people, on a bright, sunny day, and being the only one there who knows the sky is blue. Everyone else now insists it’s pink. It’s absurd, but try as you may, you cannot convince anyone of the error of their thinking. You show them what blue looks like, but still they say, “We don’t want a blue sky anymore. We want pink! We say it’s pink, so it’s pink!”

Fifty Shades of Grey has been the latest offering of proof that we have gone completely mad.

A story that is plainly, unabashedly about sado-masachism, rape, and pornography is being hailed as romantic. It’s been offered as a Valentine to the world, and devoured with enthusiasm as though it were fine chocolate. Women look at Christian Grey, a man who is controlling, abusive, selfish, and manipulative — a man who knows nothing at all about love — and they swoon. Because he’s rich and handsome. That is madness.

“Oh, it’s just a book. It’s just fantasy.” What crazy talk! Have we all really forgotten the power of an idea that really catches on and gets gobbled up by the masses? Have we forgotten the kind of influence a book can have on a person, and on a culture?

However the money-machine has packaged and sold it, FSoG is not a love story. Christian Grey does not regard Anastasia as someone to respect and cherish; he certainly doesn’t view her as someone to protect and honor. He uses her and abuses her. He manipulates her into “consenting” to what he wants, so that his every sick and selfish desire can be satisfied. And this, somehow, is portrayed as an adult romance to be gushed over?

Dads, raise your hands: How many of you want your daughter to get involved with the likes of Christian Grey? Well, guess what? Thanks to the phenomenon of the book and movie, you can rest assured that there will be more and more Grey’s out there looking for young women they can easily dominate. The culture is telling them it’s not only alright, but it’s the kind of relationship women really, secretly want.

What are you going to tell your daughter about men like Grey? What are you going to tell her about porn and BDSM? Not comfortable having that conversation, you say? You better get comfortable real fast, because she’s having that conversation without you, with folks who do not have her welfare in mind.

And Dads, what are you saying to your sons about FSoG? Do you want your son to think it’s okay to twist a woman into signing a contract agreeing to be bound, beaten, and raped? Who’s going to tell the guys that that sort of thing is not sexy? Who’s going to tell them it’s NOT love? Who’s going to tell them it’s not how a real man behaves?

Moms, what about you? Would you just be delighted to learn that your daughter was Anastasia? That she was being blindfolded and bound, beaten, and treated like a piece of meat for some man’s selfish pleasure? Is that progress for women? “Mom and Dad, I’ve met the most amazing man. He’s rich and handsome. He had me sign a contract stating he could put me in handcuffs, blindfold me, beat me, and assault me. He says I shouldn’t overthink it. But don’t worry. It’s all good because I consented.”

Would you just be so proud of your son if he treated a young woman that way? Would you brag about him to your friends and rave of his accomplishments? “He’s a sado-masochist! He’s a master of dominance. We couldn’t be more proud of him!”

Scores of women — Protestant Christian women, Catholic women — have bought this garbage and then defended doing so. That is just madness. That is an inexcusable action. Yes, inexcusable. Why? Because “to whom much is given, much more will be required.” As part of the Body of Christ, you’ve been given True Love. You know what and Who love is. You have a duty to be a witness of that love to the world, and to refuse to buy — literally and figuratively — the counterfeit ideas of love, marriage, and sex that come from the pit of hell.

I’ve heard the pathetic rationale — “I probably won’t see the movie, but I read the book and I enjoyed it…it’s really no worse than a lot of other adult romance novels” — and I’m just gob-smacked.

What the heck are y’all reading? If this is run-of-the-mill “adult romance” to you, then you are a big part of the problem. And you have no excuse. You are obligated to know better and do better. You know darn well that FSoG has nothing whatsoever to do with love. You know darn well is pornography. It’s smut. You know it. How can you enjoy that?

Are you living under a rock that you don’t grasp the destructive force of pornography in our culture? How can you in any good conscience contribute to that destruction?

Would you think someone smart for dabbling in a little Ebola? Maybe as long as Ebola took you for a private helicopter ride, and invited you into the Penthouse suite and served champagne? Ooh, the danger, the risk, the glitter… makes it exciting!

Pornography ought to be regarded with greater alarm and more isolation than the Ebola virus because it is far more deadly. It can kill the soul of a person; it will kill a marriage and ruin a family. It destroys lives every single day from the inside out. It’s pure evil.

(Don’t believe me? Believe Ted Bundy.)

But you FSoG fans out there, you’ve lost your minds. You don’t run from this insidious plague. You’re so hypnotized by a glamorous illusion you’re willing to get cozy with it. You pay for the privilege of being infected.

And no, it’s not just your life and your private choice. Your decision to buy the book, see the movie, and defend those decisions has given aid and comfort to the enemy of all our souls, the enemy who prowls like a lion looking for children, spouses, families to devour.

You have become part of the audience for that filth. You’ve helped make it the best-selling, record-breaking hit it’s become. You helped spread spiritual Ebola.

There’s nothing gray or ambiguous about this. As plain as the nose on your face is the fact that FSoG glamorizes an abusive man, portrays him as some twisted sort of romantic idol, normalizes sado-masochism and pornography, and tries to insist that it’s all marvelous because it’s supposedly “consensual.”

A good friend of mine, who’s a Catholic convert and father of 11 children, said it so well:

“There is a line of theological thought (Milton refers to this in Paradise Lost) wherein the first sin committed after the Fall was one of lust. Adam looks at Eve’s nakedness and proceeds to simply take her. Thus at the core of our fallen nature as men is the desire to subjugate and objectify women, rather than nurture, protect, and provide for them. This is why porn is such a grave evil…it is a siren song for men to cast off their hard-won nobility and grace and revert to a default state of depravity.
How much more evil then are materials like “50 Shades”…that teach women that this state of depravity is not only normal…but desirable?”

In real life, Anastasia doesn’t change her abuser. Grey doesn’t transform into a gentleman and become a loving husband. He doesn’t realize how wonderful she is and vow to never hurt her again. No matter how much she “understands him” and no matter how patient she is; no matter how much she thinks she loves him, she cannot turn him into the man she wants. She’ll end up battered, emotionally shattered, abandoned, and possibly dead.

It also has to be admitted that if Christian Grey was a middle-aged, fat, sloppy, ugly man in a crummy neighborhood, no one but no one would be rushing to justify this book or be enthralled by its “romance.” No one would call it anything other than what it is: a perverted tale of a predatory creep and his victim.

Ultimately, the woman most responsible is the author, E.L. James. She spouts the same nonsense about the story being only fantasy, totally consensual between two adults, and not in any way making light of domestic abuse. She’s deluding herself. She’s become wildly wealthy by calling degradation and abuse “romance”, and beguiling all the crowds into accepting madness as perfect sense.

Ms. James and half the world may have gone mad, but I still know vomitous, pornographic trash when I see it. And I’m not so fond of vomit that I’ll sit in it and call it a bubble bath.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Screwtape Epilogue: Pastor Pens Letter Welcoming Planned Parenthood

The Screwtape Epilogue: Pastor Pens Letter Welcoming Planned Parenthood

screwtape_letters

The Rev. Walter Baer of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation in New Orleans has penned a letter that could be an epilogue from the C.S. Lewis classic. Screwtape would be proud of this one. The words practically slither off the screen.

Rev. Baer is pleased to welcome the new Planned Parenthood clinic to his area, and wishes to extend his heartfelt support for the clinic and thank them for all the good service they will provide his community. He writes:

“I write to express my support for the right of the clinic to be there and to serve the reproductive needs of our community.” (italics mine)

The business that kills babies for profit has a right to exist? (But those babies do not.)

In the earliest days of Christianity, the Christians set themselves apart from the rest of their culture in many ways, in particular, they refused to expose their infants. They refused to set the “unwanted” or “unplanned” infants on rocks in the desert heat to be scorched and picked apart by animals and birds of prey. But you, Rev. Baer, support the right of the clinic that is the modern-day equivalent of that barbaric ancient practice. And you consider that Christian behavior?

“Lack of access to contraception can be among the chief causes of abortion, to which some are forced to turn in tragic cases.”

First, this myth that contraception is hard to come by is absurd and not worthy of any intelligent person. Birth control is widely available and ridiculously easy to access. The only “lack” is the will of contraception-using women to pay for it themselves.

Second, statistically more than half of women seeking an abortion were using contraception when they became pregnant. More than 25% of women have had more than one abortion, while using contraception. Clearly, contraception is not the answer to reducing elective abortions.

Finally, you are right, Rev. Baer, to say that some women are forced into abortion. Many, many women are coerced and bullied into abortion by family members or partners, and underage girls are literally forced into having abortions by their adult abusers. Or have you not heard?

The very organization you warmly welcome into your community has a history of covering up child rape. They are in it for the money, after all, and not interested in stopping the flow of pregnant girls into their clinics. Who cares about child rape? Who really cares about those girls? Just kill their babies and send them back to their abusers. Just means more money down the road.

“The church supports the right of a woman to make her own choices in these matters, while rejecting abortion as a means of birth control or mere convenience.”

Do fathers have any rights, Rev. Baer? Does the child have any right? Say, to live?

“The official position of our church is that all human life is sacred from its inception until death.”

Sacred, but disposable? Sacred, but not worthy of protection? Sacred, but having no right to exist? Sacred, but not so sacred that it can’t be “terminated” at will? A very strange definition of sacred, indeed.

“While we acknowledge that in this country, it is the legal right of every woman to have a medically safe abortion, as Christians we believe strongly that if this right is exercised, it should be used only in extreme situations.”

Planned Parenthood does not make millions of dollars every year off the “extreme situations.” Abortion is their endless gravy train. No reason to abort is a bad reason for them.

“We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection or any reason of mere convenience.”

Why? Isn’t it a woman’s reproductive right? Who decides what is “mere convenience” anyway? And who are you to limit a woman’s exercise of her rights? Now you want to set moral restrictions on this precious “right”?

“The Episcopal Church expresses its unequivocal opposition to any legislative, executive or judicial action on the part of local, state or national governments that abridges the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of pregnancy or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting on her decision.”  (italics mine)

So, which is it, Reverend? You can’t have it both ways. Either you support, unequivocally, a woman’s unrestricted “right” to abortion at any time for any reason, or you don’t. You can’t place your own ethical restrictions on the decision to abort while still insisting that local, state and national governments cannot do the same.

Now for Rev. Baer’s real money-line. This is the one that truly gives him away.

“As a parish church that is named for the most wondrous conception in history, we welcome the Planned Parenthood clinic to the neighborhood. It will serve a very important role in education, health screenings, contraception, and, when necessary, a safe place for the termination of a pregnancy.” (italics mine)

First, when is it necessary to kill a child, Rev. Baer? Tell me. Tell me when it is necessary to kill a defenseless and innocent child? I want to know.

Second, you are nothing more than a coward hiding behind the euphemisms of the culture of death. You speak of terminating a pregnancy as though there is no life being terminated. You ignore the child and the murder of that child. You disregard the humanity of the child in the womb and speak only of pregnancy. There is no such thing as pregnancy without the existence of a new human being; a human child created by the God you claim to know and worship. You claim for yourself the right to determine who lives and who dies.

And for the record, childbirth successfully terminates pregnancy, without killing.

But for me, Reverend, what makes your letter nothing but utterly wicked is your attempt to correlate the Divine conception of the Son of God in the immaculate womb of Mary with the killing-for-profit, the preying upon innocents, the destruction of helpless, tiny children done by Planned Parenthood every single day.

In that, the serpent is revealed. Satan is terrified of the Virgin Mother of God, for from her came the Incarnate Word that is his total defeat. He despises her humble fiat that ushered in the salvation of the world. It is truly wicked to twist and distort the Annunciation in order to mask the evil of Planned Parenthood and try to elevate it to some place of admiration.

What you have forgotten, Reverend, but what Satan has not, is that Mary’s foot is firmly, eternally atop his crushed head.

Yes, your words are purely wicked and your letter was written with the spirit and influence of the evil one. You are aiding and abetting a greedy, dishonest, predatory corporation. You have attempted to convey upon them the honor of good service and nobility, which makes you either pitifully deceived and blind or a stone-cold liar. Perhaps both.

I realize you’re hardly the only “Christian” pastor in America to support the evil of abortion, and I would say the same to anyone who professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ and a shepherd of souls. The blood of innocent children is on your hands. The agonizing wounds of untold numbers of mothers is partly yours to account for.

Women and children deserve far better than to be brutalized, exploited, and killed by abortion. You claim to be a servant of Christ — you have no excuse whatsoever for raising your voice in support of the slaughter of innocent children. You have no excuse whatsoever for not doing everything in your power to stop the slaughter.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Is This Love? Surrogates, Gay Couples, and Motherless Babies

at Catholic Online

The story of two gay men in Texas who became fathers of twin boys via a surrogate appeared in my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, posted by a woman voicing her support for the men and her anger over their legal predicament.

Each man is the biological father of one twin, and each wants to legally adopt the biological son of the other. Because Texas does not recognize same-sex “marriage”, the law will not allow the adoption or for the birth certificates to reflect the two fathers as parents of both boys.

So began the cry of discrimination toward these men, and the injustice of the law.

I decided to jump in with quite the opposite perspective. I wasn’t expecting my comments to be well-received, but even so, I was stunned at how the thread developed.

What was truly maddening, I said, was that two babies had been manufactured and sold, and now were being denied their mother. It is wrong, I argued, to create by design a home for those babies that intentionally deprives them of their mother. They have a right to know and be cared for by their mother.

I went even further and said that what the two men had done was not love. The adults have gotten what they wanted, but the babies have not been given what they need nor what they deserve and are truly entitled to, which is their mother. Whatever emotions or longings motivated the decision to conceive the babies, it was not love.

For that, I got the usual: Hateful, judgmental, critical, heartless bigot. No surprise. I was also informed that what I really meant was that homosexuals are not even capable of love.

The only moral outrage to be found was that two gay men were being prevented from legally adopting the other’s child. Not one other person in the thread was the least bit concerned about two babies being purposely denied their mother. The boys will have two dads, and that’s good enough.

I don’t think it is. Not at all. Not even close.

I couldn’t believe I was actually having to argue for the necessity of a mother in a child’s life! How is it that we’ve convinced ourselves that mothers are not really needed beyond giving birth? How can we seriously believe that children do not require a mother? Yet that was the argument. The boys have two dads, so they’ll be just fine. They are lucky to be so wanted, so loved. Lucky?!?

To be so loved…Except that love doesn’t do that. Love doesn’t amputate the mother from the baby’s life immediately after birth in order to accommodate the sexual preferences of the adult. Love doesn’t require the child to sacrifice for the lifestyle of the adult. Love does not tell the child, “You don’t really need a mother. You don’t get to have your mother.” Love does not presume that the child won’t feel the loss, and won’t suffer because of it.

“Love wills the good of the other,” I said. (Actually, St. Thomas Aquinas said.) “Love puts the other first. None of the adults involved in creating these babies put them first.”

Sound harsh? It should. I think it’s pretty harsh that kids are being made to order, to satisfy the wants of specialty couples who think it’s their prerogative to deprive a child of either mother or father, depending on their own sexual inclination. It’s extremely harsh that children are being required to forfeit their natural, healthy, undeniable need for both parents, mother AND father.

Frankly, it isn’t good enough that children are “wanted.” That’s the lingo and the philosophy of our contraception and abortion culture. ‘Every child a wanted child,’ and all that bull. That just means that children are things we acquire when we want to, and dispose of when we don’t want them. It’s centered only on the desires of the adults, without regard for the inherent worth of the child or his inviolable rights.

That’s not love. That’s not how children are to be treated. Wanting a child isn’t the standard. Clearly, these two men wanted a baby. They went to the trouble and expense to find a surrogate, and manufacture some embryos, and they were blessed with two healthy boys. They got what they wanted.

The real mother in Solomon’s court proved her love and her authenticity by choosing to suffer the pain of losing her baby, rather than let any harm come to him. She sought his good over her own, fully expecting terrible heartache for herself. That’s how love wills the good of the other.

Anyone truly devoted to the good of a child will not create by design a motherless or fatherless home for that child. Doing so causes great harm. And we’re not talking about harm brought about by unavoidable, unforeseen tragedy.This is planned and inflicted on purpose.

What about their mother? She’s not a victim here. In fact, she may not even be only one person! She’s what is now being called a “gestational carrier” and she may be carrying an embryo(s) created with a donor egg(s). Ugh — can we possibly find a more degrading way to treat a woman? The battle for equality for women has led us to this? Women being used for their wombs and their biological functions?

That’s the best case we can make for motherhood anymore? It’s just the physical process of gestation and childbirth? But beyond that, well, moms aren’t really necessary? How horrifying! And how ironic — decades ago the fight was to be valued for more than only mothering; now the battle has to be for the irreplaceable, pricelessness of a mother!

Assuming the mother is even mentioned on the child’s birth certificate, how will she be named? “Donor egg, incubated and grown by gestational carrier”? She’s nameless, faceless, and entirely missing.

And of course, the one who suffers the most is the child. Always the child. The child is ordered up, the product of a contract, bought and sold, and delivered like a piece of property. But it’s all dressed up in the language of wants and wishes and emotions, with a lovely baby shower and breathless oohs and ahhs, so surely it’s all wonderful.

No one is entitled to a child. Even married couples are not entitled to children. They have no right to expect that they will be given the gift of a child. They pray for children, and remain open to them in their marriage, but there’s no entitlement. You don’t walk up to the Giver of Life and insist He give you what you want. You don’t demand a gift. It’s a gift.

Children are the fruit of marriage for a reason. It’s God’s wise and perfect design that the love of husband and wife is ordered toward the creation of new life. He certainly could have designed it differently, but He obviously felt that both mother and father are necessary, and that children require the presence of both their parents.

The increasing frequency of babies being manufactured through surrogacy and then delivered to same-sex couples is alarming and heartbreaking. I can think of nothing more selfish than for adults to deliberately deprive a child they claim to love of her fundamental need and genuine right to be raised by her own mother and father because their sexual preference precludes it. It is a perversion of the family unit. It’s an injustice to the child.

Take a look at this photo.

toronto dads It shows a gay couple in Toronto as the son they’d had conceived through surrogacy was born. This beautiful little boy will also be denied his mother. The photographer captured the moment the two men held the baby to their bare chests.

Yes, I can clearly see the raw emotion, the tears, the joy of the father holding the baby. I do not doubt that he was overwhelmed with love in that precious moment. It is plainly obvious.

 

 

Now look at this photo. (Image removed 24 Feb 2016 by request.)

I recognize something crucial in this picture, something else that is plainly obvious. That baby was searching for his mother. A newborn baby has only one real need, and that is to be put to mother’s breast and smell and feel her skin and suckle. That’s it. Sorry, guys, but that’s reality. Babies are born with a built-in homing device that drives them toward Mom.

I saw the baby’s face, and my heart ached and broke for him. He wanted his mother. No baby would gladly do without his mother.

Fathers are not mothers, and mothers are not fathers. They are not interchangeable. They are both essential for the well-being of a child, far beyond pregnancy and birth. That’s not just idealistic or old-fashioned dreaming. It’s common-sense reality; it’s moral truth; it’s natural law; it’s justice.

But it requires thinking, not merely acting on feelings. It requires considering the needs of another ahead of your own sometimes. It requires sacrificing what you may want in order to give the other what is truly right and just.

Our culture is so obsessed with making the case for same-sex “marriage” that now, astonishingly, sane people have to actually make the case for mothers and fathers.  We’ve elevated sexual activity and preferences high above the needs of our children. Whatever else you may call it, it’s not love.

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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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How Can We Save Meriam Ibrahim? We Cannot Save Ourselves

Today was one of those last-straw days.

One of those days when I just despair of ever getting out from under the pile of spineless weasels who make up the ruling classes; or ever seeing certain nations in the world free of tyrants and thugs. There is nothing new under the sun, so it goes, and I know human history has always been littered with tyrants, thugs,and weasels, and the innocent have always suffered their oppression and greed.

Still, I yearn desperately for the kind of plain-spoken bluntness that many people would say is not diplomatic. Good thing I’m not a diplomat and never will be.

We just don’t have time anymore to dicker around with pleasantries and words that obscure the truth rather than speak it.

I am ashamed that women in my country consider it a war against them personally to have anyone say that free birth control is not a right they should be granted. It’s embarrassing that supposedly intelligent and educated females in America whine on national television about the cost of contraception and cry about the hardship it inflicts upon them to have to obtain it with their own money.

This may be the lowest point in human history, in that modern women consider abortion a sacred “right” which can never be infringed or regulated or limited in any way by anyone for any reason. A child has no safe refuge anymore; no sure advocate, not even in their mothers. Abortion has made women the ultimate despot. They demand to kill with impunity.

It is horrifyingly evil that America is a nation that kills babies willfully, knowingly, deliberately, and with celebration. We don’t terminate pregnancies. We don’t make reproductive choices. We kill babies in the womb. We kill the most vulnerable child. For profit. For “freedom.”

Now, to add even more stupefying illogic to injury, it seems we must address the tragedy of infant mortality by increasing access to abortion. The way to make sure they don’t die after birth is to kill them before birth. Got that?

We also kill the sick and elderly now. Judges rule from on-high that it must be done. We starve and dehydrate them to death. A slow and painful death. Because that’s “merciful.”

meriam ibrahimAgainst this shining backdrop of American values and morality, we and the rest of the free world sit twiddling our thumbs while barbarians in the Middle East are preparing to flog a woman for the crime of rejecting Islam. She may or may not survive her flogging. If she does, then once her newborn child is old enough to wean from nursing, they will execute Meriam Ibrahim for defying their tyrannical dictates and refusing to convert to Islam.

Our nation sits in virtual silence from the White House down. A few courageous souls have spoken up to defend Meriam and condemn what is happening to her, but to what avail? The people who have the political power to perhaps make a difference and rescue her from this gruesome and inhumane sentence seem to disappear amidst chirping crickets.

Around the world, much the same.

But is that fair, you ask? Perhaps the powerful people are working behind the scenes to free Meriam and we just don’t know it.  They’d better be! And they’d better hurry up.

It’s still not enough. Where are the leaders who will publicly say something like this:
“If you flog this woman, you are animals. You are barbaric, sadistic animals. You’re not keeping to a pure religion. You’re not obeying God. You’re not answering the dishonor of Islam. You’re just barbaric, sadistic animals. And if this is what your Islam preaches and requires, then it is a sadistic and barbaric religion that we condemn. You can keep your violent and bloodthirsty god. We want nothing to do with it because we actually love freedom, and we actually value human life. Including the lives of women and children.”
Wouldn’t that be refreshingly honest?

But as I’ve already pointed out, the reason the United States can’t make such a courageous statement is because we don’t actually value all human life. Some human life is quite disposable to us. We love freedom, alright, but not real freedom. We love the unrestrained license to do as we please.

So the clock ticks closer to Meriam being brutally flogged by men who are barbaric, sadistic animals. And American women whine and cry about the “war on women” here at home because they want their damned Pills and IUD’s for free. And they want abortions as “back-up” birth control when all those Pills and devices fail to prevent pregnancy. That way, when they don’t get what they originally wanted, they can still get what they want by killing someone who is utterly defenseless.

Just like Meriam.

Why isn’t the whole world down to its last straw? Why do civilized societies tolerate a culture that flogs women, kills them for the sake of “honor” and executes them for not obeying that culture’s religion?

Why do civilized societies kill their own babies? How can they stand by as their sons and daughters are torn from the womb in pieces? How can they sleep at night knowing their own nation is so morally bankrupt and barbaric? How can they face themselves knowing that they kill the elderly and sick under the premise of mercy and last wishes?

In a world of violent bullies, eventually everyone becomes a target.

That’s what happens while crickets chirp.

—–

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Adventures in FPIES: The Infant Disease You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

FPIES NEW Logo finalDarling Daughter #4 was about six months old, and since I was an old pro at this stuff, I did the same things I’d done with the first three girls. I got some Gerber Oatmeal cereal, and some Rice cereal, and some pureed apples and pears. She’d been showing a real interest in the foods I was eating, and she seemed hungry, so I decided it was time to introduce some solid foods.

I fixed a small bowl of rice cereal like I’d done a hundred times before in years past, and mixed in a little apples. My daughter gobbled it all up gladly. Success! I expected nothing else, of course, since I was an old pro at this. (ahem)

2 hours later… she suddenly became very agitated and crying, and then began vomiting. Then she became limp and lethargic. Then more vomiting. She threw up every fifteen minutes for about 2 hours. She was like a wet dishrag, and she was pale and weak. I thought she’d come down with a nasty stomach bug.

Then after a few hours, the vomiting had stopped and she perked up. Her color came back, she seemed more energetic, more like her normal self. And she wanted to nurse. I was hesitant, but I knew she needed the hydration and if anything was likely to agree with her stomach again, it was breast milk. So I nursed her. She drank herself into a nice, long nap, and that was that. She was right as rain again. When she awoke, no more vomiting, no more crying.

She seemed fine the next several days except for some persistent diarrhea. I still figured she had a little stomach bug or something, so to be on the safe side, I didn’t feed her any more solid foods for about a week. Then I tried it again. Oatmeal cereal and pears this time. Once again, she gobbled it all up.

And once again, two hours later, she vomited it all up. Just like the first time, she became rather lethargic and limp and pale. She vomited every 15 -20 minutes for about two hours again. Then, just like before, she seemed to perk up and wanted to nurse. I nursed her, and she was right as rain once again.

Now I’m thinking this is not just a stomach bug! So I took her to the pediatrician, who discovered she had an ear infection. She’d had a stuffy nose and a little cold, so the doctor said the vomiting was probably because of the ear infection. Antibiotics in hand, we went home and I decided to wait til the infection was all clear before feeding her any more solid foods.

We got the all-clear from the doctor about her ears, so I tried some more cereal with apples. She ate it all up gladly.

Then two hours later, she gave it all back to me and then some. Exactly the same scenario as the first two times. Now I knew something strange was going on and it had nothing to do with her ears. (All this time, she continued to have diarrhea which resulted in a terrible rash.)

Back to the pediatrician I went, and even the doctor was stumped. She agreed it was very strange, and referred us to a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital. While we waited for that appointment, we did not give her any solid foods. We continued breastfeeding only. Thank God for nursing!

The night before our appointment with the specialist, I said to my husband, “Let’s just try it one more time, just to make sure. Maybe it was a weird fluke or something and we don’t really need a specialist.” He agreed, and so I fed her one single spoonful of rice cereal. One little baby spoonful. Guess what happened?

So, later that night after my sweet daughter had finished throwing up and was feeling better again, I finally went looking for some answers. (Why I waited so long is a mystery even to me.) I sat down and Googled, “my baby throws up every time I feed her solid food”.

The very first search result left me speechless. As soon as I began reading the information on this website, I absolutely knew this was what was wrong with my baby. I began printing the information to take with me to our appointment the next morning.

I also typed up a thorough history of exactly what had been happening to my daughter, with as much specific detail as I could, and I presented it to the specialist. She walked in our room, having already read the history I’d written, and I said, “I’m not trying to do your job for you, but I did some reading last night, and I think my daughter has FPIES,” as I handed her all the information I’d printed off.

She just smiled real big at me, reached into her file, and handed me the exact same information. She and I had come to the same conclusion: my baby has FPIES.

So, what the heck is FPIES? I’d never heard of it before, and chances are you haven’t either. It’s even quite possible that your pediatrician hasn’t heard of it, or seen a child with FPIES.

It stands for Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis. (And it’s pronounced just like you think, F-PIES.)

It is a reaction to food proteins, like an allergy, but not like other food allergies. There is no single, definitive test for FPIES because it’s not an IgE-related allergic reaction like other allergies. The most common FPIES trigger food, believe it or not, is rice.

Other common trigger foods are oats, barley, milk, soy, eggs, chicken, and turkey. Any food can be a trigger food, but these are often the biggest culprits. Strangely enough, wheat does NOT seem to be a problem for kids with FPIES.

My daughter has Rice/Oats FPIES, which means no rice or oats for her at all. Which is exactly what I’d fed her with that very first spoonful of baby food. That’s what all the doctors recommend. It’s the standard advice everyone gives. “Feed your baby rice cereal.” After all, rice is supposed to be the most agreeable, well-tolerated food on the planet. It’s a staple ingredient in every country, in every diet around the world!

Not in our household, not anymore. No oats or barley, either. Since there were many months when the only food my daughter could eat was breast milk, I had to make some dietary changes myself. I eliminated rice, oats, milk, and soy from my own diet to make sure no trace of those foods made it into my milk. Better safe than sorry.

We are now walking the slow process of discovering which foods are safe for her to eat, and which foods will trigger a vomiting reaction in her. The only way to find this out is to feed her one food at a time and see what happens. She will not be allowed to eat grains of any kind for a few years, so this baking momma is going to have to get creative and learn some new tricks. (I have to say it was awful not to be able to make her a cake for her 1st birthday!)

In the meantime, in order to increase her caloric and protein intake, we have to supplement her limited diet with a specialized formula called Elecare, which is neither very tasty nor very affordable. Many parents of children with food allergies know this all too well. We’re in good company.

The good news is that most children with FPIEs will outgrow it by the time they’re about 6 years old, and thereafter be able to eat a pretty normal diet without allergy concerns (based on what is known now).

We were actually pretty fortunate. Our daughter’s reaction, while alarming to us, was not life-threatening. Some kids with FPIES have severe reactions that require emergency medical attention.

If our story sounds familiar to you, go to the FPIES Foundation website and read more. Print this article and take it to your pediatrician. Spread the information far and wide and help educate those doctors who haven’t yet learned about this infant disease.

Perhaps it’s time to encourage our pediatricians to rethink the standard advice about feeding our babies solid foods at six months, and feeding them rice cereal.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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