Thursday, May 13, 2004

A Sad Case on a Sad Day

May God have mercy on this poor soul. He is exhibit A proving the foolishness of "modern" views of human sexuality and gender.

Today is a sickening day. If you haven't endured viewing the videotaped slaughter of Nick Berg, you can find it on Dennis Prager's Web Site. Dennis today said on his radio show that Americans have a moral obligation to view this horror. First to honor Nick Berg and his effort to help his fellow man by working for the betterment of Iraq. Second to clarify the moral difference between the U.S. and it's enemies. I heard the audio of the Al-Qaeda murderers sawing off Mr. Berg's head while chanting "God is great". I haven't yet brought myself to view the video. I believe I will but I don't think it's a moral obligation for every American. I do think it's a moral education for all who have eyes to see.

There is one aspect of the Abu Ghraib torture at the hands of U.S. military that adds to the gloom. I suspect that if you were to meet the soldiers who perpetrated the torture, they wouldn't seem evil on the surface. In one day there is a grisly public execution and further revelations of dehumanizing sadistic torture by those who know better but act worse. I think it may have been Anselm who said that if there was no theological doctrine of original sin, logic would demand it in order to explain the pervasiveness and depth of human wickedness.

The heart is desperately sick...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

An Eye for an Eye

On this day when horror and revulsion of a so called "revenge" killing is available on the internet, I am reminded of the moral triumph of the much maligned maxim of biblical antiquity:
Leviticus 24
19 If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured.

While many criticize this teaching as a license for revenge, ironically it is a curb on revenge. Today's "revenge" is the kind common to man: you humiliate and torture one of ours and I'll kill one of yours. So goes the human reality of justice (unless we're naive) until the God of Moses breaks in and demands that justice take no more than what was taken.

The bible shows this reality of human justice in Genesis 4:
23 Lamech said to his wives,

"Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed [8] a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me.
24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
then Lamech seventy-seven times."

Lamech was doing what all of us desire to do, which is go beyond justice and demand a eye for a tooth and a head for a humiliation.

Only the bigoted or the simple miss the power of God's introduction of a divine standard of justice in Leviticus 24. It is to curb the kind of evil that today's "revenge" displays.

Similarly, only the bigoted or the simple would compare the U.S. Military generally or the U.S. culture generally as morally equal to the kinds of butchers that killed Nick Berg. Hewitt quotes a politically motivated bigot. I've met plenty of the simple in my days on campus at CU Boulder and in Venice Beach. Yet ironically, even the morally reprehensible conduct of the idiots that ran Abu Ghraib prison didn't result in anyone being beheaded. That's because those idiots were Americans. And Americans can be idiots but generally we view murdering the innocent as evil, not as a tactic of revenge or jihad.

The grisly murder of Nick Berg may have been a grave mistake by Al-Qaeda because it will possibly make wise the simple with regard to the war that we are already fighting and the relative importance of Abu Ghraib when compared with daily atrocities by islamists in Iraq and Sudan (just for openers). Perhaps this murder will remind the simple of 9-11 and the reality of what we're fighting in the war on Islamic Terror.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Equine homicide

"A sexually excited stallion bit a Polish man to death when he tried to calm the beast, which had become uncontrollably aroused by a nearby mare," Reuters reports from Warsaw.


I trust that the high-stepper was Mirandized and assigned Peter Singer as counsel for the defense.

This was clearly a crime of passion! Innocent by reason of temporary insanity? If only the mare had been discreetly veiled, this might never have happened.

I assume an animal psychologist will be appointed by the court to determine whether the steed is competent to face trial. Maybe it was abused as a colt. Perchance a victim of tragic circumstances?

Is it covered by the Geneva Conventions? Perhaps the case should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Assuming the poor beast is convicted and sentenced, there's the whole question of equine rights behind bars. Should it have access to filly centerfolds and other adult fare?

What about socially-sensitive meals? For example, an Arabian stallion cannot be fed any pork products.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Are Anglicans pod people?

You all remember Invasion of the Body Snatchers? That twice-remade cult-classic and political parable of Cold War paranoia?

While the unsuspecting victim slept, his replicant double was forming beside him; and when the process was completed, the original dissolved into a puddle of sticky green goo. To all appearances, his alien doppelganger looked and sounded just like the real deal. He was the same on the outside, but oh-so different on the inside!

And sometimes I’m gripped by that suspicion when I contemplate your average Evangelical Anglican. Most of the time he seems like a normal, ordinary, standard-issue Christian. From time to time I’ve even been known to sit beside him, sing beside him, kneel beside him. We seem to share a common creed and communion.

When I look into his eyes and speak with him, his lips move in sync with his words, and he nods at all the right places. The verisimilitude is almost flawless.

But then, like that crooked little pinky which gave away the game in another SF classic (The Invaders), there comes a moment of truth when I suddenly wonder if, under the skin, the Evangelical Anglican doesn’t have very different internal anatomy, cloned from a sample of extraterrestrial DNA.

These intense and uncanny episodes of existential panic occur when I contemplate the way in which your average Evangelical Anglican deals with a Joseph Fletcher, Bishop Pike, Bishop Spong, Bishop John Robinson, or most recently, Bishop Gene Robinson.

The first telltale sign of a transmundane origin is the evidence of a group consciousness. Even though they’re disoriented by these situations, they seem incapable of exercising independent action. It’s as if, in yet another SF classic, they’re all wired into the Collective, and are unable to separate themselves without leave of the Borg Queen. Interestingly, this is a phenomenon they share in common with Roman Catholics—which is even more evidence of their consanguineous affinity.

But even for those few who do manage to detach themselves from the mainframe of the mother ship, my apprehension is further aroused by whom they mate with. A disaffected Anglican may become Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic, but never will he consider becoming a Baptist, Lutheran or Presbyterian. Apparently, a Protestant template is incompatible with his alien chromosomes. Interbreeding with a Baptist, Lutheran or Presbyterian is akin to doctrinal miscegenation, and runs the risk of contracting a theological strain of hemophilia or some such genetic defect. Cut him and he bleeds to death in pints of green stuff. He will receive a blood transfusion or organ transplant from a Roman Catholic or Orthodox donor, but the blood type of a traditional Protestant evidently contains certain trace contaminates fatal to his extra-solar immune system. An Evangelical Anglican is equal to any amount of heresy and almost any depth of immorality, but intimate contact with a "fundamentalist" will overload his antibodies.

And all this leads me to ask, Are Anglicans pod people?