Captain Peter Blood:  I bid 20,000 pieces of eight

Arabella Bishop:  I don’t wish to be bought by you

Captain Peter Blood  As a lady once said to a slave, ‘you are hardly in a position to have anything to say about it’.

Captain Blood 1935

Chris D’Amico (MF):  What hell are you doing?

Dave Lizewski (Kick Ass):  Saving your whiney ass.

Chris D’Amico (MF):  No I won’t let you have this.  I’d rather die.

Kickass 2 2013

One of the things I hear most often concerning Hell is the idea of how unfair it is.

I can’t tell you how many time I’ve heard the “Well the God I believe in wouldn’t send person X to hell, or I don’t believe in a cruel God like you do etc etc etc.

Generally this is used to justify whatever acts or sins a person wants to do, basically setting their standards rather than those clearly set out in scripture.

Believers of course are no different, you’ll constantly find people excusing and justifying their sins at the time they are committing them (I’m certainly no exception) and even worse you will find people redefining what sin actually is rather than looking at remorse and repentance.

In other words I certainly don’t deserve damnation and it would be cruel of God to allow me to be damned.  In fact it would be UNFAIR.

Nothing could be further from the truth and the clue to this is in God’s name itself:

“But,” said Moses to God, “when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”   God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.”

Exodus 3:13,14

While one can’t completely grasp the nature of God as we’ve talked about before the reality of God is knowable by both right reason, and by direct revelation  (for those who question said revelations just remember there is not a single person alive who ever met or heard Tiberius Caesar, Boudicca, Genghis Khan,  Alexander the Great or Plato either yet do you question their existence?) and not only do we have such revelations we have basic rules that have been recorded and taught for centuries (millennia if you are talking pre-christian revelation) and propagated in the single most popular and best selling written volume of all time.

Now it’s fair to say that many people don’t understand said rules and might even question them, but that doesn’t preclude their existence or their viability.

People for example might understand that gravity works, you drop something gravity draws it to the ground, the tides take place because of the gravitational pull of the moon, the moon revolves around the earth because of the gravitational pull of the Earth.  Earth rotates around the sun because of its Gravitational pull.

Yet we don’t know WHY matter has a gravitational pull.  We might be upset about dropping a glass of wine but we don’t consider gravity sending the liquid to the rug unfair.   One might be disappointed that the tides or the phases of the moon don’t suit our timing, be we don’t consider ourselves wronged over them.

When in the famous movie Thelma & Louise their characters drove off that cliff there were a lot of women in the audience that were angry over the fictitious circumstances leading to that decision but I guarantee you not a single one of those ladies were furious that the consequences of driving that car off the cliff was it falling at a rate of 32ft. per second per second.

Bottom line we know enough to respect the rules of Gravitational laws without completely understanding why they exist.

Yet when it comes to heaven and hell we have clearly defined rules, rules that have been known and propagated since the days of the Roman empire and we object and scream “unfair” to the possibility that choices we make might have consequences that we’ve already been warned about.

And it’s not like there are not ways to avoid those consequences.  Just as a stunt man might who jumps off the building can be saved by an airbag laid out for him, God forgiveness is there for the asking.

Sacramental confession if one has imperfect contrition or perfect contrition for one’s sins can mitigate the eternal consequence of any sin, in fact a person has their entire life to the very last second for that contrition to take place.

Because of the nature of life it is rare if not impossible to know if a person failed to take advantage of that fact however while I would not wish that fate on any person from the Head of Hamas to Hitler there is one thing that has to be said:

Every single person who enters Hell does so at their own choice.

God will happily forgive sin and give a person every opportunity to accept the hand he extends but if a person insists to their final breath that they don’t wish to accept that hand and the salvation that comes from it he will respect that exercise of free will and let a person fall.

And that is the true pain of Hell.  Not the suffering outside of time or even the perception of those who have escaped your fate, it’s the knowledge and self awareness that your permanent separation from God, and the eternal fate you are experiencing was your own free choice.

There are a lot of adjectives that can be used to describe that fate, “unfair” is not one of them.

 

Cardinal Lamberto: Look at this stone, it has been lying in the water for a very long time, but the water has not penetrated it. [Breaks it open] Look, perfectly dry. The same thing has happened to men in Europe. For centuries they have been surrounded by Christianity, but Christ has not penetrated. Christ doesn’t live within them.

The Godfather Part 3 1990

In a few years the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is coming up, while thousands of Protestant denominations will doubtless celebrate this event and I can’t help but suspect that if Martin Luther knew the result of his break with Rome he would have never done it.

Nary a month seems to pass when passes when we hear of one protestant congregation voting to redefine sin or change doctrine for the sake of getting people back in the pews or getting in touch with the times or whatever such excuse we hear causing schism within schism (it is no coincidence that many people seeing these changes have found their way back to Rome).

While doctrinally the Catholic Church has not gone that way there are plenty in it who would like to see that route taken, particularly in academia and media. This has been the cause of a lot of trouble in the church over the past 50 years. But more importantly than trouble for the church has been what is the risk it has meant for the faithful.

A great example is the doctrine of Hell.

Hoaxes not withstanding this Pope has preached on Hell an awful lot.

However many priests tend to dodge the subject, the media downplays or mocks it plenty of priests tend to duck an issue that generates snickers from our secular world. To this I give a quote from Fr. Marcel Nault who died in 1997 a priest who constantly preached on Hell:

One cannot specialize and preach everything, but the Lord Jesus invited me to preach on Hell. A monsignor said to me, “Marcel, don’t preach on Hell. People don’t like that, you scare them.” And in a very friendly way that Monsignor said to me, “Marcel, I have never preached on Hell and look at the position I have. I will never preach on Hell.”

After a long silence, I looked him in the eye and said, “Monsignor, you are on the road to Hell for all eternity. You preach, Monsignor, to please the crowd, instead of preaching to please Christ.”

Let me remind all that the primary purpose of any priest pastor or minister of any type is to keep people from damnation. That’s the goal and the bottom line and you don’t achieve this avoiding painful truths.

Let me put it another way, yesterday I went for a Colonoscopy, it is a very effective way to check for early signs of Colorectal cancer. Any polyp found and removed is screened for cancer. My radio co-host had cancer discovered in one such screening because it was caught early he was able to receive treatment and has been cancer free for years since.

This is my second such exam and let me tell you the prep work is VERY unpleasant, worse that the exam itself but it can save your life

Now imagine if I decided that because the exam prep was unpleasant I decided not to do it. Or picture if the doctor after finding a polyp decided not to test it or if he found cancer decided not to tell me about it because it would scare me?

The former would be an act of stupidity on my part or an act of malpractice on his.

Whenever a Christian pastor of any denomination entrusted with a flock decides that he is going to preach the popular rather than the truth, who decides that doctrine doesn’t mean a thing, who sacrifices the sacraments and the truth for the sake of popular opinion they are committing malpractice only the price of the settlement is a lot higher than any premium an insurance company will charge.

And in the end that has been the fruit of the Reformation.   Little by little it walked away or abandoned unpleasant or unpopular truths  and since any person could reinterpret scripture or a congregation could decide what was true by a vote it slowly wore faith away.

When it came into being Christianity was the religion of Europe and thanks to the efforts of the Catholic Church it was ready to spread into the new world. It has taken Christianity 1500 years to reach that point.

It only took the reformation 500 years turn Europe into a place where Christianity is so diluted and divided that within a generation or two Islam will take from indifference what it could not take by the sword.

What a shame.

Jabez Stone: What does it mean here, about my soul?

Mr. Scratch: Why should that worry you? A soul? A soul is nothing. Can you see it, smell it, touch it? No. This soul, *your* soul, are nothing against seven years of good luck. You’ll have money and all that money can buy.

The Devil and Daniel Webster 1941

10th DOCTOR: Come with me. You’ve seen the warehouse, you can’t agree with all this. You know this place better than me, you could help.

SOLANA: They’re over here! Guards! They’re over here!

Doctor Who Planet of the Ood 2008

“You see Mr. Simpson, a man, well, he’ll walk right into Hell with both eyes open….”

The Twilight Zone The Hunt 1962

Yesterday I was reading the Anchoress’ piece on Andrew Cuomo and the link to Deacon Greg. I found it extremely depressing but for reasons you might not suspect.

Not for the concept of the new abortion regulations, I’m resigned to democrats pushing for such things.

Not for the potential slaughter, The current slaughter is already depressing and frankly the world is full of slaughter from Africa to China to Mexico to Chicago, there is never a shortage of innocents murdered to be upset about.

Not even for the cheers as he made the proposition. I’m into history, the idea of a mob cheering evil as if it’s good has a long and distinguished pedigree.

No what depresses me about Andrew Cuomo is the same thing that depresses me about the Monsignor Kevin Wallin story.

They both knew better or at least should have.

It’s not like they have the youth of a Lindsay Lohan or a Amanda Bynes to explain their behavior, or the ignorance of many of those born in the last few decades who have never been taught differently or exposed to the word and came of age in a culture that mocks it at every turn.

Andrew Cuomo was born in 1955 eight years before me, His father Mario was born in 1932 11 years after my own. Both were raised Catholic, Andrew being sent to a Catholic High School. Both have been clearly taught the precepts of the Church and of Christ. Being Italian Catholics it is impossible they did not have one or move strongly devout relatives or in Mario’s case devout parents who set an example of faith and what it means.

Likewise Wallin at 61 not only came to age in a different era but as a Catholic priest would have had formal training and teaching in the Gospels, in the faith. These are not things that would be abstract to him, these would be things that would be understood.

Additionally both Cuomo’s and the former Monsignor (he left the church in 2011) by virtue of their place in society would have direct access to superiors in the faith, people of vast knowledge and understanding able to give them advice and guidance, access that an average Catholic simply doesn’t.

Yet they have discarded it like the wrapping of a gift at Christmas.  Tossed it for pride in the case of Cuomo, lust in the case of Wallin and greed in the case of both.

The question is why?

Well the easy answer, the one that is most comfortable and least challenging is simple human weakness. These are sins, all people are vulnerable to sin. It is tempting to look at Mr. Cuomo and Msgr Wallin and say to ourselves: “They have given into sin, we are all sinners so rather than critique we should simply pray for them”, Indeed we should pray for them, but that answer while comforting to us permits us to ignore a most uncomfortable reality.

Both Mr. Cuomo and Msgr Wallin are intelligent and educated men. At ages 55 & 61 they both understand they at the very least a decade closer to death than to birth and like all of us are marching relentlessly toward it. This being the case, what do their choices tell us?

They tell us when it comes to Christ, they simply don’t buy it.

They don’t buy God, they don’t buy Christ, they don’t buy the idea of heaven and hell and they certainly don’t buy these words from the Gospel:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. “ Matt 7:13-14

They simply see the world in front of them as the only end and a supposed faith as a means to those ends. As Elizabeth Scalia bluntly put it concerning NY’s Governor:

“Yeah, well, he’s not seeking heaven, just now,” I shrugged. “He’s seeking the White House, and power.”

Of course he’s not seeking heaven Elizabeth, he doesn’t believe it’s there! For such a person Mass is a formality for electoral purposes or more likely a comfortable habit akin to Sheldon Cooper knocking on a door three times.

As I said on the air on the Money Matters Radio Network in my first broadcast as a guest host yesterday. The only reason to be Christian in general and Catholic in particular is because it’s true. If it’s not true the we are an Elk’s club that meets on Sundays and the rules of morality that take away from your wealth or comfort are the rules of fools and no amount of belief will make it otherwise. If it’s not true I’m a sucker for not walking across the bridge to Water street and buying every EBT card I can for .50 on the dollar and doubling my available grocery money in seconds.

But the converse is also true. If Jesus Christ is the Son of God, if the Gospel is the word of God, if the bread and wine are transformed at the altar into the body and blood of Christ and if heaven and hell exist, then no amount of disbelief, doubt or laughter will change it.

The tragedy of Andrew Cuomo and of Kevin Wallin is not solely in what they have done and choose to do driven by either the lust for power, sex, money or even drug addiction in Wallin’s case.

The tragedy of their actions is they knew better and were taught better and are intelligent enough to understand better, yet are still walking toward the open-pit. Watching them walk toward it is like watching a Lindsay Lohan or a Amanda Bynes self destruct. It’s a waste, it bothers me, it doesn’t have to happen.

But Andrew Cuomo and Kevin Wallin have one thing going for them, one card still in play:

And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. (So) cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’

He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'” Luke 13:6-9

Cuomo, Wallin, myself and anyone who is reading this still has that one vital ingredient to avoid the pit in front of us.  We are still alive.  I’ll do my best to steer clear of it, you do the same and I hope and pray that Mr. Cuomo and Wallin do too.  They have the rest of their lives to do so….

…after that, they’re on their own.

Cracker: You loved David, you love a man you make love with a man, you have a baby, but babies cost money, there’s never enough money, so you talk about abortion , you go and see Michael, his advice what does Michael say?

Maggie Harvey: Michael says we will always be welcome in his church no matter what I do.

Fr. Michael Harvey: I was trying to make it easier for you.

Maggie Harvey: I didn’t want it made easier, I wanted you to say ‘No’. I’m a good Catholic I believe, I go along to my priest a lifetime of sacrifice and all I ask for is to protect the child in my womb, but he won’t.

Cracker My Brother’s Keeper 1995

This morning I wrote about non-believing ministers or priests leaving their positions in the church as a good thing. There is however a difference between having doubts and actual disbelief.

In the Catholic church for example priests, Bishops and even Popes still go to confession because they are not free from sin. Those confessors are also in a way coaches, helping people through the tough times.

And that takes me to the specific case of Jerry DeWitt who is mentioned in the CNN article. It’s very clear from his own words where his problems began:

As a young fresh-faced minister, DeWitt was first confronted with his disbelief when he “became the person who got the burden of preaching about hell,” he said. “I really loved the people I preached to, I loved them like family. So imagine preaching that if you don’t do this, you are going to burn in hell. That wasn’t easy for me.”

“It wasn’t easy for me”. This isn’t a question of doubt it’s was laziness, unwilling to talk about a harsh reality because of how it made him feel Think about that for a second:

  • Imagine if your doctor was not willing to tell his patients about a disease that could kill them because “he loved the patients” and “it wasn’t easy for him”.
  • Imagine if a parent unwilling to correct their children from doing wrong because “they love their child” and “it wasn’t easy for them”
  • Imagine if your accountant was unwilling to tell you about financial issues because “he loves his client” and “it wasn’t easy for him”.

In fact we see it in Washington today with elected officials unwilling to solve our financial issues because they love the people and “it isn’t easy for them

In other words, he wanted to be liked. It’s difficult to be liked when you are telling unpleasant truths that people might not want to hear, even if Christ himself said they where true.

There is a reason Pride is first on the list of deadly sins.

What we have here isn’t someone who had disbelief, he had discomfort and because apparently he didn’t share his discomfort with someone with more experience who might have counseled him. If he had asked me I would have quoted one of my very first posts:

Some argue that a good God would not allow such a thing, yet they don’t question that a good law (against murder for example) may cause a person to be imprisoned for life or worse. It isn’t bad law its the offenders bad choice that makes him liable to judgment.

Our unwillingness as people to face that fact is not unlike an overweight person avoiding a scale or a person sick unwilling to see a doctor. It is much easier to avoid an unpleasant truth than to confront it and do something about it. To the degree that Satan is active this is by design, denial works in his favor

The Devil is a psychologist and a con man rolled into one and will always steer us toward the easier more comfortable choice. Of course he could have talked to people of more experience, who could have provided some answers, but again the sin of pride, I don’t need anyone else help or opinions I can do it all myself.

After doubts about hell, DeWitt began to research other schools of thought about God and belief. He began to develop other doubts, about certain biblical translations and about healing.

And of course the rest for Mr. DeWitt is history.   He has the rest of his life to decide otherwise, but if he continues on this path the CNN article will make him popular with many in the media, he will appear on TV, he will be lionized, he will never lack for speaking opportunities with crowds of people cheering him while others less apparently and thus not able to fuel his ego will be silently praying for him and if those prayer are not answered affirmatively, if he hears the voices of the crowd above the silent voice whose message he decided was too hard to express he will achieve the fame and respect he desires and will be held up as an example to others for the rest of his life…

…after that he’s on his own. I wish him the best of luck in making that decision.

There is one aspect of the Uganda child sacrifice story that a Christian finds significant that others might not.

In the story there is a coincidental coalition between the increased prosperity and the murder of the children to please the “spirits”. To a non-Christian it is simple superstition nonsense about spirits and forces.

To a Christian it’s not nonsense, it has a name:

The Devil.

While to the non-believer death is the ultimate of ills, to Satan and his angels it’s both a limiting factor:

I know it seems strange that your chief aim at the moment should be the very same thing for which the patient’s lover and his mother are praying—namely his bodily safety. But so it is; you should be guarding him like the apple of your eye. If he dies now, you lose him. If he survives the war, there is always hope.

as in Screwtape 28 or a mundane fact as in Screwtape 24:

I am not in the least interested in knowing how many people in England have been killed by bombs. In what state of mind they died, I can learn from the office at this end. That they were going to die sometime, I knew already. Please keep your mind on your work,

It isn’t a question of the death of a child it is the question of the acquisition of a sole that produces value for hell and the concept of trading one’s soul for wealth, power or pleasure has been a staple of Western Civilization for centuries from Dr. Faustus to the Twilight Zone.

I don’t know if these people are making a deal with the devil or not but since the reality of Satan and Hell are intrinsic to Christian belief it certainly makes perfect sense for Satan to pay the requested price.

After all the coin involved is transitory, while the damnation is forever.

Way back at the start of the blog I did a long post on Hell. Here is a taste that came to mind today.

The Catechism of the Church specifically mentions both the Devil and Hell. If one believes in Christ and the church one must also believe his warning of the Devil and hell. This is not optional. In fact it is an amazing thing to me that so many people who profess belief in a God that remains largely unseen can’t allow themselves to believe in the Devil and temptation and all that comes with it.

Some argue that a good God would not allow such a thing, yet they don’t question that a good law (against murder for example) may cause a person to be imprisoned for life or worse. It isn’t bad law its the offenders bad choice that makes him liable to judgment.

Our unwillingness as people to face that fact is not unlike an overweight person avoiding a scale or a person sick unwilling to see a doctor. It is much easier to avoid an unpleasant truth than to confront it and do something about it. To the degree that Satan is active this is by design, denial works in his favor

It came to mind when I saw this post by Cynthia Yockey, I like Cynthia, she is a friend and will be my guest on this week’s show. We are both strong Palin supporters and I really wrestled with putting up this post on the subject but ducking the issue simply won’t do.

To those who don’t consider Homosexual acts a sin people like Bachmann simply infuriate them, John Stewart and company will hit them big time but there are lines and this is over it:

So, if I were going to put Marcus Bachmann through such a test, I would choose a variety of types of gay porn to see what he prefers, but I would expect the models he finds most attractive to be teenagers.

Those 23 foster kids — they’re all girls, right?

Think about that line, read it a few times and ask yourself if it reminded you of the type of statement about gays that activists have screamed against for decades.

Now Marcus Bachmann, like most protestants, looks at homosexuality from a different perspective than Catholics. His denomination considers the orientation a sin, while we consider the act a sin.

For the fun of it however, lets stipulate, for the sake of this argument, that Cynthia is right about Mr. Bachmann sexual orientation. A protestant would be shocked, a Catholic would say, Yeah, so?

The goal is to avoid sin, particularly the sins that you are vulnerable to. It seems to me that if Bachmann’s particular sin vulnerability is homosexual acts he is doing a good job avoiding it.

Let’s bring back an important verse I used in my post The De-Education of Anne Hathaway.

He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” Luke 17:1-4

There is a warning to those who lead others to sin, but also a reminder to those that we MUST forgive sin when one asks. Both ARE explicitly said by Christ…

There are a lot of people who obsess about Homosexuality as an excuse to avoid dealing with their own sins, that is dangerous for the soul, but on the other hand, pretending that homosexual acts are not a sin is just as dangerous.

But this post is not about homosexuality, it’s about Hell, and there is a bottom line here.

Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular is either true or false, there is no middle here. Christ is the son of God or he is not. If that sentence is false no amount of our actions will make a difference after death and we are just an Elk’s club that meets on Sundays.

However if true then it doesn’t matter one jot if one is offended by its teachings. There are two clear paths, Heaven and Hell (Catholic teaching states that all souls in Purgatory will end up in heaven on the last day or before). Like Harry Randall Truman on Mt. Saint Helens we can deny it and scoff at it but in the end the result is the same.

It does not matter what takes you to hell but everyone there comes by their own free will. Let’s go back to Screwtape #12:

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,

Job one of a Christian is to avoid hell (by following Christ) and help others to avoid it by our actions and/or example. If what Marcus Bachmann does keeps him and others out of hell, it is totally irrelevant what other people think about it. If it causes him to be hated by people, including people I like, that is as Christ points out, part of the job description:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’ “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39

…and that applies to those who love a seat in the legislature, congress or at a presidential debate or to be invited to cool parties as well.

Hell is a reality. You may not like it, you may not believe it, you may think it’s unfair, but that’s moot. The good news is you can’t get there without your own consent and one has (foolishness like the “Blasphemy Challenge” not withstanding) till the very moment of your death decide to reject it.

After that you’re on your own.

Update: Cynthia responds on her blog and I’d like to make some minor corrections and comments concerning her assertions.

1. Absolutely correct all men are created equal and are also equal before the eyes of God, God puts no additional value on one soul vs another.

2. I would point out that my religion is Roman Catholicism which as I already pointed unlike most forms of Protestantism does not consider Gays’ and Lesbians “intrinsically Evil” As I said it is the act, not the inclination that is sin. I would further point out that there is a difference between “imposing a religion” and redefining centuries old words by either fiat (bad) or election (foolish but people have the right to be wrong). Everyone is free and should be free to practice or not practice any religion they care to under the Constitution.

3. I can not damn anyone into hell, wouldn’t want to and never claimed I could. I’m much too busy trying to keep myself out. My point is that every person has the ability to avoid hell if they choose to do so. It is up to the individual and they have their whole life to make that choice.

I would not expect or demand that a person pretend they are something they are not, but I would also never recommend sin vs not sinning. I can no more declare homosexual acts non-sinful than I could declare Abortion, cheating on your taxes, sleeping around, shoplifting, gambling away the mortgage money, online porn. drunkenness, or any other sin defined by the Catholic Church as unsinful. All sin is worth avoiding and it isn’t easy because each of us has a vulnerability to their own specific sin(s). That’s what prayer, fasting and other stuff is for, to give people a hand in that sense.

I don’t base my friendships on the basic of religion or the state of anyone’s soul. I don’t know nor claim to know the state of any other person’s soul. I’ve got enough to worry about the state of my own. I just pray for my friends and try to give a hand when I can, both in terms of temporal help when in need, and spiritual help via example and advice when asked. I’m more than grateful for all the times when my friends of other faiths (or no faith) do the same for me and always wish them the best.

Not a thing I’ve written in this post changes the fact that I think Cynthia is a fine person a good writer and excellent company to spend time with and I’m proud to call her friend.

Update 2: Lisa Grass might be right about a problem being Christian in public as my spam filter didn’t like her linkback I couldn’t help but laugh when I followed her link to Dictionary reference.com’s definition of “Barbarian”.

5. Barbarian
(among Italians during the Renaissance) a person of non-Italian origin.

That’s absolutely wrong, Most Italians still use that definition.

Update 3: Stacy McCain pulls a Rick Warren in his commentary on the debate between Cynthia & I:

And while Cynthia Yockey is free to insist that she is a lesbian by nature, incapable of erotic feeling toward any man, I am equally free to insist that she is in denial about her true orientation. In an alternative universe — where social norms were dictated by the insane King Stacy, Emperor of McCainia – she would be merely another of the innumerable concubines in my vast harem.

As I commented on his site that paragraph if read in person to Cynthia would have produced two laugh out loud moments. The look on Cynthia’s face when he read it, and then the look on Stacy’s face after she decked him.

Of course after he gets up they might just say “This is all your fault!” and deck me together.

BTW when I say “pulling a Rick Warren” I am basing it on this line:

“I’m naturally inclined to have sex with every beautiful woman I see…”

When Rick Warren or Stacy McCain purchases a Private Tropical Island then start worrying!

Update 4: Considering that I really didn’t want to write this post, It has created a tremendous amount of buzz (Viva la Madonna della Cava!) Now Joy McCann has weighed in too and has some things to say:

Joy starts with info on “ex-gay” therapy etc. I must admit a total ignorance on the subject so I can’t comment intelligently about it.

She agreed with me concerning Cynthia’s initial post in one respect:

So, yes—I would concede Da TechGuy’s argument that Cynthia overstepped a little in her certainty about Marcus Bachmann’s orientation and proclivities. And imputing a desire for minors to someone one has not met is—well, it’s coloring outside the lines.

That was the primary reason for the post.

She mis-interprets the Screwtape except however:

Do I really believe that playing cards will take a person to hell as easily as murder? Do I think a bit of Friday night poker endangers a person’s soul? Do I think it’s a sin for a child to place a playing card so that it makes a loud, rhythmic noise as it runs over the spokes of his bicycle? Of course not!

She doesn’t have the context of the previous paragraph which I now provide:

As this condition becomes more fully established, you will be gradually freed from the tiresome business of providing Pleasures as temptations. As the uneasiness and his reluctance to face it cut him off more and more from all real happiness, and as habit renders the pleasures of vanity and excitement and flippancy at once less pleasant and harder to forgo (for that is what habit fortunately does to a pleasure) you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention.

You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday’s paper will do. You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but in conversations with those he cares nothing about on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a
dead fire in a cold room.

All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say, as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here, “I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked”. The Christians describe the Enemy as one “without whom Nothing is strong”. And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off.

The “small sins” were the distractions from duties that needed to be done. Cards are not sinful but this particular Srewtape letter wall all about slowly weaning the “patient” from his proper actions. The full letter is here.

Finally on the separation of church, nothing about the post concerned government, it concerned sin and hell. In our republic people law is not defined by sin, a person has the legal right to sin all he wants provided said sin does not violate law. Neither I nor the church would dispute that.

But the decision to exercise one’s freedom to sin and the free choice to not repent has a price, and acknowledge it or no it will be paid.

Update 5: Cynthia Yockey responds to Stacy comment on our exchange:

Stacy McCain vouches for Marcus Bachmann by hiring him to babysit his youngest son

The title alone is worthy of a Bazinga!