|Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.|
|Volume 1.20||Front Page||June 24, 2002|
The Views Featured Webpages
Day in Dallas (06/22/02) new
to Restore a Faith (06/15/02) new
Save Us From Democracy (06/20/02) new
Away the Key: Well, not really but hold Padilla for as long as
necessary. (06/20/02) new
Trial Balloon (06/17/02) new
New Links Increase Threats From Global Sites (06/16/02) new
Reveal Al Qaeda Plans: Three Saudis Seized by Morocco Outline Post-Afghanistan
Strategy (06/16/02) new
warns West of Muslim goals (06/18/02) new
tortured children (06/22/02) new
FBI Whistle-Blowers Allege Lax Security, Possible Espionage
in the Name of Hate! (06/19/02) new
Thinkers Warn of Culture Clash (06/21/02) new
for the big chill (06/22/02) new
at 40: Rachel Carsons classic is not aging well. (06/12/02)
Judge Throws Out Charge in Shoe Bomb Case (06/11/02)
Says She Was Told Not to Report Shoe-Bomb Incident (06/13/02)
flight conduct criticized (06/13/02)
11 Backlash Proves Difficult to Quantify (06/12/02)
of Sept. 11 Charity Remains to Be Disbursed (06/11/02)
State of the Special Relationship (June 2002)
Occasionally, some links are moved from this section into the Featured Webpages Trove.
|Classic articles that are, or should be, famous (new at top)|
to Graduates About Advice (06/06/1971)
End of History? (Summer 1989)
Explosion of Green (Apr. 1995)
Doomslayer (Feb. 1997)
A brilliant parody:
the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity
Need a Reality Check: A firsthand account of liberal bias at CBS News.
is No Time, There Will Be Time (11/18/1998)
The Views Featured Websites, Series, and Multi-Part Articles
& Letters Daily
for Individual Rights in Education
Hoover Digest: Research and Opinion on Public Policy
Quotables Archive @ Media Research Center
Assessment Service (STATS)
Heritage Dictionary @ Bartleby.com
Encyclopedia @ Bartleby.com
U.S. Constitution Online
Cambridge History of English and American Literature @ Bartleby.com
1911 Edition Encyclopedia Britannica
Special Wayback Collections at The Internet Archive:
September 11 Web Archive
Pioneers: The Early Years
A chronicle of high-level USA government actions in September 2001, at two websites:
Days in September (WP)
to Terror (Austin American Stateman)
News coverage of September 11 and the aftermath:
Terrorism: America Retaliates (BG)
on America (Guardian Unlimited)
Poets @ ELCore.Net
American Verse Project
We Think of America (Granta)
Issues: Persecution (Christianity Today)
Activism in Schools (Teachers in Focus)
Toward The Skeptical Environmentalist (Scientific
Archive in English (ZENIT)
Fallout of September 11 (ZENIT)
Spotlight (Statistical Assessment Service)
of Shame (New Times LA)
Church Abuse Scandal (Yahoo! News)
Crusades (Catholic Dossier)
Pius XII (Catholic Dossier)
New Rise of Islam (Catholic World Report)
and Islam, Terrorism and War (Catholic World Report)
Cross and the Crescent (Catholic World Report)
|Other columnists (alphabetical)|
George F. Will
and Enjoying It!
keeping an eye on the spins and weirdness of media, crime and everyday life EveTushnet.com
Conservatism reborn in twisted sisterhood
(wife of blogger Michael Dubruiel)
Gatos Bucket o Rants
Thoughts, comments, musings on life, politics, current events and the media.
Commentary and Analysis
in the Gears
|Series and multi-part articles of news or opinion (new at top)|
Four columns by Rod Dreher at National Review Online about the June bishops meeting in Dallas:
Dallas Outlook: The American bishops need a conversion. (06/12/02)
Diary: In town with the bishops. (06/13/02)
Diary, Part II: Outside and around the main event. (06/14/02)
in Dallas: The problems that persist. (06/17/02)
Joe Klein is writing a multi-part report from Europe for The Guardian:
Its like 1970s America (05/28/02)
the Solidarity dream turned sour (06/12/02)
Germany was suffocated (06/19/02)
The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner (the 1985 report to American Bishops):
Related articles in The New York Times on the last messages to come out of the World Trade Center after the first plane struck:
Recorded From the Messages of Victims (05/26/02)
Minutes: Fighting to Live as the Towers Died (05/26/02)
From the North Tower (05/26/02)
From the South Tower (05/26/02)
Occasionally, some links are moved from this section into the Featured Webseries Trove.
This Views Column
To justify a Christian acceptance of active homosexuality, a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times attempts to reduce the Gospel to nothing more than love by which she seems to mean the unthinking acceptance of whatever makes people feel good. Similar attempts have been perpetrated since at least the early part of the nineteenth century. Of course, the Gospel is Love in a properly and strictly defined sense allowing for necessary distinctions. But the absolute equation of Christianity with non-judgemental love is simply false. And, applied loosely as a general principle, non-judgemental love can be used to justify, and to demand acceptance of, any actions whatever.
God Doesnt Make Junk
Edna St. Vincent Millay, winner of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, wrote some of the most powerful sonnets ever to enter the canon of English verse. One of them is especially noteworthy for its muscular, sinewy and paradoxical expression of a very romantic notion:
Somewhere in my heart, I think that I too would say, I do not think I would. Yet, my head tells me the poet was right at the start: Love is not all.
Cathleen Falsani, religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, would seem to disagree with me. The newspaper published an opinion piece by her, May 26, called Film asks: Can a Christian also be a homosexual? It is a reflection prompted by her viewing of Family Fundamentals, a documentary that was showing at the Art Institute in Chicago. The film takes a look at three gay persons from what Falsani calls conservative Christian homes.
I have not seen the film, so Ill take her at her word for whatever she says about it. And here is what she said about it; I quote her column in its entirety, lest I take anything out of context. I also intersperse my own remarks.
How about that? These individuals think, or thought, that how they behave might actually have a bearing on their relationship with God. Er... excuse me... on their relationship with their God whoever He/She/They/It might be.
As far as I can tell, Falsani was taught right. As you might already expect, though, she has apparently come to think otherwise. Indeed, I suspect her column would not have been written or published if she hadnt.
The homosexual young man begged God to change him and God didnt. And that means?... Apparently, it means that homosexuality is right by God. After all, in the words of that unfathomably deep theological maxim, God Doesnt Make Junk. Right?
Now, I dont know any pedophiles, so I cant say this for sure. But I would be rather surprised if there has never been a pedophile who begged God to change him. He didnt want to be attracted to the seven-year-old across the street, dont you know. And God didnt change him, either. So... that means pedophilia is right by God. Right?
As I watched Family Fundamentals, a documentary that premiered at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute Friday, I saw the faces of my gay friends from college. I saw the pain in their eyes. I saw the longing in their hearts. I saw their love for God and stubborn faith in Jesus Christ.
I suppose this Family Fundamentals could be an interesting documentary.
I also suppose that following the stories of three gay children from liberal homes, Christian or not, who underwent therapy and now live healthy heterosexual lives as conservative fundamentalist Protestants would make for an interesting documentary, too.
Where is that one showing? (I know: not at the Art Institute in Chicago.)
What Capitol might that be? How come I have never heard of this before?
Brett cried? You bet Brett cried. And you bet they got it on film. And you bet Falsani mentioned it in her article.
Did any of the parents cry? Or did they edit that out?
I suppose this remark by Falsani is a criticism of the parents, though I may be taking it the wrong way. If their son were a pedophile, however, I suppose a similar remark by Falsani would indeed not be a criticism of the parents. Go figure.
Dont tell me. The parents are complicated, and the relationships are complicated but the parents are plainly and simply wrong. No?
As far as I know, that is what Christians have believed for 2,000 years. But... wait! As we shall see below, Christians have gotten things pretty much fundamentally wrong for 2,000 years. Fortunately, God has sent us His Son... er... no... God has sent us a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times to set us straight.
I must agree: its not her mothers responsibility to monitor her relationship with God.
But Susans minimalistic kind of theology If you believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God and accept him as your savior, you have a relationship with God strikes me as pretty much brain-dead. (It is, of course, based upon taking snippets of Bible verses out of context, and setting them up as the entirety of the Gospel; but a discussion of these is beyond the scope of this essay.) Seeing as how David Koresh, Pope John Paul II, Richard Nixon, Martin Luther, King Henry VIII, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush could all, I think, be said to have believed in Jesus as the Son of God and to have accepted him as their savior, Im not sure I can see the significance of saying it here.
Unless, of course, it is to justify any (sexual) behavior, no matter what. I think Koresh, for instance, may have really liked this idea.
What a surprise.
Well, lets just open all the prison doors and let everybody out. And the Bible does say a lot more than that, too, doesnt it?
Does she really mean that? If so, why is she writing about this?
Yes, you must love people. And that does matter more than anything else.
But here we see, I think, that Falsani really does have an opinion whether homosexuality is right or wrong. And she think its right.
If she thought it was wrong, would she resort to Its Between Them And God? How could she?
And if she really, really just did not know whether it was right or wrong, would she really, really argue to live and let live? Is pedophilia right or wrong? Are pedophiles just another misunderstood sexual minority? Is adult sexual attraction to seven-year-olds right, wrong, or neither? If youre not sure, live and let... love. Something tells me Falsani would balk at giving that kind of advice.
Now, to continue the analogy, is not pedophilia between the pedophile and God? Who is Falsani to judge, after all, whether the pedophile has it right with God? Especially if he accepts Jesus as the Son of God and his savior? God, after all, does not make junk.
An adult lusting after... er.. I mean loving the seven-year-old across the street well, keep your big noses out of that kind of relationship, people. It is love, dont you know. Pedophilia actually means child-love. How dare you quarrel with something like that?
Besides, its between the pedophile who loves children and God. If you really love them, youll let them be.
Wow. Finally. Someone has set us straight. Christians have gotten things fundamentally wrong for 2,000 years. And we have learned so by reading... a column by a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times.
God really does work in mysterious ways, His/Her/Their/Its wonders to perform.
Languid, Unmeaning Benevolence
Enough of sarcasm.
Im sure Falsani would disapprove of her argument for acceptance of homosexuality being applied to pedophilia. Im also sure that the pro-pedophilia crowd rejoices to see her, or anybody, make such an argument for homosexuality: I cannot think of any reason why it would not apply nay, is being applied already by its advocates to their sexual perversion as well. That Falsani wouldnt want it to be so applied is irrelevant.
The attempted reduction of Christianity to Mere Love, and to the acceptance of whatever calls itself love, is nothing at all new: this kind of dilution of the Gospel has been underway for centuries.
But I must take care here, for in a sense the Gospel is Love. By that, I do not mean that whatever calls itself love is compatible with the Gospel, but that whatever is done by a Christian must be done with love of God as its source and goal, and with love of neighbor founded on the love of God.
And love is the fulfillment of the Law. Surely. But that does not mean that whatever calls itself love is the replacement of the Law.
Cardinal Newman wrote about these matters, long before he became a Catholic. One of his more famous sermons, a discourse on the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, published in 1840, is called Love, the One Thing Needful.
From the title, it may seem that Newman agrees with Falsani. Not so. In his usual fashion, Newman analyzes the subject exhaustively, with an examination that exposes the Christians vague apprehension that love is not really his motivation. In his daily affairs, in his prayers, in the choices he makes even when he knows he does the right thing, he feels that he acts more out of routine, or expectation, or some other lesser motive, than out of love of God. Newman ventured to say why this is so, and to what consequences:
In another sermon, published five years earlier, Newman had addressed more nearly, though not quite specifically, the issues raised by Falsani:
The answer, then and now, is No, we do not. Newman continued:
That sermon that prophecy is entitled Tolerance of Religious Error.
Msgr. Ronald Knox, who had been, like Newman, an Anglican minister before he joined the Catholic Church, also addressed this mistaken notion of Christian Love. He concluded a sermon on Catholic devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, preached in 1956, as follows:
Love, the Killing Monster
Love can be the motivation for doing absolutely anything. Thus, the wider world, and not only Christians, have much to beware in using the excuse of love to justify certain actions, and in demanding acceptance of them as another act of love.
Without warning, Feb. 24, a woman stabbed a boy to death. A thirteen-year-old boy. She stabbed him 15 times, in his own bed in his own room, until he died.
Without warning, June 8, another woman shot two men to death. Two brothers. She shot them both in the head, in their nursing-home beds. One after the other.
Both of these women killed their children. Both of these women killed their children, they say, because they loved them.
An article in the San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, tells the former story:
An article in the Los Angeles Times, June 20, tells the latter:
These women killed their sons. Though perhaps tainted with mental instability, their motivation was... love. Whats more, their motivation was a self-sacrificial love, knowing that they would be punished for what they did.
Love is not all
Love can motivate any action. Murder. Pedophilia. Homosexuality. Acceptance of any or all of them. Whatever.
The poet William Blake struck nearer the truth, I think, than did Millay:
Love can motivate any action. That is why love must be the first and the last not the only criterion of judgement.
© ELC 2002
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