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Thursday's Notes

The Intemperate Thoughts of Steven Cornett

A Sad Day in America
Yesterday, the following was a rhetorical question in the United States of America.  You've probably heard it many times, especially if you've gone through RCIA.

For the American Soldier, Sailor, and Air Force officer, today this is no longer a rhetorical question.  if you share your faith, the Pentagon confirmed to Breitbart.com, you could face a court martial.

The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: "Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense...Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis...”.

The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.

(From our earlier report: Weinstein is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and says Christians--including chaplains--sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of “treason,” and of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” He also asserted that Christians sharing their faith in the military are “enemies of the Constitution.”)

Being convicted in a court martial means that a soldier has committed a crime under federal military law. Punishment for a court martial can include imprisonment and being dishonorably discharged from the military.

Christians acting on the command of our Lord to make disciples of all nations, no exceptions, are considered "enemies of the Constitution" by the head of the "Military Religious Freedom Foundation" for doing what the Constitution explicitly protects, while defending the freedom of others to do same.  That's a funny definition of "religious freedom," isn't it?

In a larger sense, that's the two-tiered, low rent conception of rights we've developed to trample on what the Constitution explicitly protects.  Your right to keep and bear arms will depend on not being on the government's naughty list, and in some states you have to have in the correct tier to have it.  The right to freedom of speech is dependent of what you say; say the wrong thing and you won't work in this town again, or any other even if you are a highly celebrated author like Orson Scott Card.

Our soldiers give their lives to protect our freedoms.  Sign the petition with the Family Research Council to help defend theirs.

If you don't think this is important, perhaps because it "only matters to Christians and I'm not," allow me to remind you of another time when group's plights were ignored.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Catholic.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

A Gun-Grabber Metaphor
Just suppose there was a driver that snapped, drove his car into a store and killed several people.  Now suppose that because of this, there was a big push to "do something about automotive violence" by banning what the media called "assault cars." 

Now suppose that they do this without really defining the issue, but give you the impression that lots of people have access to the kind of cars that go at speeds of 180mph, or police interceptor type vehicles with high horsepower V8 engines and big "high capacity" gas-tanks, and always show cars like this:

Sometimes people do see cars that kind of look like this, so they assume that they are the big problem on the road.  In reality, these things are on race tracks, not roads, and the cars that look like them, while flashy, cannot really go that fast.  Cars, for example, like this one:

Eventually, the "car safety act" is proposed that lists 150 automotive features that define a "assault vehicle," and if a car has one of them, it's banned from manufacture or ownership.  As you read the list, you notice that this includes just about everything you've gotten used to in cars; things like:
  • Car radios
  • in-system navigation
  • Cruise Control
  • V8 and V6 engines, and even
  • Car batteries
  • Automotive Heating
  • Air conditioning and even
  • Alternators
In fact, you notice that the kind of automobile allowable under the act looks like something from 1915 that you read about in history books.  Cranks in the front to start the car, no heating, and a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour, and they are all painted black, like this:

If you said, that's absurd, well, you'd be right.  However, that's exactly the kind of logic applied by our political class, especially my own state Senator Sherrod Brown, to rifles.  So called "assault rifles" (called by the Media), known more accurately as "modern sporting rifles", simply apply the ergonomic changes made by the military to make rifles easier to carry and aim by soldiers to rifles sold to the general public.  The features themselves make no difference in the lethality of the weapon, indeed, as one soldier notes, the .223 used by the AR-15 is mainly good killing "varmints" such as coyotes and groundhogs, but not enough to really stop someone in a self-defense situation from attacking.

The point is that the features to be banned have nothing to do with the lethality of the weapon, or what it can be used for.  Those are often the characteristics of the barrel and amount of powder in the cartridge used by the weapon, not whether it has a wood stock or a metal or plastic adjustable one, or whether or not it has a pistol grip.

We have a 2nd Amendment in the U.S. for a reason, and it's worth keeping.  Let's not let it get gutted by politicians wanting us to think they are doing something.

Hostess: 1930-2012
Hostess Brands was born in the Great Depression.  It survived WWII and the Cold War.

It did not survive the second decade of the Twenty First Century and the continuing Great Recession.


Behold!  The last Twinkie on Earth!!!

Somehow, I can't image Tallahassee braving a Wal-Mart full of the Walking Dead to get the last box of granola, or Yogurt bars?  Do you?

Hiroshima: the 67th Anniversary of a War Crime

On the Feast of the Transfiguration 67 years ago the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb used in war on Hiroshima Japan. Many to this day consider it a necessary act, and the mere questioning of the necessity of it brings cries of "peacenik". One can only imagine what would happen if someone openly called it what the Second Vatican Council indirectly called it: a war crime.

"Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation." [CCC #2314, quoted from Gaudium et Spes 80, #3]

To those that would say that Japan was a fanatical nation that would fight to the last man, and therefore needed 70,000 people to be vaporized in one shot to surrender because of their unique savagry, consider the following snippet from the London Independent, headline by Phil Strongman, "Hiroshima is a War Crime that Still Haunts my Family, 67 Years On":

Apologists for these events have used two arguments. These attacks were necessary because Japan wouldn't surrender without them, and because a land invasion against Japan's disciplined troops would have caused 300,000 US casualties or more. The bombing also kept the Soviets out of Japan and helped speed the end of the war. This thought now dominates – anyone disagreeing is "a soft peacenik". No one objected to the A-Bomb's use in 1945, we are told. No one who knew the score amongst the military high-ups. There was no alternative.

But the argument that no one in the know objected is a fallacy. General Eisenhower opposed it, "Japan was already defeated… dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary." The Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Nimitz agreed: "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in their defeat." Admiral Leahy, President Truman's Chief of Staff, concurred: the atomic attacks were "of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were [emphasis mine] already ready to surrender…"

Here, from the BBC documentary, is what America did to earn the Church's firm & unequivocal condemnation:

The Quisling
National Review has a story from Daniel Foster and Pat Horan that says that Roberts originally voted to strike down Obamacare, but turned later.  This confirms what many have suspected, the Quisling Chief Injustice switched sides.
“I have sources that say Roberts initially sided with conservatives to strike down the individual mandate,” Crawford said.  “Roberts, I’m told by my sources, switched sides.  There was a one-month campaign to bring Roberts back into the conservative fold, led, ironically, by Anthony Kennedy.”

Obamacare Mandates Called Taxes...
by the Chief injustice justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts.  In doing this, he has stated that the government has the power to order any of us to pay for anything it wants, to anyone it wants to benefit, through the power of taxation.

Even those who are celebrating this should pause and read what I just said.  Let it sink in for a second. 

Suppose the car manufacturers go near bankruptcy again, or the sales of Government motor vehicles falls unacceptably?  What is to stop the Federal government from making us buy a new GM and turn in our old car to be scraped, and calling that a tax?  Could they order us to pay $2999.99 of a $3000.00 paycheck to pay for it?

Yes, and the last penny besides.

What about war bond, or debt bonds when the government goes bankrupt?  Yep.

What about copyright on our DNA that big pharma can claim to have "invented"?  That too.

For any reason.  To anyone.  Total power, resting directly on force.

That's what we have become, thanks to Barack Obama, the Congress of the U.S, and five members of the US Supreme Court including Injustice John Roberts, who no doubt will claim to have made the "though calls" when in really he never should have expected anything other than what he will get; the adulation of the media, the invitation to all the Washington events, and the license to fulfill all his vices so long as he keeps "evolving."

Of course there is only on thing to call such a smirking villiain


Why You Should be Careful What you Wish for
Because, as this Occupier found out, you might get it good and hard!

They wanted more guberment.  Here comes some now!

As "A Conservative Blog for Peace" noted, "The occupy kids six months ago got what they said they wanted: more government."

I suspect he wanted somebody else to be at the receiving end of that one, though.

The Politician, the Church, and the "Kiss that Blistered"
The Original Kiss that Blistered
LifeSite.com reports on a minister of the Province of Ontario, lead by nominal catholic (the operative word being "CINO" -- Catholic in Name Only) premiere Dalton McGuinty.  The Ontario MP, Glen Murray, lashed out at the provincial bishops for teaching Catholic moral truths on sexuality. 

Murray himself came out and said about the teaching about homosexuality, "I have to say to the bishops: ‘You’re not allowed to do that anymore.'”  What he uses as an example is the teaching in the Catechism that admonishes active homosexuals, paragraph #2357:

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. [CCC #2357]

Murray, a homosexual, has his point of view on this.  Whether he understands that the teaching of the acts as "intrinsically disordered" is a statement of admonishment and a call to repentance is besides the point.  It's a black or white issue.  Either you accept that the Church has a right to teach what has always been taught to the whole world from the Last Supper, and will continue to teach until Christ's second coming, or you don't.  He doesn't, period.

But the betrayal part comes in because McGuinty, who identifies himself as Catholic, admitted his government is determined to make people accepting of homosexual acts, not merely persons, stating that the process should begin "in the home" and is attempting to make all schools in the province, including Catholic schools, have homosexual clubs as students desire.  None of these clubs will be allowed to "reform sexuality", and thus none of them will allow the truth about sexuality to enter the room.

Thus, a member of the Church is saying that the same Church can be told by the province what to teach and, therefore, what the people will be allowed to believe.  If not, the Church and its schools will be punished by the province and the state that presumes to be make the Holy Church do things their way.

There was a man who wanted our Lord to do things his way, and when He didn't delivered him over to be killed.  He betrayed our Lord with a kiss, described by Fulton J. Sheen as "the kiss that blistered."

On this Holy Thursday evening, while we keep vigil with our Eucharistic Lord in the altar of repose, we remember the kiss that blistered.  Any person calling himself catholic yet betrays the Church gives all the faithful "a kiss that blisters" by their scandal, and our Lord had some very tough words for those that would do so.

And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea.[Mark 9:41]

"Ghetto Physics", the Scapegoating Mechanism, and the Gospel
During this week, I've seen three events that put into focus the thoughts of Fr. Robert Barron on the movie "The Hunger Games", based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.  That series, as many of you may recall, takes place in a future America divided into ten districts where the wealth is in the hands of an aristocracy and the vast majority of people live in Third-World conditions.  It is also a world that, having fully repaganized, has revived the tradition of human sacrifice of those from conquered peoples within the empire as a form of social outlet.

During the video below, Fr. Barron points out how the novel is a continuation of the thread in 20th century literature and mythology that touches upon human sacrifice as a social outlet to allow the dynasty to maintain order (think of "the Lottery", which many read or seen on film in high school).  A key point Fr. Barron brings up is a concept by French literary critic René Girard called the scapegoating mechanism. 

As society coalesces, the desires and jealousies of the groups and individuals, which Girard refers to as "memetic desire" can form into a type of disease that threatens to break things apart, a "memetic contagion."  At this point, suggests Girard, the society picks a target individual, blames him for their troubles, and casts out or kills that individual.  This is called the Scapegoating Mechanism.

It reminds me of the present uproar over the case of George Zimmerman, accused of murdering Treyvon Martin in an altercation within Zimmerman's community last month.  I do not wish to wade into Zimmerman's guilt or innocence, in fact the coverage and the things said appear to make that beside the point, sadly.  Given the attempt to find the man's address to bring harm to the man, the calls to prosecute him for anything to simply put him in jail, and even the calls of some to take matters into their own hands to inflict "justice" upon Zimmerman in retaliation for Martin's death, not to mention the distortions incorporated into the media coverage, I wonder if it is possible for Zimmerman to find a impartial panel to try him on the basis of facts.  It seems that, to the Obama administration and the activists involved, Zimmerman is guilty regardless of the facts, which suggests that he is about to become a scapegoat for the ever present racial tensions in the United States. 

There is another movie coming out about the corrupt power structures in the United States, which compares the activities of the power elite and the corporations to the prostitution and drug gangster activities that occur in the ghetto.  Thus the title, "Ghetto Physics."  The core metaphor is the relationship of domination and degradation that occurs between the pimp and the prostitutes (the "ho"s) he controls and enslaves.  The movie and the book it was based on, "Will The Real Pimps and Hos Please Stand Up! — Peeping the Multi-leveled Global Game," the premise of which is that all of us are either pimps (control freaks) or Ho's (the weak who suffer the use of the pimps).  The goal, according to the book and the movie, is that we realize what we are and "wake up" to take charge of our life and "make new dreams".

If you are at all Christian and have some understanding of your faith, this should raise a red flag.  There's a serpent's tail in all this slithering about, and it's in the very notion of how we are to take charge of our lives.  What is suggested by the trailer above is that we are to make a mental shift that allows us to "conceive our own reality" and take power.  In effect, what it hints at is that there is no absolute truth, and that we are to make our myths to achieve our own apotheosis.  There is a scene in the trailer (about 1:25) where the professor chants "who creates our reality?" and the students respond "WE create our reality."

This concept is the core of the pantheistic New Age movement, especially as described in books such as "The Secret."  In reality, the concept is older than civilization, being seen in the Emperor worship in Egypt and continuing to Rome, where by the time St. John the Evangelist is writing the Book of Revelation, the Emperor Domitian is encouraging the building of temples to worship the Emperor cult and even given emperors the title "Dominus and Deus noster." (Latin: "Our lord and god").  Indeed, it seems the relationship discussed here began in the garden with a serpent's lie, "you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil." [Gen 3:5]

The Bible, then, understands the power dynamic that is called here "ghetto physics", but unlike the movie and the book, it shows us the real way out, just as it does from the Scapegoating Mechanism.  Instead of the "Pimp and ho" as the prime example of manipulation and sado-masochism, we have the family based on the sacramental marriage between a man and a woman as the example of love, sacrifice, and self-gift.  Instead of the corporatism and crony-capitalist power plays between government, the Church offers us the example of forgiveness, love, and identification with the victim.  Instead of leadership as being the "pimp" over others, we have the identification of leadership and greatness with service.

But Jesus calling them, saith to them: You know that they who seem to rule over the Gentiles, lord it over them: and their princes have power over them.  But it is not so among you: but whosoever will be greater, shall be your minister.  And whosoever will be first among you, shall be the servant of all.  For the Son of man also is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many. [Mark 10:42-45]

As we continue our journey to Easter through Good Friday and the Passion, let us pause to remember the Kenotic Hymn given to us by St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians, written about a decade and a half from the Passion, death and resurrection of Christ. This is the real way out from under the troubles we find ourselves in, whether we call it the great conspiracy, power plays, memetic desire, or "Ghetto Physics."

For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.  He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.  For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.[Phil 2:5-11]

The Donkey by G.K. Chesterton
 G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked 
And figs grew upon thorn, 
Some moment when the moon was blood 
Then surely I was born; 

With monstrous head and sickening cry 
And ears like errant wings, 
The devil's walking parody 
On all four-footed things. 

The tattered outlaw of the earth, 
Of ancient crooked will; 
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb, 
I keep my secret still. 

Fools! For I also had my hour; 
One far fierce hour and sweet: 
There was a shout about my ears, 
And palms before my feet.

Meek and riding on a colt of a donkey

And now...some donkeys.