Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Personal Asides: You Mean it Took Them Ten Weeks to Come Up with That?...Ernie on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

                       Feast of St. Justin.* 
                                       Uncreative Lying.
          House Republicans should stop wasting time talking about a special prosecutor because The Sestak Issue is answered…badly but answered.  The marvel is that it took them 10 weeks to come up with such an improbable solution…that Bill Clinton (who as ex-president has no jobs to offer) told Sestak that he could probably land on an unpaid presidential commission if he dropped out of the race against Specter.  In the history of this republic, offering jobs to people before election is a hallowed tradition…but never in the take-no-prisoners way Emanuel tried to shove it down Sestak’s throat.  
          Ergo: Lincoln’s managers cut deals on cabinet posts freely at the Chicago Wigwam convention of 1860 which Lincoln didn’t attend: Seward to secretary of state most notably.  But they did it with panache. No sweat. Gen. Eisenhower’s Herbert Brownell offered Earl Warren ambiguously, decorously, an appointment to the Supreme Court at its next vacancy if Warren would drop his loser’s pout after losing at the Chicago convention that nominated Ike and campaign for him.  Warren did and carried California for the ticket.  
           The problem was the earliest vacancy was the Chief Justiceship.  Ike tried to wriggle out of it Brownell saying he promised “the next available justiceship not the chief justiceship” but Warren held Brownell
to it, saying “no-no-no, you said the first vacancy on the Court.” and so Eisenhower was forced to make what he later confessed was one of the two worst mistakes of his presidency…the second the nomination to the Court of William Brennan.     
         But Lincoln’s managers and Eisenhower’s brokers were gentlemen—delicately suggestive, not remotely like the obscenity-spewing Emanuel. To get away from the heat, Emanuel just decided to go to Israel for his son’s bar mitzvah where, fittingly enough, he has been jeered and fittingly insulted as an enemy (as he’s top staff to the bitterest anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian president in modern times).   Emanuel is one of those Jews who has forsaken the original Torah for Torah II, subordinating religious precepts for the liberal secular agenda cold-turkey.  
          Digression:   As one of my medical specialists, an ultra-reform Jew,  who was working on me smiled when I reminded him that his working overtime was counterbalanced by 47% on welfare plus those who not only don’t pay federal taxes but get a federal stipend (up to $5,000) from the Earned Income Tax Credit which was not Milton Friedman’s finest idea: 
       “I’m glad to do it.” 
       What mindless gruel. That’s misnamed “service to the poor” via Torah II, not remotely like Torah I which argues that basic morality stipulates able bodied people who can work and don’t, don’t eat.

        Back to the subject: Anyhow Congressman Issa can drop the grumbling about law-breaking now that the Obama people have resorted to out-and-out lying which can’t be disproved since Sestak is part of the deal.  Turn to something else.  Enough hay has been made here.  Other issues are a-wasting. 
                         Ernie on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Part I.  
        [Once again I have urged the Holy Spirit to temporarily free the spirit of Fr. Ernest Kilzer OSB from the Saint John’s Abbey churchyard to visit me and consult about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”].  
       Fr. Ernie. What’s all this fuss about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? In my day, discussions of private sexual matters were confined to the confessional!
When I was a confessor, they told and on occasion I asked for more elucidation.   
        TR. Father it has to do with homosexuals serving in the military. In your day, those in the military who demonstrated a propensity to engage in or importune others to engage in sexual acts, were dishonorably discharged. At that time, indication of homosexual inclination led to discharge—period. With modern culture… 
         Fr. Ernie. …Ah yes, modern cultural decadence you mean.
        TR.  Exactly. With modern cultural decadence the rules were changed. Bill Clinton had campaigned on removing the anti-homosexual bias from the military.  But he was forced to give it up due to the strong opposition of people like Sen. Sam Nunn [D-Ga.], chairman of Senate Armed Services. The compromise was don’t ask, don’t tell a federal law that mandates superiors don’t initiate an investigation of a soldier’s sexual orientation (don’t ask) and the soldier is prevented from disclosing his sexual orientation (don’t tell). I personally think the compromise was reasonable.  So reasonable, in fact, that the gay militants want it repealed so active homosexuals can enter the military…largely composed of men…announcing their gay-ness without discrimination. Which I feel is tantamount to turnng our defense structure into a wholesale sexual bazaar.  
         Fr. Ernie. Let us separate how  you feel from the facts.  And the argument for this change is…? 
          TR.    Militant homosexuals and the predominant secular media have identified those who oppose repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell as homophobic.  An effort to throttle into silence those who need to allow the fullest expression that they are gay. It goes along with the view of victimology. The gay revolution is patterned to the civil rights revolution. Civil rights activists cited victims. As you know, victims of lynching and less evident discrimination abound in civil rights lore so as to enable passage of federal legislation to eliminate discrimination.  This worked with the goal of making society color-blind.  It has not worked when it exceeded that limit and excursioned into affirmative action. 
          There were truly graphic examples: the four small black children who died in the 16th Avenue Church in Birmingham which was fire bombed by the Klan in 1963; Emmett Till the Chicago boy who was lynched for being “too overly familiar” with a white woman in the South;  the three civil rights workers lynched in 1964: James Chaney, Meridian Ms., Andrew Goodman, N.Y., Michael Schwerner, N.Y. Likewise, to accomplish their goals, gays have to have a victimology.   According to gay rights lore, it started at the Stonewall bar in New York in 1969, marking the first time when patrons of a gay bar decided to react to police interference with their pursuits of enjoying themselves, taken as an invasion of their privacy.  
         In 1992 there was the slaying of a gay Navy petty officer, Allen R. Schindler, Jr. which triggered Clinton’s move. So to be explicit, the argument has been this embodied in Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address: “This year I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.”  
            Fr. Ernie.  This statement is grossly misleading. Sexual proclivity does not establish who one is.   It presupposes that homosexuality is unchangeable like one’s race or let us say the color of one’s eyes.  That is decidedly not the case: we are not animals to whom the urge to copulate is not controlled by either reason or will.  More of that later.   Moreover it presupposes that sexual expression be affirmatively seen as a right.  Neither is true.  
             T.R. Try saying that in this society!   
              Fr. Ernie. Let us forget how unpopular it is to say it in your society.  I say now as I said to the class in the `40s that what we are seeking is the truth—and we shall handle the immediate difficulties later. The truth is this: Since the dawn of Christianity, Church teaching held that sexual expression was not, was never, perceived as a right. It was specified as a privilege—a gift  that leads one to conjugal life. It stems from the Judeo Christian teaching that the sexual nature of man and the human faculty of procreation are superior to all other lower forms of life.  In a very real sense, sexuality has been bestowed as a gift to those who utilize it exclusively in conjugal life. 
              Likewise, the consecrated life, the life I chose for myself and my colleagues chose for themselves, is not a right either. The consecrated life is a privilege as well. To accept that privilege of both marriage and the consecrated life one must have  a gift. With the consecrated life, not everyone has it-- as Christ Himself stressed when He talked about voluntary celibacy.  Your president grossly misstates it when he speaks irrationally about sexuality “being who we are.”  That is entirely erroneous, springing from a false understanding of man.  Man we are told by Aquinas who improved on Plato and Aristotle,  is composed of body and soul and made in the image and likeness of God. No sexual fandangles about it.  What bosh!  What does your president envision us as: men with perpetually tumescent penises and women with welcoming vaginas all seeking gratification as if we are all little puppy dogs copulating in the streets?  Bosh I tell you! 
              T.R [musing to himself]Ah that’s the old Ernie. … 
              Ernie.  What?   
               T. R.  I’m sorry. Just talking to myself. 
               Ernie.  You object to my phrasing?   
              T.R.   In just one stance, Father. You call Obama “your president.”  He is not my president. I have repeatedly said he is the worst president in 237 years, by far the worst of all the 43 who preceded him including Franklin Pierce who drank himself into insensibility every night and James Buchanan who frittered away all attempts to ward off the Civil War. 
              Ernie.  Sorry. It is a forensic expression, one I used in classes.  I am appalled that your…er-er…the president of the United States does not understand that homosexuality is contrary to God’s purpose in creating two genders by which He wants men and women to cooperate in the transmission of life by the beautiful mutual giving of one’s self to the other.       
             T. R. He doesn’t because to be forthright about it, he’s not up to the concept intellectually or spiritually. Moreover, he’s a pagan, filled with the insouciant proud paganism in which God if He exists is irrelevant. He is the only president who does not have a church or a unified body of spiritual beliefs which he makes no bones about.  Lincoln was unaffiliated, flirted with agnosticism but in the heat of his trial showed by his writing he was a believing Christian with a distinct sense of orderly theology.  
           FDR may have been duplicitous but he recognized the country’s spiritual needs by delivering a prayer he composed himself in a speech to the nation after Pearl Harbor, It is for that reason he sang “Onward Christian Soldiers” aboard a British warship with Churchill. To shore their countrymen up and to ensure them they—Roosevelt and Churchill—believed in the moral righteousness of their cause. 
       Reagan didn’t go to church but he was a believing Christian. Bill Clinton was a lecher but a weepy, contrite guy who senses his ignobility in his heart and carried a bible with him to church after a scurrilous assignation.  They are all better than this one. Far better. This guy is a creature of a combination of Muslim heritage, Harvard atheism, U of C faculty lounge superciliousness and the essence of Jeremiah Wright who shouted hatred against whitey and god-damned this country while Obama cruised up and down the aisles on the political make heedless of spiritual principle.  
       His disinterest in God shows in his denial that America is exceptional, the one view that bound together all our past presidents. The essence of patriotism is to understand that God in His bounteous goodness gave us an ideal land as John Winthrop expressed it on which we have built the freest, most equitable nation in the world.  It cuts no ice with this nihilistic, a-historical and unlettered egotist who knows not he is a-historical and unlettered.  
        America is exceptional to us, he parses, in the same way that Greece is exceptional to the Greeks, that Britain is excep/tional to the Brits.   Meaning it is not objectively exceptional. In essence, while much of his background is mysterious (his wife tipped it inadvertently not long ago by calling Kenya “his home”) this much is not: He is not a patriot, patriotism being the very minimal requisite one can expect from a president. One cannot be a patriot and not believe in Divine Providence. Love of country presupposes love of God.  Not with this man. 
       Determined to be a supra-internationalist world leader ala Woodrow Wilson, he caters to the noxious elite where patriotism is kaput and global European-style regimented government is the ideal.  That is his make-do for God.  
           Ernie. I see. Greece civilization was not religious but was consumed with thought that imbued religion: what is truth? What is virtue?Questioning however heady was insufficient for it. Rome was not religious but believed in the empire’s destiny of world order that imbued the religion of its own destiny: or patriotism. Lack of faith (not Christianity as Gibbon says) brought down Rome; lack of faith and mere concentration on the abstract doomed Greece.  But at the least those two civilizations had noble ends, Greece with its speculations, Rome with its wish to rule the world and bring to it order.  
          From what you tell me, this man is not religious, unconcerned with thought as were the Greeks, unconcerned with national destiny as were the Romans, is not consumed with American ascendancy—but of a global imperialism that defies religion.  Tell me, how many Catholics voted for him?  
           T.R.     Fifty-seven percent.  Thanks to many insouciant bishops and priests.  
           Ernie [groans]. Ah yes.  Much of which began with my colleague Godfrey Diekmann. I am glad I am not part of your world. Indeed, I will be happy to get back to Eternal Life. Now let us go on to the remainder of the lesson. 
          PART II: TOMORROW.  
     *: Saint Justin [AD 100-165]. Commonly called “Saint Justin Martyr.” He was born in Flavia Neapolis, the capital of Samaria of Greco-Roman parents who were both pagans.  Never a priest, he studied philosophy, rhetoric, history and poetry lavishly, teaching for a time at Ephesus where he met an old man who advised him to peruse Christian scripture. He did and at age 30 became a Catholic and devoted himself to expounding his faith to his fellows. He loved to debate and traveled around debating with every pagan philosopher he could find. 
      This was bound to get him into trouble as it had earlier with Socrates.  Winning debates consistently is usually fatal.  Justin was the first real Catholic lay apologist who spoke and wrote on the issue for any great length—the first to reconcile faith with reason in his Apologies addressed to the Emperor Antoninus and the first to defend in writing the charges that Catholics were immoral, going from there to define the reasons for belief in the teachings of Christ, immortality, free will and fasting.   
       Enough! said the government.  .  And so Justin incurred the enmity of a debater he had vanquished, a member of the Cynic school named Crescans who reported him to authorities as a Catholic. He was brought to trial with six others and when they refused to sacrifice to the gods they were all scourged and beheaded.  He is particularly remembered for his written Dialogue with Trypho where he records his debates between Christianity and Judaism with Trypho, a Jew.

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