Joe Carter on a Forgotten Gay-Rights Essay

“Sadly, the essay [Kirk and Madsen’s ‘The Overhauling of Straight America’] wasn’t satire but an actual PR blueprint for efforts to gain acceptance of homosexual behavior over the past 30 years.”

While it is nearly impossible to find a LGBTQ activist who put religious liberty ahead of their agenda, it is possible (at least in theory) to find one or two who will denounce the “inconceivable” connection between homosexual activism and civil rights for African Americans. Though I was not able to find them, I assume they must exist. Yet even if they do, that view is definitely not widely shared amongst supporters of homosexual rights.

Instead, there is a concerted effort to vilify religious believers who oppose homosexual behavior. I used to believe such claims were the overheated rhetoric of misguided Christians. And even until recently, I would have disputed that vilification of religious opponents to homosexuality was a widespread phenomena within the community of LGBTQ rights activists and their supporters. But the indisputable fact is that I was wrong: Vilification has been a primary tactic of the homosexual rights movement for at least thirty years.

War Has a Mind of Its Own

A thoughtful essay titled “The ‘Aresian Risk’ of Unmanned Maritime Systems,” by a Naval philosopher. The “Aresian risk” to which Hatfield refers is the risk the ancients understood but moderns have largely forgotten: war, symbolized by Ares, god of war, is more than just the sum of two warring parties:

It is instructive to note that the ancient Greeks, through their personification of war with the god Ares, had the conceptual resources to cope with the true nature of war in a manner that has become less accessible to modern strategists. In this respect we have become rational to a fault. Like the actual warfare that defines recent experience, Ares was thought to have a mind of his own. Capable of independent action, he was no tool of men. Because of this, all Greek commanders understood warfare as a peculiarly precarious undertaking.

Austen and Aquinas

Br. Aquinas Beale, O.P., on the importance of principle in Mansfield Park.

Henry’s failure provides a good illustration of the effect that vice has on one’s moral judgment. The motives out of which he acts are good, namely humbling Maria so that she would learn to properly value the virtue of Fanny. However, Henry chooses an unsuitable means to achieve this end, as he had previously been habituated to believe that the proper way to put a young woman in her place was through breaking her heart. The real tragedy of Henry’s situation is not that he loses Fanny, but that he actually does perceive the good and falls away from it due to the disorder arising from his false principles.

The Library of Frederick Douglass

From the Art of Manliness blog.

Ultimately, then, for Frederick Douglass reading meant freedom.

His ability to read a text, to synthesize that information, and then let it change his thoughts and compel him to action directly led to his fight against slavery, both as an individual man seeking his own freedom, and later as a statesman, fighting for the rights of his fellow man. A single man’s desire to read and attain knowledge changed the landscape of America forever.

Throughout his life, Douglass’s library would grow, and it now serves as a great insight into his thoughts and beliefs. In reading through the list, you get an idea of how incredibly wide-read Douglass was. We see everything from classic Christian pieces, to abolitionist texts, to popular novels of the time, to history and science textbooks, and even seemingly random works on subjects like the dental arts and knitting(!).

Jean Calvin on Lip Gloss

Apart from the swipe at Plato, this is good from Derek Rishmawy.

Calvin might seem like an odd source to appeal to. He certainly wasn’t known for his expertise in mascara, nor the proper application of blush. (Though he did seem to have a fabulous beard that probably required some grooming.) What’s more, he makes no bones about the fact that he considers the soul, and indeed, the intellect, as the chief seat of God’s Image in humanity.

(Calvin, by the way, thought Plato the most useful and correct of the ancient philosophers concerning the soul, though (if I might paraphrase Calvin’s thoughts about philosophy in the first book of the Institutes) in an already-long treatise on religion, ain’t nobody got time for that.)

A Quotation from Calvin, Apropos of Nothing in Particular

Yet civil government has as its appointed end, so long as we live among men, to cherish and protect the outward worship of God, to defend sound doctrine of piety and the position of the church, to adjust our life to the society of men, to form our social behavior to civil righteousness, to reconcile us with one another, and to promote general peace and tranquility. All of this I admit to be superfluous, if God’s Kingdom, such as it now is among us, wipes out the present life.  But if it is God’s will that we go as pilgrims upon the earth while we aspire to the true fatherland, and if the pilgrimage requires such helps, those who take these from man may deprive him of his very humanity.  Our adversaries claim that there ought to be such great perfection in the church of God that its government should suffice for law.  But they stupidly imagine such a perfection as can never be found in a community of men. (ICR, 4.20.2)

After writing out this quotation, I discovered that our fearless leader had posted thoughts related to this some time ago.

Anger in Public Discourse

Ken Mann at Hieropraxis on the right and wrong place for anger in public discourse:

What is common today, what was on display in abundance in the social media encounter described above, is anger directed at individuals. We have a tremendous amount of combustion that is not guided or controlled. Of course, now I need to broaden what I mean by anger. I still think the word is relevant as a source of the passion that drives people to disagree with certain ideas, but what is ultimately expressed publicly takes on many different forms. In the case of my friend, it was simple hatred and threats. “If you disagree with us, we will hurt you.” In other venues, it is more subtle. For example, if you believe that modern evolutionary theory has weaknesses or even believe it is completely false, you are dismissed as being “ignorant, stupid, or insane.”

When disagreement is directed at individuals rather than ideas it has dangerous effect on public discourse. It is stifled. We are redefining an institution, marriage, that has served mankind for millennia because a small percentage of angry and emotional people have terrorized everyone else into silence or feigned agreement.

Bruce Gordon on the Recent Findings from BICEP2

Lengthy read on the background and implications of the recent findings concerning the beginnings of the universe.

inflationary processes actually increase rather than decrease the required fine-tuning associated with our universe. For instance, the energy of the inflationary field has to be shut off with tremendous precision in order for a universe like ours to exist, with inflationary models requiring a shut-off energy precision of at least one part in 1053 and perhaps as much as one part in 10123. Furthermore, inflation is an entropy-increasing process (it increases the thermodynamic disorder of the cosmos), yet even without it, as Roger Penrose has shown, the universe’s initial entropy was fine-tuned to one part in 10 to the 10123 power. In other words, adding an inflationary process to the already hyper-exponentially fine-tuned entropy required by the Big Bang exponentially increases its hyper-exponential fine-tuning.

Robert George on the Diversity in His Catholic Church

From First Things:

I was sitting at mass today, listening to the homily (which actually wasn’t all that boring, truth be told) and looking around at my fellow worshippers. I mean to tell you, it was glorious diversity. The Catholic Church really is “here comes everybody.” There were people I know who are Irish, Polish, Italian, Mexican, Filipino, Guatemalan, but also African, Indian (the kind from India), Korean, Vietnamese, Colombian, Russian (why they don’t go to the Orthodox Church, I’m not sure; but there they were), Lebanese, Japanese, Jamaican, Chilean, Ecuadorean—all in the same local parish

And that’s only the beginning.