Friday, February 27, 2009

Kissing Gandalf far more shameful than quoting Leviticus

With an easy victory last November, the Second Congressional District's Jared Polis became the first openly homosexual man to be elected to Congress after spending more than $5 million of his own money on his campaign.

In CD-2, which includes Boulder and surroundings, the election came down to the Democratic primary.

One Polis primary ad featured strange displays of pixelized public nudity.

Polis' oddities now continue on Twitter.

His January 20 posting reads: "I was kissed by Sir Ian McClellan today (on the lips), and our nation has a new President!"

That "on the lips" is simply too much information.

Apparently the liplock took place at the Human Rights Campaign Inaugural Ball. (CNN didn't report the lips part.)

The Democrats' indifference to public lewdness was also in evidence at the Inaugural Parade, where the Lesbian and Gay Band Association marched. The group, which probably took the place of some hopeful and more deserving high school band, is also to march in the notoriously perverse Southern Decadence Festival in long-suffering New Orleans.

The CNA story on the LGBA's participation in the Inaugural pulled its punches. Though reporting that a pornographer would recruit at the festival, CNA did not quote the cad's appeal on the festival's web site. "We're always looking for new talent!" he said.

The unfortunate pandering to homosexual constituencies was probably a factor when the group Progress Now chose to host Sen. Michael Bennet at Hamburger Mary's, a homosexual burger bar, after President Obama appeared in Denver to sign the stimulus package.

"They have fun things like drag-queen bingo on Tuesdays," one Hamburger Mary's customer told 9News.

This shameful embrace of deviance is all the more jarring when compared to the treatment of Colorado State Rep. Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley).

The blog Right Wing Watch indignantly summarizes Rep. Renfroe's speech against a bill that would include homosexual partners of state employees in health insurance coverage.

In the Bible, he said, "homosexuality is seen as a violation of this natural, created order and it is an offense to God, the Creator, who created men and women, male and female, for procreation."

He then quoted Leviticus 18:22, "You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a female, it is an abomination,” and Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act and they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.”

According to Right Wing Watch, he then rejected "laws that go against what Biblically we are supposed to stand for” and “taking sins and making them to be legally OK."

He continued:
I’m not saying [homosexuality] is the only sin that is out there. Obviously we have sin — we have murder, we have, we have all sorts of sin, we have adultery, and we don’t make laws making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal. But what I’m saying that for is that all sin is equal. That sin there is as equal to any other sin that’s in the Bible, to having wandering eyes, to coveting your neighbor’s things. Whatever you do, that sin is equal and it can be forgiven because of that.

Illiterate leftists, libertines and atheists then jumped on this statement, claiming Rep. Renfroe "compares homosexuality to murder."

Actually, he was grouping homosexual acts among various other sins as a way of emphasizing solidarity among us sinners and our shared hopes for mercy.

It is easy for the superficial newsreader to join the initial condemnations of Renfroe without stopping to think how commonplace these remarks are.

Great rhetoric should not be expected from state representatives. In his simple appeal to Scripture, Rep. Renfroe is actually being quite representative of the many people who lack the ability or the desire to reshape themselves and their arguments into forms that would appeal to secular journalists, let alone whiny and censorious gay activists. They, too, deserve a voice in politics.

And Renfroe alludes to a deeper point that can be intellectually defended by those such as Colorado's own U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

Authoring the 1986 Supreme Court decision Bowers v. Hardwick, Justice White referred to American law's traditional proscription of homosexual acts. He wrote:

"Against this background, to claim that a right to engage in such conduct is 'deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition' or 'implicit in the concept of ordered liberty' is, at best, facetious."

Chief Justice Warren Burger concurred, writing:

As the Court notes... the proscriptions against sodomy have very "ancient roots." Decisions of individuals relating to homosexual conduct have been subject to state intervention throughout the history of Western civilization. Condemnation of those practices is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards... To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching.

Of course, as Rep. Renfroe has discovered, these licentious activists and their allies precisely intend to cast aside millennia of moral teaching. State recognition of such unions, even in a seemingly minor modification to insurance coverage, is part of this revolt.

Worse, it is unlikely that this revolt will merely overthrow convention. Activists with a Dracula-like aversion to the Scriptures will actively attempt to suppress their critics and the old order they so despise.

For instance, take Canadian pastor Stephen Boisson. In 2008 the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal ordered Boisson to cease publishing "disparaging remarks" about homosexuals and to pay $5,000 in damages for "pain and suffering" to the putative human rights activist who filed the complaint.

His so-called crime?

He wrote a letter to his local paper and had it published.

Expressing his "understanding, care, compassion and tolerance" for those with an "unwanted sexual identity crisis," he then condemned "the homosexual machine that has been mercilessly gaining ground in our society since the 1960s. I cannot pity you any longer and remain inactive. You have caused far too much damage."

Declaring a metaphorical "war" to "defend the precious sanctity of our innocent children and youth," he warned that children are being "strategically targeted" by ideologues and activists.

"Your children are being warped into believing that same-sex families are acceptable; that men kissing men is appropriate," he said.

In perhaps his most inflammatory comment, which still wasn't terribly extreme, Pastor Boisson called homosexual activists "perverse, self-centered and morally deprived individuals who are spreading their psychological disease into every area of our lives," comparing them to pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps.

He blamed these activists' success on apathy.

"How bad do things have to become before you will get involved?" he asked those who agree with him.

For this, of course, Pastor Boisson had to be destroyed.

And now people are lining up to make sure Rep. Renfroe and others join him in pariahville. Maybe you and I will be next on their hit list.

While the United States is blessed with protections for political speech stronger than Canada's, it is obvious that media and political leaders are eager to exploit any opportunity to silence their opponents with targeted social pressure.

Alas, some conservatives are playing a useful part in this strategy. Over at the blog Mount Virtus, Renfroe is mildly criticized for poorly choosing his rhetoric and context.

But this is to grant the radicals control over the terms of debate. Renfroe needs defenders more vigorous than his attackers.

At present, left-wing Democrats and cultural radicals are almost incapable of making any remarks that will generate media outrage on homosexual issues. Not because they are especially eloquent or wise, but rather because they have widened the range of discourse on the permissive side while shortening the range on the restrictive side.

The purpose of these Moments of Outrage is to trim the limits of acceptable opinion and to rope dull-witted conservatives and moderates into doing the trimming.

Then in a few more years, if the target is successfully silenced, it’s someone else’s turn to get trimmed.

"How bad do things have to get?" Pastor Boisson asked.

We now live in a nation where deviants parade for the president and Bible-quoters get berated.

That's bad enough.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A rabbi talks sense on ‘over-the-top’ reaction to Bishop Williamson

Any news watcher has noticed the tempest that has accompanied Pope Benedict XVI’s lifting of the excommunications upon the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and the revelation that SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson made some foolish and inexcusable remarks that minimized the extent of Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.

The media firestorm consistently misrepresented the Vatican’s remission of the excommunications as a “reinstatement.” The breakaway prelates are not even heads of titular dioceses, offices which even the lowliest assistant bishop holds. The SSPX bishops are not yet in full obedience to the Pope and certainly need to clarify their adherence to the Second Vatican Council.

Yet despite the preliminary nature of the Pope’s decision, we are treated to stories about a no-name dissident theologian calling for Pope Benedict to step down, Jewish leaders wringing their hands about the future of Catholic-Jewish relations and Catholic U.S. House Democrats cluelessly and shamelessly voicing their “deep concerns” with the Pope’s decision to (there’s that word again) “reinstate” the wayward bishop.

“As such, we seek clarification on this important matter,” say members of the party unapologetically opposed to Catholic teaching on abortion.

To these almost automatic responses, Rabbi Irwin Kula, President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York, has written a fine rebuke of similar “over-the-top” reactions.

His Washington Post/Newsweek essay “Jewish Reaction to Pope Disproportionate” describes SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson as “the sort of crabby, crotchety, trivial, unknown sort of jerk - the ratty uncle who embarrasses you every time he is in public -- who we all recognize exists in our communities.”

Rabbi Kula continues:

How is it that the view of some cranky bishop who has no power evokes calls of a crisis in Catholic - Jewish relations despite the revolutionary changes in Church teachings regarding Jews since Vatican II? Where is the "proportionality", where is the giving the benefit of the doubt - a central religious and spiritual imperative - in response to something that is admittedly upsetting but in the scheme of things is less than trivial especially given this Pope's historic visit to Auschwitz in which he unambiguously recognized the evil perpetrated upon Jews in the Holocaust and in his way "repented" for any contribution distorted Church teachings made to create the ground for such evil to erupt?

Something is off-kilter here. Is it possible that the leadership of Jewish defense agencies, people with the best of motivation who have historically done critical work in fighting anti-Semitism, have become so possessed by their roles as monitors of anti-Semitism, so haunted by unresolved fears, guilt, and even shame regarding the Holocaust, and perhaps so unconsciously driven by how these issues literally keep their institutions afloat, that they have become incapable of distinguishing between a bishop's ridiculous, loopy, discredited views about the Holocaust and a Church from the Pope down which has clearly and repeatedly recognized the evil done to Jews in the Holocaust and called for that evil to never be forgotten?

Echoing Cardinal O’Malley, the rabbi also criticizes the newfound enthusiasts for excommunication.

He asks: “And isn't it possible that bringing Richard Williamson back inside the Church may actually influence him to see how wrong he is on this issue given how clear the Church is regarding the Holocaust and its commitment to Catholic -Jewish relations?”

Still noting the “very raw and very vulnerable” attitudes towards the Holocaust in the Jewish community, Rabbi Kula then calls on the most hysteric commentators to acknowledge their overreaction.

For that he deserves praise.

Some writers, like Amy Welborn, Ross Douthat, and Sandro Magister have argued the media reaction shows the Vatican’s inability to anticipate and respond to the superficial and often hostile nature of the contemporary news cycle.

Improvements are always possible. The Vatican's unawareness of Williamson's kooky sides is difficult to understand, let alone excuse.

Yet we should remember it is not obvious which stories will produce hostility before the fact. Who could have predicted that the Pope's reference to a Byzantine emperor in a university speech would cause journalistic schadenfreude and Muslim outrage? Or that his brief pre-Christmas discussion of the created order and “gender ideology” would become the central grievance in a homosexualist media crusade?

The dullard’s opportunism in the press, especially concerning Catholicism, is perhaps too capricious even for an expert media relations firm. How can curia bureaucrats be expected to cope?