Asking stupid smart questions

Someone billed as the Senior National Affairs Reporter for Yahoo, a Linda Goodwin, claims that “Justice Roberts [has revived] an old argument that could save gay marriage,” which makes it sound as though gay marriage is an ancient institution in peril of extinction. What happened is that Roberts asked a question of John Bursch, the attorney representing those 6th Circuit states whose marriage bans remain in place:

Counsel, I’m not sure it’s necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve the case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can’t. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn’t that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?

Goodwin seems to think this a brilliant insight, “suggesting a way for the chief justice to strike down state bans on gay marriage on relatively narrow grounds, without finding a fundamental right to marriage for LGBT people.” The tactic was first tried twenty years ago in Hawaii and, according to Goodwin, most judges since have rejected it, preferring arguments that focus on discrimination against gays as a group (like blacks and women) and specifically against their sexual orientation.

She’s wrong on both counts. Roberts’ question is stupid (sorry for the ad hominem but I’m fed up).

Continue reading

Posted in Christianity, culture and morality, the marriage wars | 4 Comments

Happy Easter

If you’re still interested in the Shroud of Turin, as I am, you’ll find this article at NR most useful. I was skeptical of the carbon-14 test results in 1988, and haven’t believed them at all for the past few years. The thing’s for real.

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Go, and sin some more

I ought to be contemplating, at some length and depth, the Passion of Our Lord, who suffered greatly just to give me a shot at one day looking God in the face. The fact that Christ was on earth at all has made me, as bad as I am, a better person than that thing I was destined to become before He pulled me in.

But, having nothing particularly insightful to say on the matter, I’ve been stumbling around the internet, more concerned with the state of the state than the state of my soul. (I know; it’s a failing.) Along the way, I tripped over an article by a Conor Friedersdorf, who writes for The Atlantic and who, in all good will, wishes to improve the state of my soul. It was titled “Why Christian Photographers Should Work at Gay Weddings.” On the bright side, he’s opposed to legally coercing Christian business owners to participate in gay marriage celebrations. Neither does he think that “a photographer who refuses to shoot a same-sex wedding [is] necessarily demonstrating homophobia, bigotry, or anti-gay hatred.” He does think the photographer “wrong-headed”, but that “vilification or fines” should not be levied. He’s a big believer in the power of persuasion, and points to how well it’s worked so far. Attitudes are changing, he says, and “every trend is moving in the right direction.”

Continue reading

Posted in culture and morality, Religious Liberty, the marriage wars | 3 Comments

Apologies to Terri

I forgot to mention that yesterday was the end of Terri Schiavo’s deathwatch of ten years ago, when she was murdered by the state of Florida upon order of Judge George Greer, now retired. The good judge has no regrets about the matter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Goodbye, Witness

Chambers’ grandson, who owns the copyright to the book, has asked that the extended excerpts be taken down. It’s his material by ownership, I presume, and so I took it down. If anyone wants a copy of an individual post that included my commentary and reader comments, you’ll have to email me. I was going to put up a final appreciation, but I don’t think I care to anymore. The country’s descending into a leftist hell, thus validating Chambers’ prophecy, just not in precisely the form he envisioned.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Marriage in Alabama

This is a good article at the Public Discourse, explaining the “judicial tyranny” of Judge Callie Granade, made possible by her exercise of fraud, lying by omission, ignoring the facts, and making up others. She will probably have to answer for none of it. There will be a follow-up article tomorrow, which is probably today by now.

Posted in the marriage wars | Comments Off

Sunday Thought, in passing

Listening to the Palm Sunday readings (from Matthew, I think), I was reminded of something I wrote in a long ago post, so long ago that I have no idea where to find it. Therein I wondered what it must have been like for Jesus when he stood with Pilate, looking out on the crowd that called for his blood, knowing that he was to be murdered by his own children. But thus to see with His eyes, and to feel with His heart, is a feat of the imagination nearly impossible to the human mind, and so I let it always drift away.

It came to me again last evening as the priest read the passage that tells of Jesus being brought before the High Priest Caiaphas, who rent his garment after hearing that “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?

And later, when the Roman soldiers

had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

John’s account confirms all this, differing in only minor details:

The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
– Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
- And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
- Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?…Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Continue reading

Posted in Catholicism, Christianity | Comments Off

Mama Digg Down’s Brass Band

at the Green Mill, Valentine’s Day weekend 2015, in Chicago

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Sunday Prayer Request

A young man was assigned, along with the rest of the class, to tell me a story. On paper, of course. (He’s young compared to me, but appears to be about ten years older than most of his classmates.) The story he told was about the time he and another soldier were manning a checkpoint outside Fallujah. A car came barreling down the road toward them. The two soldiers raised their arms, a signal that the car should slow down and stop, but it did not. When it became clear that the occupants were determined to crash the checkpoint, the soldiers opened fire. The car, riddled with bullet holes, finally rolled to a stop. When my student and his comrade looked inside, they found two adults – a man and woman – and two children. All were dead and very shot up. Later investigation would show that the adults were parents to the children. Both the parents and the car had been rigged with explosives.

Most of my vets are very good students. Even when they can’t write very well, they attend regularly and punctually, participate, turn their work in on time, and tend to call me “sir,” which I like. They expect order, and have little patience with indiscipline. This one even barked one day at the whole class, that they ought to shut up and not all talk at once. (It’s true; I have to keep my boot on this bunch’s collective neck.) It was pretty funny because they all shut up.

There were other occasions on which he might have done the same, but on this day he was not dealing well with any kind of sensory overload. I have noticed something about him that seems high-strung. He appears to be listening intently, but after class has to ask me to repeat something. It turns out – as his story made clear – that he’s still dealing with the fact that he killed two children. In private conference, I asked if he has people to talk with about it. He said yes. But it doesn’t help? No. Surely you realize, I said, that whoever strapped those children into the car is responsible for their deaths. Right? Yes, he realizes that. But still, it happened.

So he can’t get past the existential fact of the matter. He’s a good guy, sincere, and wants to make sense of the world, but also among the walking wounded. He needs peace, which is always just out of reach.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off


[Update: the previous attempt was to embed a Windows Media Player, which only succeeds for those who have the plugin. All Mac products (afaik) require it. So I'm trying html5 video with a flash fallback for older browsers. If your browser supports html5, you won't see the flash version. I recommend going full screen on this one.]

Posted in video | 6 Comments