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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Sat. 02/28/04 05:52:03 PM

Blogworthies IV

Because The Blog from the Core simply can't cover everything.

Noteworthy entries @ Dust in the Light, Discriminations, JunkYardBlog, Midwest Conservative Journal, Turnabout, Catholic and Enjoying It!, Dust in the Light (again), Recta Ratio, and

And then the Wave of Similitude @ Dust in the Light:

Well, Marcus Ross today opened his student paper to discover something that brings back memories of my own time at his university: a unanimous cry that he's wrong. Some letters poorly written. Some hilarious. One from a professor. Marcus ought, of course, to be allowed the learning experience of juggling these various tints of monochrome minds; if he intends to remain in the Northeast and to proudly wear the label of "conservative," he'll need the experience.
But I can't resist dipping in....

Who's Confused? @ Discriminations:

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative would amend the state constitution by commanding that state agencies “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
Some people find this “confusing.” According to Ingrid Scott-Weekly, the Equal Opportunity Director of Grand Rapids, the language “makes suspecting [sic] voters think they are signing a petition that supports civil rights.”
Can you believe it? Those sneaky conservatives, whose “wording of the petition takes advantage of unsuspecting citizens,” are trying to hoodwink good Michiganders into believing they will be supporting civil rights if they ban the state from discriminating against or granting preference to anyone on the basis of race!...

Andrew Sullivan's Obscenity @ JunkYardBlog:

Andrew Sullivan is currently running a smear campaign, running emails from people claiming to be disgusted by President Bush's announced support for the federal marriage amendment. I question the authenticity of some of the letters he is posting, as they seem to share writing styles and form their arguments in nearly identical ways, but that's incidental and may perhaps make an interesting discussion another time. It is the substance of the smear campaign itself, from his own pen, that concerns me more than whether he is running fake emails.
On a deeper level, his smear campaign has been going on since long before President Bush announced support for a Constitutional amendment to uphold the long-standing definition of marriage. I noticed it not long after 9-11, when he began to refer to the war as a struggle not for Old Glory or even for America as such, but against fundamentalism. That word — fundamentalism — is as loaded as it is generic. It means many different things to different people, depending on many factors such as culture, geography and who is using the word. In Sullivan's case, it soon became clear that he meant for the war to be fought not only against the Islamic fundamentalists who perpetrated 9-11. He meant to use that necessary war to fight his own personal battle against fundamentalist Christians and other Christians who disagreed with him about almost anything.
He soon began trying to create epithets for us — "theocons" emerging as his favorite. He has long smeared us as out of the mainstream, when it is Sullivan who is out of the mainstream on so many issues. In using loaded terms — theocons, fundamentalist and the like — he is intentionally painting with a terribly broad brush, and perpetrating the very same kind of thuggery that he often condemns when he sees it in others.
But this week he has reached a new low. He is printing letters that equate mainstream Christianity with anti-Semitism, implicitly placing innocent Christians on the side of the terrorists in our current war. He cites one lone example of utterly immoral stupidity on the part of a small group of Christians to smear America's 30 million evangelicals as one big gang of racists and anti-Semites....

Frank Griswold's Bombastapalooza @ Midwest Conservative Journal (blockquoted quotations here are italicized in original; other emphasis as in original):

Probably because I attended an Episcopal church, I used to dread this time of year. Because I knew that the sermons or writings of Episcopal ministers would become especially difficult to listen to or to read. Frank Griswold illustrates why:
With each season of the church year we are given a particular lens for looking at the patterns of our lives. Wilderness is a theme of the Lenten season, and a symbol of the in-between place in which we find ourselves from time to time: a place between endings and beginnings, between the shift in consciousness which shatters an old pattern and the emergence of a new way of perceiving and being. Lent can take us to the wilderness and remind us that our lives are made up of multiple moments of leaving and arriving, of yearning and fulfillment, of losing and finding, of dying and rising.
If you are fluent in Frankspeak, you already know where the PrezBish is going with this piece. If you're not, the key phrase here is, "the shift in consciousness which shatters an old pattern and the emergence of a new way of perceiving and being." Given the traditional Episcopal homiletical habit of making a point very early and then repeating it over and over, you'll encounter this idea several more times.
Set free from slavery in Egypt, the children of Israel traveled for 40 years through the wilderness in order to be made ready to enter the promised land, which was not only a place but a new way of knowing who they were as the people of God. And Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. After having been pierced with an overwhelming awareness of being the son of God, he has to struggle within himself about the consequences of his belovedness.
WHAT?!! Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness struggling "within himself about the consequences of his belovedness?!!" What on earth does "struggle within himself about the consequences of his belovedness" even mean, Frank? I don't remember ever having any inner struggle over the fact that my mom liked me. I have asked you to please stop writing like that....

Is conservatism just foot-dragging? @ Turnabout:

A wholesale objection to conservatism is that things have always changed, conservatives have always objected to changes, and the way things are now is obviously better — as even conservatives agree.
An obvious rejoinder is that there’s always a lot more stability than change, and a lot of radical initiatives have ended in catastrophe. There’s no conservatism that consists in opposing all change. Everyone has something he wants to change, and everyone’s willing to let some things happen. There’s a generic conservatism, attachment to inherited goods and connections, that’s simply a requirement of sanity. There’s also conservatism as a self-conscious tendency, rejection of the Enlightenment project of remaking the world in accordance with human wishes, technology, and the logic of simple concepts. After the disasters of 20th century radicalism it should be obvious that some degree of philosophical conservatism is necessary for political sanity as well....

Fascinating discussion going on below @ Catholic and Enjoying It!:

One of my gay readers on this thread, trying desperately to say, "Don't stand so close to me" to a pedophilia propagandist who is copying word for word from the Gay Agitprop Playbook, tries the "consent" ploy.
The arguments may sound the same but the pedophilia argument is false. Why? Children and consent. Both homosexuality and pedophilia may be sins, but the former can be legal while the latter can remain illegal.
Children, we are informed, are incapable of "consent". Oh, and besides, it's against the law.
Of course, children are, in fact, capable of all sorts of consent to all sorts of things. And, of course, laws can be changed (sort of like when a court decides by fiat that gay marriage is suddenly "the law")....

Insanity @ (emphasis in original):

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke to the Union-Tribune editorial board earlier this month, and a Q&A summary of the interview is available here.
There should be no surprise, but the interview contains some whoppers. My favorite (and by that I mean alarming) has to do with North Korea....

Sexual Corruption @ Dust in the Light:

In part because of a blog post by Oswald Sobrino, I've been thinking about the spiritual consequences of sex. Specifically, I mean the mirror attitudes that "it's just sex" and that sex can be spiritually rewarding, from which often follows the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church (among other prudes) makes way too much of it.
Certainly, one could argue that the Church only seems to elevate it above many other sins because it is an area in which religious tradition jars painfully against modern mores. In our times, particularly, sex happens to be an activity that people seem inclined to defend, even at the expense of faith. It is often clear, at least to me, where those who most strenuously argue that the Church should change its teachings have become perfect examples, themselves, of the reason it should not. Their religion has become more of a New Age naturalism, and when they refer to the spiritual benefits of sex, they're more likely to characterize it as a gift of "our nature" than of God — even if they believe themselves to be devoted Christians.
Explication of this corruption of faith, however, is of limited utility in a world so far gone. Moreover, even I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that the government ought to legislate explicitly so as to diminish neo-paganism. It is a blessing, therefore, that we for whom that actually is a goal find the very same corruption at work in a more social context.
The stages that follow overlap, within an individual and across society. To the extent that they represent a continuous trend, they won't all take the same amount of time to resolve to the next step. But I think the list gives some sort of structure to the logical progression of sexual corruption....

A Lenten Reading/Prayer/Fasting Program @ Recta Ratio:

I've been threatening this one for a while. Well, I've finally put it together. Maybe reading it can be one of your lenten sacrifices this year.
Lent is a time for heightened commitment to doing what we can to resolve our sinfulness and come closer to salvation. It is a time, first to recognize our sinfulness, second to make amends as best we can, and third to confess those sins and be free of them before Easter starts.
We have a dramatic gesture at the start of Lent, the ashes smeared on the forehead with the reminder that we humans are dust, and that we will return to dust. And Lent ends with the death and burial of the Lord and us "creeping to the cross" to venerate it. In that act, we symbolically enter into the Lord's death and burial. And then life begins anew with Easter.
The Church prescribes certain minimalistic gestures of lenten sacrifice to prepare oneself. The current regulations stipulate fasting (defined as a single meal and two small "snacks" during the day) and abstinence (from meat) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat (as all the Fridays of the year used to be. Once should confess one's sins in order to make a good Communion for Easter. One must attend Mass on all the Sundays of Lent. One should give alms, and Operation Ricebowl is the encouraged medium. And there you have what the Church currently demands of us for Lent. Pretty light. Almost pathetically light and undemanding, isn't it?...

Words mean things @

One of the arguments against the creation of gay marriage is that you can’t just re-define things to suit your preference. Marriage, is by definition, a union between a man and a woman (although historically, it has included one man and multiple women). You cannot call a union between two men or two women a marriage any more than I can validly call a rock a plant.
The problem with this argument is that we’ve already surrendered it on much more fundamental matters. For example, a guy or gal gets a sex change operation and everybody now calls them by the opposite sex. A local firefighter is being hailed as the “first” woman on the force because a guy changed his plumbing. If I were a woman, I’d be offended that he gets to claim being the “first” woman. The problem is that whatever outward changes you make, a guy still has X and Y chromosomes and a woman still has X-X chromosomes. And even if, in the far future, they develop technology to change that, ontologically, in your very being, you are what you are. But that doesn’t matter to our society. Now these guys in women’s clothes — sometimes even without having operations — get to walk into ladies bathrooms and fitting rooms and nobody’s supposed to care. Yet where is the outcry over this?
Shouldn’t we be at least as concerned at the damage done to society by undermining the essence of our being as we are concerned at the damage to be done by same-sex unions?...

P.S. See also Blogworthies III and Blogworthies V.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sat. 02/28/04 05:52:03 PM
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