Saturday, April 09, 2005

Web Roundup

Lee Shelton with a nice post on the idolatry of state-worship. Lee writes:

Statism, simply put, is worship of the state (i.e., government), and in this country the federal government reigns supreme. No Christian will acknowledge that he or she worships the state, but that is in a sense what’s happening, if even on a subconscious level.

Symptoms of this were evident during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Many Christian voters saw George W. Bush not as the “lesser of two evils,” but as one who was chosen by God as “the right man at the right time for the right purpose.” Sure, he wasn’t the paragon of conservatism some had hoped for, but he was a professing Christian, and that alone meant that we owed him our devotion.

Then, of course, there was the outpouring of Christian support for the war in Iraq. Despite the fact that Saddam Hussein never once attacked us and posed no threat to our security, evangelicals from all across the fruited plain cried out for blood. The state had been exalted to such a lofty position that those Christians who dared to speak out against the war on moral and constitutional grounds were considered anti-American at best, treasonous at worst.

In an attempt to drum up as much support as possible for military action against Hussein, “conservative” publications and websites ran countless articles that tried to equate the Christian worldview with American foreign policy. We also heard from religious leaders like Jerry Falwell who tried to convince us that “God is pro-war” and that one of the duties of the church “is to stop the spread of evil, even at the cost of human lives.”

So, George W. Bush, a man chosen by God, was simply doing his Christian duty when he invaded Iraq. We therefore have no right to question his actions or motives. It’s as if the Old Testament example of King Saul no longer has any significance for us today.

Fellow Christian, are you a war monger? Take this test and see.

TV turns kids into bullies.

Is the Iraqi insurgency on the run, or is it evolving? I think Lind is correct, "For America to win in Iraq, it has to leave behind a real state. Further, that state must not be an enemy to America. The chance of meeting just the second requirement is small, given the Iraqi people’s resentment toward the occupation and the strongly Islamic character of any likely new regime. It is improbable that we will meet the first requirement either. We may leave behind us the form of a state – a capital, a parliament, a government, etc. – but in most of the country, the real power will remain where it is now, in the hands of armed elements operating outside the state. That is true whether we defeat "the insurgency" or not."

In yet another fantastic column, Paul Craig Roberts asks, "Whither America?"

While acknowledging that the pope was in many ways a great man, Joe Sobran wonders if the pontificate was a success for orthodox Catholics.

The maladies that have infected the Church since the Second Vatican Council (at which he was an enthusiastic participant) haven’t been remedied — liturgical corruption, low Mass attendance, poor Catholic education, errant bishops, heretical theologians.

And one of the worst scandals in Catholic history erupted on his watch: the revelation that homosexual priests had been abusing boys. This was a natural result of the homosexual domination of American (and possibly other) Catholic seminaries that had been increasing since the 1960s, well before John Paul’s papacy; but he seemed to have had no clue that it was going on and hardly to have believed it when he learned. That doesn’t speak well for his supervision.

This writer says that the US has a plan to militarily support armed militias to prevent a clerical-driven religious regime in Iraq.

I hadn't heard that John Attarian passed away on New Year's Eve. I've just been reading his demoltion of Stephen Moore and other immigration enthusiasts who make the audacious claim that more immigration could save Socialist Insecurity. I've also seen Attarian published over the years in The Occidental Quarterly, Modern Age, and Chronicles. He will be missed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darrell,

I stopped reading Joe Sobran's stuff about a year ago. About the time of the Martin Luther King holiday last year, Sobran ran a piece at the Lew Rockwell site that came about as close to employing the old, racist expression, "all niggers got rhythym" as it would have been possible to come. I complained to Rockwell at the time, asking him if he shared those kinds of sentiments and if he didn't to remove the offending article. I got an evasive, non-answer in reply. Perhaps Rockwell was too busy trying to bring victory for the Confederacy out of the battle of Vickburg to have considered the bad manners in this case, God knows. But he lost whatever chance he had at earning my respect with that one, believe me.

Setting aside for a moment his remarks about homosexual priests, Sobran's expectations of the John Paul II Papacy are those of the typical, Wanderer Catholic. In such environments there exists a mistaken, rather dreamy vision of the nature of papal relations with diocesan bishops. Here the Pope is seen as a kind of monarch with collegiality a substanceless detail. The naivete of this vision is stupifying. Likewise is much of what is reported as abuses of the liturgy. The latitude of priests in dealing with the details of the Mass is now quite considerably more than what it once was. Much of what might appear to be non-responsiveness on the part of the Vatican respecting abuses can be explained in just these terms as Joseph Ratzinger has indicated on at least one occasion. But what is frequently ignored by Catholics of Sobran's stripe is that the entire foundation for what once served as a rationale for the wholesale breach of clearly established standards, specifically a one sided preference for the "pastoral" expressed by a so-called "spirit of the Council", was exposed precisely for what it was, one-sided, and corrected most decisively at the 1985 Synod. The Synod's implementation admittedly is taking time, but it hardly can be denied that it's effect already can be felt. To pillory John Paul II's papacy for a failure to deal with abuses of the liturgy is egregiously unfair.

I do, however, have agreement with Sobran on the essentials of his complaint about homosexuality in the seminaries and it's most unfortunate expression in the recent public, sexual abuse scandals. Noted was a decided peevishness, even in Rome, in addressing the question. While the abuses were acknowledged and deplored by the Vatican, one could not fail to detect in certain statements - one by Joseph Ratzinger, for example - a curious tendancy to rather quickly shift attention to the matter of false charges and the need to protect the innocent. It would seem to me quite unnecessary to raise such a point in the teeth of the dimensions of this scandal.

As for Paul Craig Roberts, some of the very best analysis available today.

John Lowell

1:40 AM  
Blogger Darrell said...

In his latest column, Pat Buchanan enumerates a list of maladies currently afflicting the church. I think his assessment is similar to Sobran's.

Just as an aside, I've never thought that Sobran's views on race, such as they are, represent thinking outside of the mainstream.

On the abuse scandal, it is clear from my vantage point that the heart of the problem is the unwillingness of the church to come to terms with the pinkifying of its clergy--if I may put it a bit crassly.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darrell,

Yes, I saw Buchanan's assessment and it is, indeed, much the same as Sobran's.

As you might have noted in my earlier comment, my complaint with Wanderer Catholicism is it's largely emotional expectation that the Church ought somehow to recover the institutional and cultural presence it had attained in the 1950's. What is frequently overlooked by the Buchanans and Sobrans, of course, is the fact that much of this presence was achieved as a consequence of a certain defensive insularity adopted in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Also missing from this assessment is an acknowledgement that the Church was already in the process of profound change by the time the Second Vatican Council was convened. The Council simply acknowledged tendencies in motion in many instances. One notes with Buchanan particularly a decided petulance, a stubborn refusal to accept that we have passed from the Counter Reformation into something else, that the structures present in the 1950's were far too brittle to endure the rigors of the present day, and that the Holy Spirit just might have had a hand in the determination of the Church's present course. The sum and substance of their complaints is that the Church is no longer what it once was and and that to go forward we must go back. This view is neither well informed nor persuasive. But then again Sobran and Buchanan are commentators, not theologians or historians, although I believe Buchanan frequently imagines himself to be an historian.

As regards the problem of homosexuality in the seminaries, when we speak of an unwillingness on the part of the Church to deal with the question I think it's quite important additionally to identify who it is that we're criticising. Are we speaking of an unwillingness on the part of the Vatican, of a particular Bishops' Conference, perhaps, or a local ordinary? Who, precisely, is meant by the word "Church" in this instance? By far and away, your comments are most fairly addressed to the USCCB, it seems to me, but not in any way to Rome. An emerging, assertive priestly homosexuality is, as you might expect, almost entirely a problem of the Western Church. Third World seminaries would seem exempt, happily. It would be hard for me not to see the Lord at work in the unfolding of this abuse crisis, Darrell. Who was it, St. Anselm who spoke of a sin "most felicitous"?


John Lowell

1:53 AM  

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