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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

God Bless the U.S. Military

Another shameless plug by Yours Truly! Congress had wisdom on this one (the body listened to military doctors): http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=57127. Here is a link to pass on to supporters of those good men and women in uniform. Send them a couple of bucks if you can and enjoy the site--it has wonderful material. (Thursday will be drooling!) www.catholicmil.org

A toast to the only Constitutional government program: The U.S. Military!!!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 2:54 PM. |

Monday, May 30, 2005

I Wonder if Planned Parenthood Cares Enough About Women...

...to tell them about this. Does it mean less money for PP? Then my guess is...fat chance. Apparently, women on the pill risk permanent loss of libido. Well, if they won't quit because it's an abortifacient, maybe they will for this reason.

Fumed by Ryder at 4:00 AM. |

France and the EU

This Washington Post article, linked from Drudge, has an interesting quote by an anti-constitution reveler:
"There is no more constitution," leading opponent Philippe de Villiers said. "It is necessary to reconstruct Europe on other foundations that don't currently exist."
Memo to the Eldest Daughter of the Church: How about Christianity?

Fumed by Ryder at 2:27 AM. |

Sunday, May 29, 2005

But Does He Get Overtime Pay?

Interesting article that Drudge just linked to. This guy has a great job. I'm sure he works his arse off, but...what a wonderful experience in the process! Great sense of humor, too. Jenna's loss.

Fumed by Ryder at 10:42 PM. |

Abolish the bar exam?

I thought this was from a recent law school graduate who has become cynical while pondering the next two months of his life. To my surprise, I discovered it was written by a professor at GWU Law School.

Fumed by Phidippides at 5:09 PM. |

Tribe flies when you're having fun

Legal Times has a story ("Laurence Tribe's Big Surprise") about the liberal Harvard law professor's decision not to finish his most recent con law treatise. Among the reasons for his turn is the "combative conservatism that he sees dominating the legal landscape."

Wow.....to hear the words "conservatism", "dominating", and "legal" in the same sentence, someone must have really messed up somewhere.

Fumed by Phidippides at 1:34 PM. |

Friday, May 27, 2005

Off to a good start.

It looks as if our German Shepard is off to a good start. The heads are starting to roll!!!

Fumed by Thursday at 9:15 AM. |

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Why I am not a Republican

You know something is fishy when the democratic leadership in the senate has nothing but praise for a "bipartisan" deal in the Senate. Such is the stench coming from the "compromise" by a group of fourteen "moderate" senators over the threat to send the obstructionist democrats packing on their filibusters of judicial nominees. Believe me, we will see an "extraordinary circumstances" filibuster when the next decent judicial candidate comes down the pike. Why any attorney with a modicum of intelligence would be willing to endure the "advice and consent" of the senate just to sit on the federal bench these days is beyond me. More reason to have Congress abolish the lower federal courts and allow state courts to be the courts of first instance in this country.

For the record, and this was not easy to find in a world where media outlets seldom report simple facts, the seven republicans who crossed the line on this deal are Sens. Chafee, Collins, DeWine, Graham, McCain, Snowe, and Warner. This is enough to merit the Tom Daschle treatment when each is next up for reelection.

What galls me most is that the dems paid no price for the filibuster. Filibusters are now free passes--a senator doesn't really have to tie up senate business indefinitely. A senator simply needs to threaten to do so, and the issue dies. Are there no parliamentarians left in the senate?

Fumed by Devil's Advocate at 9:50 AM. |

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Virtue of War

The Virtue of War is a much needed explicatio of a Christian perspective on war. I first heard mention of this book when it came out a year ago and have since enjoyed reading it. Fr. James Schall, S.J. gives a wonderful review of the book's contents at the link above. Most important to the current debate is the philosophical, theological and historical perspective the book gives on Christian just war thought. It takes specific aim at the pacifistic tendencies that have crept into the U.S. Bishops' (and dare I say the Vatican's) theological debate. I think that this is a significant contribution to the modern discussion of war and peace and it provides much needed intellectual common-sense to the issue.

This is one of those books that is timely because the principles enunciated are timeless. It is appropriate for an honest appraisal of the current conflict as well as future conflicts that may arise.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 3:18 PM. |

Friday, May 20, 2005

So, why are you against using embryonic stem cells?

You really need to read this. It's blogged by a medical student and alumnus of That Anonymous College, home for four years to several Fumare contributors and in many ways a fellow traveller with my own alma mater: that Catholic College in the Shenandoah Valley. If you've ever been unsteady in speaking about the dangers of embryonic stem cell research (or any medical endeavor that destroys or risks destroying life in the process), this article will help you. While you're at it, read this too.

Fumed by Ryder at 3:54 PM. |

Levada, Part II

A friend of mine in Rome sent this forward from a very thoughtful scholar. For your perusal...maybe some room for hope.

I have been able to chase up a little more data regarding Archbishop William Levada's views on infallibility. It appears a retraction is in order to what I said to you in yesterday's circular e-mail. Now that he is Pro-Prefect of the CDF it is particularly important that inaccurate versions of his theological views are not circulated. I said there that his doctoral thesis at the Gregorian denied that the Church can teach specific moral norms infallibly. Actually he doesn't go that far. His doctoral thesis was entitled "Infallible Church Magisterium and the Natural Moral Law" (Rome: Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, Facultas Theologiae, 1971). The thesis explores the history of Vatican I's teaching on infallibility and argues that when the Council speaks of "faith and morals" ("fides et mores"), this "is an expression used as an equivalent to 'deposit of faith'" - in other words, REVEALED truth (Levada, p. 48). What he argues is that specific norms of the NATURAL moral law cannot, as such,be taught infallibly by the magisterium (although they can be taught"authentically", i.e., with less than an absolute guarantee of truth). However, Levada also recognizes that Vatican I emphasizes tbe"depositum fidei as the object of infallibility (while carefully not excluding the secondary object, which itself is defined by its 'relationship' or connection to the deposit" (Levada, p. 48). This is in fact the doctrine of the new Catechism (#2035), of the CDF Instruction"Mysterium Ecclesiae" of 1973, and of John Paul II's Motu Proprio "Ad Tuendam Fidem" of 1998 with the accompanying "Doctrinal Note" by Cardinal Ratzinger. This note points out that infallibility is not limited to what is strictly revealed (i.e., PART OF the deposit of faith), but extends also to other truths closely linked (logically or practically) to the said deposit, and which are thus necessary for guarding and expounding it correctly.

Now, of course: (a) many specific norms of the natural moral law are in any case ALSO part of divine revelation - most obviously the Ten Commandments. Also, the immorality of homosexual acts, among other things, is expliciitly taught in Scripture. While I don't have access to Levada's full thesis (only the above two quotations from it taken from another article), there seems no reason to suppose that Levada would deny that such moral norms - being at the same time both naturally knowable and revealed -can be and are in fact taught infallibly by the Magisterium. (b) Even if certain other natural law norms are not strictly PART OF the deposit of faith (thus belonging to the PRIMARY object of infallibility), they may still very well be among those truths closely linked to the deposit, and so qualify as potential infallible teachings of the magisterium on that basis (belonging to the SECONDARY object). Since Levada also recognizes that Vatican I was "careful" not to exclude such truths from the scope of infallibility, he presumably assents to the Church's doctrine on that score. Would the natural law norm against contraception be a concrete case of (b) above? I personally have argued (in the "Homiletic & PastoralReview", December 1998 - 1996? 1997? - can't remember now!) for the traditional exegesis of Genesis 38, 8-10, upheld by Pius XI in Casti Connubii. According to this reading of Genesis, the norm against contraceptive practices is taught in Scripture and so is actually part of revealed truth. But even prescinding from that biblical passage, I would argue that the norm is strictly bound up with other revealed teaching on sexuality and marriage, and so would still qualify as a potential (secondary) object of an infallible magisterial teaching, even if natural law norms AS SUCH cannot (as Levada maintains) be taught infallibly. To take a simple example of this "slippery slope": if condoms are morally acceptable, why not mutual masturbation between husband and wife? And if that's O.K., why not marital sodomy? And if sodomy is O.K. between man and woman, why not between man and man? This last, of course, is explicitly condemned in Scripture, so that the condemnation of homosexual acts is PART OF the deposit of faith. In other words, in order to "guard and expound "correctly the revealed truth against homosexual acts, one logically and practically has to maintain that ANY form of attaining sexual satisfaction other than the natural, procreative-TYPE act which defines marriage, is objectively immoral.

Anyway, to sum up: the only information available to me about Levada's views at this stage is that he would deny the possibility of an infallible Church teaching ONLY for those specific norms of natural law which are NEITHER revealed themselves NOR necessary for guarding and expounding revealed truth. That is, natural moral norms which do not belong by another title either to the primary or the secondary objects of infallibility recognized already by the Catholic magisterium. And how many norms of that sort would there really be? Few, I suspect. So if that's Levada's position, it looks pretty harmless to me, and seems a legitimate theological opinion.

On the other hand, Archbishop Levada has been a McCarrick supporter inregard to Communion for pro-abort politicians - he never said he would deny it to them. Presumably the Holy Father knows this, which would indicate that he too is backing off somewhat on that issue - as he already seemed to do after McCarrick manipulated his letter last year. Levada's appointment could also be seen as a rebuff to Cardinal Arinze, who made it very clear last year that public and persistent "pro-choicers" definitely should be denied Communion. Those campaigning against sexual abuse of minors are also claiming that Levada's track record has been "abysmal" in terms of uncooperativeness with victims and civil authorities. We'll see.

Because of the other issue mentioned in my previous e-mail, as well as those raised in the above paragraph, I still see no cause at all for enthusiasm over this appointment.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:50 AM. |

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Our first blogroll!

Fellow fumaristi: Take your browsers on over to the informative and uplifting blogspace of Jay Anderson, Esq.: Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate. Jay is the first I'm aware of to herald our young entry into the blogosphere with our very own entry on his blogroll. He's also walking the talk by serving as mayor of Columbia, VA (the smallest incorporated town in the state of Virginia). Thanks, Jay, and welcome to Fumare. Take your coat off and stay a while. We'll reciprocate once our own list is posted.

Fumed by Ryder at 6:10 PM. |

Jedi Relativism Revisited

I had the pleasure of seeing a midnight showing of Star Wars. I think the accusation of political motive in Vader's remarks "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy" is a bit overwrought, although I've not researched the matter (has Lucas gone on record with this?).

More to the point, though, is that yesterday's Gospel, May 18, technically the day before the official opening of the last of these iconic films, is the one with the eerie similarity: "For whoever is not against us is for us." Mk 9:40. I'll never believe that Lucas planned that coincidence.

This is right up there with the similarity of the readings on March 2, 2005, the day that the Supreme Court heard oral argument on the Ten Commandments cases ("'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" Mt. 5:17-19. Better yet, same day, ". . . what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today? 'However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children's children.'" Dt. 4:8-9.)

How about on "Black Monday," October 19, 1987, the day the stock market crashed ("'Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions.'" Lk. 12:13-21.)

Click here to be able to look up scripture readings proper to any day.

There must be more of these . . . who says that God does not speak to us?

Fumed by Devil's Advocate at 9:50 AM. |

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Just because a people expects or even demands sensitivity towards their religion does not mean that they hold the general principle that sincere, peaceful religions must be respected, a principle which stems from the notion that true religion can only take root from the free, natural formation of the conscience. Indeed, all that really follows from such a demand is that those making the demand think that their religion is worthy of pious reverence. Such is the case of the Muslims who rioted and called for a holy war over the erroneous report of the mistreatment of the Koran by U.S. interrogators, probably the same Muslims who used of the Bible as toilet paper. Do Muslims truly believe in religious freedom, or do they just take advantage of the generosity of Christian and former Christian nations? After all, only in Muslims nations, is it illegal to practice Christianity. If Muslims truly believe in religious freedom, not just the freedom to practice Islam, then they should proclaim so publicly and make at least some effort to stop the so-called extremists among them--or perhaps we need to just wake up and revive the grand S.M.O.M.

Fumed by Thursday at 9:45 PM. |

Finally, someone is saying it.

Read it.

Fumed by Thursday at 1:15 PM. |

Monday, May 16, 2005

Genius amongst us.

Gentlemen, we have a candle in our midsts that is brighter than the normal dull bulbs I see. Ryder got a 171 on the multistate. Sure, it was his second bar exam, but his first state doesn't tell you your score if you pass. How about a round of applause?

Fumed by Thursday at 8:41 PM. |

By the Case.

SCOTUSBlog has the story on the High Court's nullification of laws that ban the direct sale of wine to in-state customers by out-of-state wineries, yet permit the direct sale of wine by in-state wineries.

The Court said there was now a "patchwork of laws," with some states banning direct shipments altogether, others doing so only for out-of-state wines, and still others requiring reciprocity." This array of laws, it added, "is essentially the product of an ongoing, low-level trade war."

The decision -- the only ruling on the merits Monday -- specifically nullified laws in Michigan and New York. "It is evident that the object and design of the Michigan and New York statutes is to grant in-state wineries a competitive advantage over wineries located beyond the states' borders," since those laws allow in-state wineries to deliver their goods directly to consumers, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. "This discrimination substantially limits the direct sale of wine to consumers, an otherwise emerging and significant business."

In related news, the Charles Shaw winery is thrilled by the court's decision. Harvey Posert, the company's spokesman, said "We're considering changing the name of our popular product, Two Buck Chuck, to One Buck Chuck, or Fiddy Cent Firewater, depending on the effect the court's decision has on the market."

Fumed by Thursday at 5:03 PM. |

Darth Levada as CDF Head?

Was anyone else as surprised as I was at this development? I recall several years back, when the issue of homosexual unions and legal benefits was before the NCCB Fall Meeting, Levada made some rather disturbing comments. I have full faith in Benedict, but this one will be interesting to watch.

Left-coasters, what are your takes?

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:20 PM. |

The Dictatorship of Jedi Relativism

Say it isn't so! Conservative advance viewers have been grumbling about the following exchange from Episode III for a week, and now the Gray Lady is hailing the dialog as a return to political action. Eh? Read on...
At one point, Darth Vader, already deep in the thrall of the dark side and echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." Obi-Wan's response is likely to surface as a bumper sticker during the next election campaign: "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes." You may applaud this editorializing, or you may find it overwrought, but give Mr. Lucas his due. For decades he has been blamed (unjustly) for helping to lead American movies away from their early-70's engagement with political matters, and he deserves credit for trying to bring them back.
Lucas, not one to let a page of crappy script go unfilmed, just couldn't help himself. "What a funny not-so-inside joke," he must have thought as he hunched over his desk eeking out his obligatory 3 pages of script per day. "I'll insert my ingnorant take on politics and my disdain for the leader of the free world, and put his words in the mouth of Vader himself...hee hee hee...." [rubbing hands together gleefully. slow fade to black.]

Only a few problems come to mind: first, those aren't just W's words. They -- or something very similar -- were spoken a couple of thousand years earlier by a far more righteous Brother (cf. Mt:12:30, Lk:11:23), and -- particularly as he approaches senior citizen status -- Lucas would do well not to insult his Creator and Redeemer. Also important is the context in which this exchange occurs. Lucas has Anakin/Vader state this truth and then shoots it down via Obi Wan Kenobi. Despite Sir Alec Guinness' splendid performance in the real Star Wars, the younger Kenobi is a man with significant flaws in the judgment department. One might fairly say that it is not until later, when an older Obi Wan and his young protégé Luke are faced with the option to take up the rebel standard and lead the fight of Good vs. Evil, that the error of Obi Wan's words must dawn upon him....

No, it is not only Sith who think in absolutes, but to the extent the Sith do think this, they are correct.

Fumed by Ryder at 12:01 AM. |

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Christianity and Islam

It's understandable that Muslims would be deeply offended by a claim that a copy of the Koran was flushed down a toilet. But what's amazing are the riots and deaths resulting from this bogus Newsweek report, or that Afghan clerics would "call for a holy war against the United States in three days unless it handed over the interrogators in question."

If we heard that members of Al Qaeda flushed a copy of the Bible down the toilet to make a hostage speak, what would the response in the United States be?

Fumed by Phidippides at 3:28 PM. |

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fr. Reese was only one of many.

Did you see this press clipping?

ROME (AP) April 20. All belts, shoelaces, and razor blades have been taken away from the city's 200-odd Jesuits this evening as consequence of the election of Pope Benedict XVI, and fully a third are under heavy sedation, according to sources inside the Vatican's Santo Spirito Hospital. "We thought it was only prudent, in view of > the Holy Father's association with the document Dominus Iesus," admitted Sister Stanislava Mruk, infirmarian at the Pontifical Gregorian University, "and besides, all our Valium was used up by Tuesday dinnertime. Tragically, the precautions were introduced too late for some. "It looks like someone dropped a couple pans of mostaccioli on the Piazza della Pilotta," said Fr. Paul Mackowsky, sub-refectorian at the Jesuit Biblical Institute (locally known as the "Orientale"), "But in fact, it turns out the Rembert Weakland Professor of Catholic Social Thought took a header off the roof of the Greg. His valet too." Neighbors expressed concerns about parking and traffic disruption as a result of the deaths. Health professionals are investigating the use of aromatherapy in facilitating "the healing process."

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 3:50 PM. |

Aliens can be judges too.

Fumed by Thursday at 2:03 PM. |

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

"Man of the Beatitudes"

Fumed by Thursday at 8:48 PM. |

Habeas Corpus

Normally habeas corpus petitions are a nothing more than an exercise in desperation and frivolity. Here, however, is an interesting story that reminds you of why the writ it needed. It's unfortunate that this particular petitioner was unsuccessful.

Fumed by Thursday at 3:25 PM. |

See? B.S. News

The Indianapolis Star and others have reported on Ken Starr's soundbyte on CBS News, wherein Starr apparently called the plan to change the rules on filibusters a "radical, radical departure from our history and our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government."

Rush Limbaugh today reported that Starr's comment was apparently taken out of context. According to Limbaugh's program, Starr actually made the above comment in describing the act of filibustering judicial nominees on the Senate floor. If true, it would be nice to see Starr take CBS to task, if not to court, for such contemptuous work.

Fumed by Devil's Advocate at 2:15 PM. |

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Close Enough : A movie review.

Here is an interesting review of the movie Closer (2004) by Matthew Lickona, author of Swimming with Scapulars and TAC alumnus. He was disappointed in the movie because he never believed that the characters were ever really in love with each other, which coincidentally, was essential to the plot.
I think he's right, but he misses the real reason the movie was lacking in artistic quality: that is because it is just one more in a long line of movies made by men who think that the exemplification (dare I say glorification?) of modern mores results in a movie about "real" people. It doesn't. It can't. Modern mores are antithetical to real, substantial persons. You cannot have a thoughtful, emotional movie about hollow, selfish, underdeveloped persons. Such people are either embarassing or revolting, and a movie entirely about them must, of necessity, be of the gritty, "harsh truth" variety. The movie cannot be thoughtful, because there is nothing worth thinking about, and the movie cannot be emotional because there is nothing to be empathic about. That is why Closer was antiseptic and unbelievable.
This contradiction is best seen in the movie Mona Lisa Smile (2003) . After Julia Roberts' character has sex with the bad boy charmer, they awake the next day to stilted conversation. He asks if he can stay and have breakfast with her, which she refuses because it is too intimate. Excuse me? At that moment she became the hooker with the "no kissing" rule. And, at that moment, every act of moral indignation by her character just became a farce.

Fumed by Thursday at 8:02 PM. |

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Paging the Holy Name Society

It seems this fellow has taken Our Lord's name in vain.

Fumed by Ryder at 11:27 AM. |

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day II

Phlogizo's post reminds me of one of my favorite images of Pope John Paul II, of happy memory. To me this image represents the paragon of filial love for -- not to mention dependence on -- our Blessed Mother...something for which each of us should strive. I don't know the copyright owner of this image in order to offer appropriate credit, but hope I've critiqued it enought to knock this into the "fair use" category.

Fumed by Ryder at 11:14 PM. |

And, isn't this ironic. . . don't you think?

Like 2,000 naked people getting their picture taken by a man named after a coat.

Fumed by Thursday at 1:42 AM. |

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Information Super Highway

For those of you who happen to reside in A2, you might like to know that Espresso Royale on Plymouth Road just installed a WiFi Hotspot, which is working splendedly. Now you can get hopped-up on caffeine and ride the light, a.k.a Al's great invention.

Fumed by Thursday at 4:56 PM. |

Friday, May 06, 2005

True Colors

The University of St. Thomas Law School has recently taken issue with an NPR "Morning Edition" report which descibed the law school as “religiously conservative law school.” In response, the law school issued this letter (May 6, 2005, 3:22 p.m. post on How Appealing, by Howard Bashman), which I quote in full:

A report on “Morning Edition” was incorrect in implying that the University of St. Thomas School of Law is a “religiously conservative law school.”

St. Thomas is a Catholic law school, and we take our religious identity seriously. For us, that does not mean pursuing political causes, but instead helping our students to integrate their religious and personal values — whatever those values may be — into their professional identities. We hope that this will lead our students to practice law ethically and use their legal training to serve their fellow human beings — particularly the most needy among us.

There is nothing politically “conservative” about our mission, and the people we have attracted prove this. The vast majority of our faculty and student body are left-of-center politically. Our faculty includes individuals who are openly gay, who support abortion rights, who oppose the death penalty, and who have worked on behalf of other “liberal” causes. We have chapters of the National Lawyers Guild and Out!law on campus, but we do not have a chapter of the American Center for Law & Justice. We are one of the few law schools in the country to require all of our students to do public service as a condition of graduation, and the American Bar Association recently singled out for praise the high number of our graduates who have taken Legal Aid and other public service jobs.

Far from being “politically conservative,” St. Thomas is striving to prove that a law school can take religion seriously without ascribing to any political agenda.

Dean Thomas M. Mengler
Dean and Ryan Chair in Law

(emphasis added).

I, myself, am leaning towards the conclusion that the letter is a hoax. I cannot believe that a dean of a law school could write such a letter loaded with obvious contradictions. He would have to be clinically, certifiably, idiotic. The school takes its religion, its CATHOLIC religion, seriously? It does not ascribe to ANY politcal agenda? I just cannot believe it. All this letter does is tell the world that the law school is not politically conservative, but liberal, and like every other political liberal, stupid. The law school is definitely not Catholic.

Fumed by Thursday at 4:45 PM. |

Interesting Blogs

For those of you who went to That Anonymous College, I thought I might point out this blog. Also noted is that that blog has a link to this blog, which, while not exactly edifying, is downright hilarious.

Fumed by Thursday at 9:07 AM. |

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Armies of Mordor: Inside the Barracks

Thursday's link to the Armies of Mordor led me to the blog "Now What: A daily blog on choice issues". Curiously enough, the first entry I came across, Give Me a "D", had far less to do with "choice issues" than it did with taking an ordinary jab at Texas Republicans. Not surprisingly, the blog mocks the Texas House's move to prohibit "suggestive cheerleading" at state high schools, which (according to Dem. Rep. Al Edwards) can lead to pregnancies, STDs, etc. The entry goes:

Are you freaking kidding me? They don't have better things to do in Texas -- like, say, call for the impeachment of Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)-- legislators there need to shake their groove things in opposition to cheerleading moves? Last I heard, involvement in activities like cheerleading was key in the prevention of teen pregnancy, not a leading cause of it.

It's easy to criticize the Texas legislature for getting involved with regulating cheerleading, a popular "institution" which has survived multiple generations and is identified so closely with American sports. And, yes, it's easy to criticize a crack down on suggestive cheerleading if its rationale is only to cutdown on teenage pregnancies and other sexual social problems, since the connection sounds tenuous - even if it may very well exist.

But regardless of any connection to teenage pregnancy that suggestive cheerleading may have, or whether legislative action is appropriate (rather than executive enforcement of rules already on the books), why can't the crack down be justified merely because it's offensive? If high schools are public property, and football games are places for communities to gather and be entertained, why shouldn't cheerleaders be held to community standards of decency? I wonder how many parents like bringing their little kids to high school football games when the dance act includes something that is better suited for something you'd find at King Henry VIII (of Southgate notoriety). So often we hear the pro-abort crowd complaining that the right unfairly "forces" its values on others. But for some reason, they don't seem to have a problem when sexually-depraved "values" are "forced" on high school students and communities at large. Remember Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, where the court said that student attendance at high school football games isn't really "voluntary"? Justice Stevens' words are rather telling, even outside the context of an Establishment Clause challenge:

To assert that high school students do not feel immense social pressure, or have a truly genuine desire, to be involved in the extracurricular event that is American high school football is "formalistic in the extreme"... High school home football games are traditional gatherings of a school community; they bring together students and faculty as well as friends and family from years present and past to root for a common cause. Undoubtedly, the games are not important to some students, and they voluntarily choose not to attend. For many others, however, the choice between whether to attend these games or to risk facing a personally offensive religious ritual is in no practical sense an easy one.

So for the left, it's out with the "offensive religious rituals" at high school football games, and in with "offensive sexual rituals". I suppose, though, not all that surprising considering what goes on inside classrooms these days.

Fumed by Phidippides at 5:20 PM. |

The battle for Middle Earth, a.k.a. the Supreme Court.

The Kingdoms of Man v. The Armies of Mordor

Fumed by Thursday at 9:43 AM. |

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

One Time Only Conference?

An astute observer at MIT has realized that those in the business of time travel only need one conference.

Fumed by Devil's Advocate at 11:42 PM. |

Gentlemen, resume your auctioneering...

LifeSite is reporting that eBay has relented and will now prohibit the sale of the Blessed Sacrament on its auction site. As late as yesterday, May 2, they continued to claim the right to offend any religion they desired, and insisted that the policy would not change. An e-mail LifeSite received today, however, marks such a change:
We have concluded that sales of the Eucharist, and similar highly sacred items, are not appropriate on eBay. We have, therefore, broadened our policies and will remove those types of listings should they appear on the site in the future.
No word on what other "sacred items" will be banned. If you e-mailed eBay about this, I'd recommend one last e-mail to them thanking them, and encouraging them to include 1st class relics in their ban. Since these are body parts they should already be on eBay's list of verbotten items, but it wouldn't hurt to mention them. As for eBay, let the company know that we are sincere when we say that we'll be back when they change their policy.

Fumed by Ryder at 6:09 PM. |

Monday, May 02, 2005

Abortion politics

So are the Democrats finally coming around with their latest accommodation of a "pro-life" piece of legislation? This attempt, headed by the Democrats For Life aims to "reduce 95% of abortions in 10 years". Not bad, minus the part about "contraception equity" (which signifies a fundamental disrespect for the human person that will perpetuate other social problems). But the political effects the program would have on the major parties could be significant. According to the story:
Since election setbacks in 2004, the new Democratic chairman, Howard Dean, and 2008 presidential prospect Hillary Rodham Clinton are among those who argue that Democrats have to do more to reach out to those who oppose abortion.
Obviously, offering a bone to pro-lifers who tend to vote Republican may seduce just enough voters to tip the scales in favor of a 2008 Hillary Clinton election, which would be disastrous in any number of areas, including abortion. On the upside, however, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate would have to take a much more visible and firm position against abortion. And on a grand scale, if pro-life Democrats were realistic options in campaigns against pro-life Republicans, the pro-life vote would be sought after with greater demand. The pro-life vote wouldn't be taken for granted as it seems to be today.

Fumed by Phidippides at 6:31 PM. |

Feast of St. Athanasius

Today is the feast day of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. New Advent's Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that "Athanasius was the greatest champion of Catholic belief on the subject of the Incarnation that the Church has ever known and in his lifetime earned the characteristic title of 'Father of Orthodoxy', by which he has been distinguished ever[] since." St. Athanasius is perhaps best known for defeating Arianism at the Council of Nicaea and for his influence over the debates which ultimately resulted in a Nicene Creed that so adamantly avers the divinity of Christ. That he accomplished this even though he was only a young cleric is a testament to the movement of the Holy Spirit then present at the Council.

For his rigorous defense of the Faith, the Bishop of Nicomedia brought baseless ecclesiastical and political charges against Athanasius, of which he was eventually convicted in a kangaroo court, twice, once in the absence of emperor Constantine and once in his presence, and exiled to Treves. Two and a half years latter, Athanasius returned to Constantinople at the invitation of Constantine the Younger.

The heresy of Arianism, or the belief that Christ is merely man and not divine, is alive and doing well in this modern world, whether in the form of A&E and History Channel documentaries citing "new archeological discoveries" in an effort to refute Christ's Godhead, or the outright lies of the bestseller "The Da Vinci Code." Nevertheless, rest assured that Benedict XVI, with the sword of Tradition, will cast out the wormtongues and restore the Church's keen senses.

Fumed by Thursday at 1:00 PM. |