Wednesday, April 30, 2014

waterboard bong hits for Jesus

*sigh* where to begin...falling down the logic tree, hitting every branch as we go....

Sarah Palin equates water-boarding with baptism.  <<cue the AFLAC duck>>

Now before any more, confession time:  I voted for McCain/Palin in 2008.  I don't regret the choice of McCain for president, but Palin?  You betcha.  She demonstrated her inability to provide executive-branch leadership when she resigned her office as Alaska's governor prior to completing her first term.  Since then she glorified in her self-lit spotlight (to quote Collective Soul's great song), calling Pope Francis a liberal among other questionable statements.  (Earlier SD assessment here)  Write it off as ignorance or whatever, but this time her words now place her beyond the pale of Christian discourse.  "Waterboarding is baptism" ranks up there with double-speak classics like "We had to destroy this village in order to save it." 

OTOH, Palin used to be helpful when it came to uncovering the violent antipathies of the feminist Left.  Holy Cow, is there anybody they hate more?  At one level I get it;  Amanda Marcotte says and writes some awful things, but it's also clear that Marcotte also gins up her rhetoric to ignite controversy.  Palin, well, at least early on it seemed that she was hated for being herself.

Back to baptizing through torture:  absolutely not.  I'd ask "Who came up with that awful idea?" but, as indicated above, there are plenty reading to point fingers.  And as Rod Dreher shows, there are plenty of other Christians reading and willing to administer the sacrament.  Deacon Greg Kandra compiles the appropriate church documents here.  Among everything else helpful here, I appreciate Deacon Greg's citation of St John Paul II's Veritatis Splendor (1993) which in turn...cites Gaudium et Spes 27 !!! (see footnote #132)  #gospeloflife #consistentlifeethic Even waterboarding, which it seems tries actually to circumvent the criticisms of torture by leaving no lasting physical damage, nevertheless remains torture.  The momentary pain and panic it relies upon deny the Creator's handiwork in the person being tortured.  Furthermore, the torturer thus casts himself as God-like and possibly even replaces God with himself. 

Spiritual Diabetes sales pitch:  If you accept that argument, have you seen what we offering in regard to abortion? Or capital punishment?  These work on the same principles and since you accept in one location, why not all?  All three deny the intrinsic dignity of the human person. Thus the Church acknowledges the Gospel standing apart from both extremes--Palin and Marcotte--and anybody else using "life" to obscure, excuse, and even praise various kinds of violence.

But then there's this:  Jeremy Lott muses that U. S. Catholic bishops should  support marijuana legalization.  I know. I had to reread that a couple times myself.

Lott uses, you guessed it,  the gospel-of-life rhetoric.  Legalizing pot fosters a more just social order and thus peace...and isn't that what you Catholic types want????

Violence also ought to be considered, since peace is prized by the Catholic religion and, lately, by Pope Francis. Pot itself does not inspire much mayhem. The violence comes with armed arguments between illegal drug dealers and users. Legalize, regulate, bring pot out of the shadows and much of that conflict evaporates.

"Catholic religion" and Pope Francis.  Wow, there's a lot of room underneath that circus tent. Some of this must come from our current social media situation wherein brevity and blunt hacking has replaced considerate and lengthy dialogue/responses.  Rod Dreher weighs in here on the problems with Twitter-theology.  Lott's simplistic argument recalls Palin's equally simplistic--and far more violent--waterboard/baptism comment.  Dreher, once a Catholic now Orthodox, makes a good ecumenical point.  The authentic discussion of these issues requires more deliberation and appreciation for complexity than our current age will admit or allow.

But we must try.  Lott's breezy use of Catholic social justice also recalls Marcotte's equally breezy dismissal of pro-life arguments as thoroughly unworthy.  Both of them want something and it's in that wanting that the spiritually diabetic condition wrecks so much havoc.  Abortion and drug usage hurts people;  there's no getting around it.  But we don't want to hear that.  Instead the Lotts and Marcottes concoct elaborate, tasty, and pleasurable diversions. And just as combating diabetes requires a long-range plan of revamped diet and exercise, spiritual diabetes can be halted only with renewed efforts and awareness of our spiritual consumptions and revitalized spiritual activity.

In other words, it takes time and effort to resist the temptations and the sort of 'workout plans' offered by the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.  And, of course, God's grace--which comes freely...and mercifully.

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