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No Peace in the Pantheon

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The sign reads “Beware of Religious Fundamentalists.” I first saw this warning sign on my walk from there to nowhere a few years back. It seemed then that most people fearing the fundamentalists were pot-smoking libertarians living in the free-trade district; that once-prestigious part of downtown that gave way to the sprawling fever once Americans exchanged their nationalist coffee for a free trade brew. But now these front door warning labels have become quite the trend. Books, billboards, and bumper stickers! I think I even saw a young lady with something like “Fundamentalists are Fascists” tattooed on her ankle… or was it her big toe? I am not sure anymore. What I am sure of, though, is that this new “peace in the pantheon” craze has spread like pinkeye in a culture hell-bent on giving everyone eye-to-eye butterfly kisses.

I needed to get to the bottom of this. Truth be told, I was freaking out! Most everyone in town knew I worked with Local 10:34, a Roman Catholic union named after the now-famous sword-text in St. Matthew’s gospel. If fundamentalists were scary, then we were every child’s nightmare!

We said some pretty crazy stuff, I guess. We were pretty bold, saying things like “outside the Church there is no salvation” and that the modern ecumenical movement is tantamount to institutionalized religious whoredom. Many fundies had backpedaled over the years, but not us. Benedict XVI apologized to his “Muslim brothers and sisters” after quoting Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos during his now-famous Regensburg lecture. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell both apologized for connecting the obvious dots between national immorality and national disaster. Billy Graham and Mel Gibson wept before the bright lights after being busted bad-mouthing Jewry and its Lobby. These fellas were diminished to bootlicker status. We weren’t like them. We said what we meant, sure. But we went further and meant what we said. The audacity of conviction!

But yesterday’s boon is today’s bust, or so it appears. And if Dr. “Scary” Gary North was in hot water, then members of Local 10:34 were in hellfire!

A few days later I found myself talking to someone who appeared to be part of the opposition. I don’t recall what it was that gave her away. Was it the fact that she had “COEXIST” detailed across the hood of her car? Maybe it was her “I Luv thePrayer Summit of Assisi” T-shirt. No, it was probably the “Got Questions? Ask me!” button. I guess it really doesn’t matter. What did matter was that I spoke to someone in “the know” about this.

“These fascists are so intolerant,” she said. “They are so full of hatred.”
“Who are they?” I asked.

“Them!” she shouted. “All the fundamentalists. Not just Muslims.”

Not just the Muslims? What??? This terrifying group of foaming-at-the-mouth “Islamofascists” who tear their beards out every time someone mentioned voting machines in their presence?

The entire conversation was quite confusing. It all appeared to be so hypocritical. We needed to hate hatred. We had to be intolerant of all intolerance. Freedom of religion for everyone but not for everyone. Freedom of speech protects blasphemy and porn, but “fundie talk” must be forbidden. Confusing to say the least.

But the Tolerance Tyrants are a pretty complex herd.

The more radical libertines advocated playing arm-chair eisegesis, finding in every religion and sacred text some super-secret hidden proof of hyper-inclusivism. Reading between the lines would result in discrediting the plain-as-day exegesis of yesteryear. These folks have mastered the arts of reading between the lines and the invisible writing on walls.

The “Agree with us or die” handbook from the First Church of Americanism is quite helpful for those exclusivists trying to understand the ecclesiastical structure for this unpleasant tribe of New Worlders. A woman at the gas station up the road from my home gave it to me along with a pack of American Gold cigarettes and handful of peanut gallery cashews. It appears that America’s founding fathers are high priests who had magical insight into the way things ought to be. Thomas Jefferson, who penned “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” a gospel gutted of supernaturalism, is the chief guru. Jefferson is accompanied by George Washington, the Grand Master of the Freemason’s Alexandria Lodge 22, whose own pastor at Christ’s Church questioned the legitimacy of his confession after years of Washington’s refusal to take part in communion services. The works of Mr. “The bloody Christian faith” Thomas Paine are prominent, with Common Sense and Rights of Man being treated like Chick tracts. Apologists for this “second Israel” see in the Bill of Rights what Paul VI saw in the United Nations: the last hope for mankind and for world peace. It’s even ready-made with its own Magisterium, the Supreme Court of the United States. The devil couldn’t have penned a better catechism!

A few hours ago, right before penning this, I noticed a number of city folk parking in front of the house. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was all about, so I went to the door. Bad idea! Turns out that one of their more vocal apologists, a certain Jay Batman, wrote a piece entitled “The Problem of Violent Fundamentalism: Religious Freedom and Responsibilities Thereof.” A harmless little blog, really… or at least it was until it got into the hands of radical inclusivists. Now they are chanting outside my home! Some even have signs reading, “Peer pressure him into submission!” They went so far as to hire a negotiator. “Mr. Bannister,” he said, “fundamentalists can’t hug their children with nuclear arms.” I tried convincing him that I wasn’t down with nukes and that I’m not a fan of the war hawks, but there was no convincing him. Mass hysteria set in strong, and it couldn’t even wait until I was done with my evening walk.

I’m not sure how all of this will turn out. There is no saying, really. We are dealing with a strange breed; the type of person that will demand you hug your neighbor while aiming a gun at your head. There seems to be no exits, so I’m stuck having to fight my way out of this nonsense. I’ll leave you, then, with my favorite line from my favorite propaganda film, Flight 93: “Let’s roll…”

Written by Paleocrat

May 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Oh Yes, Economic Insanity! That’ll do!

with 11 comments

Written by Paleocrat
Jan. 4, 2009 

“It was the mystical dogma of Bentham and Adam Smith and the rest, that some of the worst of human passions would turn out to be all for the best. It was the mysterious doctrine that selfishness would do the work of unselfishness.”
GK Chesterton

The day and age of prudence and sanity is long gone, if in fact it ever did exist. We live in a time where money gurus babble on about how the most radical deregulation will mysteriously perform the functions of regulation, how an absolutely unfettered economy will bring about order, and how “the virtue of selfishness” (as Madame Rand was fond of calling it) would result in nothing short of the economic Utopia finding its home in the wildest fantasies of men like Mises and Bastiat. To be quite frank, the entire ordeal is a tad bit overwhelming for those who, like me, have a sensitive gag reflex. 

I wish these were the musings of a madman who hasn’t the slightest clue of things as they really are, the ravings of things far-fetched. Unfortunately, one has only to fetch the remote. Market mystics are commonplace, and like a bad case of herpes they show up in predictable places at just the worst times. Hucksters in tight suits and cheap cologne spouting off what Betty Crocker would consider a sure recipe for economic disaster. 

The problem isn’t so much their being large in number as it is that they are professional ear-tickerls! They know the game, and they play it like champs. The masses are assured that if they just allow their cookies to crumble, then even bigger, better tasting cookie will appear from the heaped remains they let tumble to the floor. 

It all sounds so simple! It sounds almost too good to be true. Like a good, old fashion pyramid scheme or bottle of snake oil. If only its this bit of irony was any bit ironic.

To imagine that we haven’t overcome our susceptibility to the charlatans of old. We should know better by now. Then again, there must be a reason why the adage “we never learn from history” has stood the test of time. If only there were a generation that had the kind of moral resolve and intellectual fortitude to put that precedent to rest. If only…

Pro-Choice Advocates Need to do Their Homework

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Written by Aleebannister. Edited by Paleocrat.
Jan. 2, 2009

A few nights ago, my husband and I were at engaged in a discussion with a pro-choice woman over the issue of when life begins. One of her main arguments was that a “fetus” doesn’t have a heartbeat until 12 weeks. She claimed that her working at an  OB/GYN gave her firsthand insight that my husband and I did not have. She went further by saying that a “fetus” is just a blood clot, that he or she does not move, that there is no brain function, that they are unable to think, that they are unable to cry, and that pregnant women don’t “feel life” until well after the time most women have abortions. This pretty much summarizes her arguments.

What I hope to do, then, is provide proof to the contrary. I am relying heavily upon authorites in this field so as to better substantiate the reason for our opposition. Listed below are just a few of the things I found.

When does the heart begin to beat?
At 18 days [when the mother is only four days late for her first menstrual period], and by 21 days it is pumping, through a closed circulatory system, blood whose type is different from that of the mother. (J.M. Tanner, G. R. Taylor, and the Editors of Time-Life Books, Growth, New York: Life Science Library, 1965, p. 64)

When is the brain functioning?
Brain waves have been recorded at 40 days on the Electroencephalogram (EEG). ( H. Hamlin, “Life or Death by EEG,” JAMA, Oct. 12, 1964, p. 113)

Brain function, as measured on the Electroencephalogram, “appears to be reliably present in the fetus at about eight weeks gestation,” or six weeks after conception. (J. Goldenring, “Development of the Fetal Brain,” New England Jour. of Med., Aug. 26, 1982, p. 564)

Only several generations ago, doctors used the ending of respiration to measure the end of human life. This is no longer true, for the use of artificial ventilators is common. Only one generation ago, doctors were using the ending of the heartbeat to measure the end of human life. This is no longer true, for now the heart can be stopped and restarted for different operations. It also may stop during a heart attack and sometimes can be restarted. Today, the definitive and final measure of the end of human life is brain death. This happens when there is
irreversible cessation of total brain function. The final scientific measurement of this is the permanent ending of brain waves. Since all authorities accept that the end of an individual’s life is measured by the ending of his brain function (as measured by brain waves on the EEG), would it not be logical for them to at least agree that individual’s life began with the onset of that same human brain function, as measured by brain waves recorded on that same instrument?

When does the developing baby first move?
“In the sixth to seventh weeks. . . . If the area of the lips is gently stroked, the child responds by bending the upper body to one side and making a quick backward motion with his arms. This is called a ‘total pattern response’ because it involves most of the body, rather than a local part.” ( L. B. Arey, Developmental Anatomy (6th ed.), Philadelphia: W. B. Sanders Co., 1954)

At eight weeks, “if we tickle the baby’s nose, he will flex his head backwards away from the stimulus.” ( A. Hellgers, M.D., “Fetal Development, 31,” Theological Studies, vol. 3, no. 7, 1970, p. 26)

Another example is from a surgical technician whose letter said, “When we opened her abdomen (for a tubal pregnancy), the tube had expelled an inch-long fetus, about 4-6 weeks old. It was still alive in the sack. “That tiny baby was waving its little arms and kicking its little legs and even turned its whole body over.” (J. Dobson, Focus on the Family Mag., Aug. ’91, pg. 16)

But pregnant women don’t “feel life” until four or five months!
The inside of the uterus has no feeling. The baby has to be almost a foot long (30 cm.) and weigh about one pound (454 gm.) before he or she is large enough to brace a shoulder against one wall and kick hard enough against the opposite wall to dent it outward. Then the mother feels it because the outside of the uterus is covered by a sensitive peritoneal surface.

What is the development at seven to eight weeks?
The baby’s stomach secretes gastric juice by eight weeks. Now we can listen to the tiny one’s heartbeat on an ultrasonic stethoscope. These are now common in doctors’ offices and on hospital wards. They are never used in abortion facilities, however, as this information is universally withheld from mothers prior to abortion. Abortionists know that if they tell women there already is a heartbeat — and certainly if they would let her listen to the heartbeat — some mothers would change their minds. The actual sounds of a six-week-old
baby’s heartbeat are available on tape from Cincinnati Right to Life, 1802 W. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45239 ($3.00).

“Eleven years ago, while giving an anesthetic for a ruptured tubal pregnancy (at two months), I was handed what I believed to be the smallest human being ever seen. The embryo sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny (one-third inch) human male swimming extremely vigorously in the amniotic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. This tiny human was perfectly developed with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes. It was almost transparent, as regards the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent to the ends of the fingers. “The baby was extremely alive and swam about the sac approximately one time per second with a natural swimmers stroke. This tiny human did not look at all like the photos and drawings of ‘embryos’ which I have seen, nor did it look like the few embryos I have been able to observe since then, obviously because this one was alive. “When the sac was opened, the tiny human immediately lost its life and took on the appearance of what is accepted as the appearance of an embryo at this stage (blunt extremities, etc.).” ( P.E. Rockwell, M.D., Director of Anesthesiology, Leonard Hospital, Troy, New York, U.S. Supreme Court., Markle vs. Abele, 72-56, 72-730, p. 11, 1972)

He certainly can’t cry!
Although the watery environment in which he lives presents small opportunity for crying, which does require air, the unborn knows how to cry, and given a chance to do so, he will.

A doctor “injected an air bubble into the baby’s amniotic sac and then took x-rays. It so happened that the air bubble covered the baby’s face. The whole procedure had no doubt given the little fellow quite a bit of jostling about, and the moment that he had air to inhale and exhale they heard the clear sound of a protesting wail emitting from the uterus. Late that same night, the mother awakened her doctor with a telephone call, to report that when she lay down to sleep the air bubble got over the baby’s head again, and he was crying so loudly he was keeping both her and her husband awake. The doctor advised her to prop herself upright with pillows so that the air could not reach the baby’s head, which was by now in the lower part of the uterus.” (Day & Liley, Modern Motherhood, Random House, 1969, pp. 50-51)

Does he/she think?
In adults, when we contemplate a physical move or action from a resting state, our heart rate accelerates several seconds before the motion. Similarly, the fetal baby’s heart rate speeds up six to ten seconds prior to fetal movement. Is this conscious thought and planning? ( N. Lauerson & H. Hochberg, “Does the Fetus Think?” JAMA, vol. 247, no. 23, July 18, 1982)

The evidence, in my opinion, is compelling. The truth is easy to find, it just takes a willingness to do some homework. I think the saddest part of the entire thing is that the non-scientific arguments in defense of abortion were coming from someone who should have known better. It is just so sad to see people in the field of medicine and pregnancy say things that are so easily discredited, even by a lay person like me.

King Jesus, we pray for the end of the abortion holocaust. Kyrie, eleison.