Josh Billings, as I said yesterday, remarked that the trouble ain’t what people don’t know. It’s what they know that ain’t so.
Case in point, the other day somebody on Facebook was having a conversation about the possibility of voting for Brian Carroll of the American Solidarity Party. A pro-Trump woman chimed in and complained to the poster that he was “sowing disunity”. What she meant was that All Good Catholics had a moral obligation to support Trump and not “rob him of our vote” by voting third party.
I replied that I was unaware that voting for Donald Trump was now one of the Four Marks of the Church.
She replied to me that “the Catechism” teaches that you are morally obliged to vote for the candidate who has a chance of winning, not a third party candidate. I asked her where the Catechism taught that.
After some silence, I went ahead and provided her with everything the Catechism actually says about voting. Here it is:
2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country:Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.
The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.”
Where did she get her idea from? Internet chatter from MAGA Catholics, of course. She had no idea what the Catechism said about voting, nor that it says so little.
Not that it says nothing about forming our conscience. It says plenty about that. But a lot of the stuff Catholics think the Church teaches it just doesn’t.
And the biggest myth of them all is the “Five Non-Negotiables”.
My guess is that most “faithful conservative Catholics” believe the so-called “Five Non-Negotiables” of voting holds something close to dogmatic status in the Church. This is the contention that five issues–abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and human cloning–are The Most Important Moral Issues and that all voting must be done with them as the Top (and, in practice, Only) Priority.
I cannot tell you how many times I heard this from Catholics, coupled with the serene assurance that this is “magisterial teaching.”
The Five Non-Negotiables originates, not from the Magisterium, but from a Voter Guide issued by Catholic Answers in 2004. It is apostolic tradition newer than the Backstreet Boys. It has absolutely no relationship with the teaching office of the Church. It’s just what some Catholics at Catholic Answers want you to do.
My own sense is that the pamphlet was issued with the idea of prioritizing these issues, not with the intention of cancelling all the rest of Catholic moral teaching.
But that, alas, is precisely the effect this pernicious myth has had. Under the influence of the increasingly demented MAGA Qatholic Cult, the notion has taken root that these issues are not merely top priority, but the only things that matter and that all attempts to consider any other moral issues the Church teaches about are actually attacks on the 5NN.
Indeed, under the influence of a demented Republican rite soteriology, the working assumption has increasingly become “Opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the Right.” So Eric Sammons of Catholic Vote urges us to abandon being prolife altogether for the insane reason that any interest in the dignity of any form of human life other than the unborn “dilutes and fractures the brand”.
Such thinking is the culmination of a long process of catechesis designed to detach Catholics from listening to the whole counsel of the Church. It began 35 years ago with the rejection of the perfectly Catholic doctrine of the Seamless Garment. That idea embodies the normative Catholic “both/and” approach to moral questions in which we learn that people can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. You can oppose abortion and torture. You can reject euthanasia and argue for a living wage for workers. You can fight for racial equality and say that unborn children have the right to life. You can reject the death penalty for both criminals and people with Down Syndrome.
The simple principle at work in Catholic moral thinking is that most things are related, not opposed.
The simplistic principle in all heretical thought is that only one thing matters and everything else must be burned to ashes on the altar of that one thing. And the more good and important that one thing is, the more any attempt to see good in anything else is seen as an attack on that one monomaniac good.
This is why Arianism is the archetypal heresy. It took the greatest conceivable Good–God the Father–and weaponized him into a hand grenade against the rest of the Godhead. In the same way, the MAGA “prolife” movement has now done this with the unborn child, turning them into weapons against every form of life the MAGA cult wants to rob, harm, denigrate, and kill.
It began by pitting the unborn against, not relating them to, all the forms of human life that Seamless Garment teaching seeks to defend. Over and over, the trick was simple: any aspect of the Church’s teaching that stood in the way of GOP rapaciousness was “liberal” and therefore was really a mask on the face of “babykillers”. The 27 other things that JPII discussed as issues pertaining to the sanctity of human life in Evangelium Vitae in 1995 got whittled down to the 5NN by 2004. During the Bush era, if you opposed unjust war or torture, it was because you were “secretly pro-abortion”. Likewise any talk of anything from a living wage to abolishing capital punishment to gun control was dismissed as a sneak attack on the 5NN.
Indeed, even the 5NN got whittled down to suit GOP needs. Human cloning vanished as an issue because nobody is doing it. Embryonic stem cell research disappeared with the “prolife” propaganda machine because Bush 43 approved it and McCain wanted it. So this allegedly “non-negotiable” issue simply was removed from the table because it was more important, as ever, that Christians be good soldiers for the GOP than that their alleged “non-negotiable principles” take priority over GOP political demands.
Gay marriage was allegedly a top priority until Reagan appointee Anthony Kennedy (who also deeply entrenched our abortion regime in 1992 with the Casey decision) wrote the Obergefell decision and–to the deep relief of the GOP–legalized gay marriage. It too vanished without a trace as some kind of “non-negotiable” and it became fine to vote for Republicans (though not Democrats) who supported it or remained almost entirely mute on the matter.
What really mattered, of course, was GOP power at any cost. So the Good Soldiers again buried their alleged “non-negotiable” principles and soldiered on in the hunger for GOP power.
Euthanasia was next to be sacrificed on the altar of power. The first way the MAGA cult killed it as a “non-negotiable” was by going to war with its hated enemy: Pope Francis. Francis, following the lead of his predecessors JPII and B16, definitively revised the Catechism to call for the abolition of the death penalty, whereby we put undesireables out of our misery. The idea the Church advocates is very simple: don’t kill people if you don’t have to. We don’t have to kill people on death row, so don’t.
But the Cult clings to the idea of killing people as often as it can get away with it. It insists on the false idea that if they are guilty of something, then we get to kill them. Indeed, many of them insist on it so much that they even defend the idea that the murder of victims by police (such as George Floyd) means that we get to kill them if we can find any flimsy pretext:
Because of this notion that we get to kill people if they are guilty of something, the Cult went to war with Francis over capital punishment. And what that inevitably meant in ours, the biggest prison system on planet Earth, where about 4% of those on death row are guilty of no crime and are falsely imprisoned, is that the Cult is willing to euthanize 4 innocents out of 100 death row prisoners as human sacrifices in order to satisfy their blood lust against the 96 other people who do not need to be killed. And that Cult is willing to fight the Church in order to do it.
Note the sleight of hand at work. The cult says that we need to be focusing on the 5NN. But in fact, the time and energy goes not to defending any of those things, but to making war on the Church in order to enact GOP policies in direct contradiction to the Church’s teaching. So we find Opus Dei superstar Bill Barr resuscitating the death penalty the Church condemns while the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast (run, in part, by Opus Dei supernumerary Austin Ruse) gives him the Christifidelis Laici (Christ’s Faithful Laity) Award as a prize for taking a dump on the Church’s teaching.
But, of course, the real zeal for euthanasia in the traditional sense–ie. murdering the weak and not just the guilty–has only taken off this year as the MAGA Cult has gotten behind the Trump administration’s push to murder the vulnerable by screaming about “oppression” for having to wear a mask, casually suggesting that granny needs to be sacrificed to Mammon and the economy, and pushing to cram children back into public school petri dishes because the pandemic makes Trump look bad. The MAGA cult is now full-on in favor of euthanasia for all sorts of lebensunwertes leben and pushes for the death panels it once accused its enemies of desiring.
So with the elimination of euthanasia we are basically down to abortion as the core “non-negotiable”. And the central lie the MAGA Qatholic cult is screaming at the top of its lungs this election is that the choice we face is between The Most Prolife President in the History of Ever and a “Pro-Abortion Radical” whose election means…. something never quite specified BUT PRETTY DAMN AWFUL AND YOU WILL HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR APOSTATE HANDS IF YOU VOTE FOR HIM!!!!!
That is, in every detail, a bald-faced lie and no Catholic needs to believe or accept it.
Of which more tomorrow.
I still contend that Catholic third party voters got trump elected and will probably do it again. Thank you for supplying needed education. If only certain bishop would do the same.
Mark, do you believe the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and women priests can develop to support same sex marriage and women priests?
The church can do whatever it wants, and has always done so, regardless of what the so-called word of God might be. 500 years ago, they were Busy selling indulgences, effectively negating the idea that God was in his heaven and was judging the sins of the world. The last boy was castrated for the musical pleasure of the pope in the mid 1800’sn they dont do that any more, either. Something something man not whole shall be for idden to comeinto thevtemplesomething something?
But I will give you my opinion about it, and that is that they will not. If they actually accepted gay people, then all of the homeau hating homeauxs that hide out on the church, their own moral rot and personal lack of character being both their shield and their impetus to be there, would have to find someplace else to go. But where would they go? Every other Christian denomination really wants their pastures to be certifiably heterosexual.
But if you really want the evidence, A 17-year-old honors student at a Catholic school and was Recently kicked out for saying that he was proudly gay. He had gone there for 12 years, but was told he was no longer needed or wanted despite his Sterling record. He didn’t say he was having sex, he didn’t say he wanted to get same-sex married, he didn’t do anything other than be uppity, which for bigots is the worst sin possible. The principle stated he was being very jesus-y for kicking the boy out, defying both the word o’ god and, i believe, the catechism.
I’d quote “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone”, But someone might think i was pointing a Very obvious stone in the principle’sdirection.
so i won’t.
Mark. Let’s have a zoom discussion. Resolved, ‘Pius 12 view on the death penalty was more in continuity with the Bible and church teaching than the contemporary teaching of JP2 and Pope Francis.” I’ll pay the expenses.
Ah – it is clear now; you are a Protestant. It is your private judgement that decides (1) that there is some conflict between Pius and Francis; and (2) that Pius was right and Francis is wrong. Sorry, took me some time to understand that you’re a Protestant.
The Church has boxed itself in with regard to homosexuality. It would have to modify its entire sexual regime to do so (i.e. sexual relations are permissible only between a married man and woman open to conception), and I don’t see that happening.
Not sacramental marriage. And no, I don’t think it can authorize women priests. But I’m not the Holy Spirit and leave such matters to Him. Meanwhile, you are a contentious rebel against the Church whose bloodlust refuses to listen to the Magisterium.
Well, that, too. But there is nothing so twisted or perverted that a homeau-hating homeau can’t make it all his own. I’ve been looking at these people for decades. It’s the nature of the closet. It twists, perverts, distorts, and ultimately destroys everything that it touches.
I have related before the story of my gay brother, who died of suicide or murder or both in a Mexican desert some 18 years ago. I didn’t find out he was gay until after he had pretty much destroyed his life in service to making sure that no one knew. When he wrecked his life, he had known for nearly 20 years that I was gay, but never told me about himself. And I was perhaps the one person in his life that could have brought him in to some measure of self acceptance and self-love. But that would not have worked for him, because he was so invested in his self hatred and self-despite.
To me, the greatest irony of all is that the church does whatever it can to enforce the closet, and it is the homeau-hating homeau priests who hide out in it that are busy destroying the church. McCarrick, Nienstedt, the belgian archbishop whose name i can never remember— every single priest who has been found with his dirty hands down the cookie-jar’s pants-x is doing his part to bring the church down, all the while thinking that they are somehow protecting the church, making it greater.
It’s no surprise: they are just like the Qatholics that Mark constantly decries.
I need to straighten out a few facts here.
First, Christ granted the Church power to absolve of sins, which is done in the confessional. It does not negate the idea that God is in heaven and judges sins of the world, but got has delegated this power to the apostles.
Second, indulgence is not absolution. The Church teaches that regardless of dying in state of grace, souls still go to purgatory to atone for sins they committed before entering heaven. Indulgence “cleans the sheet” so that if you die in state of grace, you can go to heaven. Church granted partial indulgences for specific prayers, other acts of piety, acts of mercy, etc. Traditional teaching assigned specific number of days subtracted from the soul’s time in purgatory to each of those acts, and those numbers were huge (ranging from 100 to thousands of days), and traditional teaching held that purgatory is not something that’s completed in 10 to 25 years like a prison sentence, but more like a few thousand to multiple myriads (ten thousand) of years. Full indulgence meant the soul could go to heaven.
Selling indulgences was of course simony, but it did not mean that people were absolved as is inaccurately presented. To Aquinas, remission of sin and reconciliation with God requires not only absolution, but contrition, confession and satisfaction, but other theologians (Duns Scot) believed only absolution is required.
Third, castration was done for purely secular entertainment. Operas required male trebles and an industry existed that provided them. Once their voices started faltering, they were no longer needed in opera houses and were promptly dismissed. With no family to support them, the only place they could continue careers were church choirs. One notable feature is that church choirs had retirement plans for veteran members (Sistine Chapel choir paid a pension after 30 years of service), so castrati were members of church choirs alongside their secular engagements to secure a pension that would supplement their own estates.
ETWN issued its own voters’ guide for members of their schismed religion. https://www.ewtn.com/vote/brief-catechism.asp
If Mr. Torraco is so concerned that people confuse conscience with personal opinions and feelings, would it not be more prudent for him not to confuse moral theology with his own personal feelings and opinions?
Abortion? Maybe life and death, but a matter of opinion, fer shur.
Euthanasia? More clearly life and death, but also MUCH MORE a matter of personal autonomy.
Embryonic cell research? Really stretching to call it a matter of life and death in the sense you mean it, but definitely a matter of life and death In terms of the benefits to medicine.
Human cloning? A matter of life, not a matter of death. For the record, i am against it.
the death penalty? Clearly, and solely, without equivocation, a matter of life and death.and yet conservatives of all religions have been for it overwhelmingly. Scratch an anti-abortionist disguised as pro-life, and my guess is you will find a pro-death penalty person, finding excuses, like Mike Miller did, in the claim that abortion is about INNOCENT human life, and the death penalty is just taking out the garbage, And that is why i am unequivocally against it.
Gay marriage? not even remotely a matter of life and death— well, except for gay people, their children if they have them, their families, young gay people growing up in a world that doesn’t hate them For existing, and their faith. But it offends SOME religious people, not because of any danger to marriage or family, but Because gay people offend them. The very idea that gay people exist and have lives Of value offends them. But what really gets their holy knockers into a thoroughly uncomfortable twist Is that any uppity f*g or d*ke is as good and as valuable as they are, unless they apologize for existing, and don’t demand Equal treatment before the law.
The moral bankruptcy of the five non-negotiables Is one of the reasons why they are no longer important, because it is not now, nor has it ever been, apart from abortion Possibly, and the death penalty absolutely— a matter of morality, especially in the last instance, gay marriage. Gay marriage truly is a matter of life and death: FOR GAY PEOPLE, who simply don’t matter otherwise To the people who call it “non-negotiable” and a Matter of life itself.
It’s not about gay people, and never has been, but about what some straight people think about gay people. It isn’t about homosexuality, but how much the subject obsesses, frightens, excites, arouses, horrifies, shames, tantalizes, titillates, fascinates, attracts, scares, bothers, entices, illuminates, and intrigues a whole bunch of people who desperately wish they were heterosexual, but are never going to be, and who think about it far more than most of the gay men I have known in my 70 years.
This is the moral failure (among many) of the church in general, MAGAt Christians in particular, and a lot of otherwise good people who, because THEY aren’t gay, think it doesn’t really affect them. And thus they also believe it doesn’t really matter, and therefore they allow every possible lie, distortion of morality, perversion of the truth, and abdication of thought, morality, conscience and good will. And then they wonder why there are no moral bearings in MAGAt Christianity, and why Christian/Catholic thought seems to easily to be led astray.
If your foundation is made of sand, why would you expect the house to stand? someone no longer important to a good deal of modern christianity surely had something to say about that.
Ftr, any kind of cloning becomes a matter of life & death because any one successful attempt invariably involves numerous seriously malformed attempts, sometimes discovered and “resolved” (killed) in vitro or in utero and sometimes not discovered until after birth. I read an expose a while ago of the “clone your beloved deceased pet” industry that was incredibly depressing & disturbing and made me all the more intensely repulsed by the concept of human cloning. (And animal cloning, for that matter. Shut the whole enterprise down. It’s all precisely what Mary Shelley warned us about.)
And i agree with you about it 100%. I also have fairly strong feelings about GMO food. We know a lot,but we have not unraveled all.
“like Mike Miller did, in the claim that abortion is about INNOCENT human life, and the death penalty is just taking out the garbage, And that is why i am unequivocally against it.”
Of course I never said that the DP is about executing garbage. I believe the DP is necessary because it demonstrates the value of human life. As Pope Pius 12 said:
Even when it is a question of the execution of a condemned man, the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. In this case it is reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned person of the of life in expiation of his crime when, by his crime, he has already disposed himself of his right to live.
Oh look. Another advocate of vengeance killing seeking to murder wrongly condemned victims for his pound of flesh and brandishing the unborn as human shields for his war on the Magisterium
“Oh look. Another advocate of vengeance killing seeking to murder wrongly condemned victims for his pound of flesh and brandishing the unborn as human shields for his war on the Magisterium”
I support what Pope Pius XII said about the death penalty. How can I be at war with the Magisterium when my view is fully consistent with the Vicar of Christ?
Because the Vicar of Christ has told you that the death penalty is inadmissible.
Oh, look! sommeone proving my contention that the whole right-to-life sham is a sham of the greatest possible proportions. Only a MAGAt could possibly claim that killing people is in fact showing how much they value life.
Let’s kill people to show people who kill people that killing people is wrong. Makes perfect sense. Except for the demonstrated presence of innocents who have been killed because they were wrongly convicted in the first place.
George Floyd killed no one.
No worries. if you can bring a majority of gays and transgenders to vote GOP, gay marriage will magically become the ultimate expression of catholic political thinking and they will dress up Jesus in a rainbow flag. There wil be a chicken on his shoulder that self-identifies as an eagle.
Appealing to undeveloped teaching to make war on developed teaching is a trick as old as the Circumcision Party. You are at war with the Church in your lust for blood. Repent.
“Appealing to undeveloped teaching to make war on developed teaching is a trick as old as the Circumcision Party. ”
How was the church teaching on the DP “undeveloped”? It was the church’s teaching from Christ and the apostles until Pius 12. Is the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and women priests likewise “undeveloped”?
You remain at war with the Church’s developed teaching in your bloodlust and pride. “Don’t kill people if you don’t have to” is only complicated because you want it to be. Repent.
You’re cherrypicking at best. John 7:53-8:11 did not condone the death penalty. Jesus also calls us to ‘turn the other cheek’ (Mt 5:38-40). Jesus was no fan of lex talionis. If you believe in the culture of life, then it is from conception until natural death. This is the Church’s position.
The Qatholic approach to theology of war and the death penalty always reminds me of Francis from Stripes:
“All I know is I finally get to kill somebody!”
“How was the teaching on circumcision ‘undeveloped’? It was God’s teaching directly to Abraham, written on the tablets by Him at Mt. Sinai, and taught by all judges and prophets until Saul of Tarsus showed up. Is the rest of God’s law likewise ‘undeveloped’?”
-As Mark so aptly pointed out, this is you right now
The people’s perverse political orthopraxy is definitely Marxist in its firm belief that they are the appointed dealers of the opiate of the masses.
Harsh! Arianism certainly makes more logical sense to me than the Trinity.
I’m appalled to learn that Austin Ruse has anything to do with National Catholic Anything. A Trumpist under cover of Catholicism is a chilling thing.
All heresy is a quest for simplicity at the cost of reality.
It’s not a matter of simplicity, but of logic. A son doesn’t exist before conception.
I suspect so. It’s a quest for easy answers. A “Just make it illegal and lock em up if they disobey so that I can get back to my business and football” kind of position. I don’t mean that disrespectfully nor with disdain. It’s based on observation and this is the impression I get. “I don’t want to think about it or others, just my life, so just make it illegal and I’ll have fulfilled my obligation to Christ.”
I saw a priest somewhere complain that “seculars” were “stealing our values” because many individuals adopt some Church teachings/values but disregard others. I don’t see what the problem with that is. Isn’t it better for the outside community to mimic us as much as possible, and if they eventually decide they want to go all in, they can join the Church! Maybe Jesus didn’t found a Church to go out and dominate the world but to exists in the world so that when individuals finally tire of the vanity of worldly existence, there is a place where they can go to find God, the truth. Maybe our purpose is to keep the truth, not go around thumping people on the head with it and making them afraid of us. If Jesus meets us where we are at, shouldn’t we do that for others? I remember when I was joining the Church, I really couldn’t change all at once. It’s taken years to abandon had habits, thoughts and behaviors bit by bit. God was patient with me and I’m so grateful for that. And when I struggled, he never made me feel unloved or judged. I think he did it this way, allowing me to come to realization of my errors on my own, gently, because he didn’t want to destroy me but to save me. And he has saved me.
Arianism would seem to lead to a more authoritarian religion. “I am God and I am good, and you are not.” The Trinity is about right relationship. We are called to love by God, as God is love.
Huh? Non sequitur.
I think the Trinity is a rumination on the character of God.
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
John then repeats himself just a few verses later. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)
John is not describing God as a “loving” god, though God is, and John could have left it at that. Rather, John says that God is love itself. I believe that God as a Trinity lends itself to understanding this “love” character of God more easily. Love is not just a noun, love is a verb.
Love exists, love is active, love builds up – God the Father, Creator
Love engages, love sacrifices – God the Son
Love comforts, love accompanies, love strengthens – God the Holy Spirit
Full disclosure – these are my own thoughts and they are probably an egregiously miserable explanation of the Trinity. But to be sure, people have been trying for over 2000 years.
Her: Watch this priest on Lifesite explain that you can’t support or be a Democrat!
Me: Cardinal Ratzinger said, “A Catholic….”
Her: Well he wasn’t Pope! And it was a confidential memorandum. And Jimmy Akin explains on EWTN. So I’m still right!
Her: If you have to choose between the lesser of two evils, then you can do it with a clear conscience. If you have the option to choose a prolife candidate over a pro death one, you are morally obligated to vote for the prolife one.
Me: A vote for a lesser evil is still a vote for evil. Vote to lessen evil.
Her: Here’s some information from a priest. (Links to Pavone)
Me: Frank Pavone is a liar and a grifter who used a dead baby on an altar in a stump speech for Trump four years ago. He does not acknowledge the authority of any bishop and refuses to say who his bishop is. I wouldn’t trust anything he said!
Her: I will be praying for your conversion.
(Maybe I was a bit over the top?)
I am colored, Catholic, and prolife. I will never vote for the Republican party. But what you describe here is not the complete story
>>Such thinking is the culmination of a long process of catechesis designed to detach Catholics from listening to the whole counsel of the Church.
There is clear and convincing evidence that the majority in USCCB, and many bishops support the same ideas.
The November 2019 meeting of USCCB, to clarify the voting guide for 2020, was reported in the NCR
How can the faithful ignore that? At some point, you have to come to terms with the fact that a significant part of USCCB is aiding the MAGA cult, by commission and omission. The American Catholic hierarchy is chock full of Vigano’s hand-picked men.
I have also noticed this. We need to pray for our bishops and priests, and we need to pray for more ethnic diversity in our clergy. Pope Francis’ letter to the USCCB last year addresses the weaknesses and temptations our bishops currently face. He has encouraged them away from the direction they seem to be heading right now, and it can’t be easy for them because they are undoubtedly under a lot of pressure from the conservative community.
I might have believed their pro-life lies for much longer if a majority of them actually loved and cared for real babies. (People love *posters* and memes of cute babies, but they don’t want to pay for them or change their diapers.)
The battleaxes better not pull out their resume to brag about their 30 years teaching children either. If I was the devil, I’d recruit the meanest, most power-hungry a**holes, with a perversion to torment the innocent, so those children would put a “I survived Catholic school” bumper sticker on their cars later.
If I was the devil, I’d also get one of those battleaxes to stump for our bully president just to trigger a bunch of catholic PTSD. Bullies make bullies feel better about all of the bullying.
I find I stay out of trouble by following the biker non-negotiables:
Don’t mess with a man’s bike, his colors, his brothers, his old lady or his money.