Voting with the Mind of Christ #9: Law Follows Culture and Culture Follows Cult

Published September 10, 2020

The Games in the arena at Rome were a venerable institution for centuries. They were going strong when Christianity was born. Indeed, brutal bloodsport was popular all over the ancient world (as Christians would experience in their flesh repeatedly over the centuries when the cry “Christianes ad Leones!” went up and they were killed for the amusement of their neighbors).

Notably, there is no record of the apostles or Jesus preaching against bloodsports. If it comes to that, there is also no record of them speaking about abortion except in very veiled terms. (Galatians and Revelation contains a passing condemnation of “pharmakeia”–whence we get the word “pharmacy”–that gets translated as “witchcraft” and might refer to psychotropic drugs, abortifacients, or both.) But that’s it.

That does not mean abortion was peachy with the apostles and Jesus any more than bloodsports were. Contrary to both atheist and Protestant Fundamentalists, the Bible was never intended to be the Big Book of Everything. Certain things are simply assumed by the authors as being Understood and don’t happen to get mentioned in the New Testament documents, or if they do it’s not spelled out.

So, for instance, though the New Testament blesses marriage, it never provides us with instructions on how to conduct a valid marriage. That’s because it assumes people are not idiots and knows that they have already been getting married for centuries and will just keep on doing that with whatever modification and customs Christians will add to the normal rites.

Similarly, wherever the issue of human life is broached in the years after the apostles we find that the Church has the same horror of abortion that Jewish culture had and that it evinces an implacable hostility to it every time the subject comes up. That’s not an accident. That’s the early Church–everywhere in north, south, east, and west–reflecting the Tradition they were handed by the apostles.

And yet, (returning to the matter of bloodsports) despite the Church’s deep hostility to things like the Games, the early Christians undertook no program to demand that either abortion or bloodsports be outlawed. Instead, they did something far more radical. By their persistent self-sacrificial witness, they made them unthinkable.

Christians, for instance, commonly adopted infants who were simply left to to die by exposure. They lived lives of self-sacrifice and were noted for their generosity. They drew the famous praise of their pagan neighbors, “See how these Christians love one another.”

More than this, when persecutions broke out they were noted for their extreme and even terrifying courage when they were offered to the wild beasts in the arena. In a culture that praised Stoic values, it was unnerving to see people Romans assumed to be trash going to their deaths so bravely. (For an extraordinary eyewitness account of a scene that played out many times in the early Christian centuries, read the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity, in which the incredibly gutsy Perpetua finally goes to her death by steadying the shaking hand of her executioner so he can deliver the coup de grace after her tortures.)

It is really crucial to get that the early Christians really were people who deeply believed that by sharing in the sufferings of Jesus they were not being defeated, but were winning their crowns and advancing the Kingdom of God. With Tertullian, they believed intensely that the blood of martyrs was the sperm of the Church.

Consequently, with every death they suffered, they had a disquieting way of turning their sufferings into both an accusation against their killers and a taunt as well. They lived in a mental and spiritual world where this defined their self-understanding:

Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Re 12:10–11).

They could do this because they really and truly believed that Jesus had, by his cross, death, and resurrection, defeated sin, hell, and death and given them power over the world, the flesh, and the devil. When they prayed

With the LORD on my side I do not fear. 
  What can man do to me? 
The LORD is on my side to help me; 
  I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. (Ps 118:6-7)

…they weren’t kidding around. They believed that their death in Christ was their crowning triumph and that by that death they would not only conquer death but even conquer sin in themselves–and in their enemies. They took seriously both Jesus’ command to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek. Because they believed Paul when he said:

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Ro 12:19–21).

Instead of trying to force their pagan neighbors to adopt a moral code they did not believe, they forced themselves to live by Jesus’ high and hard demands and, as centuries went by, slowly persuaded their neighbors that Jesus was Lord and Jesus was risen.

With that process of Christianization came certain changes in outlook that eventually made things like abortion, exposure of children, and bloodsports morally intolerable. The stories from the period show us, not Christians jockeying to get Caesar’s ear and outlaw bloodsports, but martyrs like Telemachus going into the arena shouting “For God’s sake, forebear!” and being killed by a mob that is (as mobs sometimes are) struck with shame for their lynching. The distance in time between his death (c. 391 AD) and the final bloodsport in the Colosseum (404 AD) suggests that we are looking at a long process of conversion. But the fact that he is remembered for his act also makes clear that such Christian witness played a vital part in the ultimate death of the Games. Changes in law came, not in spite of popular morality, but as an expression of it. The culture could no longer endure to look itself in the mirror and permit such things.

For similar reasons, by the way, crucifixion was banned as a form of capital punishment. It simply became unendurable to inflict on human beings what had been inflicted on the Son of God. Once again, law followed the change in culture and the culture came from the Christian cultus.

Why do I mention all this?

Because for forty years conservative Christians have been pursuing the fantasy of outlawing, by brute legal force, an abortion regime that 80% of Americans have absolutely no intention of getting rid of, least of all the Party which created it and to which the MAGA “prolife” movement have monomaniacally enslaved themselves. They are attempting to do with abortion what Prohibitionists attempted a century ago: to end a problem simply by cutting off supply while taking no account of demand. Moreover, they are actively working to help increase demand by ignoring the fact that poverty is our #1 abortifacient and working with all their heart to defend GOP policies that punish the poor, repeatedly destroy the economy, and place enormous pressure on vulnerable women to abort.

In addition to that, the MAGA “prolife” cult have adopted a mentality which is, in many ways, mythological in placing abortion at the center of our social ills in such a way as to blind them to the fact that it is an expression, not the cause, of even deeper pathologies.

Take for example this extremely common argument claiming that “Roe v. Wade is the root of today’s violence“.

No.

This is simply not true and is a supreme example of the use of the unborn as human shields for beloved conservative sins. The transparent and obvious root of today’s violence is four centuries of racist oppression and growing economic inequity. Abortion is but one expression of that, not the root.

The virtue of prudence consists in the clear-eyed recognition of what is so. Clear your mind of cant, including prolife cant, and stop accepting simple-minded lies and shibboleths just because they make you feel good about being prolife.

Our abortion regime is the creation of a civilization that has chosen since its founding to let the strong prey on the weak and leave the weak to prey on those weaker than themselves. It is a social pressure release valve designed and implemented by Republicans to let violence be directed down the food chain of prey whom they refuse to help, whom they prefer to exploit, and about whom they could not care less, except as sources of revenue and votes.

The GOP consistently institutes policies designed to prey on those poorer than themselves, policies which put pressure on the poor to abort in order to afford to live. The abortion regime it created is a confession that, rather than change those policies, it would prefer to see the poor kill their children. The fake kabuki of being “prolife” is simply a way of harvesting votes from the controversy their policy created while manipulating conservative Christians into weaponizing the unborn against all the other people the GOP wants to exploit, oppress, harm, and klll.

Abortion didn’t cause that. Abortion was only legalized in 1973. Abortion didn’t cause centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, sundown laws, Green Books, the murder of Emmett Till, the assassination of Martin Luther King, redlining, or the detonation of the black community in Tulsa. Nor did it cause the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and a host of other black victims of police violence.

Shifting the conversation about abortion from the oppression that occasioned its legalization is just one tactic of denial. The weaponization of the unborn against all the other forms of human life the Church defends but the white racist GOP wants to ignore and walk over is at the very heart of the failure of “prolife” witness. Because it is an attempt to make somebody else to do the self-sacrificial offering and demand of them that they adopt a moral code they do not believe rather than prolife Christians sacrificing their own comforts on behalf of the brown and poor.

Such an attempt to impose a Christian moral code of self-sacrifice on a culture that does not accept the Christian gospel of the cross and resurrection is a fool’s errand. Its primary concrete result, as we have already seen, has been to wed the “prolife” movement to a grotesque, incompetent dimestore antichrist who commits outrages against human life and dignity on a daily basis. (As I write this, we are learning that Trump regards dead troops as “losers” and “suckers”. Defending that, not the unborn, will be the work of the “prolife” MAGA heretic for the foreseeable future, because defending everything this man does is now the primary task of the MAGA “prolifer”.) And all in pursuit of a fantasy of change in law that the vast majority of Americans would never tolerate and that neither party will enact.

So if Roe is not going anywhere, then what can we do to protect innocent human life?

More on that tomorrow.

19 Responses

  1. Those are all very good points, especially about living a life of radical charity to our neighbors, but I think most conservatives view the issue in much simpler terms than this, it’s not about religious principles, it’s just about protecting innocent human life, the same way a person outside the womb demands protection, but agree, what the pro life movement is currently doing needs to be reformed to do better

  2. “ Take for example this extremely common argument claiming that “Roe v. Wade is the root of today’s violence“.

    No. Violence has always been a part of humanity, sometimes more, sometimes horribly more, sometimes less. But it was always there, especially in this country. To pretend that abortion has anything to do with it is to ignore the really big factors in American life: power and money. And when violence becomes a part of that accrual of power and money, then violence simply begets more violence.

    There was a book called Freakonomics they came out about 10 years ago. It was actually quite a brilliant book. Even though I have a degree in math, I didn’t follow all of the mathematical arguments, but I do remember that they looked pretty good. What the authors argued was that the primary cause for the decrease in violent crime over some 40 years was, in fact, abortion.

  3. Mark, I agree with much of this article. However, I think you underestimate (at least in this post) the contribution of Roe to the increasing polarization and rhetorical violence that we see in our country. Roe, and I think only Roe, made it possible to totally demonize those who disagree with you. No longer were they people with whom you disagreed politically but with whom you could still be friends, but they became “baby killers” or “those who sought to deny women their full rights and to keep women subservient and in their place.” Both positions held the moral high ground among their adherents. Both positions have a lot of merit to them: the former for the obvious reason (killing humans is wrong). The latter’s merit is that women have always been denied the full expression of their humanity. That the movement to grant women their rights has taken a disastrous turn by focusing on abortion rights is a true tragedy.

  4. Excellent! I have believed for forty years that abortion was a symptom of violence as you stated. Your ability to verbalize this truth is far superior to mine. I appreciate you and your commenters very much

  5. “With that process of Christianization came certain changes in outlook that eventually made things like abortion, exposure of children, and bloodsports morally intolerable.”
    No. The process of Christianization of the West led to what is now called, for very good reason, the Dark Ages. Bloodsports were still going strong in the form of public executions, which drew large crowds. Here is an example, which I point out was banned only in the 19th century:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_wheel

  6. Stop regurgitating reddit.atheist myths and legends about the “Dark Ages”. https://strangenotions.com/gods-philosophers/ If you want to argue that *all* bloodsports did not end when Rome baniished the Games, fine That’s true. But since I never claimed otherwise, it’s beside the point. The gospel did not bless, much less cause, bloodsports. It found them in different cultures and devised different strategies for coping with them. Sometimes, as here, it banished them. Other times, it tried to tame them with rules and codes like chivalry. My point is that it tried to work by moral suasion, not by force.

    1. I did not claim that the gospel blessed or caused bloodsports. You claimed that the gospel made bloodsports morally intolerable, which is very much not the case.

      Shockingly brutal forms of execution, performed on a regular basis in front of cheering crowds. If you want to argue that that was somehow fundamentally different from the Roman Games, well, good luck.

      1. I think that if you wanted to, you would see that Mark’s point is 100% valid. I doubt that even the Taliban would conduct a soccer match at night with Christians covered in pitch to light the field up, BUT even if they did, or have it’s because in some parts of the middle east they are hundreds of years behind the west in development.

        We on the other hand, trail western Europe in our development.

  7. Excellent as usual

    There are a few things that are jarring to Catholics who think. The Church has always fought artificial contraception with a ferocity that’s remarkable, and whether one agrees with that or not, the reasoning was ” a contraceptive society is an abortive society”. Its not easy for normal people, including Catholics to understand the philosophical line that goes from artificial contraception to abortion. Not many are familiar even with the Anscombe’s dummy’s guide on this, leave alone the theological one.

    But the Church has staked out this very unpopular stance, and gone to bat for this idea in politics. Elections, Supreme Court cases, etc, the whole Sister’s of the Poor, ACA contraceptive mandate, for the most trivial of reasons. To declare in writing that contraception is against religious beliefs is a cross to die on.

    What is quite jarring is that the Church has not anything close to that for the consumerism and utilitarian economics that treats human beings as tools. It is far more easier to understand , even for the simplest of people that once you start treating people as expendable, babies also become so.

    And yet, the Church has decided to get into bed with Milton Friedman, and his closest ideological followers, the GOP. No rules, no regulations only money and power. Profit is king.

    And yet, the Church claims to be prolife.

    The American Catholic Church is corrupt to the core.

    1. Not to the core. That’s impossible since the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. Nor are all its members corrupt. There are millions in the American Church who are seeking to be disciples of Jesus, which is all that can be asked of any of us. But there is a lot of work to do.

      1. @ mark

        I haven’t had the time so far, but since yesterday I was intending to write a little bit about corruption and the Catholic Church. I’m taking the time now. I was taking as my starting point Stephen r. Donaldson’s trilogy of books, “ The chronicles of Thomas covenant the unbeliever“. Very Catholic books in a lot of ways. I also think they are some of the best fantasy books ever written.

        The questions of corruption and despite are very big ones for Donaldson. You could argue that these books are about nothing else, ultimately. He defines corruption as “becoming that which you hate“.

        I can’t speak to Burgomaster’s comment about the church being corrupt to the core, at least not in the context that you just put it in with your comment about the Holy Spirit. I have my own opinions about that, but I also don’t wish to get into that kind of an argument. But I do think that you’re going to have a very hard time separating out that which is corrupt from that which is not, separating the wheat from the chaff, or the Pruning of dead branches from the vine, to use a few biblical metaphors.

        What prompted my desire to write about corruption in the church were several things that Just happened in the past week.

        One of these things was Father Altman’s confusing, nasty little sermon about sin being disagreeing with him politically, especially about Mr. biden NOT being “our sort” of catholic. That one is already been taken care of by other people, and better than I could, because I’m not Catholic.

        A second story is this: The Queensland Parliament in Australia has passed legislation that basically requires anyone with knowledge of child sexual abuse to report it to police. That includes Catholic priests who hear about that abuse in a confessional booth. The “sanctity” of that ritual is no longer a defense for secrecy. This is been an ongoing debate in Australia, and the argument the church has made against it is about violating the seal of the confessional, as if using it to protect a child molester were an important part of this ritual, and protecting children from being molested is nowhere near as important as this particular religious exercise. Now, I do understand the religious reasoning behind the disagreement. But how difficult could it be to actually support this legislation, with this simple policy in place for every priest who hears the confession of anyone, especially another priest. “Thank you for telling me about this. It is a very serious sin. However, unless you’re willing to go down to the police and tell them about it, I cannot grant you absolution because I must also protect children. I’ll be happy to accompany you down to the police station, but that is the condition you must meet if you want to absolution. 20 Hail Marys isn’t going to do it.“

        This is a very simple and obvious solution to this problem, especially given what we know about child molestation and its persistence. Not doing it gives the appearance – an appearance that is very persistent in and of itself — that it is putting the church, the institutional church, well ahead of the well-being of children. Something about millstones comes to mind. I would call that corruption myself, because it is looking the other way when there is bad behavior, especially in another priest.

        Here is the third story. Earlier this summer, Pope Francis announced that Father Michel Mulloy would become the next bishop of Duluth, Minnesota. The official swearing-in ceremony was schedule for October 1. It won’t be happening now. Mulloy just resigned. Guess why? Take a wild guess. You get one guess. It turns out that there was a credible allegation that Mulloy had molested a minor back in the 80s. Now, that was a long time ago, but a lay panel in the diocese determined that the allegations were credible.

        No, I’m not going to go into a diatribe about the molestation problem in the Catholic Church. That’s old news. What I’m concerned about is corruption. In this case, Mulloy was nominated, the allegation surfaced, Mulloy resigned. Who kept it a secret for so long, and how was it done? Why did Mulloy resign so rapidly? And if it were true, then Mulloy was certainly aware of his own derelictions, and was happy to advance to the position of bishop with that knowledge. And it does no good to say that he said “I’m sorry Jesus” and that was the end of it. What we know about pedophilia is that it is almost never “the end of it”, but a pattern of abuse and behavior that goes over years or decades.

        And, Of course, I don’t believe that Malloy and the victim were the only ones that knew about it. As father Ted showed us, or the former Archbishop of West Virginia showed, lots and lots and lots of people knew all about it, and lots and lots of people kept their mouth shut.

        Corruption – becoming that which you hate — is the issue here.

        I’m going to throw in a bonus story, but it’s not about the Catholic Church. Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church blamed the pandemic on gay marriage. He said in a TV interview that the virus was “God’s punishment for the sins of men, the sinfulness of humanity… I mean same-sex marriage.” Someone that ignorant will likely ignore science-based precautions to avoid the virus. And wouldn’t you know it, the 91-year-old Filaret has now come down with the disease.

        SURPRISE!!!! Does this mean that the good patriarch got gay married? Perhaps when he wasn’t looking? Gays are sneaky. Maybe it was all of that gold and embroidery he is so clearly fond of. Why is this about corruption? Because only corruption could explain such colossal bigotry and DESPITE in the face of what just about every person on the planet knows: disease is caused by bacteria and germs, not Magic. You don’t get to be a patriarch by being stupid and uneducated. But he had a point he wanted to make, a point that had nothing to do with the disease, nothing to do with his religion, and ultimately, nothing to do with him getting sick with the disease himself. It takes a heart full of corruption and despite to come up with garbage like that, Let alone to justify it as sincere religious belief.

        But he was given a pass because, hey! He’s religious, and he has such a pretty frock and a pretty crown.

        I know you are a good Catholic, Mark, as are many of the people who post here. You’re good people. But my four examples were examples from just one single week.

        I don’t know where I’m going with this, Mark. I’m just pointing it out. You complain constantly about the corruption of the evangelicals that support trump, the corruption of the antiabortion movement that will excuse any sin as long as they can use abortion as their shield for it.

        There is other corruption that must also be looked at.

  8. > “Contrary to both atheist and Protestant Fundamentalists, the Bible was never intended to be the Big Book of Everything”

    The actual position of real-life Protestant Fundamentalists would be more as if the ancient Christian church had evolved or maintained a prohibition on abortion in the face of an explicit Biblical verse along the lines of “Nor shalt thou interfere with the right of a woman to control her own fertility” or “Then Abziligah took the infant from her womb, before its time, at her request, and slew it. And Abziligah lived another three and twenty years; and he was righteous in the eyes of the LORD.”
    Existing, as opposed to straw-man, Protestants don’t claim that the Bible contains everything believers need to know. Instead, their position is that (a) it prohibits, in broad terms, the things that believers should not do (bowing down before graven images, attempting to re-enact Jesus’ sacrifice, etc) and (b) it gives information about God that cannot be gained other than by divine revelation.
    True, in the second case – the supernatural “is” rather than the moral “oughts” – prots would agree that the Bible is basically exhaustive. ie, that you can deduce “do not kill an unborn human being except in self-defence” from the more general norm of “do not kill any human being except in self-defence” – no angelic revelations to shepherdesses needed – but you can’t deduce the Trinity simply from “animals seem designed too well to have evolved just by developing random mutations that are useless unless and until combined with other random mutations that may not emerge until millions of years later”. Thus prots reject the Catholic/ Orthodox Marian dogmas, for example (as least as binding doctrines that all Christians must accept) for the same reason that Catholics reject THE DA VINCI CODE: something that important, affecting someone so close to Jesus (and giving even more reason, on top of the Resurrection, to stop the mouths of unbelievers), would surely have been at least hinted at in one of four gospels “written that you may believe”.
    I do not speak for Prots these days but there is no point caricaturing their beliefs because a well-schooled fundamentalist will quickly laugh it off and dismiss the main point.

  9. @Ben, you forgot to add that Uncle Ted had a second beach house.

    Even though what you propose about withholding absolution until a criminal turns himself/herself in appeals to my sense of justice, I don’t think it’s a valid approach. As I understand it, sin disfigures the soul. Absolution is the assurance that God forgives us, but all of the forgiveness in the world doesn’t restore the disfigurement. It is more like medicine. It strengthens us against the sin, but we have to have the will to change. If there is no sorrow for the offence, or desire to change and make reparation, we could go to confession twice a week and still find ourselves in a hellish state of being. It’s not like confession is a “pass go and get out of jail” card. No way.–The old “say three Hail Marys and you’re good,” is a fallacy. Shame on any bad teacher who promotes that idea. Having priests accompany sinners is a good thing. Making them a branch of the police wouldn’t help. I’d rather know that priests are out there, as a “safe space” dissuading criminal behavior, and encouraging people to do the right thing (which includes turning yourself into the police when need be) than cut off from their ministry because they’ve become an arm of the law. Can you imagine every immoral action required a police report?

    1. @ taco

      As usual, you take the path of being a good person, of forgiveness, of seeing and hoping for the best in others. And that is a good thing.

      But this was what I was talking about in my posting. Years ago when I was in the graduate school of public health, I worked with the San Francisco child abuse council. This was at the same time as the briggs initiative, which would have been gay people in the schools in California. (Briggs died a few months ago at the age of 90, and never really apologized for the harm he intended to inflict on other people for his own benefit. I was unable to attend his funeral). I learned a great deal about the sexual abuse of children, because even then, it was a huge problem. Some people are fixated child molesters, to use a term that used to be popular. That is their sexual expression, like some people are gay and some people are straight. What they are not is changeable. If they are men – the vast majority of child molesters are men – they have to be men of extraordinary character not to commit their deeds. I have known a couple of people like that, people that had that kind of character, much as a heterosexual priest who will take his vow of celibacy seriously can be trusted. As I have also noted before, though, I think a lot of men enter the priesthood with the expectation that they will be able to avoid their sexuality. They hope that their vocation will prevent them from being themselves. And those men who don’t actually have the gift of celibacy will not be able to do that. I suspect this is extra true for priests who have a lot of access to young people.

      There is a second kind of child molester, at least in general, and these used to be called regressed child molesters or regressed pedophiles. Fathers who molest their children – about 50% of all child molestation is the father, stepfather, or father surrogate – Usually fall in to this category. They are ostensibly heterosexual and interested in adults, but Something Happens, coupled with opportunity, and a child gets hurt. I’m pretty sure, but I don’t know, the majority of the molesters in the Boy Scouts were also regressed pedophiles, but that is a little less clear cut. I don’t want go in to all the reasoning behind all of that.

      What I’m trying to say here is that a priest is not going to dissuade a pedophile from being a pedophile, any morethan any priest has ever convinced any homosexual man not to be gay. That’s not the way it works. In fact, from my perspective, I suspect it would encourage pedophiles, not discourage them, especially after the first time they confess, if they ever do. But there is also a deeper problem, and that is what I attempted to address in my essay: CORRUPTION. Lots of people must have known about father Ted, the archbishop of West Virginia, and in fact, just about any priest that has been caught with his hands down the cookie jars pants. Father Ted could not have done what he did for the number of years that he did it without people deliberately trying very hard not to know about it. The former Archbishop of West Virginia gave very lavish gifts, often cash, to fellow bishops. How could they not have known that this was not his money to give?.

      I still think that this is the best policy the church could adopt: someone who confessed to a crime, especially against children, cannot receive absolution until he turns himself in. Because that is also what I understand to be true about sin, confession, and forgiveness. To receive forgiveness, you must seriously repent of your sins. And what we know about pedophiles tells us that the sins will persist. from my own point of view, there is no point to forgiveness unless there is also a serious attempt at making amends for bad behavior.

  10. Hi Mark, thanks for the post. Thought-provoking as usual!

    I agree with so much of this. I love the idea especially of making something ‘unthinkable’ by our practice, like the early Christians did.

    However, a question has been niggling away at me for a while: for the early Christians, given the political order of the day, was lobbying to make something outlawed itself ‘unthinkable’? Does living in a representative democracy change how we see the issue now that we *can* perform such lobbying? (Writing from Australia here).

    Thanks for these posts. Really great stuff.

    1. It is precisely my point that Christians were able to move the ball down the field as far as they did in a time before representative democracy that should give us hope. If the could do that under the Roman imperium, what excuse do we have for moaning about “persecution” and stooping to lies, racism, cruelty and corruption in order to achieve our ends? We can do far better, but we’ve lazily chosen to embrace a vile Mob Boss, not to defend the unborn, but to defend our own privilege.

  11. Ben,
    Thanks so much for your long reply. I answered you back to the best of my ability, and really felt so unburdened by what I wrote, only to have our wonky internet with everybody and their cousin either Zooming or surfing the net making our internet crash every hour or so. I pressed “post” and that lousy “no internet” dinosaur showed up like the grim reaper. It’s so frustrating!!! First world problems.

    A friend of mine sent me a photo of the sky up there yesterday. Wow. I’m so sorry for you having to endure that and the smell of smoke which proceeded it –it is still fresh in my memory from last year. I say that knowing that the other shoe can drop here from one moment to the next.

    I hope you are well! On Saturday when we were all sweating and complaining, we took the kids to the beach and they literally ended up swimming with a pod of dolphins. My 11-y.o. was so close, she said that the noise of their breathing sounded like f*arts. Lol, silver linings. Cheers!

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