On Bishop Strickland
Every normal grownup on planet Earth knows he lost and knows Trump is a massive liar. There is zero evidence of voter fraud by Team Biden. There is evidence of voter fraud by Team Trump, and hopefully Lindsey Graham will pay for it with his political life.
So here’s the thing. It is not a mistake to say Trump won. It’s not a boo-boo, or a disputed opinion, or a well-meaning hope. It’s not a disagreement about the facts.
It’s a lie, a miserable, baseless lie.
Every Normal knows it.
Biden’s transition team said in a statement that in a phone call on Thursday, the president-elect thanked Francis for “extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation”. He also saluted the pontiff’s “leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation and the common bonds of humanity around the world”.
As of a week ago 8 in 10 Americans knew it.
Only the proudest and most dishonest people on planet Earth–white conservative American MAGA liars–still insist that this election was stolen or rigged: a lie for which they cannot provide a scintilla of evidence. MAGA cultists, dominated by conservative Christians, are fully committed People of the Lie. And the proof is that when one false assertion fails, they do not apologize for it. They simply move on to one false assertion after another with aggressive demonic energy. Because raw power, not truth, is all they care about. They lie. They do nothing but lie.
And not just random lay wahoos. Here, for example, is the single worst bishop in the entire American episcopacy, Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, doing what he does all too frequently, furthering blatant falsehoods:
No, sir. You are the source of division, feeding a totally false conspiracy narrative in the teeth of all reality. You are spreading lies, sir. And then you expect those who do not know Christ to believe that you preach the truth. Have you no shame or decency in your lust for MAGA power? Do you not know that Jesus Christ, the Truth, will judge these lies?
Moreover, Bp. Strickland has endangered not just souls but lives by embracing Vigano’s nutty nonsense about the “COVID Conspiracy” and by conferring his blessing on anti-vax nutters.
Accordingly, the other day, he told this outrageous falsehood:
Some pro-lifers declare that they will not accept a vaccine that uses fetal cell lines taken from aborted fetuses decades ago to culture the virus. Moderna’s new vaccine did not. It is an RNA product and is listed as “ethical” by the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute (updated 11/11/20).
“Maybe Bp. Strickland made a mistake”.
Then where is the retraction? Why did he not retract his signature on the whack job “manifesto” asserting that COVID is part of a grand conspiracy “Great Reset” plot to take over the world?
Why did not not retract his endorsement of the whack job anti-vax conference he blessed by his attendance?
No. The man is a crank and he is a crank who is willing to spread lies in the teeth of the facts about both the outcome of the election and about vaccination, as well as to immediately endorse Vigano’s lies about the Holy Father if it suits his politics.
Naturally, he is therefore now one of the Anointed Folk Heroes of MAGA Qatholicism:
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler Texas is one of the most courageous leaders in the Church, known for his outspoken support of unborn life, orthodox faith and morals, and reforming Catholic institutions.
Because, as ever, opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the MAGA Qatholic, including telling shameless lies and distorting Church teaching, such as slandering Moderna, as well as ignoring the fact that the Church in fact teaches that it is morally legitimate to receive vaccinations derived from fetal sources if nothing else is available.
As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. However, if the latter are exposed to considerable dangers to their health, vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis. The moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is grave inconvenience. Moreover, we find, in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children. This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles.
(Rome has in view rubella vaccines, but the principle is the same for any vaccine. Demand ethically sourced vaccines where possible, but don’t let some ignorant culture warrior–even if he is a bishop–try to guilt you into refusing a vaccine that works when it’s a matter of life and death. And this is double true, when the ignorant culture warrior is lying to you that a vaccine was unethically sourced. In that case, demand that the ignorant culture warrior learn the Eighth commandment and stop bringing the Faith into disrepute to with ignorant slander.)
For what remains illegitimate is not remote material cooperation with evil, but the direct evil of bearing false witness against your neighbor who makes pharmaceuticals, as well as spreading lies that have contributed to the deaths of 250,000 Americans. What remains illegitimate is sowing civil unrest about an election for which there is no evidence of voter fraud by the winner, as well as helping Vigano sow malice toward the Holy Father.
We now live in an hour where those who regard themselves as the Greatest Catholics of All Time, sent by God Almighty himself to save the Church from the Pope and America from Biden have completely convinced themselves that their right to power and domination over the rest of us (whom they term the “Children of Darkness”) authorizes them to lie and lie and lie their way to raw authoritarian power in the person of their idol, Donald Trump. Their monomaniac obsession with the fantasy of magicking away abortion and their corresponding belief that any evil is permissible in the pursuit of that fantasy makes them a menace to both the faith and the common good. As long as they reject the basics the gospel, such as truth, in their lust for lawless power, they are a threat.
Prudence therefore dictates that Normals and sensible people should assume that any truth claim they make is a lie until they have proven otherwise and that they are always operating in bad faith until they demonstrate clearly that they are not. It’s on them to prove their honesty, not on us to prove that their lies are false. Repentance always remains a hope and a goal for any disciple of Jesus. But until the MAGA disciple of Trump shows that repentance by their consistent commitment to the truth and renunciation of the lie, assume he is a liar.
That is a terrible thing to say about any person, much less a bishop. But given such a track record, and the MAGA cult’s long commitment to the defense of visible-from-space lies, I see no alternative.