Miscellaneous Meanderings on the signs of the times (Vol. 8, No. 89)
Dr. Mark S. Latkovic
June 1, 2017
~With radical Islam on the loose all over the planet, we’re coming to a time when, if people don’t freely become Christian, then eventually no one will be able to freely do so.
~I hear people using the expression, “I was scared shitless.” What exactly does this mean? That you were so scared that you couldn’t take a crap? That you were so terrified that nothing came out? Being the curious person that I am, I’m just wondering.
~Even anti-life philosopher Peter Singer recognized over 30 years ago how the development of an artificial womb would radically affect the abortion debate in favor of the pro-life cause. That scientists are closer (about 2 years away) to such a womb – which could sustain babies for 4 weeks – is good news for preemies (see https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/recreating-the-womb-for-preemies/12281).
~This headline caught my attention: “Belgian Catholic psychiatric hospitals ‘adjust’ their view of euthanasia” (see https://www.mercatornet.com/mobile/view/belgian-catholic-psychiatric-hospital-adjust-their-view-of-euthanasia). “The chairman of the board [controlling the institutions of the Brothers of Charity], Raf De Rycke, an economist who has worked with the Brothers of Charity for years, denied that the ethos of their hospitals had changed. ‘We have not made a 180 degree turn,’ he told De Morgen newspaper. ‘It is not that we used to be against euthanasia and now suddenly are for it. This is consistent with our existing criteria. We are making both possible routes for our patients: both a pro-life perspective and euthanasia.’” He added: “We start from the same basic values: the inviolability of life is an important foundation, but for us it is not absolute. This is where we are on a different wavelength from Rome.” Yeah, you haven’t made a 180 degree turn, but rather a 360 degree turn. Both pro-life and pro-euthanasia? Orwell, call your office.
~First self-driving cars, then a Mars-mission, and now: “Elon Musk on mission to link human brains with computers in four years” (see http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN17N0CU). Well that’s just great. I need my brain hacked about as much as I need a hole in my head…Which, come to think of it, I’d need for them to drill one to put the damn chip in my brain.
~When can I file a freedom from the Freedom from Religion Foundation lawsuit? (See http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/05/05/atheists-sue-president-trump-over-his-religious-liberty-executive-order).
~With all of the political food-fights on Facebook these days, it has me longing for the days when actual pictures of food – e.g., what people had for lunch – were common and were people’s chief complaint about this social media.
~I feel like I need catastrophic healthcare insurance simply for the Democrats’ constant apocalyptic rhetoric of immanent healthcare catastrophe.
~The term “culture war” is inadequate because it doesn’t quite get at the other and sometimes deeper problems we face as a people. For example, the culture war involves a moral as well as a spiritual aspect.
~I often have conversations with myself and from these certain insights occasionally emerge that wouldn’t have had I not spoken with myself.
~Pope Francis preached recently that the death penalty is a “mortal sin” and “inadmissible” (see http://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/05/11/pope-francis-death-penalty-mortal-sin-and-inadmissible). Will we come to a day when this Pope declares self-defense immoral?
~Here’s the CNA headline that caught my eye: “Want to engage secular culture? An Irish bishop provides a guide” (see http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/want-to-engage-secular-culture-an-irish-bishop-provides-a-guide-72251/). The Irish bishop in this case is Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh. He “noted three potential possibilities for Catholics: a ‘culture of openness,’ which some fear dilutes Catholic beliefs and leads to unjustified compromise; a ‘culture of identity’ that stresses Catholic distinctiveness instead of what Catholics have in common with all people of good will; and the ‘culture of engagement,’ with two-way critical interaction and conversations between religious traditions and the broader culture.” The Archbishop favors the third model of engagement. I would say that while I am in general agreement with him, there must be more emphasis on the second, i.e., Catholic identity. Today, Catholics don’t know who they are; many have either forgotten or never learned about their identity. So, before we can go out and engage the culture – and hopefully change it for the better – we have to know who we are.
~You frequently hear people say that some couple or another (usually some celebrities) were “lovers.” When what they really meant to say was that they were either adulterers or fornicators.
~I read that “Trump nominee [Amy Coney Barrett] wrote on Catholic judges and the death penalty” (see http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/trump-nominee-wrote-on-catholic-judges-and-the-death-penalty-48098/). “Regarding the use of capital punishment to ensure security, prisons in the U.S. have the ability to securely detain criminals from harming society again, [then Amy Coney and John Garvey] wrote, and arguments in favor of the death penalty here ‘will work only in parts of the world far less developed than the United States.’” Without getting into the morality of capital punishment here, I see this as an empirical claim, but one that I’m not so sure can stand up to close scrutiny.
~Driving home from work recently, I noticed that a funeral parlor has a billboard up in Detroit that reads “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Yes, we’ve reached that point as a society where funeral parlors are putting up billboards reminding us of what the Churches and schools had taught for centuries. Well, they are in the business of death after all.
~Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have become the media’s token Republicans. Whenever the mainstream media say Republicans are exercised about something President Trump said or did, 99% of the time they’re referring to McCain and Graham.
~Our secular culture hates “extremists” (i.e., committed Christians), unless of course you exercise your extremism on the sports field or on the stage…or are part of the so-called “Resistance.”
~The Gospel reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter’s Mass (May 21, 2017) is from John 14: 15-21 and the later verses read, in part: “In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Now, compare this Sacred Scripture reading with the Beatles’ “Within You and Without You,” a song off of their 1967 St. Pepper’s album written and sung by George Harrison. The two middle verses read as follows: “We were talking / About the love we all could share / When we find it / To try our best to hold it there, with our love, with our love / We could save the world, if they only knew / Try to realize it’s all within yourself, no-one else can make you change / And to see you’re really only very small / And life flows on within you and without you.” (See https://www.google.com/search?q=within+you+and+without+you+lyrics&rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS516US523&oq=within+you+and+&aqs=chrome.2.0j69i57j0l4.4942j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8). I know that Harrison was heavily influenced by Hinduism and Eastern philosophy on this song and others, but I like to think that there is some trace of Christianity (even if it’s imperfect: e.g., Harrison wasn’t singing of God’s Trinitarian love) here as well.
~Every time I see the name of former Chicago band member Peter Cetera, I want to say his name as “Peter Etcetera.”
~I know I’m starting to sound a lot like Thomas Sowell…but, there has been and will be much more injustice done in the name justice and its twin equality.
~Cher celebrated her 71st birthday (on May 20th) by basically wearing her birthday suit while performing at the 2017 Billboard Awards. I mention this because my granddaughter has something in common with her: Gigi was born on the same day…and, of course, in her bathing suit.
~Pope Francis continues the secular mealy-mouthed way of responding to Islamic terrorism (see http://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/05/23/pope-prays-victims-barbaric-attack-manchester), using all of the euphemistic buzz terms: “a senseless act of violence” [As if the terrorists didn’t have a purpose]; a “tragic loss of human life” [As if it was a brick that fell off the roof, rather than a deliberate act]; and “deeply saddened” [And why not also add “outraged”?]. Now, in fairness, Francis did call the terrorist act “barbaric” and “evil.” But he never even broached the possibility that this murderous act may well have been inspired by a religion, namely Islam… Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster also chimed in with the language of “the tragedy.” (cf. William Kilpatrick, http://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/manchester-bomber-martyr-murderer).
~When a child is born – and even more so a grandchild – the parents (and grandparents) think not so much in terms of passing on their “values,” as passing on a way of life – in a word – transmitting a culture.
~Parents who brought their young children – mostly teenage girls, but some as young as 8, I’ve read – to pop star Arianna Grande’s May 22nd concert in Manchester (where Islamic terror bombing struck) got to hear her sing suggestive lyrics from such songs as “Dangerous Women” (see https://www.google.com/search?q=dangerous+woman+lyrics+ariana+grande&rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS516US523&oq=dangerous+woman&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0j35i39j0l3.5511j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8), which was her last of the evening:
All that you got, skin to skin, oh my God /Don’t ya stop, boy/
Somethin’ ‘bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman/
Somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout you/
Makes me wanna do things that I shouldn’t/
Somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout, somethin’ ‘bout/
Why do parents subject their children to this and worse?
~According to The Washington Post, the Manchester suicide bomber may have been intentionally “targeting” women and girls. Gee, you think? (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/the-targeting-of-women-and-girls-in-manchester-may-have-been-intentional/2017/05/23/e87d3f42-3fb8-11e7-b29f-f40ffced2).
~Our daughter Clare’s high school graduation class of 2017 at Allen Park had their last day of school on May 26. This generation is the most filmed and photographed generation of all time. But we get bored and jaded with it all after a while – even the teenagers themselves. All of our technology doesn’t guarantee introspection (or even joy); unlike their generation, our generation’s every move – significant or not – wasn’t documented by a cell phone. I like to think that we had more time to think, even when we didn’t always use that time to think or think wisely.
~I hear that there’s a new scholarly journal of James Bond studies. I’m not kidding. I joke that my fictitious article, “Playing Bond, From Connery to Craig: The Intersectionality of Race, Sex, and Spying in the Age of Trump,” will appear in its pages.
~“It doesn’t matter who you love,” claim the LGBTQ people. It sure as hell does. But the bigger question is, how do you define love in this mantra?
~After you watch this 2015 Prager University video by Professor of English Literature Anthony Esolen, “How Dark Were the Dark Ages?”
(see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqzq01i2O3U), you might realize how we moderns have been in the dark about the so-called Dark Ages.
~Head transplants may make your head spin – literally and figuratively (see http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/why-head-transplants-wont-disprove-the-existence-of-god-23681/), but they shouldn’t challenge your belief in God’s existence. So, the proverb “two heads are better than one” may end up being more than just a proverb.
~In its April 24, 2017 print edition, Time magazine interviewed Dr. Willie Parker (see http://time.com/4737973/willie-parker-lifes-work-abortions-christian/). Parker is a black “Christian” and an “abortion provider” (The online version, dated April 13, speaks of his “deep Christian faith” in the headline). He says he was able to reconcile his faith with doing abortions after listening to a sermon – I kid you not – on the Good Samaritan by Martin Luther King Jr. Parker speaks of “my skill in abortions.” What he means is his skill in killing unborn babies. Oops, I mean taking care of women’s “unplanned and unwanted pregnancies,” as he delicately puts it. So much for MLK’s non-violence as a solution to our social problems.
~No, “Trump’s war on the environment” is not a war and it’s not “a war on the young and the unborn” (see http://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/05/31/trumps-war-environment-war-young-and-unborn). This article is one of the most overheated pieces of political rhetoric I have read recently, and that’s saying a lot these days (e.g., at one point he calls Trump a “despot”).
~The Beatles’ St. Pepper’s album is celebrating its 50th anniversary today (June 1). It’s one of the first albums I remember hearing as a young boy around the age of 5.
~Here’s to the summer of 2017 and to all of the high school and college graduates who are about to move on to the next stage of their lives. My advice: Don’t screw things up like we did!