Monday, July 28, 2014

Vicky Gene Robinson Splits Again-- Amicably

Vicky "Gene" Robinson, the retired Episcopalian Bishop of New Hampshire, has created controversy again by splitting from his current "spouse".

Robinson married his Isabella "Boo" Martin  in 1972 when he was a seminarian chaplain at the University of Vermont before he was ordained.  Isabella bore him two daughters.  As Gene Robinson mused about marriage:

"[T]hat is inextricably tied up with having children. And since I cannot imagine my life without Jamee and Ella, it's just a completely irrelevant question for me. And I don't regret having been married to Boo, either, even if there had not been children. It's just a part of my journey, and why would I possibly regret that?"

However after receiving counseling in 1985, Robinson came in touch with his homosexual identity. So then Vicky Gene he dumped his wife of 13 years literally before the altar, while promising to raise their daughters together. Robinson rationalized with Isabella: [I]n order to live up to our vow to honor one another in the name of God, that we would let each other go."

Robinson had been elected bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.   He was the first openly gay priest who was consecrated bishop (although Bishop Otis Charles of Utah divorced his wife in 1993 after he retired to "marry" his homosexual partner in California, who he survived).

Robinson became a cause celebre in the LGBTQQ community and wrote a couple of books, an autobiography "The Eye of the Storm" (2008) and "God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage" (2012).  Robinson was prominently featured in the Sundance festival film "For the Bible Tells Me So" (2007) on the perceived conflict between homosexuality and Christianity.  Moreover, a documentary "Love Free or Die", chronicled Robinson's  conflict to love God and his partner Mark Andrew.

Mark Andrew, Robinson's new love interest came on the scene in 1987 while vacationing in St. Croix.
In 1988, the former bishop of New Hampshire Douglas Theuner blessed their home, which Robinson considered a license by the Episcopal Church as a formal recognition of their "life together".  Andrews and Robinson "lived in sin" for 13 years.  Robinson said: "I always wanted to be a June bride", so Andrews and Robinson tied the knot in a civil ceremony on June 7, 2008 and  and having their "legal union" blessed at a religious ceremony at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Concord, New Hampshire.

Alas, honoring one's wife by divorcing her, shacking up with another guy as bishop and then becoming a June bride while deeply dividing the Anglican Communion is not the end of the  New Age fairy-book tale of faithfully following one's heart. Now retired Bishop  Gene Robinson announced that he is divorcing his partner of 25 years Mark Andrew.  Once again, Robinson has nothing but nice things to say about the spouse whom he is jilting.  In addition, Robinson has the temerity to claim: "Love can endure, even if the marriage cannot."  What poppycock!

Before Robinson retired in 2012, he complained about then intense scrutiny that he has endured. OK he walked away from his wife, shacked up with another guy for 25 years, was elected bishop, regaled in the Homosexual community honoring his example and then wrote books about marriage. Robinson was tapped by then President-elect Obama to give the invocation for his 2009 Inaugural Kick Off Event on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial.   To top it off, Robinson, who now works for the George Soros funded Center for American Progress.  Hence, it was unsurprising that President Obama "spontaneously" asked Robinson to perform the closing prayer.

In these gay old times, it is not news that President Obama now embraces Same-Sex Marriage.  Nor is it earth-shattering that the Episcopal Church in America seeks to normalize such unions and incorporate them into the Anglican Communion.  What is worth reflection is the meaning of marriage based upon Vicky Gene Robinson's own terms.

This is the second marriage from which Robinson has walked away.  The first marriage was because Robinson chose to identify with his homosexual inclinations and abandoned his bride of 13 years. Now Robinson is parting with his husband Mark Andrew nearly seven years (and "living in sin" for another 13 years).  Robinson is not citing abuse or adultery charges in his public statements, so civilly it might understood as "irreconciliable differences" as New Hampshire has no fault divorce.

In the Deuteronomic Law, Moses allowed divorce as a concession to the stiff necked Israelites. As Jesus Christ shared the New Covenant, the messiah reaffirmed the covenant nature of nuptials bringing together one man and one woman to create a new life through love and establish a home church.  Catholics have tried to keep a covenental nature to marriage by making the annulment process arduous in establishing that marital parties did not have the proper capacity (or understand) of entering into the sacrament.  

Per the Book of Common Prayer, sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace."  Matrimony is included as one off these sacraments.  But these words seem like window dressing as Episcopalians countenance and glorify a bishop who has twice abandoned his beloved spouses, each for spurious reasons.  But, at least Vicky Gene Robinson can split again amicably.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Penn Jillette on Religion

Penn Jillette atheism

 Strong believer Glenn Beck discusses religion and the Founding Fathers with atheist Penn Jillette.  


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chaldean Patriarch Condemns ISIS Crimes Against Humanity

As ISIS exercised its power in Mosul on Saturday, it gave religious minorities which differ from their extreme Wahabbist practice of Islam a choice: Convert, flee or die by the sword according to the Qu'ran.  Those who fled were totally dispossessed.  As the militant ISIS jihadists took over, they blew up shrines and mosques of these minorities. 

Mosul (or Ninevah during biblical times) had been a city where tnes of thousands of Christians had once lived, dating back to nearly the beginning of Christianity.  It had also been the a city were diverse faiths flourished.  It seems that those days are over.  It was estimated in early July  that there were only 200 Christians left in the city, and that there were no priests nor masses being held there. 

It was remarkable that 200 Muslims joined in solidarity with Christians to decry these heinous acts.  Muslims at the service held up papers saying "I am Iraqi,I am Christian" as well as some writing it on their shirts.  Some Christians wore the Arabic letter "Nun", which stood for Nazari--the derogatory Muslim term for Christians which also was the red mark for extermination and expropriation in the ISIS controlled city. 

In Rome, Pope Francis remembered the persecution which these Arab Christians are suffering.  The Holy Father assured them that they are in his constant prayers:  “My dear brothers and sisters who are persecuted, I know how much you suffer; I know that you are deprived of all. I am with you in faith in He who conquered evil”. 

While these prayers are certainly appreciated, it has not changed the facts on the ground that the Middle East is rapidly being stripped  of its longstanding Christian population and heritage.  And so far, the international response has been anemic flowery despite proclamations about treasuring religious liberty. Both the Patriach of Antioch and the Syrians along with Chaldean  Bishop Shlemon Wardooni have called upon the international community for support. 

C.S. Lewis on Mere Christianity

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On ISIS Marking Christians for Extermination and Expropriation in Iraq

As jihadist Sunni Islamist terrorists from ISIS/ISIL strive to create a sharia inspired Caliphate as they take over territory in Iraq and Syria, they are slaughtering innocent Christians.  

However, even sharia law allows for dhimmitude, second class citizen status for "people of the book" (i.e. Jews and Christians) so long as they pay the jizya tax.  But that is not good enough for ISIS jihadists.  They have taken to mark the buildings of Christian institutions with spray-painted red marks indicating holdouts to exterminate and expropriate.

Spraypainted ISIS Extermination Graffiti on Christian buildings in Mosel, Iraq
"Nun" 14th letter in Arabic alphabet
 The symbol is "Nun", the 14th letter in the Arabic alphabet.  It is the first letter in the name "Nazara" (or Nazarenes) the way in which Muslims have referred to Christians since the 7th Century. This is intended as a badge of shame for what is perceived as a contemptible and disobedient sect. 

While those who follow world events may be aware of the genocidal fervor of ISIS terrorism, it is for this systematic genocide to get lost in the tumult of today's world news.  Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan's interview with Vatican Radio was a shocking reminder of the consequences of America's precipitous withdrawal from Iraq and not tamping down Islamist forces in Mesopotamia.  There are no Christians left in Mosul.  Many Christian refugees have fled to Kuridstan, but now their Prime Minister claims that it can receive no more refugees.  The last ten families fleeing from the Mosul area were robbed of everything they own and left at the frontier of the city.  Now they may not have anyplace to which to go.

Sophisticates in the West mock the notion that Christians are being persecuted around the world.  The "Nun" marks in Mosul show that Christian brothers and sisters are being marked for their faith and may face martyrdom. 

It would not be a panacea but if Western powers really stood for religious liberty, actions could be taken to mitigate the ISIS mire.  But with  Secretary of State John Kerry's  recent equivocation about religious pluralism rather than noting the source threatening religious liberty in Ethiopia as well as the Obama Administration's open hostility to people practicing their faith in the public square, this issue is likely to be way behind priorities such as political fundraisers and swanky vacations. 

h/t: Rorate Caeli

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo's Mother Tried to Abort the Unborn Soccer Superstar

Dolores Aveiro, the mother of Real Madrid (and formerly Manchester United) soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, helped author a candid autobiography with ghost writer Paulo Sousa Costa titled: Mãe Coragem "Mother Courage" which was recently had its lusophone launch in Lisbon.  Aveiro had wanted to dub the book "A Woman Is a Woman" as a nod to German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht's  "Man Is a Man".  But "Mother Courage"'s subtitle: "The Life the Force and the Faith of a Fighter" better explains her homage to the struggles of mothers.

In the book, Ms. Aveiro revealed that when she was pregnant with Cristiano on the Portuguese  archipelago of Madeira  in 1984, she tried to abort him.  Dolores Aveiro reasoned that she was 30 years old, already the mother of three children and her poor gardener husband was an alcoholic.  When doctors rejected her reasoning, "Mother Courage" tried to do the dirty deed  herself with a homemade abortifacient concoction of warm ale and running until she dropped.  Fortunately for the F.I.F.A. world, her attempts to abort were unsuccessful.

When Cristiano Ronaldo learned that his mother tried to kill him in utero, he seemingly took it in good spirits, joking about who pulled the purse strings in the house.  Perhaps it was a coincidence, but Ronaldo was not present for the book launch, nor was one of his brothers. Dolores excused the absence, since she claims that he knew what she would say.

Aside from giving birth to Ronaldo, Dolores Aveiro encouraged her son to channel frustrations about school into improving his atheleticism and soccer skills.  Later, when her superstar son fathered a child in Florida, Dolores dedicated herself to raising her grandson.

Amongst the allegedly enlightened intellectuals who are pro-abortion rights, terminating a pregnancy is simply "reproductive rights" which is between a women and her doctors.  Well, had Dolores Aveiro been successful of getting rid of a pregnancy problem when she felt under mental duress, the world would have never seen the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro.

CBS Late Night Spotlights Strident Iconoclast Alternative Rock Singer

CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson recently gave alternative rock singer Kristeen Young her American network television debut singing "Pearl of a Girl".

For those who found Young's singing to be more discordant disharmony rather than what NPR shills as "beguiling and visceral" singing, here are the lyrics to "Pearl of a Girl":

I never knew I was a girl until they stopped to tell me. 
I never knew I was disturbed until they dropped three volumes on me.
But in the Bible/Torah/Quran there are really no good roles for me except concubine and wash woman.
I used to be the sad one now I just want to stab them it's so severe, it's brutal.
They've needed to have the law so they can legally bind us.
They've needed the church so they can morally ground us.
They've needed to make the dough they've must be so scared of us.
So their stories are of ghosts.
I only wish the virgin would've had an abortion.
 Young's iconoclastic lyrics sought to condemn all major religions for centuries of religious persecution and keeping women in subservient roles Yet fashion and imaging for "The Knife Shift" goes out of its way to insult all of the Abrahamic faiths. And she does the Knife Shift to suggest that the Virgin Mary should have aborted the Christ child. 

For example, Young prides herself on creating her own fashion.  Young proudly describes a skirt that she designed which she painted on symbols of the three major religions which she intentionally defaced.  The cross and the crescent moon were positioned upside down and the Stars of David looked like it was a shirukin throwing stars.  

The iconoclast artist also claimed: "I feel like making and wearing something Satanic". This provocative fashion and lyric is a marked contrast to her avowed approach to art "the freedom and diversity of many styles grouped together".  Young not only felt compelled to shout her song from the rooftop but to insult all with whom she disagrees. So much for coexist. 

"The Pearl of a Girl" was not the 37 year old strident chanteuse's first foray into what charitably can be seen as clashing with religious and cultural constraints. In her six album discography, her tracks include "No Other God", "Commit Adultery", "Devil Girl", "The Devil Made Me", "Son of Man",  and "Protestant".  Somehow, it seems unlikely that one would hear tracks from "Music for Strippers, Hookers and the Odd On-Looker" (2009) on  a Praise music channel. 

Some interviews with Kristeen Young intimate a woman who was troubled by her youth in St. Louis where she struggled with religion and non-conformity.  But instead of fashioning these inclinations like Madonna, they manifested themselves like her estwhile mentor Morrissey with a panache of Lady Gaga.

It is not uncommon for rock musicians to push the envelope of taste and engage in épater le bourgeois.  After all, a famous Rolling Stones song is "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968) which attributes the tumult of the 1960s to the hellish anti-hero.  In addition, the Rolling Stones also issued a record: "Their Satantic Majestic Request" (1967), which was their only attempt at psychodelia.  Mick Jagger summed it up best: 

 "There's a lot of rubbish on Satanic Majesties. Just too much time on our hands, too many drugs, no producer to tell us, 'Enough already, thank you very much, now can we get just get on with this song?'"

Rather than adopt a anti-hero narrative or compose a session stoned, Kristeen Young consistently follows a world view that it ardently iconoclastic and anti-religious as most people of faith would understand it.

So why give Young the publicity which she cravenly covets?  It shows how CBS has stooped to conquer. When The Doors appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967, they were asked to change the Robbie Krieger lyrics to "Light My Fire" so as not to sing "Girl we could get much higher".  Of course, Jim Morrison flouted this promise and The Doors got banned.  That same year, the Rolling Stones--the bad boys of rock and roll--changed the lyrics to a popular song to "Let's spend some time together" to not scandalize audiences.   

The CBS "Pearl of a Girl" spot exemplifies the mainstreaming of alternative lifestyles which the great silent majority finds alien and mildly offensive. This is a nation which is tolerant of a wide variety of views and lifestyles, but the Lamestream Media and the cultural intelligentsia is pushing a weltanschauung which excludes all but the politically correct perspective of the moment.   The episode underlines why Christians feel like they are under attack, albeit in this instance culturally. To change this cultural assault, the faithful must recognize the challenge in order to peacefully confront challenges. 

Considering his choice in guests, it is no wonder why Craig Ferguson was not fingered to be David Letterman's replacement.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Invoking JFK on Religious Liberty

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Hobby Lobby (2014) which allowed closely held corporations to follow deeply held religious tenets and not pay for abortifacients which kill human life, the United States Senate considered S. 2578, the so called "Protect Womens' Health From Corporate Interference Bill".

One of the more poignant speeches during the Senate floor debate was by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).  Cruz observed that the practical effect of S. 2578 would gut the Free Exercise of Religion clause from the First Amendment of the Constitution and impose federal will upon all 50 states through the supremacy clause. 

To bolster his argument, Senator Cruz concluded his speech by boldly invoking John F. Kennedy's quote on religious liberty to condemn so called "faith fines". 

Seasoned political junkies realize that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) brought S. 2578 to a vote as a cheap political stunt which had no actual chance of passage but would gin up a liberal base through identity politics and scare tactic campaigns during a tough election cycle.  While the bill won the votes of all Democrat Senators and a few RINO Republicans (Murkowski, Kirk, and Collins), it failed the cloture vote 56-43, with the Senate Majority Leader switching sides for the ability to vote on it again later.

While this vote on S. 2578 was doomed for legislative failure is instructive.  Senate Democrats seem to care more about partisan politics and elections than respecting Federalism, the First Amendment and Religious Liberty. Cruz quoting JFK spotlights the progress (and arguably the devolution) of the modern Democrat party.  And the episode shows how Christianity is endangered even in America,

Rand Paul on Christianity

The remarks in full of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) at the 2013 Value Voters Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council.  

The metal barricades seen in front of the dais reflected the Government Shutdown Theater, when the Obama Administration went to the trouble to "barry-cade" (sic) public monuments on the National Mall during the Government Shutdown in October 2013.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Abortion Advocates Call Faithful Nuns as "Dirty"

During a tough interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News Channel, Patricia Ireland speaking on behalf of the  National Organization for Women (NOW)  sought to justify NOW's labeling of the Little Sisters of the Poor as part of the "Dirty 100" in light of the recent Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) Supreme Court ruling.

Ireland deflected the denigration of the Catholic nuns as being like the "Dirty Dozen" with other corporations, presumably for fundraising efforts.  But Kelly does not let her off than easily, suggesting that the nuns be considered "Groups with whom we disagree".

The former NOW President kept insisting that the Little Sisters could "opt out" of the Obamacare contraception mandate.  Except the alleged work around forces the Sisters to sign the Form 700 document permitting others to provide the abortifacients which are anathematic to their faith. 

Ireland offered patronizing lip service to the nuns' living their faith and helping the indigent infirmed. But what she does not realize is that if the Little Sisters of the Poor are eventually forced to pay for such unwanted services ordered by former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius then they will move out rather than contravene their consciences.  

Ireland insisted that I.U.D.s, which is one of the abortifacients in question, does not kill eggs in the uterus.  Well, that's not quite true.  Generally, inter-uterine devices act as spermicide to prevent fertilization but copper I.U.D.s are touted as an emergency contraceptive for five days after intercourse.  Most sperm dies within two days after ejaculation (even in the uterus), thus the emergency contraceptive quality of such I.U.Ds intimates that it prevents the implantation of the blastocyst thereby killing a fertilized egg. 

Ireland incorrectly asserted that the Supreme Court had ruled on the "opt-out" provision.  Hobby Lobby covered closely held corporations with conscience objections but Obamacare opt-outs for non-profits has not been decided yet (although SCOTUS has offered a unanimous injunction pending appeal on January 24th, 2014). 

Ireland's fatal rhetorical faux pas was her bon mot that Supreme Court decisions do not affect the reality.  The hostess of the Kelly Files jumped in and asked if Roe v. Wade affected the reality. T o borrow an oft uttered Ireland phrase from the interview "Bless her heart."

Should the World Cup Be an Orthodox Anathema?

Alexander Shumsky, a Russian Orthodox priest who is also a member of the Russian Writers Union, gave the foot fashion on World Cup players the boot.   

Shumsky's critique is centered on the bright colors of the Puma Trick shoes, which were designed for the 2014 World Cup being held in Brazil.

Puma's reasoning for the exotic color palate for the football boots was because Brazil is all about vibrant colors. The context for Shumsky condemning the World Cup as anathema has not been widely circulated outside of Russia.  However, the thrust of the critique does mirror the homosexual tolerance controversy which shrouded the 2014 Winter Olympics. 

Shumsky's perspective on FIFA had better lighten up, considering that Vladimir Putin has secured the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the finals being held in Sochi.  Maybe by then the hotels in Sochi will be finished.