Category Archives: Social Commentary

I’m Better Than You

Human Dignity.

I have to admit, that I am at times very confused about this.

The trouble is, it all sounds so nice on paper. We claim that every person has the same innate human dignity because we all were made in the image and likeness of God. We say that there is some equality between every person that has ever been born, and then we choose this odd word to describe it, dignity.

Dignity –

1.The state of equality of being worthy of honor or respect

2. A composed or serious manner or style

Now we are obviously talking about the first definition of dignity here, we are not saying that every human person has a serious manner, that would just be silly. So when we say that every person is equally worthy of honor or respect, do we really mean that? Am I really called to honor and respect everyone equally?

This all sound nice and fluffy, but when I actually try to put it into practice, this is a really hard teaching. Am I really supposed to have the same honor and respect for Stalin that I would have for Mother Theresa? Seriously? I mean, this is simply beyond my comprehension. How can I possibly put the Holy Father and the druggie Meth head who just got out of prison on the same level? It’s no challenge to imagine my bishop as having dignity, not so easy for the wife beater down the street.

But here is the real rub. That’s exactly what Jesus did. Spot on. He didn’t even flinch when talking with the prostitute. Poverty and sickness? Didn’t bug Him one bit. The only thing that really seemed to get His goat was religious hypocrisy, and guess what? I am most assuredly not a prostitute, but I have certainly been hypocritical about my beliefs. I’m not sure Jesus would have liked me all that much. That’s pretty darn scary. So since Jesus was clearly tied in to this idea of human dignity, even though it doesn’t make real sense to me, I have to accept it as true. That doesn’t make it any easier.

“Mrs. Turpin occupied herself at night naming the classes of people. On the bottom of the heap were most colored people, not the kind that she would have been if she had been one, but most of them; then next to them- not above, just away from- were the white trash; then above them were the home owners, and above them the home and land owners, to which she and Claud belonged. Above she and Claud were people with a lot of money and much bigger houses and much more land. But here the complexity of it would begin to bear in on her, for some of the people with a lot of money were common and ought to be below she and Claud and some of the people who had good blood had lost their money and had to rent and then there were colored people who owned their own homes and land as well.” -“Revelation” Flannery O’Conner

This is me. Maybe the tools I use to judge everyone are different than Mrs, Turpin, I’m pretty blind to race for example, but I still have a clear strata in my subconscious. That homeless guy is somehow beneath me and that guy at the country club is above me. Where the heck did I get the idea that I could possibly be better than someone else? How did this nonsense get into my brain?

Where do we get this need to place ourselves from? How did I get this way? Why is it so automatic for me to look down on the dirty hippy asking for money, and so easy for me to defer to someone just because they have loads of cash? And like Mrs, Turpin, it only gets more confusing the deeper you get into this mess.

More importantly, how do we break out of this evil cycle? How can we get to the point where we truly see every human person as having the same, true, innate dignity that they were given at their conception. I’m not saying we have to love sin or anything crazy like that, but how can we learn to love every person equally? Jesus pulled it off, and brought it into the realm of perfect possibility, how can we change what is so deeply ingrained in us?

I am certain that we can’t. I think it has to be done TO us. I think only the grace of God can possibly cure me of this evil, and I pray he does just that.

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.” -Galatians 3:27-9

Why Do You Visit My Blog?

I have a rather silly little hobby. Whenever I remember to sit down and write a post, I take a look at who visited my site, and I try to figure out why they came. I think it’s really rather funny.

So I thought for today, I’d share with you the information I gleaned from yesterday.

Yesterday was a good day volume-wise. I had 237 folks take a look. They promptly realized that I am a terrible writer, so 75% of them said “Forget this, I’m off to other things.” Well, I can’t hold the attention of my daughters for 2 minutes, so I can hardly expect to hold anyone else’s for that long.

Here is where the fun starts. Where did they come from?

Well, most of my traffic yesterday came from the support of other great bloggers throwing my links and posts up, but there is always a ton from the good old search engines, especially Google. So what did they search for that brought them here?

Well, ten folks were just interested in “four leaf clovers”. I guess that just makes me lucky.

I have one here who was interested in “methods for washing feet”. Phew, glad I don’t have that problem, hope I helped.

“How to decorate a dead tree” I have always wanted to get into exterior design, maybe I missed my calling.

“4 Yaprakli Yonca” I have no idea what this is, but it brought them here. I bet they were just thrilled to land on my blog.

I think I am using my Nazi = Abortion metaphor too much, as someone looking for “Nazis killing Jews” found their way here. I’m sure to be entered into some white supremacy blacklist soon.

“Love Handshake” I’m not sure this site really has what you are looking for…..

“Should Not.” Really? That brought you here? How?

Now I just love that the internet thinks of me when it thinks of “Boys in the mud.”

Now here I have to be careful. I really don’t want people to get the wrong idea when they “Put kids in the closet.”

“You’re such a deacon” Makes it sound like a really nasty thing doesn’t it?

“Gift idea for someone who is ordained as a deacon in the catholic church” Oh man, I should put in some recommendations for this one. I’m thinking they would just love a years supply of pizza.

“How to make a blanket mattress fort” I didn’t even realize anyone knew about my secret childhood passion.

“How to bi locate” Don’t worry my friend, I will be giving lessons at some point for the low, low price of $99.95. Results not guaranteed.

Mr Know it All, My Hero

And my personal favorite, because they finally found who they were looking for, “Know it all person.”

 

Embryphonic Steam Sells Research?

Have you ever noticed that great evils are hidden in confusing words? Hitler’s “Final Solution” sounds rather positive, like everything is going to be fixed. “Eugenics” sounded so scientific that it was taught in most colleges, even to the point that here in America, that Land of the Free, we had laws for the sterilization of what we termed “imbeciles”. Makes Eugenics sound a bit darker when you think of it in that light. This couching of evil realities behind confusing or positive sounding words has a long history.

So to the task at hand, What exactly IS Embryonic Stem Cell Research? Why all the fuss? Most of us see the “Embryo” in there, does it have to do with studying babies? Oh my, I wish that was all it what it was about.

There comes a point in the life of a baby where their cells are rapidly multiplying, and the individual cells that make up that embryo can become any cell that they need to be. Bone, brain, liver skin, makes no difference, and not only do they have this amazing transformative ability, they also will multiply faster than kids when you advertise free pizza. They are truly amazing. I’m not surprised that scientists are curious.

But there is a problem. They are babies. And yes, babies really are amazing, but that doesn’t mean we can kill them because we are curious about how they work, or because someone else might want to grow something from their body parts. That’s just crazy. You don’t cut off little Johnny’s head so that Grandma Francis might be able to get a new liver, even if Little Johnny didn’t eat all his brussels sprouts.

That is exactly what Embryonic Stem Cell Research is.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research is the hot topic, but there are other fields of research that belong on the same chopping block. Fetal Research and Fetal Tissue Transplantation Research both use aborted fetuses as their test subjects. Also, like Embryonic Stem Cell Research, In Vitro Fertilization Research uses embryos that are planned to be discarded as their prime test subjects.

So we have two issues present. Not only are we experimenting on human beings, but we are also creating a market for their death. Do we really want to traffic in the bodies of our slaughtered babies? Should we really be buying and selling these dead children? Do we really want to help abortionists to make a larger profit?

With Embryonic Stem Cell Research, they use embryos that were not implanted during in vitro fertilization. Let me explain how this works. Let’s say a couple wants to have a baby, but they are having trouble. So they decide to have a baby implanted in the mother’s womb. So they take some eggs from mom, and some sperm from dad, and some technician in a lab makes magic happen and makes up a ton of babies. Well, not all these babies can be implanted, in fact, usually they only need one. What to do with the rest of these babies in petri dishes? Well, normally we’ll just flush them down the toilet, but now we can sell them for dissection! Win for everyone! Except of course, the babies.

Again, we don’t need to be buying and selling people. In this case, these people are still alive. This is akin to slavery, except its slavery where we slice off arms and legs whenever we feel like it. Really icky stuff. As a side note, you may have noticed that I feel pretty darn uncomfortable with In Vitro Fertilization as well. I’ll have to save that for another day.

This is one of those prime examples where people have a tendency to think with their emotions rather than with their noggins. To most people, an embryo is really too mysterious to deal with in their minds. Many seem to think since there is a lack of eyes or ears, that this embryo is somehow not a person. I don’t blame them, it’s hard to look at something that the size of a bean and see the humanity in it when you are used to humans being a very different size and shape. I have always felt it is akin to vegetarians who won’t kill cute little animals because they have eyes that can stare back at them, while they can slaughter carrots with glee, because their “kind” of life is less valuable in their eyes. It might work in the emotions of the moment, but it doesn’t stand up to logic. Both the carrot and the bunny have life, have the ability to grow, mature, and become more than they are now. Death takes that from them, and just because one is more like us, and one is less, does not take away the value of that life.

The same is true with people, but to a higher degree. Just because someone is different than us does not give us the right to assign the quality of their life, be it race, family, age, mental ability, or their developmental progression. In the words of Suess, “a person is a person, no matter how small.”

We are at an interesting point in the existence of man, because we can now see what none of our forebears could see. Life at its earliest stages is miraculous, and was invisible to us since the dawn of time. Never for a moment did we ever think that the child inside a woman was not a child. We always knew, even if we could not see. Only now, when we can see, do we begin to question, and while I respect asking the question, I am ashamed at how it has been answered.

I  cannot vote to allow that answer. Life begins as it always has, at conception. There is no other moment that makes sense to me in any logical way. I must protect human life at all costs, and that is all there is to it. I cannot support the dissection of live babies, nor can I accept the buying and selling of dead ones. I cannot support the killing of babies to find cures for others. To vote to allow any of these evils is to be a part of it, and I will not do it, no matter how much I want my taxes lowered.

Revenge

Some people are downright nasty.

I don’t mean that as a put down, I’m just being frank, some people really are. I’m not sure if it’s due to some chemical imbalance or bad upbringing, but some people seem to be just born mean.

There are some that are worse. Some are born killers.

I’m not making excuses for them. I am merely saying that things are what they are.

To try to imagine what it would feel like if one of these people hurt my little girls is something I cannot even think about. The amount of pain that would bring me in indescribable. My heart goes out to those who have been hurt by such evil, and I feel we should help them in every way possible.

But killing the killers is simply not a solution that I abide. I refuse to become evil, just because someone committed and evil act against me or those I love. This is not a question of turning the other cheek, this is a question of the survival of my own morality in dark times.

Life must be precious to us for us to maintain our humanity. Life in the womb, life in our autumn years, life in saints, and life in sinners, it all must be precious to us. For us to take it, there simply must be a better reason than revenge.

There are times when the death penalty is appropriate. This is actually rather easy to assertain. If the murderer is unstoppable, and we have no way to take away his ability to kill, we are allowed to take his/her life as a protection of our own. For example, if a soldier on the battlefield goes crazy and starts killing his comrades, and you are far from friendly lines, you may not have a choice. If you allow him to live, he may pick everyone off, one by one. Another example would be a tribe living in isolation who has no ability to hold a criminal for an extended period of time. To make it simple, if the man can be incarcarated, then you can’t kill him. If there is no way to hold him, and he continues to be a threat, then for the protection of life, you may end his.

The key here is “for the protection of life”. No one can seriously suggest that we do not have the ability to incarcerate a criminal or that that person continues to be a threat to the average person. He is locked up tight in our culture. The only reason for killing him at this point is for revenge.

Revenge. No, I will not become evil for the sake of one who is evil. To be honest, I feel a lifetime without liberty is a far better punishment anyways.

There is another thing to think about. The reality is, we have killed men who were innocent. One such death should be enough cause to end this forever, and yet, it goes on. I simply cannot trust any human system with the choice between life and death, not only because it is wrong, but because we make mistakes.

I can’t vote for murder at any time. I cannot allow murder to be socially acceptable. I totally understand that there is darkness in the world that we must deal with, but I refuse to let death be the answer. 

Crossing the Line

This weekend in our formation classes we had an interesting discussion that I wanted to share. In our psychology course, our professor constantly has us working in small groups, working out different counseling situations, with one of us acting as a therapist, and the other role playing a problem someone might have.

This begged the question, is a deacon meant to be a counselor?

It was astounding how quickly the director of the program jumped up and basically said “Heck no!” The liabilities involved are so tremendous that he wanted to nip that thought right in the bud.

Before I go into my thoughts, he made it absolutely clear that we can listen to people and pray with them, but we are never to give advice. The legal issues are simply to extreme. On a side note, he also said we cannot act as spiritual directors until we take a specific spiritual direction course, which our diocese does not offer.

I will admit I found this rather odd. I would imagine that any priest or deacon with five+ years of spiritual education under their belt would have the ability to give some guidance to the spiritual direction of the flock they have been entrusted with, after all, what is a homily if not spiritual direction? This one seems silly, but it brings me to my main point.

At what time did we as a nation institutionalize good advice?

I find it absolutely ridiculous that a person can be sued for sharing common sense with someone, even when that person instigated the question. “I am sorry, I am not qualified to tell you that you should not beat your children with a stick, let me refer you to a licensed therapist.” What nonsense.

And yet, in this sue happy society, everyone seems to have it out for the Church, and this now includes me. So I wanted to share some of my new rules, effective immediately.

I cannot hug children, but I am allowed to be hugged by children as long as it is in a group setting.

I cannot be alone with anyone, ever. (I hope they exclude my own family!)

I cannot give advice that might have a direct impact on someone’s life, unless that advice is to pray more.

I cannot give people suggestions of things they might change in their lives that might improve their lives.

I cannot tell anyone that I can help them. (It can be confused as “curing” them, which is clinical.)

The list goes on, and seems to grow constantly. While much of it seems silly, I do realize the importance of these new rules, but at the same time, it makes me wonder how I can really be an effective minister of God’s Word. How can I admonish the sinner when I’m not allowed to admonish the sinner? This is tricky business, and I’m going to have to really use my noggin to figure it all out.