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Inasmuch as the only way for readers to comment is in correspondence with me, Comments received in correspondence to me may be posted in part or in whole, and responded to on this weblog.



Most permalinks are still bad. Apologies.

Links to other blogs (left margin) will follow.

Posts for 2004 and 2005 are now accessible through the archives on the right.

As a rule, citation to with a date will get to the post, though it may take a little digging to find the date, even though URLs may change and be impermanant.


Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Response to the Charlie Hebdo murders:
Islam has made itself ridiculous,
by the unwillingness
of some who claim to speak in the name of Islam
to support freedom of speech,
and the unwillingness of so-called ``moderate'' Muslims
to do anything consequential
about the terrorists who claim to speak in their name.

For a collection of links to images of the Prophet,
some satirical, some not, see pjmedia/zombie Do Not Submit!

Here are some links:

The Mohammed Image Archive (main index page)

Islamic Depictions of Mohammed in Full

Islamic Depictions of Mohammed with Face Hidden

European Medieval and Renaissance Images

Miscellaneous Mohammed Images

Dante’s Inferno

Book Illustrations

Book Covers

Satirical Modern Cartoons

The Jyllands-Posten Cartoons

Recent Responses to the Controversy

I have omitted one link that can be found at the pjmedia/zombie link above,
because it is not just in offensively bad taste, but gross and disgusting.
It is offensive, and as such still protected as free speech.
You can find it two mouse-clicks away instead of just one.

What those calling for self-censoring of criticism of Islam
fail to realize is that by implication,
they are also calling for censoring of criticism of Christianity.

My favorite example is Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, in the second skit,
``The Mystery of Birth, Part II, The Third World (Yorkshire),''
more commonly known simply as Every Sperm is Sacred.
Is it offensive?
Doubtless to some --- though not to me.
I saw all those children, and said to myself,
if there's room for them, there might even be room for me.
So I became Catholic.
The skit is deliciously ironic at many levels.
It is superficially an attack on the Catholic Church and Humanae Vitae,
but its effects are often quite evangelical.

For more, see Mary Eberstadt in First Things ,
``The Family: Discovering the Obvious'' (Feb. 2004),
``The Vindication of Humanae Vitae'' (Aug/Sep 2008),
``The Will to Disbelieve'' (Feb 2009).

The problem is not that the Sperm Song
could be acquitted of censor-worthy offensiveness,
but that the question of censoring could even be allowed to arise.

Let me criticize Islam without satire:
(1) The religion of Peace has a violence problem.
(2) There are many thought- and talk-police, both official and unofficial,
who would like to restrict what can be said to or about Muslims.
This makes candid discussion of Islam impossible.
(3) Islam needs reform, but that hardly means
capitulation to decadent Western values (see Eberstadt above).
(4) With rare exceptions, Islamic scholars
have not yet attempted critical history of their own tradition
in the way that Christian and Jewish scholars did long ago.
This makes inter-religious dialogue very difficult.



A few spelling mistakes (in the entry below on Catholic Charities) have been corrected.

An essay, ``Doors, Disability, and People,'' has been posted at It is about what people with some kinds of disability experience from predatory able-bodied do-gooders.


More on Catholic Charities

Stephanie Block has a book online about all the Alinskyian Socialist community organizing groups, which Catholic Charities and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development have sometimes been funding.

Here is the referring site, and HERE is the page that has the book on it. Click on the FILE pull-down menu, and save the .pdf from there.

The general shape of my own critique of Catholic Charities of the East Bay was that it is in a lot better shape than Catholic Charities of Boston (which has recently been trying to push money on groups opposed to Catholic moral teaching), but Catholic Charities of the East Bay could still be more careful about associating with its Alinskyian neighbors. If stories on the Internet are reliable, Catholic Charities of Denver is doing a much better job.

The Pope's recent Motu Proprio, "On The Service of Charity" takes a similar view of Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, and related Catholic almsgiving organizations. One conspicuous note in the Pope's text is "The Church's charitable activity at all levels must avoid the risk of becoming just another form of organized social assistance". In other words, Catholic Charities should have some theological vision, it should be more than just a good philanthropic almsgiving organization. I assume that it already is an excellent almsgiving outfit; the problem was with poor judgement in grantees, and lack of theological vision that could have guided it better in its programs.

News stories indicate some progress at the national level. The appointment of Jonathan Reyes to the USCCB's office for Peace, Justice, and Human Development may be a sign of hope for just the sort of theological vision needed by Catholic Charities News sites from Google tell the story. Here, at NCR, and Here, at The Nev Republic. Google easily finds many more. The appointment apparently has brought some encouragement to pro-life Catholics and was not welcomed by "peace-and-justice" Catholics (those who would support Alinskyian socialist groups).

Here is some of Reyes' background from Catholic Answers in May, 2012. The St. Augustine Institute tells its own story.

The USCCB Office of Peace, Justice, and Human Development can be found . HERE, and their bishops and staff HERE. The transition to the new executive director has barely taken place, and so Catholics wanting something more reflective of authentic Catholic teaching are full of hope, but how it will work out is yet to be seen.


Provenance of the Catholic Charities Essay

On May 3, the Knights of Columbus at my parish hosted a talk by Solomon Belette, CEO of Catholic Charities of the East Bay, a talk open to the general parish membership. It was after that visit that I made inquiries about Catholic Charities, and produced the essay posted here.

I was then a member of the Knights, and Lecturer for Council 4588, and I wrote for my fellow Knights, but certainly did not speak in the name of the Knights.

In the cover letter for a copy to Bishop Cordileone, I explicitly stated that I was NOT speaking FOR the Knights.

In the few days since, the report has been seen as something for the world, not just the Knights, and references to the Knights have been removed.

It was not my intent to start a controversy, and I said so. In the version of the essay as it was posted for a few days at, I said that I expected disagreement, and hoped the disagreements would be friendly. I hoped for conversation, not controversy, expecting that the report would get a few responses and be forgotten within a week or two. Other people need time to come to their own conclusions, and that time can take months or years.

Some took immediate exception to the mere existence of the report (beyond taking exception to its contents).

I would like to acknowledge the help I received from Camille Giglio, of California Right to Life, and Stephanie Block, of SperoNews. Without their help many resources on the net would never have been found.


Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities nationwide has attracted criticisms for giving money to organizations opposed to Catholic moral teaching. A Report is here.

Problems remain, even within the Diocese of Oakland. The Catholic Voice for September 17, 2012, page 7, reports that the local Catholic Campaign for Human Development has given grants to several Alinskian community organizing outfits, including Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA), and Women's Action to Gain Ecenomic Security (WAGES). The later, WAGES, has supported an abortion provider bill in Sacramento opposed to Catholic moral teaching and opposed by the California Catholic Conference.



Where is Hagar?
The plausible possibilities are limited,
and they are not of equal probability.
What time of night is it?

Where is Hagar?


Action Book

The Action book is out: Summary, links, contents.

There will be discussion HERE.


Candid Antisemitism

Instapundit today points out that the recently qualified ballot initiative in San Francisco to ban and criminalize circumcision has shown its real motives, which are candidly antisemitic: Here PJ Media, with more comments here, the Anchores.. San Francisco is sick.


Global Warming

At the recent PCTS meeting, the papers were all about environmental theology in one form or another, and the phenomenon of global warming was generally and tacitly assumed in the background, whether it was explicitly cited or not. I pointed out that there is significant opposition to it in the scientific literature, and was asked for more information. Inasmuch as the answers to that question will take some time to gather, it seemed best to put them on a separate page, one that can be updated in a way that blog posts probably should not be. Here is a page with a few citations in regard to global warming.


Double Standards and Israel

When C. S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man addressed certain ideas circulating in his time, he gave pen-names to the authors of two books in order to deal with the ideas rather than with their authors: Gaius and Titius's book, and Orbilius's book. I would like to do something similar with an email that came to me in 2010, and deal with the ideas rather than their author. Call the author "Orbilian."

Orbilian sent me two emails, one of which I responded to in detail, 2010-06-16.

This email was longer than the first, and exemplary of double standards applied strictly and harshly against Israeli offenses, both real and imagined, and in no more than a perfunctory way to other actors far worse. It has bothered me since, and I debated whether it was better to respond or to ignore it. Since invective and bile against Israel can easily be found on the net, those parts of the email need not be repeated here, though I can certainly do so if necessary.

If I were to talk the way Orbilian writes, my Jewish friends would consider me an antisemite, and indeed, I would fault myself for antisemitism.

Let me respond only to one or two claims that are not so obviously false.

Orbilian recited a long list of alleged Israeli offenses, most of them imaginary or preposterous analogies. But among them was an incident that might have some credibility were its background not known:

>the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in which 34 U.S. sailors were killed, 

See the Wiki article on Friendly Fire. Given the incidence of friendly fire by many, including the United States, to single out Israel strikes me as exemplary of Orbilian's double standard. What is striking about the Wiki article is the vast number of incidents, over many centuries, so many wars, and many beligerent powers. To single Israel out is evidence of prejudice.

Orbilian can't forgive Israel for defending itself successfully against neighbors out to destroy it utterly, and Orbilian portray's Israel's defensive actions as aggression. Since Orbilian hasn't published it, it's not necessary to parse that rant in detail.

Here is the nerve of Orbilian's rage against Israel:

>But, they have to give up the extreme Zionist view 
>that the whole of that land belongs to them 
>because some war-God gave it to them 3000 years ago.  

On the contrary, the modern State of Israel was founded not by God but by the United Nations. The history and texts from before the Balfour declaration up to the founding in 1947-1948 are complex, and involved many parties, but the overall motive was to provide a place where Jews are safe and cannot be expelled simply because they are Jewish, against a historical background of the worst antisemitism in history --- the Shoah. There is no more logical place than Israel itself. Arabs got the lion's share of the British Mandate, and Jews, resident in that area long before the Arabs, were given only leavings around the margins along the sea. What Orbilian cannot forgive is the Jewish character of the State of Israel, and that is what constitutes his remarks as antisemitic.


Creationism of the Ruling Class

Others have noticed. Here Ed Driscoll has diagnosed AGW as akin to creationism.

I posted about it 2009-04-13.