A One State Solution for Peace in the Middle East

Monday, June 20, AD 2011

No, no Klavan on the culture!  Everyone knows that if the Jews would simply disappear the Arab world would become an oasis of peace and tolerance!  At least that is what I have been told over the years by numerous combox adversaries and correspondents.  Prior to becoming a blogger, I would comment on other Catholic blogs, and one of my favorits sites was Amy Welborn’s Open Book.  After commenting there one day I received a lengthy e-mail from a correspondent who I responded to in a fisk format.  This correspondence occurred on April 17, 2007, and I thought that some of our readers might find it diverting: 

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49 Responses to A One State Solution for Peace in the Middle East

  • Does Israel have sins? YES! Just read the Old Testament and see also that it applies to the modern nation-state as well. So what? America has sins too. We kill over 4,000 innocents daily – probably more than the Nazis did.

    I find it odd that we compare Israel (whether fabricated political Zionism or Judiasim in general) and America with the perfect and always find them wanting. Surprise! What a shocker that nations of sinners are flawed. Yet, at the same time we highlight the good that all our enemies do. Did Saddam do some good? Was he somewhat stabilizing? Was he a counterweight against Iran? Yes. So what. He was also a murderous thug who ran a totalitarian state and often worked against our interests. Most often our legitimate interests as well as the interests of the transnational globalist bankers and their minions who act as a parasite on our country, and Israel too (psst- most these globalist bas!@&ds are Jewish! But, not really – they are actually atheists, or worse Luciferians who are only culturally ‘Jewish’ – this gives lefties the cover to be anti-Semites (but only Jewish anti-Semites, they treat Arab Semites as noble savages, you know like Native Americans and Negros – aren’t lefties sweet!) because lefties hate God and apparently God loves Jews, I think His Son’s Jewish)

    When we compare the atrocious state of Israel with the rest of the tyrannies in the middle-east, she don’t look so bad. When we compare post WWII America with the Constitutional Republic intended by the Founders she looks pretty bad, even downright disappointing. Again, so what. Compare America with all of our neighbors in the southern part of our hemisphere, most of Europe, China, Russia, or any other nation in the history of civilization for that matter. We look pretty darn good,

    The simple fact is the UN, communist (democratic socialist) powers that desire a one-world tyranny need a world war beginning in the middle east and are even moving the pieces to do so right now. Why? To exhaust the West (NATO which is the USA under Euro-socialist control) and empower the East (Commies), while redistributing our wealth to the third-world in order to gain a lock over all the natural resources. Political Zionism (which is an anti-Jewish scheme) considered establishing the homeland for the Jews in Uganda, but it was decided that had no Biblical basis. You know how we Western Christians are so stupid that we will go along with anything if you can find a textual, albeit not contextual, basis in the Bible we blindly believe in, with not rational thought.

    Israel in Palestine had both the Biblical basis and the strategic location of placing an ‘enemy’ in the middle of the middle-east. Furthermore, for just about all of its history the territory of Palestine has always been a garrison state. Just ask King Baldwin. Why would anyone want to have their homeland there? It defies logic. I would have picked New Zealand.

    If you are a tyrannical enemy of mankind and you want global hegemony how would you look at the chess board of the world? America is always standing in your way, so erode her from inside and tie her closely with Israel. Inspire the Moslem and Arab world to attack Israel and draw America into a long war to drain her (why is it that the war in Iraq was quick, decisive and extremely successful and then we entered into a long, protracted and messy occupation). This will destroy Israel, America and the Moslem world. What will be left? Atheistic Communism from China, with a resurgence of it in Russia and probably a UN Communist Federal System of global tyranny. This is Stalin, Hitler and Mao’s dream along with a host of uber-elite Western ‘capitalists’.

    Will it happen? We can’t know. Will they try? Without a doubt. If the Bible is any indication, it is likely, if we turn to God, that Israel will surprise everyone by defeating insurmountable odds. Then again, God’s Wrath has been harshest on Israel for her fornication in the past and America is no exception to this rule. The big question is not so much will a world war start in the middle-east, it is not an if, it is a when. We just have to wonder on which side of this conflict the USA will be. By all indications right now – it is not the side of Israel.

    Those pesky Jews have been causing problems forever. They undermined the utopian, pharonic regime in Egypt, they invaded and slaughtered every tribe in Palestine, they vandalized the walls of Jericho with a shofar, they brought the Colonial Western Powers (Romans) to the middle-east and their Rabi Yesua min Nazret spread a counter-revolutionary ideology that has been the bane of totalitarian governments for over 2,000 years. No wonder worldly powers hate Jews and by extension the Catholic Church and America too.

  • Just out of curiousity, was your correspondent Daniel Nichols, Marv Wood, or some other individual?

  • I know it wasn’t Marv Woods Art. I can’t recall the name of my correspondent, although it was someone whose name I didn’t recognize. I didn’t retain the original e-mails, just copies of my fisks, so I can’t check the name.

  • Just saying: to set straight the record:

    During each week in June 1967, 200 to 300 Americans were getting killed in Vietnam.

    On the other side of the world . . .

    At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over ‘Liberty,’ which was flying a large American flag. At 1400 hrs, waves of low-flying Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers repeatedly attacked the American vessel with rockets, napalm, and cannon. The air attacks lasted 20 minutes, concentrating on the ship’s electronic antennas and dishes. The ‘Liberty’ was left afire, listing sharply. Eight of her crew lay dead, a hundred seriously wounded, including the captain, Commander William McGonagle.

    At 1424 hrs, three Israeli torpedo boats attacked, raking the burning ‘Liberty’ with 20mm and 40mm shells. At 1431hrs an Israeli torpedo hit the ‘Liberty’ midship, precisely where the signals intelligence systems were located. Twenty-five more Americans died.

    Israeli gunboats circled the wounded ‘Liberty,’ firing at crewmen trying to fight the fires. At 1515, the crew were ordered to abandon ship. The Israeli warships closed and poured machine gun fire into the crowded life rafts, sinking two. As American sailors were being massacred in cold blood, a rescue mission by US Sixth Fleet carrier aircraft was mysteriously aborted on orders from the White House.

    An hour after the attack, Israeli warships and planes returned. Commander McGonagle gave the order. ‘prepare to repel borders.’ But the Israelis, probably fearful of intervention by the US Sixth Fleet, departed. ‘Liberty’ was left shattered but still defiant, her flag flying.
    The Israeli attacks killed 34 US seamen and wounded 171 out of a crew of 297, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II.

    Less than an hour after the attack, Israel told Washington its forces had committed a ‘tragic error.’ Later, Israel claimed it had mistaken ‘Liberty’ for an ancient Egyptian horse transport. US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and Joint Chiefs of Staff head, Admiral Thomas Moorer, insisted the Israeli attack was deliberate and designed to sink ‘Liberty.’ So did three CIA reports; one asserted Israel’s Defense Minister, Gen. Moshe Dayan, had personally ordered the attack.

    In contrast to American outrage over North Korea’s assault on the intelligence ship ‘Pueblo,’ Iraq’s mistaken missile strike on the USS ‘Stark,’ last fall’s bombing of the USS ‘Cole’ in Aden, and the recent US-China air incident, the savaging of ‘Liberty’ was quickly hushed up by President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

    The White House and Congress immediately accepted Israel’s explanation and let the matter drop. Israel later paid a token reparation of US $6 million. There were reports two Israeli pilots who had refused to attack ‘Liberty’ were jailed for 18 years.

    Also, during the 1973 war, they tried and failed to shoot down our SR-71’s. If I told yoiu how I know, I’d have to shoot myself.

    Tagged: Don’t Urinate on My Shoes and Tell Me It’s Raining Department.

  • Where to begin T. Shaw?

    1. Compensation-Israel paid $6,000,000.00 for damage to the Liberty, $3,323,500.00 to the families of the 34 men killed and $3, 566, 457 to the 170 crewmen wounded. Much more when I have time later today.

  • Here is a discussion you had.


    You were contending with “Al” (an admirer of Fr. Feeney), Morning’s Minion, Chris Sullivan, and Nate Wildermuth. The style is most unlike any one of them. The bilge about William Kristol’s defunct advocacy group sounds like Daniel Nichols, but the U.S.S. Liberty is not one of his fixations. Amusing puzzle….

  • Klaven’s Jewish one state solution would be as bad as the Palestinian one state solution. The Jewish culture that Zionism came from is just as anti-christian as the Muslim culture that now dominates the Middle East. If the Israelis were to achieve this goal of a one state solution, it would further inflame the situlation in the Middle East. They would lose the war with the Muslims in the long run, because there are more Muslims than Jews in the Middle East, and the high rate of abortions in Israel and the high Muslim birthrate are guaranteeing the IDF won’t have enough soldiers to fight it’s battles in the near future.
    If anyone wants some intelligent commentary on the Middle East from a Catholic perspective, thecatholicknight.blogspot.com is a good place to go. TAC should link to it.

  • and the high rate of abortions in Israel and the high Muslim birthrate are guaranteeing the IDF won’t have enough soldiers to fight it’s battles in the near future.

    Fertility rates have been tanking in the Arab world and adjacent areas for a generation and have been measured in recent years as being below replacement levels in Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, and Iran. Israel has a total fertility rate of 2.7 (the occidental world’s highest) and net immigration as well. See the CIA World Factbook on these matters.


  • “You were contending with “Al” (an admirer of Fr. Feeney), Morning’s Minion, Chris Sullivan, and Nate Wildermuth.”

    It certainly was none of those gentlemen as I am quite familiar with each of their writing styles and, as you pointed out, my interlocutor exhibited none of their usual writing traits.

  • Stephen, Klavan’s one state solution was meant to be completely humorous, although in on off the record conversations Arab leaders have been known to admit wryly that their countries were often better off being run by the Turks, the French or the British. I disagree that Zionism is anti-Christian. Catholics are free to worship as they please in Israel. The problem for Arab Christians is not the Jews but their Arab muslim “brothers and sisters” whose attitude towards the Arab Christians usually run the gamut from disdainful contempt to murderous persecution. The best gift any Christian can give to an Arab Christian living in the Arab world is a one way plane ticket to the West.

  • Mac,

    Don’t bother trying to convince any sentient being that in the middle of a “life-or-death”, national-survival war, the IDF had excess fighter bombers, TP boats, and munitions and eight tactical hours to strafe life boats trying to sink an Egyptian army horse transport.

    No wait! The Egyptian horse cavalry had them surrounded!

    The 34 KIA of the Liberty and about 58,000 other Americans in the 1960’s and 1970’s were expendable.

  • Lunch time and time to respond to T. Shaw. T. Shaw, why attack the Liberty and not sink it? The Israelis had it well within their power to do so. Instead, after they realized their mistake they called off their torpedo boats and had them radio the Liberty to offer assistance. The Captain of the Liberty, Commander McGonagle, confirmed this. The Israelis also immediately notified the US embassy in Israel of the mistaken attack and provided a helicopter to fly a naval attache to the ship.

    Let us assume that the Israelis wished to sink the Liberty for some reason unknown to us. Why didn’t they do it when they had the opportunity? The conspiracy nuts and raving anti-Semites who have seized upon this have no explanation for this, just as they have been unable to provide any rational explanation as to why the Israelis would want to sink the Liberty in the first place.

    T. Shaw, if you, and all and any other sentient creatures on the planet, wish to know the actual facts about the Liberty attack, go to the website linked below:


  • Interesting comments, all. God promised Abraham that whoever curses his descendants will be cursed and whoever blesses them will be blessed. St. Paul says in Romans 11:1, “…has God rejected His people? By no means!” Indeed, every government that has persecuted the Jews lies in the dung heap of history. They are gone, and against all odds (right or wrong) there is a nation called Israel exactly as prophesied.

    I am sorry, but I can’t buy into all the anti-Israel stuff. Was Israel wrong in attacking the USS Liberty? You betcha! Is Israel really the state that God envisioned would be the re-constituted new Israel? Probably not. Is Zionism really Christian? Nope – only Christian is really Christian. But when an Israeli soldier shoots and kills a Palestinian child, it’s a complete miss whereas when an Islamic Jihaddist does the same thing, it’s a direct hit.

    Is Israel a bad nation. Yup, and so are we. And there are worse ones: Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Red China for starters. We had better all repent – Jew and Gentile – before God’s wrath comes upon us. Romans 11:11-24 comes to mind.

  • Don, Zionism sprang from Jewish minds. The Jews reject Jesus as the Christ come in the flesh. I Jno. 2:22-23 and II Jno. 7 says any one or any group that believes this is anti-christ.
    As for the claim that “Christians are free to worship as they please in Israel” they may be “free” but they’re mistreated by the Israelis. Go to the catholicknight.blogspot.com and click on the article Catholics Can Not Be Zionists. Read the first comment to the article by Sarah. The Israeli’s use our Catholic Breathern as buffers to shied them from the Muslims. Some freedom, eh?
    Art, even if fertility rates have been tanking in the Arab countries, that’s not what I was talking about. The Palestinian Muslim birthrate in Israel is growing faster than the Israeli Jewish birthrate. The Israeli Jews, with the exception of the Orthodox and Haredim groups, are declining, due to abortion and contraception. Most of these people are anti-zionist, so they won’t be really eager to help the Zionist state. And that 2.7 birthrate, the highest in the Middle East, most of that 2.7 is coming from the Orthodox and Haredim, who, as I’ve already pointed out, are not too thrilled about Zionism. Again read the articles that the Catholic Knight has posted on his site about Zionism, Israel, Jews, and Middle Eastern Christians so you can be better informed about wants really going on over there.

  • “Don, Zionism sprang from Jewish minds. The Jews reject Jesus as the Christ come in the flesh. I Jno. 2:22-23 and II Jno. 7 says any one or any group that believes this is anti-christ.”

    That is not what the Church teaches Stephen.

    839 “Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.”

    “The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, “the first to hear the Word of God.” The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”, “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”

    840 “And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.”

  • Don,

    The Catechism is right about those Jews who practice the Hebrew faith. However, Zionism is not Judaism. Zionism is a manufactured political movement and the only theology employed by its fabricators is Luciferianism. They twisted Scripture in order to justify Zionism to ignorant Jews and Christians. Zionism was cooked up in the same vat as Communism, democratic Socialism, Fascism, Corporatism, State Capitalism, National Socialism, etc. It is an evil idea, it is not Scriptural, it has no basis in Tradition and it does not help the Jewish people in the least. In fact, it is probably a sick way of getting them all into one place so they can be more easily annihilated by their Moslem neighbors.

    The ‘Jews’ that came up with Zionism, like Theodore Herzel are cut from the same cloth as ‘Jews’ like the Rothschilds, Weishupt, Marx, Freud and Soros. That is they are worldly minded men, atheists, and Satanists who happen to be born of a Jewish womb. None of them practice the Jewish religion. They either don’t believe in God, or if they do, they hate God. Any truly faithful Jew cannot in good conscience be a Zionist (in the political sense) neither can a good Christian and especially Catholics.

  • Stephen Dalton, what you said was as follows:

    They would lose the war with the Muslims in the long run, because there are more Muslims than Jews in the Middle East, and the high rate of abortions in Israel and the high Muslim birthrate are guaranteeing the IDF won’t have enough soldiers to fight it’s battles in the near future.

    You made reference to ‘muslims…in the middle east’, not the Arab population in the West Bank, Gaza, or Israel. In any case, the recent demographic history of the broader and the narrower population have been much the same.

    The salient statistic for this discussion is the Total Fertility Rate, not the birth rate. Again, Israel is reproducing in excess of replacement levels. The size of their manpower pool is increasing, not declining, so it is difficult to understand how you acquired this fancy that their population will be denuded by abortion. While we are at it, these statistics here (source not vetted) would seem to indicate that Israel has one abortion for every eight live births, which is half what that rate is is in France or the United States (to take two examples).


    The weighted average of the fertility rates for the Arab population on the West Bank and Gaza is currently 3.7. That is less than half of what it was a generation ago while the Total Fertility Rate in Israel has, if anything, increased slightly. The ‘birth rate’ in the territories in question is not ‘growing faster’ than in Israel. The differential in fertility between the two populations has declined dramatically. Also, Israel has net immigration. The West Bank and Gaza do not.

    As for the composition of Israel’s fecund population, I have not time to check proper survey research. I would note, however, that United Torah Judaism (the political party of non-Zionist Orthodox Jews in Israel) commanded about 4.7% of the vote during the country’s most recent parliamentary election. Somehow, I do not think this subpopulation accounts for Israel’s fertility.

  • Zionism is a manufactured political movement and the only theology employed by its fabricators is Luciferianism

    You think Chaim Weizmann was a devil worshiper?

  • Rubbish AK from beginning to end. Zionism is a political movement among Jews to establish a homeland for themselves after almost 2000 years of bitter persecution. Both observant and non-observant Jews have embraced it. To call it Luciferianism is both obscene and ignorant. Your ranting about a laundry list of Jews comes close to anti-Semitism. Any more along those lines and your comment will be deleted and you will be banned from this website. First and last warning. I have very low tolerance for anti-Semitism.

  • It would help the case of self-described Christian anti-Zionists if they would acknowledge that Zionism didn’t grow in some nefarious vacuum.

    Rather, it was a response to increasingly virulent anti-Semitism, often in Catholic garb. If you want to be upset about Zionism, be prepared to point a finger at our ancestors in the Christian faith.

  • I’m currently reading (and very much enjoying) David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge. I think this passage is rather apt:

    Our American plane has been forced to land at some foreign airport, by the outbreak of World War III. It will not be allowed to depart. Two planes are leaving the airport; we must choose which we want to board. One plane is flying to Israel and one to Syria, and we must choose.

    . . . No one reading this book would get on the plane to Syria. Why? It is a despotism, opposed to the West, to women, to gays, to Jews, to free speech. It is a heinous Arab version of National Socialism, dedicated to the murder of every person in Israel. And yet one may gain status or a feeling of solidarity by embracing the “Arab cause.”

    But we embrace it only as entertainment. In the free market, which is to say when something is at stake, we will vote otherwise.

  • Some people forget Romans 11:17-24:

    But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place and have come to share in the rich root of the olive tree,
    do not boast against the branches. If you do boast, consider that you do not support the root; the root supports you. Indeed you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is so. They were broken off because of unbelief, but you are there because of faith. So do not become haughty, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, (perhaps) he will not spare you either. See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. And they also, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated one, how much more will they who belong to it by nature be grafted back into their own olive tree.

    I especially like verses 28 and 29:

    In respect to the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but in respect to election, they are beloved because of the patriarchs. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.


    God does NOT renege on His promises.

  • When someone brings up Bush and illegal invasion of Iraq, I go to the below website and relook what was said:


  • Hey, the IDF is on our side, now.


    1. The IDF knew it was a US ship. 0800 multiple recon flights.
    2. Aerial recon photos from recon flights delivered to higher HQ.
    3. Any E-2 gomer could see it was a US Navy ship.
    4. The pols and generals run it up the flagpole.
    5. They decided they need to stop the US Navy from observing whatever IDF was doing.
    6. Didn’t need to sink the ship to accomplish that mission.


  • Slightly off-topic, can anyone recommend a good book on the Suez Crisis? I’m currently reading a book on the Israeli War of Independence and would like to follow it up with one about 1956.

  • A nice brief history is linked below. The Osprey Essential Histories are excellent on the military aspects on any conflict in history and their maps are of very high quality:


    American historians have by and large ignored the Suez crisis in 1956. The Brits have written quite a bit on it, but much of it strikes me as too focused on the domestic political consequences of the Brits going into Suez and that is not what I am interested in.

  • “5. They decided they need to stop the US Navy from observing whatever IDF was doing.
    6. Didn’t need to sink the ship to accomplish that mission. ”

    Ridiculous T. Shaw. You have not given any indication about what could be so sensitive for the Israelis that they would risk attacking an American naval vessel. If they were going to take such a risk in order not to be detected doing whatever, (Activating the ark of the Covenant? Talking to aliens?), there would only have been one way to be certain that the Liberty could not detect what they were doing and that was to send it to the bottom of the Mediterranean. Not to mention that attacking a US ship would be precisely the wrong way to get the US Navy not to pay very close attention to what the Israelis were doing from then on. The whole idea that this was a deliberate attack is simple nonsense.

  • the high rate of abortions in Israel

    This fellow Johnston has a table which offers a useful summary of the share of pregnancies lost to abortion across 101 countries. Israel is somewhere around the 30th percentile.


  • Don,

    As a Semite, I take offense to being accused of being anti-Semitic. I am pretty sure most of my Jewish friends would be shocked at that too.

    I said nothing anti-Jewish in my post. It was anti-Zionist. Whether you believe it or not, even whether it is true or not, I stated that I SEE A DIFFERENCE between the two and I chided one and praised the other. So whatever I posted was most definitely anti-Zionist, but I know that our older brothers in faith have a big role to play yet in salvation history and I do not disparage faithful Jews or the Jewish faith. This applies to modern Rabbinical Judaism as well as the ancient faith.

    The modern nation-state of Israel is NOT Biblical Israel, although it could very well be prophetic Israel. We are Israel, as in Catholics. Mary, another Jew that I love, stated it clearly in her Magnificat.

    Most of the political movements of the 19th and 20th century, including political Zionism, were cooked up by the same vain of humanistic pride.

    Note: Political Zionism is not religious Zionism. The return of the people Israel to Palestine is inevitable, it is probably occurring now as a result of political Zionism, but the intention is not the same. Faithful Jews who return to Palestine may be mentioned by St. John as the or the fore-bearers of the 144,000 in the Apocalypse, although I suspect that large numbers of Moslems who were probably Jews before the eighth century might be included. Nevertheless, the political movement of Zionism has a different intent in its inception. I am not suggesting that most participants knew that. The fear and confusion following WWII and the fact that half of the Nazi’s camp victims were Jewish moved many Jews who wouldn’t have bothered with Zionism to embrace it.

    It is clear that there is an intent to place a small, yet powerful Israel right in the middle of Arab National Socialist and Moslem Jihadists in order to ignite war and probably world war. War is good business and we always need to have enough tension to launch one anytime. Clearly the mid East is gearing up for war again, on a big scale. Will it be the trigger of WWIII? Perhaps. Yet, if we would pray the Rosary for Peace, perhaps not.

    I apologize if my poor writing skills sparked your rebuke. Nevertheless, being that my Mother and Queen is Jewish, I do not take these things lightly.

  • AK, you can hold whatever views you wish, but on this blog there are limits on what I will tolerate in the comboxes. Your comment above does not come close to those limits, even though I disagree with a fair amount of it. Your earlier comment went over the edge of what I am willing to tolerate in regard to the discussion of Jews and Zionism, and I pointed it out to put you on notice since you have been commenting here for a long time and I did not wish to immediately ban you as a result. As for your views of Israel, I would merely note that John Paul II, who did so much to improve relations between Jews and Catholics, did not share them. I quote from his speech given in 2000 during his pilgrimage to Israel:

    “Dear President and Madame Weizman,
    Dear Prime Minister and Madame Barak,
    Dear Israeli Friends,
    Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    1. Yesterday, from the heights of Mount Nebo I looked across the Jordan Valley to this blessed land. Today, it is with profound emotion that I set foot in the Land where God chose to “pitch his tent” (Jn 1:14; cf. Ex 40:34-35; 1 Kgs 8:10-13), and made it possible for man to encounter him more directly.

    In this year of the two thousandth anniversary of the Birth of Jesus Christ, it has been my strong personal desire to come here and to pray in the most important places which, from ancient times, have seen God’s interventions, the wonders he has done. “You are the God who works wonders. You showed your power among the peoples” (Ps 77:15).

    Mr President, I thank you for your warm welcome, and in your person I greet all the people of the State of Israel.

    2. My visit is both a personal pilgrimage and the spiritual journey of the Bishop of Rome to the origins of our faith in “the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob” (Ex 3:15). It is part of a larger pilgrimage of prayer and thanksgiving which led me first to Sinai, the Mountain of the Covenant, the place of the decisive revelation which shaped the subsequent history of salvation. Now I shall have the privilege of visiting some of the places more closely connected with the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Along every step of the way I am moved by a vivid sense of God who has gone before us and leads us on, who wants us to honour him in spirit and in truth, to acknowledge the differences between us, but also to recognize in every human being the image and likeness of the One Creator of heaven and earth.

    3. Mr President, you are known as a man of peace and a peacemaker. We all know how urgent is the need for peace and justice, not for Israel alone but for the entire region. Many things have changed in relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel since my predecessor Pope Paul VI came here in 1964. The establishment of diplomatic relations between us in 1994 set a seal on efforts to open an era of dialogue on questions of common interest concerning religious freedom, relations between Church and State and, more generally, relations between Christians and Jews. On another level, world opinion follows with close attention the peace process which finds all the peoples of the region involved in the difficult search for a lasting peace with justice for all. With new-found openness towards one another, Christians and Jews together must make courageous efforts to remove all forms of prejudice. We must strive always and everywhere to present the true face of the Jews and of Judaism, as likewise of Christians and of Christianity, and this at every level of attitude, teaching and communication (cf. Address to the Jewish Community of Rome, 13 April 1986, 5).

    4. My journey therefore is a pilgrimage, in a spirit of humble gratitude and hope, to the origins of our religious history. It is a tribute to the three religious traditions which co-exist in this land. For a long time I have looked forward to meeting the faithful of the Catholic communities in their rich variety, and the members of the various Christian Churches and Communities present in the Holy Land. I pray that my visit will serve to encourage an increase of interreligious dialogue that will lead Jews, Christians and Muslims to seek in their respective beliefs, and in the universal brotherhood that unites all the members of the human family, the motivation and the perseverance to work for the peace and justice which the peoples of the Holy Land do not yet have, and for which they yearn so deeply. The Psalmist reminds us that peace is God’s gift: “I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace, peace for his people and his friends, and those who turn to him in their hearts” (Ps 85:8). May peace be God’s gift to the Land he chose as his own!


  • The attack on the USS Liberty has all the attributes of a deliberate attack. Quite clearly the downing of the Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes was a tragic mistake. Captain Rogers had a window of only about a minute to decide on a missile launch. At the back of every Allied captain’s mind at that time was the fiery demise of the UK destroyers, in the earlier Falklands war at the hands of Argentinian pilots armed with Exocet missiles. A very strong and convincing case has also been made that the downing of the Korean airliner over Sakhalin in 1985, by a Soviet pilot was similarly a tragic error, brought about by the fatal confluence of loss of navigation on the 747, the lack of any means of contact between the fighter pilot and the stricken plane, and the cat and mouse games that US and Soviet air forces play in that part of the world.

    However given the duration of the attack on the Liberty and the fact that the Israeli pilots could make out the US markings, which is quite unlike these other cases, the weight of the circumstantial evidence points to a deliberate and sustained attack. To my conspiratorial mind, in 1967 some Israelis who had not forgiven the Americans for sabotaging the 1956 Suez campaign against Nasser felt no qualms about attacking a US ship which they had reason to believe was not on an innocent mission. They had been burned once before by the Americans, and were not about to let them a mere eleven years later, derail what in the event proved to be an overwhelming victory over the Muslims.

  • Whomever said, “In war, the first casualty is truth.”

    “The whole idea that this was a deliberate attack is simple nonsense.”

    You insist that the Israeli War Ministry and Government and IDF pilots (do not wear eyeglasses, either!) did not know that that was a US Navy vessel, or that the IDF and Israeli Government did not issue orders to attack said noncombatant US Navy vessel for two hours. That is beyond credibility.

    I do not know the motive. I will not speculate.

    You may ask Moshe Dayan why he ordered the USS Liberty massacre . . . when you see him.

  • “I do not know the motive. I will not speculate.”

    Because you have no answer T.Shaw as to what could have possibly motivated a deliberate attack, and why, if the attack was deliberate, the Israelis did not finish the attack and send the Liberty to the bottom of the sea, rather than halting the attack and seeking to give aid to the Liberty. Like most conspiracy theories, those surrounding the Liberty flourish in the absence of knowledge of what actually occurred, and endure because of passion substituting for simple common sense.

  • The U.S.S. Liberty has been a particular fixation of the American Educational Trust and advocacy journalists like Donald Neff (who Time made use of as their bureau chief in Jerusalem, go figure). These characters find nothing anomalous about the absence of any conceivable purpose for attacking the U.S.S. Liberty because they regard Israel as simply malign. In their minds, Israel does this because that is what Israel does. Some more inventive sorts have concocted an explanation that states that Israel attacked the Liberty as a diversion to cover up war crimes like the mass execution of prisoners in the Sinai. That no such mass execution can be shown ever to have occurred is a petty detail.

  • Thank God for Israel. American Jews have a place to go when America goes belly up. I’m emigrating to Canada.

    Of course, the IDF made many other fatal mistakes during the six day war.*

    It is counter-intuitive to think the IDF believed the USS Liberty was an Egyptian ship. Facts prove otherwise.

    I do not need to prove motive**. The IDF had the opportunity and they did it – habeus 34 corpi. Yeah! Your ilk got OJ off on two murders. What is 34 to a whole country?

    If you need the motive . . . When you and Mac get to the the place where he has gone, you can ask Dayan why he did it.

    * Wikipedia: “In three hours on the morning of June 5, 1967, the first day of the Six Day War, the Israeli Air Force executed Operation Focus, crippling the opposing Arab air forces and attaining air supremacy for the remainder of the war. In a surprise attack, the IAF destroyed most of the Egyptian Air Force while its planes were still on the ground. By the end of the day, with surrounding Arab countries also drawn into the fighting, the IAF had mauled the Syrian and Jordanian air forces as well, striking as far as Iraq. After six days of fighting Israel claimed a total of 452 Arab aircraft destroyed, of which 49 (11%) were aerial victories.”

    ** I am not a tool sitting in your jury box, counselor. I prefer the company of used car salesmen and real state agents.

    Love them ad hominems, too.

  • No ad hominems T. Shaw, but simple analysis of what happened. You, like all those who embrace a conspiracy angle on the Liberty, are unable to ascribe motive to the Israelis to conduct a deliberate attack or explain why the Israelis called off the attack and offered assistance. People may be entitled to their opinions, they are not entitled to their own set of facts.

    I believe you may have been taken off moderation. Back on moderation for you, not for your arguments in this thread but because of the “colorful and exuberant manner” in which you sometimes express your opinions.

  • “I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship.”
    — NSA Deputy Director Oliver Kirby

  • The Israelis screwed up and people died. The Israelis admitted they screwed up (maybe they didn’t admit the screw up in the way that some would have liked them to have admitted the screw up, but they did admit it). The Israelis paid reparations. What more should we or could we want?

    Given a choice between Israel and most other nations on this planet, I would choose Israel.

  • I want somebody to apologize to USS Liberty survivors who were accused of being Arab propagandists and antisemites.

  • I wonder if we deliberately attacked HMAS Hobart on June 17, 1969?

    “On the early hours of 17 June, while preventing North Vietnamese resupply of Tiger Island, Hobart was fired upon by a United States Air Force (USAF) aircraft.[6] The aircraft approached Hobart with its IFF transponder switched off, and fired three missiles during two passes.[6] The second missile failed to explode, but the first and third damaged the superstructure, radar room, exhaust funnels, Ikara missile magazine, and superstructure, killed two RAN personnel, and injured seven others.[6] The aircraft came around for a third attack run, but was scared off when Hobart fired five rounds from her main gun.[7] Despite being damaged, Hobart sailed to the nearby cruiser USS Boston, which had been hit by a missile from another USAF aircraft, and formed an anti-aircraft screen with the cruiser and her escort, USS Blandy.[7] After being relieved, Hobart sailed for Subic Bay, where the damage was inspected by RAN and USN personnel, including three admirals.[7]”


    I say deliberate since these type of attacks never happen by accident and our motivation was clearly to corner the world market on kangaroos and bloomin’ onions.

  • “I do not need to prove motive.”

    And yet people wonder why America is festooned with lawyers. As an aside, it’s strikingly reminiscent of a rather famous Jewish bureaucrat’s similar approach to what he also regarded as legal frippery: “What need have we for witnesses?”

    “I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship.”
    — NSA Deputy Director Oliver Kirby

    Have these been declassified, or did a Deputy Director of No Such Agency talk out of turn and disclose the content of classified material? If it’s the former, I’d sincerely like to read them.

  • You need to put me back on moderation.

  • I got my version of the Liberty incident from reading Bamford’s book which paints the attack as a deliberate and unprovoked one in order to hide an ongoing Israeli massacre of Egyptian POWs. However after having just read Michael Oren’s analysis ‘The USS Liberty: Case Closed’ I have to agree that there is a strong case for the defence. In the first place there was no widespread massacre of Egyptain prisoners. It appears that there was a series of fateful coincidences and errors that led to the attack. Pres Johnson, who is routinely reviled in the further reaches of Libertyland as a sellout to Israel, emerges as a sensible man. Apparently the planes that were sent out from the USS Saratoga at the distress signal of the Liberty were F-104s armed with nuclear weapons. It was a most sensible decision to recall them back. Had they been used, it would have been akin to dropping a 1000lb bomb to settle a playground fight. The clincher in the NSA transcripts is that it shows that Israeli pilots for whatever reasons thought that were in fact attacking an Egyptian ship. Again the fact the Israelis launched 5 or 6 torpedoes, only one of which hit home points to a helter-skelter operation rather than one of clockwork precision directed from on high. Unless one wishes to posit another level of conspiracy, this time involving pilots using napalm instead of missiles and naval units unable to find their targets, the conclusion has to be that the Liberty incident was the result of tragic mistakes rather than a deliberate act.

  • Thank you Ivan. Honest assessment of historical evidence is always necessary when trying to recreate the past. The best study that I have read of the Liberty incident is that of Jay Cristol, a Captain in the US Naval Reserve and a Bankruptcy Judge. He has a topnotch site in which he goes over the incident in exacting detail.

    Below is a link to a letter Cristol has at his site by Marvin E. Nowicki, who was one of the Hebrew-English specialists aboard a Navy EC121 and who listened in on the Israeli pilots and the crews of the Israelis motor torpedo boats during the attack on the Liberty. The text of the letter is as follows:

    “Letter from Marvin E. Nowicki, Ph.D., published in The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, May 16, 2001, page A-23:

    Tragic “Gross Error” In a 1967 Attack

    In regard to Timothy Naftali’s review of James Bamford’s book “Body of Secrets” (Leisure & Arts, May 9): Mr. Naftali doesn’t quite have it right concerning the book portion dealing with the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. I know because I am the person to whom Mr. Natfali [sic] refers as the “chief Hebrew-language analyst” aboard the U.S. Navy (not Air Force) EC121 aircraft. He says that I recall one of my teammates telling me of hearing references to “a U.S. flag” from Israeli pilots.

    For the record, we (my teammate and I) both heard and recorded the references to the U.S. flag made by the pilots and captains of the motor torpedo boats. My personal recollection remains after 34 years that the aircraft and MTBs prosecuted the Liberty until their operators had an opportunity to get close-in and see the flag, hence the references to the flag.

    My position, which is opposite of Mr. Bamford’s, is that the attack, though terrible and tragic especially to the crew members and their families on that ill-fated day in June 1967, was a gross error. How can I prove it? I can’t unless the transcripts/tapes are found and released to the public. I last saw them in a desk drawer at NSA in the late 1970s before I left the service.

    Ashley, Ill.”


    And here is a link to the NSA intercepts which were released by the NSA in 2003:


  • Hi Donald, I have since read some of the threads on this matter. The impression I now have is that some of the more subtle (and thus more effective) insinuations, are from followers of the Pat Buchanan School of Selective Historical Reconstruction. For a particularly dishonest example, a phrase from an Israeli pilot “it is an American flag” is melded together with a phrase from his control station “fire anyway” or words to that effect to imply that the Israelis deliberately set out to destroy an American ship, when the truth is that the Israeli control was acting on the belief that it was an Egyptian ship running a false American flag. In addition there is too much recovered ‘memory’ years after the event, strewn around for my liking.

    The original inquest conducted a few days after the event http://www.thelibertyincident.com/docs/CourtOfInquiry.pdf contradicts later, lurid accounts of Israelis shelling lifeboats and firing on seamen in the waters among other lies. Not for nothing do the Romans have a principle of law : the first thought is the true thought.

  • Quite right Ivan. I hope I have conveyed on this blog what a sacred thing History is to me. History is not served when people attempt to twist it by lies to serve another purpose than letting us know what happened in the past. Here is another example, the use of alleged unnamed informants:

    “Fifteen years after the attack an Israeli Pilot who was ordered to participate in the attack came forward, approaching Liberty survivors and former Congressman Paul N. McCloskey. The pilot relates that he identified the ship as American and informed his superiors, but was told to proceed with the attack. When he refused to do so, he was arrested on returning to base.”

    Note, no name is given, nothing is brought forward to substantiate this. This unnamed fellow is usually described as a “senior Israeli lead pilot”.

    Well, the problem with all of this is we know who the lead Israeli pilot on the attack was: Yiftah Spector. After he was dismissed by the IAF in 2003 for his signing of a pilot’s protest against Israeli air operations in Gaza and on the West Bank, Spector talked about the attack on the Liberty. Here is a story that appeared on this in the Jerusalem Post on October 10, 2003:

    “An Israeli pilot who mistakenly attacked the American intelligence ship USS Liberty during the 1967 Six Day War said they were lucky he had no bombs – otherwise he would have sunk her.

    “There was a mistake. Mistakes happen. As far as I know, the mistake was of the USS Liberty being there in the first place,” said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yiftah Spector.

    After 36 years Spector, who this week was dismissed by the IAF for signing the pilots’ refusal letter protesting the policy of targeted killings, agreed to speak to a reporter for the first time on his role in the attack on the Liberty, an American spy ship strafed on the fourth day of the war.

    Flying a Mirage III fighter jet code named “Kursa” or couch, Spector was the first pilot to reach the ship, which was about 20 nautical miles west of Gaza. He had been on an air-to-air mission and was not loaded with bombs.

    Spector, now 63, went on to become a triple ace, shooting down 15 enemy aircraft, and take part in the 1981 raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, earning himself a place in the pantheon of Israeli fly boys. This week he ended a 20-year stint teaching new generations of pilots.

    Spector had always refused to discuss the attack on the USS Liberty, which killed 34 US sailors and wounded 172, or even be revealed as the pilot who led the attack on her. Until now.

    “I did not fire on the Liberty as a human target. I was sent to attack a sailing vessel. This ship was on an escape route from the El Arish area, which at that same moment had heavy smoke rising from it,” Spector said.

    “It was thought to be an Egyptian vessel. This ship positively did not have any symbol or flag that I could see. What I was concerned with was that it was not one of ours. I looked for the symbol of our navy, which was a large white cross on its deck,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “This was not there, so it wasn’t one of ours.”

    The concern of the IAF was that Spector and his wingman, who had been diverted from the Suez Canal, would strike one of the Israel Navy ships in pursuit of the vessel, which was assumed to be Egyptian. IAF archival recordings of the pilots’ radio transmission of the actual attack obtained by the Post show that Spector was specifically requested to verify that the ship was a military vessel and not Israeli.

    According to the June 8, 1967, radio transmission, Spector said: “I can’t identify it but in any case it’s a military ship.”

    Speaking of the event 36 years later may have caused Spector to mix what he remembered with what he may have read and his testimony does not always match archival facts.

    “I circled it twice and it did not fire on me. My assumption was that it was likely to open fire at me and nevertheless I slowed down and I looked and there was positively no flag. Just to make sure I photographed it,” said Spector, who retired from active duty as a brigadier-general in 1984.

    Experts intimately acquainted with the incident said that the only photos Spector took were from his gun-sight camera during his strafing run. Regardless of whether the 455-foot ship bristling with eavesdropping antennas flew a US flag, which it evidently did from its starboard halyard, that banner was shot off in Spector’s first strafing pass.

    “I was told on the radio that it was an Egyptian ship off the Gaza coast. Hit it. The luck of the ship was that I was armed only with light ammunition [30mm] against aircraft. If I had had a bomb it would be sitting on the bottom today like the Titanic. I promise you,” Spector said.

    The 30mm rounds were armor piercing, which to this day led Liberty survivors to believe they had been under rocket attack. Spector’s first pass ignited a fire which caused the ship to billow black smoke. Ironically, Spector transmitted he suspected the Liberty was putting out smoke to deliberately mask itself.

    “Every order is given by commanders and the last one to receive it has to decide whether he will pull the trigger or not. In this instance I was the fighter. I checked what I had to check [i.e. that it was a military ship and not one of ours] and pulled the trigger,” Spector said.

    “The crew should be thankful for their luck [that I was on an air-to-air mission and did not have any bombs]. It is a pity we attacked. I’m sorry for poor Capt. (William Loren) McGonagle, who was wounded in the leg and the other guys who were killed and wounded.”

    “I’m sorry for the mistake. Years later my mates dropped flowers on the site where the ship was attacked,” Spector said. “I’m the last guy who has a problem with admitting mistakes and asking for forgiveness. There was a mistake, but it wasn’t my mistake.”

    He added he remains baffled that the conspiracy theories live on that Israel deliberately attacked the US intelligence ship. He suggested it might be due to anti-Semitism, or anti-Israeli sentiments.

    “I know that after the war one of the first things that was done was the establishment of a [US] senator’s inquiry. I know this personally, because I was called upon to testify before it. They came to the country and I was questioned. I told them what I told you just now – that there was a mistake. I am sorry for the mistake. In war mistakes happen,” Spector said.

    He said that he had never in the past 36 years ever met with any of the Liberty survivors, but has no qualms about doing so now.

    “They must understand that a mistake was made here,” Spector said. “The fool is one who wanders about in the dark in dangerous places, so they should not come with any complaints.”

Well Now I'm Convinced

Monday, October 18, AD 2010

You know, it looks like I might have to change my mind on gay marriage.  I’ve been opposed to the concept for some time, but this video has completely changed my mind thanks to its persuasive logic.  WARNING: Extremely not safe for work or probably your own house language at this video.  Do not click on this link if you do not tolerate cussing, because there’s a lot of it.

The video, for those that didn’t feel like clicking over and having their audio canals violated, was essentially a bunch of really peeved off gay marriage advocates engaging in a collective primal scream.  The long and short of it is that gay marriage opponents are bleeping hypocrites because Rush bleeping Limbaugh has been married four bleeping times, and also because we don’t bleeping oppose no fault bleeping divorce, and bleep bleep bleep we’re just a bunch of bleeping bleeps.


I have to say that this video does hammer home one thing for me: the most convincing opponents of gay marriage are gay marriage supporters.

Continue reading...

39 Responses to Well Now I'm Convinced

  • All that being said, we would probably look less hypocritical if everyone could get on board with the universal sanctity of marriage – i.e., no divorce, etc. Kind of in the same way as pro-lifers might be more convincing if some here-unnamed idiots didn’t advocate a “life-is-sacred-except-for-rape-and-incest” perspective.

  • That’s the thing. I think for most of us in these parts, we’d have no problem with laws eliminating or at least making it more difficult to obtain no fault divorce.

  • No doubt. I just don’t think that’s typical of the most vociferous and visible elements of the group. Same as the fab fascists we see on the other side…I actually know people on the other side who you’d not only not specifically peg as gay, but who won’t even share their opinions with you unless they’re comfortable with you personally. I think I get better traction with those people precisely because there’s not nearly as much screaming.

    I just think everybody would be better off if the loud people on every side of a controversy were flatly and roundly ignored.

  • we’d have no problem with laws eliminating or at least making it more difficult to obtain no fault divorce.

    I think you mean ‘eliminate no-fault divorce’ and ‘make it more difficult to obtain a divorce’.

  • Art,

    Correct. That was quite the awful sentence construction on my part.

  • Homosexuals already have the exact same equal right to marriage as heterosexuals or anybody else in America and yes, so-called “no-fault” divorces need to go.

  • How dare they be angry about not being allowed to visit their loved ones in hospitals! How horrible of them to scream when the majority won’t let them get married!

  • Yes, another convincing argument from the pro-gay marriage crowd. Thanks, NAS.

  • By no means was it an argument. Rather an attempt to elucidate your point…that because they yell and scream, they must be wrong? Or if they yell and scream we should be against them?

  • No, I’m just simply pointing out how moronic and foolish they sound. Nothing more profound than that.

  • How dare they be angry about not being allowed to visit their loved ones in hospitals!

    A few years back a friend of mine was hospitalized for about a month while he was being treated for cancer. I visited him often and never had a problem; no one ever told me I couldn’t be there or asked if we were married.

  • How dare they be angry about not being allowed to visit their loved ones in hospitals!

    Restrictions on visitors are characteristic only of intensive care units.

  • I think the (rare) examples of the hospital scenario are drawn from instances where blood relations (say parents) specifically ask that a gay partner be excluded from visiting the loved one in hospital. Obviously, this suggests a pretty high level of family strife to start with, nor is such behavior relegated only to gay relationships, there are plenty of cases where blood relations hate a straight boyfriend/girlfriend.

    I suppose marriage would help with this to an extent, but it’s a very outlier circumstance for there to be such nasty family in-fighting going on in a hospital in the first place. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are also other ways to achieve a similar effect, if people are that committed to fighting it out.

  • Couldn’t the hospital/treatment decision situation be dealt with simply by drawing up a health care power of attorney designating the partner as the decision maker and granting them specific permission for visitation in ICU, etc.? Of course that would require some advance planning, which may not be of help if a medical crisis has already occurred.

    Is there really anything, other than perhaps adoption, that gay couples could not ALREADY legally do the same as traditional couples if they simply got an attorney to draw up the proper papers for them?

  • Elaine,

    It is my understanding that it is not so simple. Sometimes such things are not honored. If I were not so limited in time here, I would give a more thorough response — I would just recommend ‘googling’ it to get a more detailed perspective.

    More generally, a comment or two here — in my view — reflects a deficit of empathy for gays in conservative Catholic circles. I can’t say that I’m not glad that I am indefinitely done with blogging.

  • “… was essentially a bunch of really peeved off gay marriage advocates engaging in a collective primal scream.”

    I couldn’t help but notice the exploitation of minors in the video. Why, yes, my elementary school child can say “f***” — what an stunning endorsement for gay marriage.

  • More generally, a comment or two here — in my view — reflects a deficit of empathy for gays in conservative Catholic circles. I can’t say that I’m not glad that I am indefinitely done with blogging.

    Instead of taking passive aggressive shots, why don’t you point out what comments show a lack of empathy for gays?

  • I somehow don’t imagine it would be worth arguing with you — nor any good for the endurance of my faith-life.

  • No, better to lob allegations and then play the moral superiority card when called on it rather than justifying what you’ve said.

  • If you insist; pray for me then.

  • If such agreements are not honored, then that is a matter readily solved by legislation. Rather than lobbying to change the law on marriage, why not lobby to change the law on hospital visitation? I imagine that they would be more successful at that.

    But then, securing rights is not the real agenda – securing approval is.

  • Once they regularize men marrying men and women marrying women: they will necessarily recognize three men marry each other, right? Not to mention: calves and sheep . . .

    “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” — Abraham Lincoln

    Who knows the first commandment? Hint: it is in Genesis. The vast majority do not keep it.

  • “Not to mention: calves and sheep . . .”

    Because all of a sudden, calves and sheep will have become US citizens?

  • “Because all of a sudden, calves and sheep will have become US citizens?”

    Because all of a sudden, only US citizens have the legal right to marry in the US?

    Also amen to the thesis of T. Shaw. If it’s legal rights they want, I’ll hop on the train. If it’s religious approbation they want, I’m jumping off before the next town.

  • “Because all of a sudden, only US citizens have the legal right to marry in the US?”

    If I remember correctly, they have to be citizens or planning on becoming citizens.

    And there’s also this thing called ‘consent’ which, unless the laws have been suddenly altered completely, animals cannot give. The “then they’ll be marrying animals” argument is absolutely ridiculous. Unless you happen to believe homosexuals aren’t human.

  • The homosexual folks I know certainly look human. And no, your recollection is incorrect. I have a close friend who married a resident alien who has no intention as of this moment of becoming a US citizen. I also work with a woman who is not a US citizen and who is legally married to a US citizen.

    Further, if we follow your supposition to it’s conclusion, then that would mean that no aliens residing in the US who may have been legally married in their country of origin – say, e.g., Italy – would be considered legally married in the US until an “American wedding” takes place. I reserve the right to be wrong on this, but I’m fairly confident that this is an absurd proposition.

  • “But then, securing rights is not the real agenda – securing approval is.”

    We live in a world were “rights” are highly disputed, even among people who believe in the natural law.

    I’d make a distinction that gays want acceptance, not necessarily approval. Even without the distinction, your point implicitly points to the larger, ignored problem — why do gays feel, as persons, unapproved of or unaccepted? This is where Christians have failed us.

  • Regarding the Rush Limbaugh comment:

    Jesus said: Moses only gave you certficates of divorce because of the hardness of your hearts, in the beginning, it was not so.

    Divorce courts were not always built with revolving doors in this country. So, just because we got mowed over by *that* crusade, we should allow ourselves to surrender to yet another war? How does that make sense?

  • The only reason a government has anything to say about marriage is because it is where it’s future citizens will come from. Because, by it’s nature, it is a sterile relationship a government has no reason at all to institutionalize a same sex relationship.
    Government has to promote stability for marriage. Divorce does violence to this stability. So we must work to end divorce, not compound the governments mistakes by sanctioning same sex marriage.

  • why do gays feel, as persons, unapproved of or unaccepted? This is where Christians have failed us.

    Only gays can answer that question. It seems Christians have been rather quite accepting of them as persons, while not approving of the conduct. If they feel unaccepted as persons because their conduct is not approved, I don’t know what to tell them. Divorcees probably feel the same way, but why should I abandon my morality so you feel more “accepted”? I have no need to be rude about disapproval (whether to the divocree or the SSAed), but I am not going to pretend to approve the conduct either.

  • Amusing in the video are the pre-pubescent kids who use the vulgarity for copulation, and have no idea what it means.

  • Eric Brown,

    How can a Christian approve a homosexual relationship? As a Christian, I can tolerate it – after all, I’ve my own sins to deal with and it isn’t for me to remove the mote from a gay man’s eye – but I can’t approve of it, nor accept that someone who is living in a gay relationship is doing something other than wrong.

  • Mark,

    I do not think that Eric is asking you to approve of homosexual relationships.

  • It seems Christians have been rather quite accepting of them as persons, while not approving of the conduct.

    This is the ideal. I don’t think it has always been lived out well in practice.

  • c matt,

    Do you honestly think this? Forgive me, but I sincerely find this response—so typical in conservative Catholic circles—to be pathetic, awfully disingenuous, and very delusional.

    The cavalier way in which you frame your answer, which seems to suggest that Christians have been virtually blameless in loving gay people — “accepting” them as much as possible, “while not approving” their sexual conduct is very disconcerting. In fact, this reading of your carelessly presented perception is given credence by the subsequent remark: “If they [gay people] feel unaccepted as persons because their conduct is not approved, I don’t know what to tell them.”

    It is almost as if you are suggesting that gays are the only ones at fault here — which I presume is not what you intended to say. To put it crudely, it reads as if you are saying this: Look, we love you, we accept you, we respect your rights and dignity as much as the moral law requires. If you do not feel loved and accepted, even as we do all of this, I do not know what to tell you. Maybe you should get over it? This perception stands on the edifice of a single presumption: that Christians love gays and the rise of the gay rights movement and its nihilistic “agenda” of acceptance in our culture is just baffling and perplexing. I think such a view is untenable.

    Since you said only a gay person can answer the question I initially raised (of why gays might feel unaccepted or unapproved of), I’ll answer it then. There are two things that I wish to point out, considering this from a different perspective:

    One. To experience the human condition attracted to persons of the same-sex is obviously to experience it differently. In terms of social dynamics, the lived gay experience is one of being bad. The subject of homosexuality is often avoided, discussed in hushed tones or with great hostility. More often than not, the whole subject and experience is reduced to genital acts. The problem is that sexuality is not just about sex, regardless of orientation, it is an integral part of human personality — a center-point, from which we develop self-understanding and a determining point in how we relate to others and the world.

    Flowing from such antipathy is social silence on the subject because it is, allegedly, preferable to the great antagonism in discussing it. Gay persons experience this phenomenon for great portions of their lives in silence and in secrecy. Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Whatever interior destruction or psychological trauma this may cause, all that matters is that the greater society is uncomfortable with or unwilling to address homosexuality. Keep it to yourself. Become two people, live in two worlds — subscribe to a pattern of behavior, cerebrally constructed, to mask any external manifestations of internal homosexual desires. Show us one face, live with the other. Why share it? The consequent gay jokes are unbearable anyway.

    Not surprisingly, the gay experience involves a profound sense of loneliness. Years are spent withholding a truth — and that secret begins to haunt you and becomes a focal point in one’s life. And this creates an unbearable rift in the most profound and closest of friendships because the “you” that everyone knows is a façade. The greatest difficulty for gay people — the greatest desire for those who come out of the closet is intimacy, self-disclosure, acceptance, and love because the overwhelming sentiment is that one has gone through life fundamentally deprived, in a unique way, of these things. And this sense of loneliness is the breeding ground for dysfunctional lifestyles, compulsive behavior, depression, and even suicide.

    This is why gays, in general, have a predisposition toward modernist conceptions of “freedom” — freedom from, say, religious expression confined to “unwelcoming communities” of organized religion, freedom from rigid definitions of gender roles and conceptualizations of masculinity and femininity, which to the minds of many is the only way for gays to achieve recognition and acceptance — the only way to not live a fragmented, broken life. Thus, the heart of the gay rights movement and its subsequent “agenda” is a unique bond, built on a shared experience of loneliness and isolation, which brings gays together in a somewhat nihilistic movement for self-affirmation.

    I do not believe that gay subcultures exist for the purpose of luring people into a certain way of living. They exist as safe havens for gays who have lived silent and rejected in a heterosexual world. Some families (like mine) react terribly to such revelations and some (again from personal experience) totally disown you. The principal motivation is not some in-built perversion but seeking intimacy, companionship, and the embrace of those who love you for who you are, without reducing your whole person to your sexual orientation. It is to be surrounded by people who realize that “coming out” of the closet is not a once in a life time act, but a daily task. One must prudently discern whether this or that occasion calls for revealing one’s sexual orientation because it almost always bears some sort of risk — of alienation, rejection, misunderstanding, violence, an ill-effect on some sort of a relationship, or some other consequence. For example, just last week in a conversation with two classmates (both ignorant of the fact that I am gay) one said that she “could not understand why people are like that” [i.e. gay], followed by a shudder of disgust at the idea of it. I was faced with the question, as I have been countless times before in similar situations, of whether it is prudent or necessary to “come out.” A lifetime of experiencing such a scenario, I think, illuminates why many gays when they “live openly” over identify with their sexual orientation — “being themselves” is to express the part of their “self” which was always held back.

    It is for these reasons that the grossly oversimplified and generalized “gay lifestyle” is arguably the result of such social dynamics; that is to say, the positive correlation, in many circumstances, with anonymous sexual encounters, constant living in club scenes, drugs, sexual deviancy, and an over-identification with one’s sexual orientation with homosexuality is the fruit of a common experience—it is an incorrect way of seeking true, healthy intimacy and companionship, it is a vicious response to a lifetime of internalizing silence and negative messages, of conditioning one’s self not to accept and recognize a truth about one’s self. What we see then in the sometimes exaggerated presentations of the “gay lifestyle” is the fruit of the worst kind of sin and oppression: self-deception: a way of living, borne of all the aforementioned, that opens the door to spiraling moral compromise that involves a constant need of approval from others—because it has been lacking for so long—and one might do, literally, anything to gain that approval.

    Quite obviously, I do not find such things, these patterns of behavior to be intrinsic to homosexuality—thus, they can be changed.

    Two. Failure to address this problem adequately is a major moral failure of Christians. The Catholic Church herself is facing an extraordinary deficit of commitment according to her own teachings and standards on this issue.

    In the United States there is church ministry in less than half of all Catholic dioceses in this country to homosexual persons and in each diocese that does offer such a ministry, no more than one parish does so. One has to search in vain, going through several obstacles to get into contact with anyone who knows anything about such a ministry. There is a chance too that the chapter is no longer active or is grossly under-funded. If it is active the meeting times (which tend to be once a week) may be inconvenient and one is virtually out of luck unless one can find a priest for one-on-one pastoral counseling. Though not all priests are trained for such pastoral care—I had a personal experience with a priest that was an unmitigated nightmare; I was scandalized by the lack of pastoral sensitivity and the impatience of this particular priest. While I do not think this is a widespread problem (i.e. insensitive priests), the problem extends well beyond the episode I am citing.

    The clergy has done a terrible job ministering to homosexuals. I cannot see how anyone can deny this pastoral nightmare. I cannot see how things are getting better when the problem is universal scope, reinforced by other structural problems, and is not addressed (to my knowledge) to a sufficient extent in priestly formation outside of knowing doctrines. In my experience, priests simply do not know what to say to a homosexual Catholic. I have been counseled before “not to focus on that problem” as if it is either possible or practical to ignore such an over-riding, deeply felt reality that has such far-reaching implications for one’s life—and I do not call into question the good intentions of any priest sincerely wishing to help.

    Gay Catholics find themselves with a tremendous cross, usually finding themselves victim to serious personal incoherence from hiding their sexuality, of clothing themselves with falsehoods to conform to societal standards, confused and hurt by the ambiguities of statements such as “the sin of homosexuality” and the heated disposition of public discourse over homosexual people, their rights, and place in society, is not given its proper consideration, in practice, when dealing sensitively with Catholics who are attracted to people of the same-sex. Without saying it, it is almost as if gays themselves are the problem. The issue is never framed or approached in positive pastoral terms. I do not even see how it can be at this point without substantial changes in other areas.

    Given such a problem and the aforementioned experience of gays (which is obviously my personal perceptions), I find the conservative Catholic to be perplexing. I am not sure that a gay person with an experience anywhere near to what I have described, who has established an incredible bond with another person, often reinforced in its strength by the desperate desire of gays to love will come to a crashing halt after a conversation about the Christian understanding of the ontological difference of men and women and the complementarily of the sexes. I think it would be naïve to think otherwise.

    The crusading lay Catholics defending the Church from internal dissent on the issue of homosexuality and defending the sanctity of marriage (or what is left of it) in our culture no matter the intrinsic goodness of such activities are working toward a band-aid solution, a façade unity or a sort of “Pleasantville.” This is all such activities can be without confronting their root causes, which very few seem interested in. I cannot gather such a desire from those who view those so-called “homosexualists” as vicious, demonic people out to destroy society and “get” our children rather than hurt, confused souls who need to be led from the grip of the real enemy into the loving arms of the Body of Christ.

    The vocation of celibacy is a difficult one and it can only be achieved through a deep sense of self, through spirituality, and through a support system. Celibacy is impossible without adequate resources. From what I can see, conservative Catholics are content to drop the moral standard, hard and heavy, while remaining unconcerned regarding the scant resources. Are we not our brother’s keepers?

    It seems that gay Catholics hardly get the support they need and deserve from their own. We have an obligation to build a just and moral society, which does not include legal same-sex marriage. Yet there remains a deep-seated hypocrisy in the way Catholics and other Christians make extraordinary demands—like the Pharisees placing “heavy burdens”—on gays in our society on the basis of “loving” them, yet the terrible lack of effort—like the Pharisees again, not themselves “lifting a finger”—in offering support and accommodation in a Catholic moral framework is very disheartening. It is simple to critique the moral inadequacy of society, as we all know, but it is another thing to consider how much we contribute to and perpetuate that inadequacy.

    It is for these (and other) reasons that I think that collectively conservative Catholics are suffering from a sinful lack of empathy and a lack of credibility. I am not how sure how most truly imagine how gays should react to them when they do not even love and support their own adequately. It is nothing other than Pharisaic hypocrisy even if it is done, by technicality, in the name of righteousness. This is the heart of why I think conservative Catholics find themselves constantly frustrated and frustrating in particular on this issue. It is the reason why we are all upset by so many things—we want the moral standard without any burden on ourselves, without a change in the way we live and think, and without any obligations that make us go us out of the way for our neighbors.

    By the standards suggested in the above comment, the operative definition of “accept” seems to be “merely tolerate.” We Christians are called to love and love does not merely tolerate—love is active and transformative. You do not know what to tell gays who feel unaccepted. True as it may be (and I do not think it is something to be regarded as sinful), seeking to empathize may be a good place to start. Simply saying Christians “accept” gays sufficiently enough without accepting homoerotic sex conduct (given faith’s track record on this), and if gays do not feel accepted, you do not know what to say is, in my view, not only caustic and simple, it is offensive.

  • At a certain point, we have to leave people to the fate they choose for themselves. We cannot force gays such as the ones who made this video to understand that they are loved in spite of our moral condemnation of homosexual acts. We cannot force our love upon those who do not want it.

    Push has come to shove, and lines are being drawn. What I see emanating out of the partisans of a very real, no not imagined gay political agenda is rabid hatred. Perhaps it was provoked, and perhaps much of it simply comes from their own pride, the audacity that they believe the Church has to condemn their idea of what it means to be happy or fulfilled.

    But I do agree with what Edward Feser recently argued; that conservatives who do not begin taking a hard line on divorce, fornication, contraception, and other sexual sins cannot be taken seriously on gay marriage. I take such a hard line myself. I do not hold heterosexuals to a different or lower standard.

    It’s the same deal with feminism, with abortion. Men are as responsible as women for abortion; but they are rarely the focus of the discussion. This is the fault of both sides, one out of neglect, and the other because they know that to highlight the role of men is to reduce abortion as a “women’s issue”, as having to do with “women’s rights.” The point is, men must be held to a higher standard, and so must the “straight” Christian and/or conservative.

  • I’d like to point out here a remark made by N. T. Wright. Tolerance is an enligtenment virtue. Love is what Christians are called to do. And he went on to describe the difference in these terms: If one sees another person standing on the other side of a room and they wave at each other with a plastic smile, that’s tolerance. Love, on the other hand, requires you to interact and get involved. They are really two quite different things. In society today we highly value tolerance—yet we lack love.

  • So I think what we have today are a lot of people saying it’s OK to be gay, but we’re not so get over there. And they hold them at a distance, as opposed to embracing the person even if their behavior is less than civilized.

Fictional Reality

Friday, October 15, AD 2010

It’s good to know that the term “Beltway Bubble” applies beyond just the circular roadway a mile from my house out in the suburbs of Washington DC.   It looks like there is another cocoon in another old dwelling of mine in the city of Atlanta, as evidenced by this bit of insanity from Cynthia Tucker.  Ms. Tucker’s thesis is that President Obama’s political problems stem from trying too hard to cooperate with Republicans.  Buckle yourselves in for a ride aboard the crazy train.

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5 Responses to Fictional Reality

  • How can you say they got everything they wanted?

    No one knows.

    No one read the bills.

    I am wondering what she calls the planet on which she exists.

  • “Well, I think we miscalculated,” Axelrod said. “We had the idea that, particularly in a time of national crisis, there would be more of an inclination to work together.

    There might have been an inclination if their object had been to heal the financial system, heal the labor market, and stabilize aggregate demand. It was none of these things.

  • A perfect example of an oxymoron…Obama using BI -Partisanship in his enactment of policies…

  • Ah don’t we all long for Newspeak or perhaps Doublethink . . . The Ministry of Truth well help you see the “real” truth.

  • “well” should be “will”