Over at First Things: At EU Faithful Christians Need Not Apply? I was all set to cheer on a besieged faithful Christian. Then I learned more about him:
Borg was grilled for three hours at a hearing before the European Parliament last Tuesday afternoon. Right out of the box, leftist MEPs demanded to know his position on LGBT rights and abortion. Borg had been accused of saying derogatory things about homosexuals and of denying them basic rights. He disarmed his accusers by outright denying he had ever said anything unkind about homosexuals and asserted that not only did he agree with European laws on non-discrimination, but that they should seek out and put an end to all forms of homophobia anywhere in the European Union.
So, Mr. “faithful Catholic” Tonio Borg promises to launch a merciless persecution to eradicate every religion and culture that embraces the truth about men and women (“homophobia”). He will seek out and obliterate every law and custom that recognizes the patriarchal family as normative (“discrimination”), and he will impose the androgynist utilitarian system everywhere, even though this would mean the extinction of his own putative faith and national culture. Not long ago, we were lamenting this same pathologization of moral sanity by Justin Welby, ArchWeasel of Canterbury, but really the Maltese Catholic Borg is much worse. At least the Anglicans aren’t making tyrannical threats about “seeking out and putting an end to” all non-approved thoughts over an entire continent.
And the outcome?
Through a combination of canniness and capitulation, Tonio Borg was approved last week as the new European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection. The final vote was 386-281 with 28 abstentions…
Borg joins 26 other “Commissioners” as the rulers of Europe on what is perhaps the least democratic “democratic” body on Earth.
I feel somewhat foolish now for my earlier uncharitable ribbing of our shepherds in the Church, and bad enough that I took it to confession yesterday (and I offer my apologies to any readers scandalized by my gratuitous insults of the Lord’s anointed). Our bishops may often be silly, foolish old men, but we’re lucky to have them, especially in light of the alternative.
Speaking of which, check out Dr. Charlton’s remarks on the new head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby, the “inexperienced mediocrity” who looks like a state-sponsored therapist of questionable sexuality and sounds like a terminally anxious employer being threatened with a hostile work environment suit, whose duplicitous waffling will surely doom a Church that is already in decline and probably cannot survive a long reign by another pallid platitude-peddler.
I knew it! I knew there was something rotten about Wendell Berry. So now the supposed Christian defender of natural living has endorsed gay marriage. From Dreher’s quote, it seems that he also endorses divorce and abortion. We see this again and again, don’t we? Anyone who will not explicitly renounce Leftism will eventually cave completely to the Left. Well, congratulations, Wendell! You’re sure to make yourself very popular with this repudiation of natural law, not with the One Christians are supposed to be trying to please but with the group you apparently care about. Go ahead and win more praise for yourself by slandering (for example, by saying that we endorse adultery and fornication) those of us who defend the natural law in its entirety and refuse to betray our Saviour for the sake of a loathsome perversion. Letting us know about your openness to prenatal murder and spousal abandonment certainly makes the break easier. I really do feel sorry for the good men at Front Porch Republic who misplaced so much admiration on this man.
Some random rants for the end of finals week. (I assume that’s why it’s been so quiet around here lately.)
…is this: If liberalism were a church, “conservatives” would be its heretics, while reactionaries would be its apostates. “Conservatives” yearn for an earlier, “truer” form of liberalism—be it the industrial society of the 19th Century for some paleos and libertarians, or the New Deal and/or Civil Rights era for some neocons. This is why one often hears American movement conservatives claiming, not without warrant, to be “just old-fashioned liberals.” And much like Chesterton’s heretics of old, the “conservative” insists that he is the real liberal: “It [is] the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who [are] heretics. He [is] orthodox.”
The reactionary, on the other hand, is an apostate: He has left the Church of Liberalism altogether, and has no more interest in claiming its orthodoxy for himself than Richard Dawkins has in claiming to be the real bearer of the Anglican tradition.
In the Leftist theological journal Concilium, Belgian professor Johan Verstraeten accuses Pope Benedict XVI of selling out to the capitalists. Basically, the Vestraeten accuses His Holiness of concentrating too much on personal morality and individual charity instead of focusing on “unjust institutions”, for maintaining a generally positive view of business competition, and for stressing subsidiarity and refusing to equate Catholic social teaching with European social democracy. Cheisa has here reprinted a defense of the pope by Italian professor and senator Stefano Ceccanti (H/T The Pittsford Perennialist). Ceccanti accuses Verstraeten of distorting Catholic social teaching by taking the few parts of the tradition that he likes and discarding the rest. So far, so good.
Perhaps some of you are new reactionaries? Like anything worth doing, Reaction is worth doing well. But where can you get guidance? Chances are, none of your friends or family would want anything to do with your “extremist” beliefs. Well, I’m no expert, but I’ve been at this for a while, and I have some tips for you.
This is a slightly revised repost of something I wrote in early January. Despite its age – a month and a half is, after all, a considerable age for something so topical – and parochial subject matter, I think it’s worth revisiting, since the kind of argumentation I attack in it is something we all probably hear frequently.
In a recent Twitter discussion, Emil André Erstad, a youth politician from Norway’s Christian Democratic Party, was asked if he thought abortion should be illegal in all cases, including those where rape or incest is involved. He answered in the affirmative. This has provoked a media firestorm and several unusually strong condemnations, many of them emanating from within Erstad’s own party. There’s been some waffling, though, about exactly what it is that makes his comment so objectionable. Here’s former Christian Democratic vice chair Inger Lise Hansen speaking to Dagbladet (my translation):
I get very upset when I read comments like this from party members. I don’t think it’s very representative of the party. [She's probably right about that.] That may be why it received so much attention in the first place.
Line Henriette Hjemdal, Christian Democratic MP and second-in-command in the party’s parliamentary group (ibid):
We have a burning commitment to unborn life, but women may find themselves in situations where they have to make a choice. In cases of sexual abuse, women should be allowed to choose for themselves, along with their doctors.
What view of abortion, exactly, is held by those Christian Democrats who have condemned Emil André Erstad? I can think of three possibilities:
They don’t believe that aborting a fetus amounts to taking a life. This does not explain why they would support any special restrictions on abortion — and to some extent or another, as good as all of them do, — which on this view would be no more morally problematic than any other medical procedure in which an unwanted growth is removed from the body.
They do believe that aborting a fetus amounts to taking a life. This does not explain why they would react so strongly to Erstad’s comments, which on this assumption would be quite reasonable, and probably correct.
They don’t believe anything, being spineless, opportunistic pond scum, perfectly willing to aid and abet in the mass murder of infants if there’s any chance that doing the opposite will hurt their political careers or their popularity with the press. This accounts for all the known facts.
Can you guess which explanation is the right one?