Friday, May 24, 2013

On the change of policy by the Boy Scouts of America

Another trench lost in the culture war. . .

With much fanfare, the Boy Scouts of America have changed their policy regarding "openly gay" Scouts in its ranks.  After a vote yesterday, a Boy Scout in good standing may be "openly gay"; "openly gay" adults are not permitted to be adult leaders, however.   This change in policy has followed years upon years of vilification heroically endured by the organization, including the loss of camping privileges at many public areas around the country, repeated desecration of their uniform in gay pride parades, etc.

Your humble commentator was a poor Boy Scout as a youth, and (hopefully) a better assistant Scoutmaster as an adult.  I have three comments for now:

1)  I fear that the Boy Scouts will now go the way of so many "mainline" Protestant denominations who chose to no longer give answers to hard questions, for the sake of perceived popularity.  The Boy Scouts provided one critical function that no other youth organization did:  they provided a vehicle for the moral formation of our youth.  Whether one agreed or disagreed with specific stands, and regardless of whether they succeeded in particular cases, one knew that the organization was in the business of forming solid citizens.  It was never a surprise when a Medal of Honor winner was an Eagle Scout.  One could choose to join or not join, but you knew what you were getting when you or your son joined.  And while there is always some risk of tomfoolery when putting adolescent males together in a group, the boys knew they were safe, and they knew from Day One that to join, you had to know that a Scout was expected to be "morally straight".

Now that the Scouts have found new meaning in "morally straight" by way of a majority vote, and after being bullied into it, all that is now subject to question and relativism.  The reason for the organization's existence, namely the moral formation of our male youth, is essentially undermined for the sake of political correctness.  And I am certain that membership will suffer as a result.  Worst of all, this is being lost at a moment in our history when it is needed most.

I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.

2)  I strongly question and challenge the motivation of the Board in changing this policy.  Here in Dallas (home of the HQ of the BSA), there has been newspaper article after newspaper article stating how the prime movers behind the change in policy have been the heads of AT&T and Ernst & Young, both of whom are on the board of directors of the BSA.  And each newspaper article states that these two board members hold those positions at their respective companies.

I strongly suspect the motivations of these two board members in pushing this change in policy, on the grounds that they are in part gaining proper politically correct mileage for their respective companies by doing so.  We've all seen the militant gay organizations vilify Target for supporting a PAC who supported a candidate who didn't favor gay marriage.  What better way to get some props for your company among the right people than getting the Boy Scouts to change their gay policy?

Certainly if this were undertaken by these two out of personal conviction, they could have done this behind closed doors at the BSA.  But they couldn't have collected their thirty pieces of silver had they done so, of course.

3)  Finally, a minor practical matter that some poor assistant Scoutmasters are going to have to face (this is the kind of crap decision that would often get delegated to me).  We're talking tent assignments on the campout.  

Let's say your troop has one or two "openly gay" Scouts.  Remember, we're not talking adolescent confusion over same-sex attraction, we're talking "openly" gay.  How do you assign tents on the weekend campout?  Do you put the openly gay Scout in with an "openly" hetero Scout? If so, I'd like to listen as you explain this to the parents of the hetero Scout.  If not, what is the alternative -- do you put the "openly gay" Scouts together in the same tent?  I seriously doubt you want any part of that.

Worse yet, what if your openly gay Scout is a seventeen-year-old who is the patrol leader, leading younger Scouts (as young as 11)?  What sort of dynamics do you have to face there?

I've got no answers.  Just raising the questions.

The culture war continues.  Remember, this battle was never about the Boy Scouts, just like same-sex marriage is not about marriage. . .

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Welcome to our visitors from St. Francisville, LA!

First, welcome to those who are stopping by here from the St. Francisville forum over at Topix.  We're glad you're stopping by.

I thought it might be a good idea to explain to our visitors why we have this strange fixation on the fine work of Rod Dreher, so you don't think that we are a bunch of stalkers.  Plus, that sort of rehash is always good fun for those of us who have that common interest. I'll explain things from my viewpoint, and perhaps the elders can elaborate in the comment box.

A few years ago, Dreher was operating a blog at Beliefnet, in the time following the publishing of his seminal work Crunchy Cons.  I was originally attracted to that topic because I thought that there were too many good things that we conservatives had ceded to fringe liberals, and that it was time to take some of them back.   And Dreher was also an op-ed columnist in our local rag here in Dallas, so I had some familiarity with the topic from that.  Not to mention that he was a fellow Catholic -- seemed to fit.

I was soon disappointed. And how.  My view is that Dreher confuses matters of taste with matters of truth.  In his world, the things he likes, and the things he dislikes, become criteria for judging authenticity, and for discerning good from evil.  So we got pieces trashing Wal-Mart, the humor of Roberto Begnini, global imports, and on and on, and we got pieces trumpeting the "finer" local things.  Rules became rules, except for the exceptions (the Beaujolais Nouveau, his Mercedes, etc.), and when Dreher changes his mind (suburbs, Kindle).  But nevertheless, readers were admonished to toe the line.  (Wish I could link to some of these, but they've mostly been taken down by Beliefnet and lost to the ether or at best the Wayback Machine.)

And then came the Great Conversion from Catholicism to Orthodoxy.  We should have seen this coming, because we got Dreherian diatribes on ugly churches, bad music, and homilies that would cause him to leave Mass.  But then (because he was outed, IIRC), Dreher owned up to his Orthodox conversion in  a piece of interminable length entitled "Orthodoxy and Me" (which has been preserved here in its entirety), in which he trashes the Catholic Church, and touts the wisdom of his conversion to Orthodoxy.

God bless anyone along their spiritual journey -- we each have to find our way.  But the manner in which he did this was so uncharitable that many of us (including those of us here) followed the call to defend the Church.  As I said at the time, that post was like a guest throwing a stinkbomb on leaving a party, for the enjoyment of those outside watching the resulting mayhem through the windows.  Defense of the Church was necessary, but certainly appeared amusingly unattractive to outsiders ("Haha -- look at the silly Christians fighting among themselves -- glad I'm a pagan").  We defenders were even called "Assholes for Christ", which I am happy to wear as a badge of honor from that time.

There was a blog among some of the elders here ("The Contra-Crunchy Conservative") where we had been venting against the Dreher posts and got to know each other.   Pauli then soon started this one, which is where we live now.

Again, welcome.  Stay awhile -- we talk about other cool things like guns and politics and religion, too.  But nothing brings up the tempo like a good piece about Rod Dreher.

IRS Director Lois Lerner To Plead Fifth

Lois Lerner, Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division, will plead the Fifth rather than testify before the House oversight committee. John Nolte at Breitbart has the scoop. Excerpt:

Lerner has retained defense attorney William W. Taylor 3rd, who sent a letter to Darrell Issa, the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. In the letter Taylor said, "She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course.”

Taylor is hoping Issa will excuse his client from having to testify in order to save her the embarrassment of having to invoke the Fifth in public. Per The L.A. Times, the committee hasn't yet answered her request one way or the other.

ADDED: National Journal reports that Issa "has issued a subpoena to Lerner anyway."

Since the IRS scandal broke wide open ten days ago, Lerner has been at the center of the controversy. She is not only the head of the division that oversaw the Kafka-esque harassment of President Obama's political foes; she has also been caught on numerous occasions making misleading statements.

Oh, love it: "Taylor is hoping Issa will excuse his client from having to testify in order to save her the embarrassment of having to invoke the Fifth in public." Well we are all happy to announce to the public that Lois Lerner is pleading the Fifth Amendment so she won't have to incriminate herself.

I wonder how we should interpret this silence from Director Lerner. Maybe we should ask Attorney General Eric Holder—he's the expert on the matter of silence interpretation.

Thanks for reading my blog. For current commentary and what-not, visit the Est Quod Est homepage

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Help Tornado Victims in Oklahoma

Here's the link you need.

News from St. Francisville, Louisiana

Thanks to all them tubes and wires they gone an' hooked up to the internets, we can bring you some good ol' fashioned arguin' from St. Francisville, Louisiana.

First we here from Crazy:

Everyone in this hick town is a laughing joke! Please people find other things to do than sit and talk SH*T about everyone and everything.. It's a crying Shame how you people act! Get some lives and quit with the drama!

Shame with a capital "S"! Dang ol' Crazy! Later on, Coon Poon pipes up:

Nobody told you to get on this website and read everything...except for you guilty conscience that someone may be plastering your name like wet dog shit on here.

Wet dog shit is the best kind, least of all fer plasterin', I always said. But Crazy fires back:

"Coon poon" hahaha nice name.. HICK! Anyways, yes your right nobody told me to come on this website. I choose to bc I like to read about what's going on in the community, not drama, and people just going on and on about who does what. It's not only childish but it's just DUMB! Hate to break it to you boo but I have honestly never seen my name on here getting blasted! I simpily keep to myself and stay out if drama unless its something like this that is just outrageous!!! I'm done commenting to any of you people. I owe NOBODY in this town an explanation on my actions and I'm sure in the hell not giving the satisfaction to you hillbillys by fighting back... I've said my peace and that's it! Have a nice life you "da ville" hood rats/ rednecks :) :) :)

Well, Crazy said he's "done commenting to any of you people" an' he sounds like this time, doggone it, he really means it! But all y'all heard that one before.

"Don't tell me anything that might outrage me."

We hear from the White House spokesman that "[N]obody's been more outraged by the reported conduct here than the president of the United States" about the IRS Scandal.

Now we hear this:

Senior White House officials, including President Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, were told last month — earlier than previously thought — that the Internal Revenue Service was under investigation for targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, but White House counsel decided not to tell Obama about it.

When asked if Obama was angry his top aides left him in the dark about potential political scandal, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president viewed such actions as "entirely appropriate" and that "some matters are not appropriate to convey to him, and this is one of them."

So in effect, we should conclude that a policy exists which considers outrageous matters not appropriate to relate to the President. Which doesn't make any sense. A better conclusion is that the premise that Obama is outraged is untrue.

Kermit Gosnell IS Planned Parenthood

I took down a post

I took down the post about Charles Ramsey's past. The extension of the man's fifteen minutes is irritating to me, but I suppose I'm more irritated with the people who have tried to turn him into the next Antoine Dodson. One of the reasons that the Dodson bit and Bed Intruder is funny and entertaining is that nothing all that bad happened. There was a break-in, a failed rape attempt and a clumsy escape which left the Dodsons traumatized for a short time. The interview—which was with the actual victims, not a bystander—was the perfect example of what Nipsey Washington (NSFW) calls "crime humor".

But the taunt "You are so dumb" can't be hurled at Ariel Castro, a man who successfully hid three women in his rape dungeon for 10+ years. You can't compare what happened to Kelly Dodson in her bedroom to what happened to Michelle Knight over the last 11 or so years.

So, Charles Ramsey, I'm trying not to be a hater, man. You turned down reward money and I'm trying to give you your props. I'm just not amusable with regard to the situation. Cleveland made the front of the National Enquirer—I noticed in the checkout line. Hooray. Luckily we also get some positive publicity.

The Athasian Creed

Here is an English translation of the full text of the Athanasian Creed. Got the translation from here. Learn it, love it, live it.

Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.

But the Catholic faith is this, that we venerate one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in oneness; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance; for there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; but the divine nature of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one, their glory is equal, their majesty is coeternal.

Of such a nature as the Father is, so is the Son, so also is the Holy Spirit; the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated; the Father is infinite, the Son is infinite, and the Holy Spirit is infinite; the Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal; and nevertheless there are not three eternals but one eternal; just as there are not three uncreated beings, nor three infinite beings, but one uncreated, and one infinite; similarly the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty; and yet there are not three almighties but one almighty; thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; and nevertheless there are not three gods, but there is one God; so the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord; and yet there are not three lords, but there is one Lord; because just as we are compelled by Christian truth to confess singly each one person as God, and also Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there are three gods or three lords.

The Father was not made, nor created, nor begotten by anyone. The Son is from the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son, not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

There is, therefore, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits; and in this Trinity there is nothing first or later, nothing greater or less, but all three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another, so that in every respect, as has already been said above, both unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity must be venerated. Therefore, let him who wishes to be saved, think thus concerning the Trinity.

But it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believes also the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Accordingly, it is the right faith, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is God and man. He is God begotten of the substance of the Father before time, and He is man born of the substance of His mother in time: perfect God, perfect man, consisting of a rational soul and a human body, equal to the Father according to His Godhead, less than the Father according to humanity.

Although he is God and man, yet He is not two, but He is one Christ; one however, not by the conversion of the Divinity into a human body, but by the assumption of humanity in the Godhead; one absolutely not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For just as the rational soul and body are one man, so God and man are one Christ.

He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, on the third day arose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead; at His coming all men have to arise again with their bodies and will render an account of their own deeds: and those who have done good, will go into life everlasting, but those who have done evil, into eternal fire.

This is the Catholic faith; unless every one believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved. Amen.