One more reason to love Dominicans

Who else could give you a penetrating and fun theological analysis of the Progressive obsession with controlling your diet.

It’s fascinating to watch Puritanism mutate into secular nannyism.  The intense sense of guilt remains.  The need to micromanage and control with rules remains.  The search for redemption through moral superiority remains.  The fastidious obsession with purity remains. The missionary zeal to conquer and control all of humanity remains. All that is gone is Jesus Christ, hope, forgiveness, and the heart and soul of the gospel.

And this is spot on:

It’s the combination of values that is puzzling: a quasi-religious zeal to eliminate soda, salt, and saturated fat on the one hand, and the toleration—nay, promotion—of grave offenses against human dignity and health on the other. When premarital sex, homosexuality, contraception, and abortion are encouraged in health class, isn’t Michael Bloomberg’s crusade against sugary drinks a bit odd? As the Church is backed into a corner because of its teaching on sexuality, and its institutions face increasing pressure to compromise and cooperate with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, and after the city bans religious groups from using public property, lawmakers are getting moralistic about food.

The Left has, for mysterious reasons, chosen not to be laissez faire about what you do with your body (which would at least be consistent), but to be laissez faire about what you do with that part of your body called your pelvis while focusing all its most repressive, moralistic, and puritan obsessiveness on what you do with that part of your body called your digestive tract.  And so we get a strange inversion of Bronze Age purity obsessions and Christian belief.  Nurse Bloomberg and his acolytes on the Left preach the exact opposite of Jesus.  To wit: a reading from the book of Bloomberg:

Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside defiles him/her or whatever alternatively gendered person you feel yourself to be, since it enters, not his/her heart but his/her stomach, and so contributes to obesity?” (Thus he declared sugary, fatty, high carb and salty foods unclean.) And he said, “What comes out of a man does not defile a person. For from within, out of the heart of a person, come what only judgmental right wing zealots call “evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” All these things come from your personal truth of the moment and are holy exercises of freedom of choice, and they do not defile a man, woman or alternatively gendered person.”

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  • Mark R

    Bloomberg a leftist? Really? I would like to see positive mention of him in a socialist paper or by a prominent socialist.

    • ivan_the_mad

      He was front page in the Corporatist Crony Daily, flanked by fasces and wheelbarrows full of cash 😉

      • Ted Seeber

        I thought he owned one of the two Corporatist Crony Daily newspapers.

    • He would be termed a fiscal conservative, but otherwise on social issues and gun control, he would be on the left. He was a Democrat, but joined the GOP to become mayor of NY. He has since quit the GOP and runs as an independent.

    • Steve

      Why not just trust your own powers of observation?

  • Yes! Such great points. “Adam and Eve After the Pill” addresses this very thing, and it was the first time I’d thought about it in this way. And yes inCREDibly ironic, this obsession over government-mandated food bans while at the same time also promoting the idea that anything in the sexual realm goes, including abortion (one of the least regulated industries in the nation!) The inconsistencies abound!

  • Maggie Goff

    Brianna, “Adam and Eve after the Pill” is the first thing that popped into my mind while reading this. I first bought the hard copy, but soon gave that to a friend and downloaded the Kindle version, as there are so many studies cited (a good thing) it’s good to have a search feature when quoting during discussions. I recommend the book to all my friends.

  • Ted Seeber

    When I posted something similar to my slashdot journal it was responded to by a secular geek with a “Duh, of course- we diet so that we can have sex”. It’s still ALL about sex.

  • Warren P.

    My father explained to me back in the 1970s that he had met people who felt guilty about one grave thing they had done (had an abortion, for example) and so, they tried subconsciously to pay back the karma-debt they perceived they owed, by some means that was acceptable to them, such as by becoming a vegan, or being anti-fur, or protecting baby seals from being clubbed to death. They were offended that cute little baby seals were being killed for their fur, but were not offended when cute little baby humans were killed because they were an inconvenience to their mothers. I saw the inside of the twisted-logic instantly. Liberal moral tantrums are ever thus.


  • anna lisa

    All true, all good, but we’re still, a nation of shameless fatties!
    The priest that baptized me was a 400 lb. Franciscan. He was so huge in his Franciscan robe that he scared the dogs. Once, at the dinner table, he told us the story of a penitent who confessed gluttony. He said he was completely taken aback, as nobody had ever confessed this before. He told us that he was so caught off guard that his initial response was: “Boy, you really know how to hurt a guy!” He admitted to us that he would raid the kitchen at night, stacking Oreos up his ample sleeves on one side, and ice cream on the other. Years later, he almost died. His legs developed life threatening clots. When his doctor told him to shape up, he finally did, going down to a svelte 250 I think. It saved his life . Thank God. What a wonderful, happy priest.

    • Ted Seeber

      Many priests disregard their personal health for the sake of the Kingdom- and this DOES lead to eating disorders, both on the gluttony side and the other side. I know one priest, skinny as a rail, who lives entirely on thin broths and donated vegetables from people’s gardens- the money he saves on food goes back to the church or to charity. If your entire shopping trip to the store consists of $5 worth of bullion cubes a week, you can save a LOT of money, but you aren’t going to be healthy or gain weight at all.

      Gluttony being my favorite sin as well, I have nearly got Victor Bruno’s Fat Man’s Prayer memorized. I think it should be required study in any and all youth groups in the United States, for it is not only funny, but theologically correct. Even the punch line “Deep fried chicken from the South, Lord if you love me, Shut My Mouth!”

  • pol

    Interesting that I came upon this post just 2 hours after attneding a preop meeting for bariatric surgery for my wife, who by the way, is a pastroal associate and is a 130 pounds overwieght and diabetic. It took 2 years of serious dieting as a strict vegan for her to lose 5o pounds and get her sugar under control BEFORE our diocese would cover her surgery, which is scheduled for July 11. She also has had endured painful eye treatments for damage incurred because of her condition. In past 2 years we have spent $15k out of pocket to deal with her condition despite our having health inurance through the diocese. “I” will be her principle care giver during her recovery and I am happy to do this. However, OUR lives will change forever becuase of this surgery because you can’t go back to your previous eating habits-EVER!!. So yes, we NEED to deal with our eating habits in this country where obesity is out of control AND the Church could help with this.. As I said to my wife during the lunch break today, MEGA Churches emphasize community and have support groups etc. WE don’t. Oh and by the way, the former pastor of my home parish had bariatric surgery WITH NO OUT OF POCKET EXPENSE , unlike us, who will have to pay about $2500 AND he didn’t keep up with the program and gained all the weight back, wasting approximately $25k. You guys may laugh about things like this, but this is a very real problem that real people deal with AND it’s hard.
    Am I overweight? Yes, I am, but in supporting my wife,I’m beginning to get MY weight under control although because I have acid reflux sand have treated it for 20 years with meds, it is more difficult because I must avoid fruits and vegtables with lots of acid.

    • Patrick

      Glad you’re getting your wife taken care of. It’s good to eat healthy and to eat the right amount and be happy with what you have.

  • Linus

    Well said, and they will force us against our will to follow their ” dogma. ” Can’t wait until the Muslims take over, I wonder how they will like that!

    • DTMcCameron

      I tend think pork’s off the menu as is, so…The lack of alcohol would doubtless meet with resistance, as it is has a proud tradition of doing.

      • Proteios

        Y’all crack me up! I think once an invasive species rears its ugly head. It has a finite window before it encounters new predators. People here won’t change. muslims will. it’s like saying the drug war ended because it was declared. Sorry. Bad comparison, but this ain’t saudi arabica. We won’t tolerate the intolerance.

  • Thinkling

    Mary Eberstadt (sp?) had a fantastic article about three years ago talking about just how once we overlooked a lot of gluttony, but we’re sexually Puritan, yet recently those sins’ roles became reversed. Did she use the same narrative in her new book?

  • Martin T

    Keep your statutes off my refrigerator.

  • David Brunk

    First thing I thought of, as is customary, was Chesterton. “If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals.”

    • Fr Eric

      Excellent cite of Chesterton. He slices through the nonsense with wit and erudition.

  • Mark R

    And to call this Puritanism is to confuse the meaning of the word as applied to its original bearers, which sought to eschew ritual externals in the Church of England. What Bloomberg and Co. are doing is really a class thing. Wealthier people just tend to take better care of themselves physically, and it is fine for them. Folks with lower incomes or in poorer states in a prosperous country like the U.S. tend to be heavier. Some of the wealthy have been wealthy so long they have a prejudice in favor of their own ideas. A prejudice just means you don’t know that you don’t know. It becomes a moral shortcoming only when it effects how you deal with others, regarding the only the beam in their brothers’ eyes, etc.

    • DTMcCameron

      I’ve always thought it odd that we complain that our lower classes are fat. Our poor being overweight ought to mean, to my mind, that we’ve won as a nation. Go ahead and stop history, it’s done. We win. First.

      Fat. Poor people. How is this not the highest and most glorious achievement for our species?

    • Ted Seeber

      Having said that- and I know I’ll catch heck for this- Bloomberg is right in one way:

      Junk food is subsidized to the point in this country that eating healthy has become very expensive indeed.

      I’m just not sure I entirely agree with his answer- to raise the price on junk food through taxation until it is equal to the cost of healthy food.

  • Sam Rodgers

    I found the linked article a bit odd. I share the same “huh” moment when I consider how laissez faire sex has become, while food has been legislated in a number of ways, and that in itself is worth talking about. If that was the whole point of the article, then great. But our Dominican friend mocks the ban as “quasi-religious” and concerned with body image as much as bodily health. These aren’t good arguments against the soft drink ban, and there is no reason why we couldn’t advocate for both the soft drink ban AND a culture with a more healthy view of sex. Why don’t we pursue both kinds of health?

    • DTMcCameron

      (To borrow Mr. Shea’s inimitable style)
      “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by whatever kink gets his rocks off.”

  • ds

    And yet another reason to love Dominicans: bullet arm utility infielder Juan Uribe!

    • Chris M

      living in Florida, we have a fairly large Dominican community. There are loads of “Dominican Style Hair Salons”.. I always thought I should open one and tonsure everyone that walks in the door.

  • Christopher Erdman

    While the juxtaposition of the two attitudes is interesting, for once I think the liberals deserve a little bit of defending, even if I don’t entirely agree with their methods.

    Presently, approximately 68% of Americans age 20+ are either overweight or obese, with 34% obese. The prevalence among minors has tripled in the past 20 years, and there has been a 10-fold increase in diabetes in children in the same time period. There is a growing concern within the US military that fewer and fewer Americans will be fit to serve. In fact 80% of new recruits who exceed height-weight standards upon entry leave prior to completing their first term of enlistment. This generation is the first one predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than the previous, due to obesity. An increasing amount of literature has shown very strong associations of obesity rates with advertising food to children (cereal, junk food, soda, etc), socioeconomic status, ethnicity, diet, and several other factors. One of the major problems is the availability of cheap, calorie-dense, high fat food.

    There have in fact been several initiatives in the public health sector to improve the quality of food, mostly through industry regulation. Thus far they have all failed primarily from industry pushback. One example was Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010. Prior to the bill (and arguably even afterwards) the majority of school lunches did not even pass USDA nutrition standards (another good reason to homeschool). The goal of the bill was to improve the quality of school lunches. However, it was crippled shortly afterwards by the Republicans redefining several foods, such as frozen pizza as a vegetable.

    The overall points that I’m trying to make are 1. the obesity epidemic is incredibly large and will have major impacts on society 2. other methods have been tried and the public health community has been getting increasingly frustrated by industry roadblocks. This probably isn’t the approach I would take or endorse, but these are things worth considering.

    **Since someone is going to wonder or ask. I am finishing up my first year of medical school and we actually just covered this topic. All of the numbers and “factoids” were taken from Monday’s lecture notes.**

    • Ted Seeber

      Exactly how much “fitness to serve” does it take to sit in a cube with three monitors and a video game controller?

      • Christopher Erdman

        The overwhelming majority of the of the armed forces do not operate drones. I think this point is somewhat obvious though.

  • Christopher Erdman

    Hmm, sorry for the essay. I think my comment might actually be longer than the original post.

  • Ted Seeber

    I’m still for the idea of pricing food in calories/dollar, and letting the market sort itself out.

  • Julie

    My husband and I had a conversation about the whole soda/Bloomberg thing and my husband wondered why nobody has ever pointed out that when we were kids, all we did was drink high sugar Kool-Aid and soda- there WERE NO diet drinks! The biggest difference is that when we were kids we were much more active than kids today and that is because of the dramatic changes in family structure in the last 50 years. Moms are working, Dads are absent, kids are shuffled to day care centers and after school programs or propped in front of TV’s or computers. In contrast, our parents had to threaten us to get us to come inside at night. Working parents are too tired to cook so they constantly order take-out. I once brought a simple chicken and rice dish to a neighbor who had had a severe illness and almost died. She had three children who (she said) literally gobbled down the food I had taken over. She asked to know the recipe. Her oldest child was probably 7 years old and she had never cooked chicken and rice. She told me that she was always too tired to cook and that her kids pretty much just lived on hotdogs, mac and cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets, fries, and pasta. This is why we are a fat nation! Maybe this is just too obvious for people to verbalize, but our obesity/poor health is just another consequence of the break down of the traditional family!

    • Fr Eric

      You are correct! We were raised by a woman who was so tight-fisted on sugar etc, that we were allowed one soda pop per week. We took turns pouring the pop and the other chose which glass. It was borderline hostage negotiations technique, because it was so RARE. Oats or Cream of Wheat were the order for breakfast with pancakes and bacon and eggs on days with more time. We ate at a table in the evening. Neither me nor my siblings had cavities until well into college.

    • Kristen inDallas

      so true…
      we aren’t fat because soda comes in a 64 oz cup… We have 64 oz sodas because we don’t have time to purchase four sixteen oz. cups and we’re so overworked and understimulated (by the real joys in life) that we feel the need to caffenate ourselves through the day. Those are also the reasons we’re fat. Playing with kids, laughter, walking over to the neighbor’s house, cooking dinner from scratch… all good calorie burners.

    • Christopher Erdman

      You are definitely correct on the importance of exercise and physical activity, and on it’s decline impacting our expanding waistline. There is a growing body of data (sorry for the pun) indicating that the causal relationship is a bit more complicated and includes both our diet and activity level. Also, for what it’s worth, Kool-Aid has significantly less sugar per oz than regular Coke.

      I may have neglected to mention it in my first comment, but one of the reasons soda is being targeted, is that it is the only thing to have been statistically correlated to the rise in diabetes. Nothing else thus far has proven significant. Sure the data are incomplete, but until we get more, it’s all we’ve got.