Frank Schaeffer Continues to Disappoint

His reply to me, for instance, is deeply disappointing.

My point, of course, was not (as he insinuates) to threaten violence, but to point out the folly of his guest poster saying “A life that can be taken is a life that is aware it can be took”. If that’s the case, then killing a sleeping or otherwise unconscious person is not murder.

Frank, I think, knows this. He’s been in prolife circles long enough to be familiar with such elementary points of logic. But he now dances attendance on a new audience of lefty culture warriors who eat up that “prolifers are violent nuts” stuff as readily as many righty culture warriors eat up the “Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Atheist who is just about to impose atheistic communist shariah on America” rubbish. So he dishes it out via insinuation, just as he chose to dish out his guest blogger’s dimestore eugenics that is also popular with the HuffPo/MSNBC demographic he now courts. Frank’s choice to trumpet the notion that abortion is the beautiful way God culls the lebensunwertes leben and improves the breed is, in some ways, the apotheosis of his trajectory of successive betrayals over the past 30 years. It’s the gospel according to Judas Iscariot and means, in plain English, ”Let us do evil that good may come of it.” It makes the thoroughly pagan argument that, since innocents in the womb (and, by the way, every other human being not killed by man) die naturally, therefore it’s okay for man to appoint himself the Angel of Death and help God by killing innocents:

Evidently the God of nature is much more concerned about ensuring a healthy body for a potential human soul than the destruction of a fetus through miscarriage, because nature is the most prolific abortionist of all.

Our evolving understanding of miscarriage reveals nature is at work using her brand of wisdom to ensure not all conceptions result in live birth, one could argue for the sake of a potential soul. But we also know that nature sometimes fails in her tasks and so we seek to perfect or purge those failings, as we evolve in our own understanding and dominion over nature, to advance humanity’s well being.

Thank you, Dr. Mengele.  “Innocents die naturally, so enlightened people can and should make them die for the greater good” is a program that has been attempted before.  And the reason for stopping the purge of the lebensunwertes leben with the unborn is what?  Obviously euthanasia and destruction of the weak and chronically sick (as well as other Undesirables) fits the agenda too.

This is tragic and nauseating stuff.  But it is a weirdly logical outcome of Schaeffer’s ongoing usage (and that is the word) of people throughout his adult life.  The one constant theme in Schaeffer’s work is a deeply disturbing eagerness to abort those who have loved him, done him good, provided his livelihood and prayed for him as he declares them unfit and evolves himself to a higher and purer breed. He has, with remarkable consistency over his adult life, systematically exploited as family and friends–and then re-exploited as enemies–the people who have been kindest to him: beginning with his own father and mother. God alone knows what his problem is, but it’s sickening and heartbreaking to watch. In this latest betrayal, he has chosen to become, as fellow Orthodox convert Rod Dreher pointed out, “the left-wing version of the stock character in fundamentalist circles: the supposed former Satanist who got religion and who now goes around peddling ooga-booga stories to gullibles who love a conversion story.” Frank Schaeffer is Mike Warnke for the MSNBC/HuffPo crowd, helping them delectate over the horror stories of the Red State Rubes (and, feel really good about their own superior secular pieties) all while he gets to pose as prophet and keep climbing the ladders of his Personal Evolution while aborting everybody he leaves behind as he enters his latest phase. The sole constant in each of his transformations is how much better he is than–and how much contempt he holds for–the people he is leaving behind and how deeply righteous he is for spurning and sneering at them. He has a prophet’s anger, but not a prophet’s love.  A prophet stays with his people, even when they go into exile, even when they murder him.  Frank always and repeatedly leaves–because it is always all about Frank.

Even his perpetual mea culpas for the supposedly “pivotal” role he allegedly played in the rise of the religious right and its corruption of American Christianity (a very legitimate thing to protest) have a pornographic quality of Baby Boomer narcissism. His boasting penitential screeds against his past are just one more form of bragging: attacking others but, in the end, always leaving himself untouched as the heroic truthteller, prophet, and saint shaking the dust off his feet in protest against a rabble unworthy of his greatness. They are all varying forms of “I thank you, O Lord, that I am not like my crazy family, my nutty mother, or those stupid Evangelicals, or those impure Catholics, or those lying prolifers who believe that abortion is an “abominable crime“, or even like a lot of Orthodox. I have a Larger Perspective.  I have Grown and no longer think belief in God or Jesus or the Resurrection matter, and I am also rocking this new ‘abortion is the way to improve the breed’ thing which is really putting me on the cutting edge of post-modern Emergent Spirituality with the Rachel Maddow and Arianna Huffington set.”  Again and again he aborts somebody he has deemed unfit in order “evolve in his own understanding and dominion, to advance Frank’s humanity’s well being.”

The whole toxic mix of keeping up the now-fading Orthodox schtick (so he can feel deeply spiritual and superior to all those numbskull Catholics and Evangelicals) while increasingly prancing as a post-Christian Emergent for the delectation of the MSNBC/HuffPo lefties and going on about his Highly Evolved Post-Christian contempt for stupid believers and lying prolifers reminds me of Uncle Screwtape:

Sooner or later, however, the real nature of his new friends must become clear to him, and then your tactics must depend on the patient’s intelligence. If he is a big enough fool you can get him to realise the character of the friends only while they are absent; their presence can be made to sweep away all criticism. If this succeeds, he can be induced to live, as I have known many humans live, for quite long periods, two parallel lives; he will not only appear to be, but actually be, a different man in each of the circles he frequents. Failing this, there is a subtler and more entertaining method. He can be made to take a positive pleasure in the perception that the two sides of his life are inconsistent. This is done by exploiting his vanity. He can be taught to enjoy kneeling beside the grocer on Sunday just because he remembers that the grocer could not possibly understand the urbane and mocking world which he inhabited on Saturday evening; and contrariwise, to enjoy the bawdy and blasphemy over the coffee with these admirable friends all the more because he is aware of a “deeper”, “spiritual” world within him which they cannot understand. You see the idea-the worldly friends touch him on one side and the grocer on the other, and he is the complete, balanced, complex man who sees round them all. Thus, while being permanently treacherous to at least two sets of people, he will feel, instead of shame, a continual undercurrent of self-satisfaction. Finally, if all else fails, you can persuade him, in defiance of conscience, to continue the new acquaintance on the ground that he is, in some unspecified way, doing these people “good” by the mere fact of drinking their cocktails and laughing at their jokes, and that to cease to do so would be “priggish”, “intolerant”, and (of course) “Puritanical”.

In the words of one of Rod’s readers:

It says something about American political life in general (and though not merely, but perhaps still especially, Huffpo style liberalism) that Schaeffer’s personality type engages with his new political community in exactly the same way it engaged with his previous religious communities. Being a person emotionally consumed with exclaiming the rectitude of certain points of liberal orthodoxy satisfies exactly the same psychological necessities as being consumed with evangelical orthodoxy, or Eastern orthodoxy. The only thing he’s good at doing is being a footsoldier, and so he’s made a mercenary’s career out of shopping himself around to different armies.

Lesson: A man cannot serve two masters, but will always end up serving at least one. Choose carefully.

It turns out Orthodox theologican Vigen Guroian was right  back in the mid-90s to have a strong sense of foreboding about Frank’s choice to seize on Orthodoxy as the then-latest club to bash people from his past and trumpet his superiority to the latest group of inferiors he had outgrown. I fear it’s only a matter of time till the Orthodox too fail to meet his exacting standards and he aborts them with the same viciousness he has turned on so many others who have shown him kindness and love, given that the Orthodox kind of have this thing about it mattering whether God exists, whether Jesus is God, and whether he rose from the dead. I’m not quite clear from Schaeffer’s words whether he’s really abandoned the faith or simply embraced a muddled notion that theology is a contemptible “western” thing and as long as he knows a few buzzwords like theosis and hesychasm he can pose as a deeply spiritual Easterner. It’s a favorite trope in some reactionary Orthodox circles that “westerners” are too busy trying to pin down the Mystery with all our hyper-theologizing (a justifiable complaint at times). But on the other hand this can (and in Frank’s case does) easily feed into post-Christian Emergent Progressive sloppiness about a sort of formless “spirituality” disconnected from Jesus Christ in all but the most tenuous lip service.

Today, Schaeffer goes “to a Greek Orthodox church not because I’m Greek Orthodox … I just happen to like Byzantine liturgies because it’s mostly in Greek so I can’t understand them. It’s good because it’s the words that bother me.” He explained that “to me, worship is finding a space to be quiet in, and not think clever thoughts … you just do the liturgy, and everyone can bring their own interpretation to it.”

To Schaeffer, “to be a Christian is not to believe in Jesus in terms of who he was, whether he is the Son of God, rose from the dead or not, it is to believe in that life as an example.” He claimed “there’s a difference between following the person, the teaching, and the example and belief in. Belief is useless … but doing is very difficult.” Although he holds no belief in the basic tenets of Christianity, Schaeffer still receives the communion every week. When asked by an audience member how his priest could give him communion despite his lack of faith, he sharply replied, “If we think that sincerity or correct theology will get you anywhere, good luck with that, because it won’t.”

That sort of denatured twaddle sells well with the MSNBC/HuffPo crowd who like “spirituality” but loathe Christian orthodoxy, big or little O.  There might even be a way to square it somehow with a claim to prefer “incarnational” to “intellectual” faith in the Eastern tradition (I don’t know enough about the eastern approach to such matters).  But I can’t help having the sense that as a rule of thumb, any serious Orthodox theologian–hell, any babushka–would have him for breakfast if he tried to palm that “belief is useless” stuff off as Orthodoxy on the Orthodox.  It’s the sort of stuff that only appeals to other apostate Orthodox–like Arianna Huffington–or to muddled Progressive Protestants who want spirituality without specific and without suffering or even effort.  It is to real Orthodoxy what Madonna is to the Blessed Virgin.

Is there a grain of truth in what Schaeffer has to say?  Of course.  There always is in dangerous falsehood.  As has been pointed out in this space many times, an awful lot of conservative American Christianity has embraced a theory of salvation that boils down to “Opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world”.  Many conservative Christians have made themselves the lapdogs and apologists of whatever the movers and shakers of the GOP demand, apologizing for unjust wars, torture, unjust wages, neglect of the poor, consequentialism and all manner of other corruption on the Right–and then told themselves that wearing a Precious Feet pin makes it all okay.

But the fact remains that on the question of the intrinsic grave evil of abortion (and euthanasia, which Dr. Mengele’s “let help nature along” apologetic also undergirds) conservative Christians are simply right and always have been: it is the murder of innocent human beings and an abominable crime.  American–and world–civilization owes American conservative Christians (particularly Catholics, who held the line till Evangelicals like Francis Schaeffer finally got a clue in the late 70s) an incalculable debt for refusing to budge on this issue when most of the first world caved.  Schaeffer’s Saruman move is the latest and most painful in a long line of his painful betrayals. What is required is not that the Right abandon the defense of the unborn, but that it become fully prolife and and not merely “anti-abortion in certain circumstances”.  Is the prolife movement sick due the corrupting influence of the Thing That Used to Be Conservatism?  Sure.  But the answer is to heal it by making it more faithful to the teaching of Christ, not to euthanize it by embracing the “help God cull the unfit” lies of the culture of death.

I don’t normally butt into the hijinx of people outside my communion since I don’t much appreciate it when some non-Catholic starts telling us mackerel snappers how to arrange our furniture and order our internal affairs. But Frank Schaeffer has, since the very beginning of his entry into Orthodoxy, acted as one of the most obnoxious bullies of everybody outside his communion and is now laboring to facilitate the destruction of bodies and souls in his spite and pride. When it spills out of Orthodoxy and into the public square (just as when the Catholic abuse scandal affected the common good), it becomes everybody’s concern. Frank Schaeffer has been, I greatly fear, in grave peril of his soul for some time. But now he endangers the souls of others as he supplies fashionable pseudo-theological rationales for the crudest sort of eugenics apologetics and the sloppiest forms of apostasy masquerading as “spirituality”. So I offer this bleat of protest and I pray for him to repent or, failing that, to be thwarted by the power of God through Jesus Christ, for his sake and for the sake of those whom he endangers. I hope his priest or bishop take the plunge and confront this stuff soon, since it is now a scandal that harms not only the Orthodox, but those outside the Orthodox communion as well. His shepherds too have my prayers in that unenviable task that Christ will work through them for Frank’s good, for the good of all he touches, and for the glory of God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • Kirt Higdon

    I’d be very wary of that guy. I don’t see that he has much potential to lead people astray as he is playing to the most secularist elements of the secular left. But he seems unhinged enough to be capable of violence against anyone who exposes him. Maybe an exorcism is in order. Failing that, it is probably best just to maintain silence and pray for him.

  • Thomas R

    Although I understood what you meant I quit going here, and will probably opt out again, because you really do use overheated and dehumanizing language. So personally I think it is right and just to criticize some of your more irate/wrathful sayings. As I think even you have acknowledged as you didn’t drop some of the “Gay Brownshorts” stuff after Leah, when she was still an atheist, complained.

    Now in this particular case the stuff this Rubottom person, if that’s his real name, says is highly disturbing. If he wasn’t such a huffy ridiculous person he could even be dangerous.

  • Greg Rubottom

    People who equate the freedom of conscience of an individual to decide in consultation with their God and physician not to carry a conception to term with “eugenics” are disingenuous idiots.

    Abortion has been legal in America for decades. The individual who is carrying a fetus is who always makes the choice to abort or not to abort. They don’t consult a diabolical mastermind like Mark Shea to make their decisions.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      Slavery was legal for decades, too, dude.

    • Mark Shea

      People who say that the powerful killing the weak are just saints cooperating with God to improve the breed and avoid annoyance to themselves–as you do–are eugenicists.

      “Diabolical mastermind”? What is this, theology and ethics for the Marvel Comics readership?

      It’s funny. One of the standard tropes of Lefties is the hand-wringing complaint that somebody who takes apart one of their dumb idea is “demonizing” them. And here you are, calling people who protest apologetics for eugenics “diabolical”. Project much?

      • Mercury

        Mark, I laughed out loud at your reaction to “diabolical mastermind.” I have never seen someone considered so evil by both Left and Right. Truly, you must be doing some good, Dark Lord.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      >>>Abortion has been legal in America for decades. The individual who is carrying a fetus is who always makes the choice to abort or not to abort.

      So no pregnant woman in the US has ever been browbeaten and coerced into an abortion against her will by her family, boyfriend, boyfriend’s parents, husband, etc.? When parents kick their pregnant teenage daughter out of the house, when a husband beats his pregnant wife for being unwilling to get an abortion, when a twenty-something year old man drags his unwilling fourteen year old girlfriend into an abortion clinic… are they all just doing God’s work to cull the species?

      • dpt

        Rosemarie,

        Spot on, and the “keep your Rosaries off my ovaries” crowd is silent in addressing this. I suspect browbeating and coercion are more often the norm for a woman who seeks an abortion as a solution.

    • Kristen inDallas

      “People who equate the freedom of conscience of an individual to decide in consultation with their God and physician not to carry a conception to term with “eugenics” are disingenuous idiots.”

      That’s a point for a more enlightned debate, but let’s be really clear: Your article was not about freedom of conscience, a tough choice or the inability to know the moral state of the unborn child. Your article was perfectly clear in it’s ability to imagine the future humanity of that particular class of unborn children, how likely they are to fall into sin, how horrible and unworthy their potential life must be. It was on that basis that you proposed murdering them before they had a chance to become damnable heathens. THAT, sir, is PRECISELY eugenics. It is the sickest, most inhumane form of “logic” a pro-choice argument can take.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        And if abortion really perfects or purges the failings of nature and advances humanity’s well being, why is American society is a worse state than ever more nearly four decades after Roe? They promised back then that abortion on demand would do away with illegitimacy, poverty, all sorts of social ills. Well, it hasn’t, in fact things have worsened. Are we really gonna fall for that “abortion will improve humanity” jive again?

  • http://industrialblog.powerblogs.com IB Bill

    Mon ami, Mark,

    Good post, but please watch out for getting sucked in by this guy or let this guy rent too much space in your head. My educated guess is he’s easily in personality disorder territory — that ain’t no garden variety nut over there.

    • Mark Shea

      Thanks. I think this is the only time I’ve ever addressed Schaeffer beyond the previous post. He doesn’t cross my notice very often. However, the spectacle of him now offering a venue to a guy who has thought about eugenics for 20 minutes and thinks he’s come to some interesting conclusions, all while posturing as some deeply spiritual post-Christian (all the arrogance of the ugliest sort of convert, with almost none of the actual faith left) was more than I could stomach. I’ve said my piece. Not much to add now. I hope the Orthodox deal with him somehow.

  • Greg Rubottom

    I have been around the block enough times to pretty easily recognize the various narcissists who masquerade as “people of God” in this world – all on their various “holy” missions to stamp out evil by enslaving people to various religious fears.

    If the Pope were as stupid a man as you Mark Shea perhaps the Catholic church would still be selling indulgences successfully.

    • Mark Shea

      Annnd now crude anti-Catholicism, just to make it perfect. Amazing. Fascinating how high school sophomore “liberal” Emergent theology falls back into neanderthal Jack Chick Fundamentalism so easily.

    • Matt

      Greg, no doubt the point which you have just made is highly apropos. However, I must express some confusion with that last sentence. Are you saying that if the Pope was less intelligent (stupid), he would in turn be doing a BETTER job of selling indulgences? I

      It’s commonly understood that the ability to do something more skillfully correlates with greater intelligence, not lesser. And yet you seem to indicate the reverse. Do you understand my confusion Greg? Stupid Mark Shea likely will not grasp the subtleties of our debate, but we know better do we not?

    • Dale Price

      The guy patting himself on the back as a crusader against slavery is accusing others of narcissism.

      The internet is a fascinating place.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Yeah…..amazing how people who are mindlessly insulted by idiots and told they should have a bullet put in their heads while they sleep don’t kowtow all that easily.

    • Mark Shea

      Wow. Just wow.

    • http://agapas.me Bob LeBlanc

      Actually, the ultimate point here is that it’s wrong to shoot bullets in the heads of sleeping people because they’re not conscious of it in the same way that it’s wrong to kill pre-born babies because they’re not conscious of it. Not-being-conscious is not a loophole for murder.

      It’s surprising that you missed that point.

      • Mark Shea

        Particularly since I re-made the point explicitly in this post. But Greg is bigger on fake dudgeon, low brow anti-Catholicism, and other unreflective emotionalism than he is on clear thinking.

      • The Deuce

        He didn’t miss the point. He’s just a Leftist. They believe that truth and reality are all subjective social construction, so in his “reality,” he chooses to believe that Mark is promoting the killing of sleeping people – the objective, observable facts of the matter be damned.

        No need to engage your rational faculties dealing with peoples’ actual ideas and arguments when truth is all subjective you see, since according to this view there is no fact of the matter about what they are arguing anyhow, and since there is no point in using reason and logic to seek the objective truth when their is no objective truth to be sought. It’s all about advancing your personal “narrative” to a Leftist, and as far as they’re concerned, knowingly assigning false views to your opponents and demagoguing them to death is just as valid as, and far easier than, reasoned and civil debate.

  • francisbeckwith

    Robert P. George’s skewering of Franky is worth the price of admission: http://romereturn.blogspot.com/2010/07/robert-p-george-skewers-frank-schaeffer.html

    • Mark Shea

      Ouch. I thought I was being hard on him.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Matt, I think it is also commonly understood as well that the less intelligence a person has the more damage they are able to inflict upon society if elevated to positions of great influence. Thus my comment.

    People who think of themselves as highly intelligent people – like Mr. Shea thinks of himself – are very typically the most ignorant people walking the earth concerning spiritual matters. Mr. Shea certainly does not disappoint in this respect. The very carefully crafted personal attack he launched on Frank Schaeffer here is some of the most vile and void of understanding pieces of tripe I have read in some time. Probably considered good behavior in his little viper pit.

    • Matt

      If Mark Shea and his little viper pit are void of understanding, why don’t you take a moment and enlighten everyone. Or do you not have anything of value to say?

    • Mark Shea

      God bless you, Greg.

    • Dale Price

      The wholly-inadvertent comic stylings of Greg Rubottom can brighten the bleakest day.

    • Thomas R

      Judging by testing I could possibly qualify for MENSA, I graduated magna cum laude, and I was among the 70 or so best College Bowl (a trivia competition) players in the nation. And I was clearly not impressed with you either Greg.

      That said I think I was maybe unfair to you. Oh not to what you said, which was eugenic and certainly ridiculous, but I did worry afterward I was maybe coming out as judging you. About fifteen years ago I had a pretty traumatic thing happen to me, respiratory failure, and that led a year later to me saying some pretty weird stuff online. People are more than their worst moments or worst ideas. Maybe in your own way you’re in a lot of pain or not. Either way if I was unclear then, I’ll try to be clearer now. What you’ve said online is ridiculous, bigoted, and in some ways evil. However I have no idea what you are as a person and I hope what ever problems you have get straightened out. And that in the future you can actually listen to those of us with unhealthy bodies nature would gladly kill.

  • Greg Rubottom

    yeah….sure Mark. Like you could bless someone.

    • Mark Shea

      “But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Pray for them that despitefully use you.’”

      Just following orders. I’ve said my piece about your horrendous eugenics (and euthanasia) logic, as well as done my bit to try to warn Frank and whoever might take his nonsense seriously away from the cliff, per Ezekiel 3:18-21. I more or less assumed it would receive the response you are giving it (though I didn’t count on quite your level of immaturity). But having said my piece I have nothing much more to add. The venom here is all yours, Greg. It’s obvious you regard me as an enemy and not as someone who is saying, in the most literal sense possible, “Don’t talk damned nonsense.” So, since you are my enemy (though I am not yours), I bless my enemy per orders from Headquarters.

      • Dale Price

        If the “just following orders” comment gets a Godwin’s response from the euthanasia apologist, my day is made.

        • Mark Shea

          In addition to the remonstration with me for my failure to be as intelligent and deeply spiritual as he is, Greg is also (at the link I provide) stooping down to speak in the voice of a master to an erring but much-loved servant as he corrects Schaeffer himself. It seems Schaeffer lacks “clarity” which Greg, naturally, possesses on the greatness and goodness of abortion as God’s method for improving the breed. Greg gently counsels Schaeffer to go do art till he has arrived at Greg’s level of evolved consciousness. Towering humility.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Mark, I do thank you for one thing. An excellent preview of the line of vulgar and disingenuous attacks that you and others will attempt to use to discount reality with when the full blown assault on Catholic and fundamentalist evangelical spiritual ignorance is launched in the coming years. Your eugenics moaning and wailing will fall on deaf ears when understood in the context of a truly loving God rather than the demon the current Catholic church promotes as the the dispenser of wisdom concerning human reproduction.

    I ask you – in all honesty – Mark. How ignorant does one have to be to believe that God would actually prefer married couples not use contraception if they would desire to avoid pregnancy? The common man is just not prone to such stupidity. Only the dutifully fearful. The same will eventually hold true for abortion rights. Only the dutifully fearful will bear children out of a fear of God rather than exercise their freedom of choice – for the sake of the potential child.

    • Dale Price

      “Priapus loves you.”

      And do I see someone who prissily tsk-tsked about violence (in the context of celebrating his own courage–hurrah!) at 12:25pm now baying for a “full-blown assault” on the beliefs of others?

      Why, yes. Yes I do.

      The Left: Breaking Human Omelettes In The Name Of ‘Progress’ Since 1792.

      Oh, and because I wouldn’t a self-styled speaker of truth to power to think he’d somehow made a point, I’ll proffer the following question:

      Is it possible to have a large family out of love, and not from fearful motives supplied by people who hate the very idea?

      • Dale Price

        And, yes, “omelette” is happily chosen. The Left is never happy with the finished product after all the “scrambling,” either.

      • Mark Shea

        Yep. The point of my “shoot you while you sleep” gibe was to *reject* the use of violence (which is what abortion is). Greg is here (as with his abortion apologetic) advocating and even itching for the use of violence. The fascist police state is coming to a high boil in this one. He can’t wait for the moment when he can start smashing windows, disappearing thought criminals and truncheoning priests–for his ‘truly loving god”.

        Project much, Greg?

    • Mark Shea

      Well, no. You aren’t asking anything in honesty. Your mind is already made up. Indeed, you are looking forward to “the full blown assault” on my communion. And, as is the custom with intolerant progressives, you spout all this “destroy the infamous thing” in the name of a “truly loving God”. You’ll be a fine Streicher for the New Order, Greg.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

      Where are you getting all these “dutifully fearful” people? Almost everyone I interact with on a daily basis is either a very conservative Catholic or a very conservative Evangelical, and I know not a single couple – not one! – who is having children out of dutiful fear. They’re actually pretty happy to have children. Even the poor, ugly, and relatively unintelligent ones.

      And as for those who practice – more or less faithfully – a lifestyle of normal marital relations sans artificial birth control, their attitude towards the moral doctrine bears no resemblance to fear but rather to the weariness we all feel when faced with any difficult moral choice in which you know what is right but find it difficult to do. Anybody trying to be patient with a querulous elderly relative knows that feeling. It has nothing whatsoever to do with any ignorant and dutiful fear of a capricious and vengeful divinity.

      Assuming your description of “dutiful fear” comes from your own direct experience, all I can do is caution you against unjustified extrapolation.

    • sibyl

      Greg, we know that God would prefer we not do evil that good may come of it. We know that you don’t think there is anything morally wrong with contraception, but we do. It matters how you go about something. And I hope to heaven I am dutifully fearful. God is the creator not only of the entire universe and the author of every moral law, He is also my creator and my lawgiver, supremely able to reject me for all eternity. We know you can’t see this, but we can.

      Abortion and contraception exist on the same continuum of evil, and therefore neither can be allowed. Any person of common sense would have to agree. To allow evil actions because they WORK really well is just to say that it doesn’t really matter what we do. And this is precisely what Christians cannot believe.

      • Mark Shea

        Greg, we know that God would prefer we not do evil that good may come of it.

        Greg doesn’t know that. He has a touching faith in consequentialist end-justify-the-means thinking. He isn’t even interested in trying to show he is not a consequentialist. That’s one of those thing demon-worshipping Catholics care about. His whole argument is predicated on frankly doing evil that good can come of it, whether he is making eugenics appeals to kill the unfit for the sake of the Breed, or making “comes the revolution, you Catholics will be lined up against the wall” prophecies of the hoped-for “assault” on the theologically Unfit.

        He’s going to make a fine court prophet for the coming post-Christian police state.

        • Rod Dreher

          Mark, I do thank you for one thing. An excellent preview of the line of vulgar and disingenuous attacks that you and others will attempt to use to discount reality with when the full blown assault on Catholic and fundamentalist evangelical spiritual ignorance is launched in the coming years.

          Sadly, I think Rubottom is right, and those who profess “Catholic and fundamentalist theological ignorance” will certainly face a full-blown assault from his sort of person, with the power of the state behind them. I believe I will live to see it. I only hope and pray that I, as an Orthodox, will have the courage and the grace to be judged guilty, along with the Catholics and the fundamentalists.

    • dpt

      “How ignorant does one have to be to believe that God would actually prefer married couples not use contraception if they would desire to avoid pregnancy? ”

      Mainstream protestants told us, some 60-70 years ago, that access to contraception would strengthen marriages, bring about the end of prostitution, and result in more respect for women.

      Hasn’t worked out so well for those not so ignorant.

    • Thomas R

      Reading some other posts here I think you probably do just have a lot of pain, anger, and maybe guilt in you. You’re projecting fear onto people because you don’t remotely understand them.

      Listen to people. Stop talking and really listen. Hopefully I’ll try to do the same.

    • Thomas R

      My pity for you aside though I should ass it is unwise, and even morally/spiritually dangerous, to demonize a Christian faith/denomination in the way you did there Greg. Reflect, consider.

      • Thomas R

        I meant “add”, the “s” and “d” being next to each other and the keys on my current keyboard are scrunched together more than I’m used to.

  • Greg Rubottom

    Mark,
    I could care less if you sip the wine of your own ignorance till hell freezes over. You will just be doing it in the company of quite a few less fearful and spiritually bound peoples in the coming years. For that I am thankful.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Angry troll is angry.

    • Mark Shea

      So far, your argument has been “You’re stupid. You’re a diabolical mastermind. You’re less evolved. You’re fearful. You’re mean. You’re ignorant. The future belongs to me. Just wait till the assault begins, you’ll be sorry! I thank you O Lord that I am not like other men, or even like this stupid Shea here.” None of this really addresses the fact that you are essentially offering a theologized apologetic for killing lebensunwertes leben (Lives unworthy of being lived) in order to cull the unfit and improve the breed. That plan has been tried before, with less than happy results by people who spoke that kind of German fluently. Until you face the fact that you are perfuming the Nazi Eugenics agenda with a little postmodern Emergent rose water, you aren’t really dealing with the core of my critique of your deeply stupid and evil ideas.

      Greg, when you matriculate to your junior year in high school, I would strongly suggest you take some classes on both logic and rhetoric. So far, all you know is “how to construct an ad hominem fallacy” coupled with “appeals to the threat of violence” and the “appeal to the future” (aka, “the ends justify the means”) argument. Try learning how to use and not simply worship your intellect.

    • Mark Shea
  • Dale Price

    More Yezhov than Streicher, I’m thinking.

  • Rain

    “He has a prophet’s anger, but not a prophet’s love.”

    Yeah I can just feel the love for Frank here. And no anger whatsoever.

    • Mark Shea

      I never denied anger at his disgusting betrayals. But I do pray for him and hope for his redemption. And I don’t claim to be a prophet, except in the sense that all the baptized share in Christ’s baptismal office–including, by the way, Frank Schaeffer.

      • Rain

        Well I’m promoting you to prophet. If you can promote Frank to prophet then I can promote you to prophet too. Predicting things is not a claim to being a prophet. I’ve seen you predict things and you say you’re not a prophet! Frank would say the same thing probably. :D Unless I’m missing something.

    • antigon

      If when he was still an adolescent poor Franky had gotten more of this straightforward & merited criticism – which can be, & here is, a very real form of love – maybe he might have discovered post-adolescent pleasures too, of the kind men have been known to experience.

  • Gregory Peterson

    Comparing Mr. Schaeffer with Dr. Mengele pretty much proves his point.

    • Mark Shea

      I compared Mr. Rubottom with Dr. Mengele. Schaeffer just provided his eugenics filth with a wide audience. That would make Schaeffer more like Goebbels than Mengele. Goebbels never killed anybody, by the way. He just did the intellectual spade work to make it popular to murder the lebenunwertens leben. Schaeffer still seems not to have settled in comfortably with Rubottom’s filth. Rubottom in fact stoops down from his lofty position of “clarity” to correct Schaeffer on his wishy washy residual feelings of concern for the unborn. Here’s hoping his conscience rekindles and he asks himself “What the hell am I doing?”

  • Rain

    “A life that can be taken is a life that is aware it can be took”.

    Completely nonsensical. I still think everyone needs to calm down though. I don’t see it happening but it would be nice.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Isn’t the phrase “to take a life” just a euphemism for killing? It shouldn’t be taken word-for-word literally as Rubottom appears to do. When you “take” something, you are seizing someone else’s possession so that it comes into your own custody or possession. Yet when one “takes a life,” the killer doesn’t thereafter personally possess the life “taken.” Therefore, a literalistic interpretation of the phrase is absurd.

      So let’s dispense with the euphemism for a moment. Abortion is killing. When you permanently still a heartbeat, you kill. An embryo develops a heartbeat very early on in the pregnancy, just two or three weeks after conception. Many women aren’t even aware yet that they are pregnant at this point. So the vast majority of abortions stop a heartbeat. That’s killing. And killing is euphemistically called “taking a life.” So yes, abortion takes a life. Whether that life is “aware” of it or not doesn’t matter. It’s still killing.

      Even with an abortion performed before the heartbeat begins, however, killing would still be involved. One of the most basic signs of life is growth. When a living sperm blends with a living ovum, the result is a living cell which soon divides into two cells, then four, then eight, etc. Were it not alive, it would not be capable of cell division. So there is a definite life present from the very beginning, both human and unique in its very DNA. Abortion ends this process of growth, and therefore ends life. To end life is to kill. Therefore abortion is killing.

      Miscarriages are irrelevant to the moral question of abortion. People die of “natural causes” every day; that doesn’t mean it’s okay to directly kill someone. A miscarriage is death by natural causes, abortion is homicide. Any reasonable, civilized person should be able to distinguish between the two.

      On a personal note, as the mother of three children on the autism spectrum, the whole argument disgusts me. So God would rather my kids be dead than have bodies that are less-than-optional? But wise-old mother nature the abortionist was apparently sleeping on the job while they were in utero. So, had I known they would be autistic, I should have sought to “purge” my womb of her “failing” in order to assert my dominion over nature for the sake of humanity’s well being? I can’t begin to tell you how sick that argument sounds to me. My children are blessings from God who have made me a better person, more accepting and patient with others who have disabilities. What kind of short-sighted, perfectionist deity would have deemed them unworthy of life? The phrase “Your God is my devil” comes to mind.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        Above I meant to type “bodies that re less-than-OPTIMAL.” I guess that’s what I get for trying to translate raw emotion into a rational, coherent statement that doesn’t descend into name-calling and invective (lest I be accused of a lack of charity and ignored). One can easily overlook a mistake during the struggle.

  • http://www.patheos.com Deacon Tom

    Greg Rubottom says:
    “Our evolving understanding of miscarriage reveals nature is at work using her brand of wisdom to ensure not all conceptions result in live birth, one could argue for the sake of a potential soul. But we also know that nature sometimes fails in her tasks and so we seek to perfect or purge those failings, as we evolve in our own understanding and dominion over nature, to advance humanity’s well being. These facts about our “reality” should profoundly influence our understanding of God’s will and abortion.
    ….
    Most people of faith understand at some level that a “good” God can not possibly desire children be born with unhealthy bodies or into environments that would be toxic to the awakening human soul. Yet the unhealthy fear of God bred by the pro-life world view keeps many from accepting the cold hard fact that humans must be the ones to implement God’s will in this world. Rather than adopting a “body-centric” view of human reproduction that foolishly mourns the loss of a fetal body after miscarriage or abortion, a bit of common sense, along with an understanding of what constitutes a “good” God, will lead one to God’s will and abortion. Just like nature, people should choose to allow a conception to proceed if a healthy body is understood as likely and the external environment is favorable for nurturing an emerging soul. Choice is simply another of God’s tools promoting our evolution toward perfection.”

    Rubottom’s denial that this is merely repackaged eugenics evades my comprehension. Go back and read the views expressed by Margaret Sanger when she founded the predecessor to Planned Parenthood (essentially “Let’s keep the numbers down of those dump immigrants”). There is a spooky similarity between Sanger’s and Rubottom’s thoughts. Rubottom’s suggestion that our determination to end an innocent life because we have decided a child would be too burdensome, too costly or too inconvenient is just another of God’s “tools” toward human “perfection” is just a modern version of the same eugenics championed by the Nazis. The same utilitarian thoughts are advocated by Peter Singer when he asserts parents should be able to kill their young children, but at least Singer has the guts to call it what it is–selective killing. That Schaeffer would give Rubottom’s outrageous views public airing as respectable Christian thought is indeed disappointing.

    • Thomas R

      At least Sanger also apparently said “that abortion was the wrong way no matter how early it was performed it was taking life” and “I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.” Rubottom’s position is much worse than Sanger, more equivalent to Singer.


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