When Progressives Attack!

So yesterday I get an email from some total stranger titled “you”.

Upon opening it, it reads:

What a moron.

Happy Trails and Pax Vobiscum

This was rather cryptic, but since sundry people have been upset with my obvious moral obtuseness in thinking that Christians should not be trying to get people to agree to commit murder, and since the author signed in Latin in that “God bless you and the horse you rode in on” way that some conservative Catholics have, I ventured a guess that this cryptic note was in response to that contretemps and replied accordingly, giving the Church’s teaching on the sin of scandal and so forth. I also noted a certain dissonance between the whole “Pax vobiscum” thing and the “What a moron” thing.

Turns out I could not have been more wrong. My interlocutor wrote back, apparently miffed because I made fun of Katharine Jefforts-Schori and the Progressives who were deploying the “Catholics breed like roaches” language of Der Sturmer:

I think you’re a moron because you’ve sacrificed your intellect for religious mythology. I think you’re a moron because you have virtually cut-off, or at least severely limited your spiritual enlightenment by excluding all other paths to God but your own as being equally valid. Spirituality comes from within, religion comes form without. I think your a moron for subscribing to a specific religious mythology, Roman Catholicism, that has forfeited any and all rights to “pontificate” on morality and family values. I believe you’re a moron subscribing to a religious mythology that is so cemented in paternalism it will not or maybe even cannot treat the women of the worlds as equals to men in all but physical characteristics. I think you’re a moron because you subscribe to a religious mythology where the all male hierarchy parades around in flowing brocaded silk gowns with sashes and, until recently, wearing red Prada shoes surrounded by millions of dollars in antiques yet opposes equal rights for gays.

Thanks for asking and I would probably come up with a few more reasons for thinking you’re a moron but I have a life in the real world. And again, I say pax vobiscum, and I mean it, really, I do. I’m sorry but the RCC doesn’t have a lock on Latin, especially a phrase as innocuous as peace be with you.

Ah! Okay. So its your Inner Light of Love that impels you to call strangers morons, then? Good to know. And very persuasive. I can actually feel your enlightened superiority with each blow of your fist. Why did I not see it before?

Somehow notes like this remind me of an old joke:

Q: What goes clop, clop, clop, clop, BANG!, clop, clop, clop?
A: An Amish drive-by shooting.

"“Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, ‘If you could only ..."

Not coincidentally….
"No. I used "God-damned" with exacting theological precision to refer to God-damned sins, not sinners. ..."

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"Robert Woodman is claiming that Mark has been cursing and using God's name in vain ..."

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"So much for hating the sin and loving the sinner. Boy was Augustine dumb."

Not coincidentally….

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  • Jason

    In hindsight, you should have realized that it wasn’t a conservative…’vobiscum’ is plural while you are clearly singular. Pharisees generally pay better heed to grammar than Sadducees.

    Pax tecum!

  • Bob_the_other

    Oh well, one might as well be a moron as anything else for the sake of Christ.

    • Pavel Chichikov

      I once told a priest that after confession I ceased being a donkey for at least 15 minutes.

      “Fifteen minutes!” he said. “Not bad!”

  • Martha O’Keeffe

    Ah, I can feel myself become ever more enlightened with every word of that fraternal rebuke from our spiritual superior. Another paragraph or two and I would practically have become a Gnostic.

    Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, Mark! 🙂

  • mythology

    Wow, for a moment I thought that reader’s letter might have been a copy and paste from the National catholic Reporter’s mission and values or editorial guidelines web pages. Guess I was wrong, although uncannily similar in nature, I checked, they’re not exact.

  • Sean P. Dailey

    Pax Nabisco!

  • Alexander S Anderson

    What if following the Light inside me leads to me supporting the death penalty, and racism, and wars of plunder, and having every gay person wear a pink bandana for ease of identification when you want to beat someone up? I doubt our interlocer would thibk that “authentic”, or something. That’s the thing about these “subjective religion” folks. They demand that you submit to a higher authority even while denying it is an authority and insisting that you shouldn’t submit to an authority.

  • If the vestments were made of different materials, would the writer be comfortable with our refusal to redefine marriage and encourage sin?

  • Imp the Vladaler

    Troll status: fed.

  • “…severely limited your spiritual enlightenment by excluding all other paths to God but your own as being equally valid.”

    All enlightened people acknowledge that all paths to God are equally valid!

    (Except for your path to God, you moron!)

  • argh on so many levels…but just a note about vestments….quality lasts for decades/centuries! My husband has beautiful hand-me-down vestments from 3 generations ago…but yes, they are fancy…I guess cheap polyester stuff made from petroleum is better then re-using what already exists???

  • Ken Crawford

    I’ve scoffed at the whole f “Spirituality comes from within, religion comes form without.” thing for years, but it just occurred to me how even the simplest logic makes it stupid. Since God is not “inside us” but something far greater than us, I prefer religion, which bases itself not on whatever stupid thoughts are “within” but on doing our best to perceive the God who is around us.

    • Paxton Reis

      Ken- Right on.

      The line succinctly captures the modern, consumer mindset
      of spirituality. What’s the take away? Is the “interior” the only aspect of
      spirituality that matters? What about others? What about the community? And for a Christian, then what about Jesus?

      This pop culture view is quite narrow and limiting (I think Fr. Barron touched on this in a recent video and described it as a boring spirituality…a self-referring ego).

      Logic and observation informs us that spirituality is more than an interior event. Look at the pilgrimages and spiritual community gatherings, of not only Christianity but all cultures throughout history. To severely
      limit and cut-off spirituality as merely an interior event diminishes our
      broader humanity.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    I must say that nearly all the atheists I’ve come across in comment boxes are sarcastic, bilious, waspish, acidulous – no fun. Their sense of humor is limited to insult and invective. Not one sunny dispozish so far. But they’re all superior – of that they have no doubt.

    Underneath is much rage and vulnerability.

    Does their atheism turn them into self-righteous grouches?

    Watch at least one of them prove me right.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    I think I’ve finally figured out why many of them haunt religious blogs. Reassurance.

    • johnnysc
      • Pavel Chichikov

        They do seem a bit obsessed.

        SEEN BY NONE

        A great eye hanging
        in empty space

        Designed by an
        atheist, better than God,

        For he is more
        clever, a perfect ocular

        But he has forgotten
        to build the rest,

        The universe and all
        it contains

        Working in harmony
        towards infinity

        The eye that he
        builds has nothing to see

        And though it sees
        it is stone blind,

        The perfect eye that
        exists in his mind

        Perfection a thing
        that never changes

        And what he designs
        is the eye of death

        That looks at nothing,
        seen by none


        26, 2013

  • Evan

    What do expensive antiques have to do with gay rights? I’m missing the connection.

    • D.T. McCameron

      The claim is that the vestments are gaudy and ornate, and as such, only worn by homosexuals. So whereas the writer supposedly supports “equal rights for gays,” he at the very same time squashes them into one of the oldest stereotypes, while also using the implication of homosexuality as slur.

      • marenostrum

        If ornate vestments are worn only by homosexuals, what about the priests of religions of old (antiquity, for that matter) who routinely had this kind of vestments? Were they homosexuals too?

        • D.T. McCameron

          That’s the implication: that they are themselves closeted homosexuals (hence the ostensibly loaded verbs parade or sashay) who have historically and hypocritically repressed their own “kind.”

    • Sigroli

      Gays have as much right to expensive antiques as anyone else.

  • Athelstane

    “And again, I say pax vobiscum, and I mean it, really, I do.”

    That’s condescending pity, masquerading as charity.

    Spoken like a true ideologue. Because it’s clear that he really doesn’t see all paths to God as equally valid, given what he sees as the obvious defects in misogynist, homophobic Catholicism. Apparently, some religious mythologies are more equal than others.

  • Gadfly

    I do not like you much, but for a variety of reasons. One reason is that you are such a toadie. The new pope could have come out on the balcony and declared, “Cthulhu fhtagn!” And you would have been posting right here, “I love this guy!”

    • Archaeopteryx


      • D.T. McCameron

        The picture itself reminds me of political cartoons from the 19th century. Papist tendrils sneaking into the halls of power and all.

        • Archaeopteryx

          Hmm. I guess. The creature is a Mind Flayer from D&D (literally, a brain-eating alien from the future); and for me and my peers in gaming circles, the picture was hilariously bizarre, similar to Dave Chapelle’s skit about the black Klansman.

          • D.T. McCameron

            Please don’t mistake me! I’m all for appropriating such imagery and stamping it with a papal seal: such is the salvific power of God, with the added schadenfreude of making the conspiracists squirm a bit.

            Further, I salute a fellow gamer, and note that he has impeccable taste in comedy.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I do not like you much, but for a variety of reasons.

      What a relief. Disliking someone for just one reason is just despicable, but as long as you have a variety of reasons…