L.B.: Passionate sincerity

Left Behind, pp. 421-423

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity

We left Buck Williams sitting in his car parked in front of New Hope Village Church, "his head in his hands." And there he sits for the next page, musing about how his carefully planned and ordered life had been knocked off balance by recent events:

But nothing had prepared him for the disappearances or for the violent deaths of his friends. While he should have been prepared for this promotion, that hadn’t been part of his plan, either.

Any hint of the lasting emotional or existential effects of The Event are rare and welcome in Left Behind. The near total absence of any such effects is one of the strangest of this awful book’s many defects. Two billion people get disintegrated in a flash, instantaneously transforming the planet into a world without children, and those that remain simply go back to work and get on with their week untroubled, their previous routines unaltered. A heavy snowfall would have more effect than The Event seems to have had in this book. Instead of a world in mourning, an endless string of memorial services and funerals for empty caskets (most very small), we get a world without any memorials or remembrances for the departed.

So I’m glad to hear Buck at least mention the disappearances as part of the list of things for which he was unprepared. Maybe it shouldn’t have been mentioned in a way that suggests this global trauma wasn’t a bigger deal than Buck’s unexpected promotion, but at least he mentioned it.

We know the names of the friends Buck mentions who died violently — Dirk Burton and Alan Tompkins. Calling Tompkins his "friend" seems a bit of an overstatement, since Buck only met the man a few hours before he was blown up by a car bomb intended for Buck. Yet he has thought of Tompkins repeatedly — often enough that if he said that the loss of this man "tugged at his heart almost constantly" we might actually believe him. We couldn’t believe Buck when he said that about the loss of his niece and nephew on the one occasion they seem to have crossed his mind. We don’t know the names of those relatives. I doubt Buck does either.

Finally, with a last burst of trepidation ("he felt alone, exposed, vulnerable … he felt a bone weariness as he headed for the church"), Buck goes inside.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that Bruce Barnes was someone near Buck’s own age. He seemed bright and earnest, having that same authority and passion Rayford Steele exhibited.

By now readers have to be wondering if these are the only adjectives Jerry Jenkins knows. (Police Officer: "Did you get a good look at the suspect?" Jenkins: "He seemed sincere. And passionate.") The point the authors are trying to pound home through this passionate and sincere refrain, I suspect, is that these are the characteristics that they believe every good Christian man should have: Passion and sincerity. The "authority" mentioned above is the product of those two attributes: Sincerity + Passion = Authority.

That arithmetic only works if you accept, as the authors apparently do, that one cannot be sincerely and passionately wrong. That may be why they assume that everyone they consider to be wrong or in the wrong — i.e., you, me and every other non-RTC — must be insincere.

It had been a long time since Buck had been in a church. This one seemed innocuous enough, fairly new and modern, neat and efficient. He and the young pastor met in a modest office.

Scene-setting descriptions of place are rare in this book. We got a similar quick sketch of Irene Steele’s country-kitsch bedroom decor and of Stanton Bailey’s banker-ish, polished-brass office, but compared to most scenes in this book the above description of New Hope Village Church seems detailed and expansive.

This description tells us little about what the outside or inside of the church actually looks like, but I suspect that’s not really the point. The point, rather, is to present a series of opposites to underscore that New Hope isn’t like those other churches Buck might have been in years ago. Those weren’t Real True churches. Thus where NHVC is "new and modern" those other churches are old and hidebound to tradition. Where the real church is "neat and efficient" and "modest," the false churches of the left behind are cluttered, inefficient (not cranking out the product) and immodest. All of that makes such churches, in the authors’ view, anything but "innocuous."

"Your friends, the Steeles, told me you might call," Barnes said.

Buck was struck by his honesty. In the world in which Buck moved, he might have kept that information to himself, that edge. But he realized the pastor had no interest in edge. There was nothing to hide here. In essence, Buck was looking for information and Bruce was interested in providing it.

I don’t see how withholding such information might provide any "edge," but I suppose that’s just evidence that I wouldn’t have what it takes to get by in "the world in which Buck moved" — a world of cut-throat conversational chess where the stakes are high and the slightest mistake, such as mentioning that "your friends … told me you might call," could leave you vulnerable to a fatal blow. ("Hello," the stranger said. Buck was about to respond in kind, but then he caught himself. That’s just what he’d expect me to say. …)

"I want to tell you right off," Bruce said, "that I am aware of your work and respect your talent. But to be frank, I no longer have time for the pleasantries and small talk that used to characterize my work. We live in perilous times. …"

We should note again here that Bruce’s earlier work was the role of "visitation pastor" for NHVC. That somewhat euphemistic title refers to ministers who spend their days not at the church, but in nursing homes, hospitals and hospices, by the bedsides of the sick, the suffering and the dying. "Perilous times" shouldn’t be anything new for Bruce Barnes. "Perilous times" was his job description. "Pleasantries and small talk" might have their place in such ministry, but they could never be said to "characterize" that work. Further confirmation of something we have already seen: Bruce Barnes was a terrible visitation pastor.

"… We live in perilous times. I have a message and an answer for people genuinely seeking. I tell everyone in advance that I have quit apologizing for what I’m going to say. If that’s a ground rule you can live with, I have all the time you need."

Bruce’s long apology for why he’s speaking unapologetically demonstrates a refreshing urgency. He knows that the world is going to end in less than seven years and that the remaining six years, 355 days are going to be marked by a series of unpleasant events each outdoing the last in mass casualties. He should be speaking urgently — probably even more urgently than he speaks here. This would be a good time for what Richard Clarke memorably described as "running around town with your hair on fire."

Imagine that you were transported back in time to Christmas Eve of 2004. The stockings hang from the mantel, the pregnant pile of presents sits under the tree, A Christmas Story plays for the umpteenth time on TBS. And, unknown to anyone but you, the visitor from the future, hundreds of thousands of people from Madagascar to Malaysia have less than 24 hours to live. Wouldn’t you maybe, I don’t know, call someone and try to warn the world of what was about to happen? For that matter if, at that very moment, the executive editor from a prominent national newsmagazine were to walk into your home, wouldn’t you consider that an opportunity to get the word out?

But Bruce doesn’t really seem interested here in getting the word out. He knows that unrelenting calamity and mass death are about to happen on a global scale, but he’s not looking for a way to warn the world of this impending doom. He’s looking, instead, for a select few potential new members to initiate into his secret club, some few who have been carefully vetted and found worthy of hearing the full truth of what’s coming. "I have a message and an answer," Bruce said, but then immediately qualifies that, "for people genuinely seeking." Seekers who are not "genuine" — not sufficiently sincere and passionate — need not apply. Bruce has no message and no answers for them.

A few pages ago, Bruce sat in this same office with the Steeles attempting to reinvent and rebuild the church from scratch. The model they chose didn’t come from Pentecost but from the Pentagon — "a sort of Green Berets." Buck arrives, the authors tell us, "looking for information and Bruce was interested in providing it," but that’s not really what’s going on here. Bruce is interested in screening Buck as a potential recruit. He’s interested in providing just enough information to get him signed up, but much of what Bruce knows about the events of the coming months and years is information that Bruce seems to consider classified, only to be shared on a "need to know" basis.

Contrast Bruce’s approach with that of the Jerusalem street preachers, LB’s version of the Two Witnesses from the book of Revelation. Their message and answer is a monotonous chanted slogan, which hardly seems likely to persuade, but at least they’re taking it public and not warily sizing up their listeners according to whether or not they seem to be "genuinely seeking."

We readers know, of course, that the authors have rigged the game and thus the answer that Bruce and the street preachers have is the right answer. But what about those who have latched onto the wrong answers? Ten days after The Event one would expect to find street preachers everywhere — crackpot theorists, Max-Fennig-like alleged victims of alien abduction, and unhinged former parents turning every intersection into the Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner. People walking around in "The End Is Near" sandwich-board signs would be as common in real life as in New Yorker cartoons. The Event would have revived and reinvigorated doomsday cults, dragging them out into the open where their sincere and passionate devotees would assault passersby, shouting, "I have a message and an answer!"

None of that happens here, of course, because, again: A) it would force the authors to explain how such people could be sincere and passionate, yet still wrong, and B) as we’ve seen, every character in the story seems to have read the back of the book and to know that they’re in a premillennial dispensationalist novel in which the PMD End Times fantasy is true.

B does not result in spontaneous mass conversions, I suppose, because, as A indicates, the unsaved are also insincere — they know they’re wrong, but they choose, deliberately, to reject what they know is true. I don’t know that the authors would put it that starkly, but that seems to be the underlying assumption for their characterization of all non-RTCs.

This makes sense when you consider the fate that the authors sincerely and passionately believe awaits all non-RTCs. I’m guessing that all of that mayhem, destruction and torment — followed by an infinity of even worse mayhem, destruction and torment — becomes easier to stomach if you convince yourself that its victims have deliberately and knowingly chosen such a fate.

  • http://mikailborg.livejournal.com/ MikhailBorg

    The problem with the Imperium of Man is that, in the 40K universe, its views are actually correct.
    My point is that this rather depends on your value of “correct”.
    If you open up your mind to new ideas, the very first new idea that will slip into it will be: “Hey, I should go get some spiky armor and eviscerate as many people as I can, starting with my family, for the GLORY OF KHORNE (*) ! BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD-GOD ! YEARRRGHHHBLE !”
    To which the antidote is, “Hey, I should go get some glossy armor, decorate it with lotsa skulls, and eviscerate as many aliens and humans as I can, including my family if ordered to, to protect them from THE BLOOD-GOD! FOR THE EMPERRRORRRRRR!”
    It’s a universe where human morality has been sacrificed to the gods of expedience and survival. It doesn’t say much for the long-term future of the race, but it’s certainly an excellent setting for a bloody, ultra-violent SF wargame, which I’m fairly sure was exactly the intention :)

  • Izzy

    As far as I understand, the CC’s position is that abstinence is quite a natural thing, and should be practiced at all times, until the couple is ready to have a baby (*). Obviously, abstinence doesn’t result in pregnancies, so this renders abortion and contraception pointless. What is wrong with this position?
    Because unless you can show me why having non-procreative sex hurts a person–who you can *show* me is a person–I think that requiring abstinence outside of procreation is an absurd and cruel infringement on human rights. If it’s not hurting anyone, who the hell are you, Hypothetical Pope, to tell me who I should and shouldn’t fuck? (And frankly, if God is petty enough to care about that sort of thing, than I’m going to spit in his or her face and become the quickest convert to Gnosticism you ever saw.)
    Abstinence may work very well for some things. For a lot of religious or mystical people, complete abstinence–lifelong or periodic–may serve a number of real purposes, just like dietary restrictions from “don’t eat cows” to periodic fasting do. That’s cool. But I’m going to get pretty annoyed if you start making it harder for me to eat a hamburger on Friday or sleep with whatever consenting adult I choose and make sure I don’t end up in trouble.

  • Jos

    Personally, I think the Eldar might almost count as a ‘good’ race. I mean, yeah, they single-handedly fucked up the entire universe, but they’re trying to set things right. Of course, this being 40K, this does include the mass slaughter of anyone not them, but at least they’re not interested in ‘assimilation’ like the Tau or happily shooting their own men like the Imperium. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone – provided you haven’t accidentally settled on a Necron tomb world or something.
    Then again, it could also be argued that the Orks are kind of a not evil race. They are absolutely incapable of any kind of moral judgement, so they’re ‘good’ (or at least, not evil) in somewhat the same way that the wolves attacking your sheep are not evil.

  • Jeff

    I’ve been busy, busy busy the last few days, and not feeling well, either. I hope to have some real comments later today or tomorrow.
    I hear Jesu say “Oh goody! [/sarcasm]“

  • Bugmaster

    @Jos:
    The Eldar aren’t as big on genocide as every other race out there, but that’s only because they don’t have enough firepower (they’re like the Tau without railguns, in other words). Instead, they use subtle manipulation, directed empathy, and outright mind control, to get their enemies to wipe each other out. Whether this approach is more evil, or less evil, than a Heavy Bolter to the face — is debatable.

    They are absolutely incapable of any kind of moral judgement, so they’re ‘good’ (or at least, not evil) in somewhat the same way that the wolves attacking your sheep are not evil.

    You have a point; though, by this token, the Tyrannids aren’t evil, either.

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    Tonio: I suspect that the Church hierarchy truly doesn’t understand that. Unlike pastors and nuns who work directly with believers, the popes and archbishops and papal aides seem to live in their own little world. Decades of celibacy and cloisteredness have turned them into Dr. Manhattan in “Watchmen,” unable to relate to real life.
    I don’t believe that they’re all that stupid. (And given how many of them aren’t celibate themselves, they know it.)
    Bugmaster: Seriously, though: we both believe the argument is wrong and doesn’t work. But why do you believe it ? Do you have a reason, or is it a matter of faith for you ?
    *sigh* I refer you to my previous comment.
    Sorry to hear you’re not well, Jeff. Eat plenty of toads. Restores the venom sacs.

  • Anton Mates

    “Your friends, the Steeles, told me you might call,” Barnes said.
    Buck was struck by his honesty. In the world in which Buck moved, he might have kept that information to himself, that edge.

    That edge? What, does he refuse to tell people what time it is and whether it’s raining outside, just in case they could use that information against him?
    “Maybe we should turn on the landing lights?”
    “No…that’s just what they’re expecting us to do.”
    Of course, Airplane was supposed to be funny.

  • Anton Mates

    I typed off the above immediately after reading that line, only to see that Fred used exactly the same reference. Oh, the shame…

  • Tonio

    I don’t believe that they’re all that stupid.
    I might call them stupid if they lacked reasoning ability. I’m suggesting something quite different, the possibility that they have the ability but also have a critical deficiency in real-world knowledge to use with that ability. I suppose one would call that ignorance.
    (And given how many of them aren’t celibate themselves, they know it.)
    Are you suggesting that the Vatican hosts secret orgies? Some medieval popes were sexual libertines.
    My point was not necessarily about celibacy, but about living in relationships with partners and about interacting with people who do the same. I’m suggesting that the community of Church leaders, the archbishops and the Vatican bureaucracy, is socially and culturally isolated from even the lower ranks of the Church.

  • Jeff

    Sorry to hear you’re not well, Jeff. Eat plenty of toads. Restores the venom sacs.
    [Chomp chomp chomp] Yummy! Thanks!

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    Tonio: My point was not necessarily about celibacy, but about living in relationships with partners and about interacting with people who do the same.
    Yes, that’s a fair point. Celibate or secretly having sex, they certainly don’t do that.

  • Fraser

    Well said, Izzy. I’ve never been able to convince myself that God sits around being shocked and appalled by our choice of partners (assuming everything’s consensual and nobody’s getting betrayed).
    Bugmaster, I didn’t mean that as a statement about all atheists, but it’s not a strawman: I had lengthy arguments on another list with an atheist who believed absolutely that there is no free will and that any evidence to the contrary is an illusion.
    And I’ve heard at second hand (but reliable second hand the argument made elsewhere). I’m aware that it’s not the default atheist position.

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    Another ex-Catholic who doesn’t seem to have heard the news that the Catholic Church hierarchy doesn’t tell people what to do…

  • Laura

    Praline: Your chickenhawks comment waaaaay upthread was worth delurking for all on its own. Hear, hear!

  • aunursa

    hf: Surely you know that people had already raised the issue using other evidence. It might even have appeared on CBS without those documents.
    Well, the 60 Minutes piece was going to make the issue stick. And the set of documents was the cornerstone of the CBS report.
    As for Friday-years-later-quarterbacking on the subject of Gore’s campaign, have you forgotten Chris “lick the bathroom floor” Matthews and Maureen Antoinette attacking him like rabid dogs?
    So it’s everybody’s fault but Gore’s. C’mon, even Walter Mondale won his own state. And he refused a request from the most popular figure in the Razorback State to campaign for him there. Al Gore had a booming, peacetime economy, the incumbency advantage, and a non-charismatic neophyte for a political opponent. With all of that, and a 65% approval rating for his boss, Gore should have been up by 20 points in the polls and won in a landslide!
    Sadly, Gore did not push for this (hence the original discussion about going back in time to advise him).
    So, ultimately, it’s Gore’s fault, not SCOTUS. Thanks for clearing that up. I agree.
    The press had some weird dislike for Clinton and took it out on Gore.
    So the press were unfair to the Democrat but not to the Republican? Okay, if you say so.

  • aunursa

    Mary: Disclaimers — I don’t really believe that the death penalty lowers the murder rate, I’ve seen too much data that suggests otherwise.
    Did you see this 2006 study?
    Life v. Death: Who Should Capital Punishment Marginally Deter? by Charles N. W. Keckler

  • Keziah

    Speaking about that “edge”, couldn’t Buck have been expecting “The Holy Spirit told me you might call?” There would probably be enough fakes post-Event who would say something like that.

  • Keziah

    Speaking about that “edge”, couldn’t Buck have been expecting “The Holy Spirit told me you might call?” There would probably be enough fakes post-Event who would say something like that.

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    Aunursa: So it’s everybody’s fault but Gore’s.
    Well, Al Gore won the election. Never understood how people try to make it out it was his fault that, although he won the election, Republican criminal behavior meant he didn’t get the Presidency.
    So, ultimately, it’s Gore’s fault, not SCOTUS. Thanks for clearing that up. I agree.
    No: ultimately, it’s Jeb Bush’s fault, for deciding that the Florida electoral college votes were to go to his brother regardless of who the Florida voters actually elected to get them.
    So the press were unfair to the Democrat but not to the Republican? Okay, if you say so.
    You don’t get out much, do you?

  • Amaryllis

    jesurgislac, since I notice you’re still posting on this thread, where this seems to fit: I’ve been reading Zarah Gharamani’s My Life as a Traitor, and this paragraph made me think of you -

    When I run into the street and shout and shake my fist, I am not shouting, “Utopia or death!” I am shouting something much humbler: “I want my pink shoes!” That would be enough, for once the mullahs conceded my right to wear pink shoes, so much that is good and wise and kind and just plain <human would follow. I have no argument with Islam, not with the career and progeny of the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali or with forms of words in the Quran; my argument is with the mullahs, and it’s the same argument I would have if I were Jewish and were compelled to live a life regulated by an unyielding ultraorthodox regime of Jewish mullahs, or if I were Catholic and had to listen to a Catholic mullah telling me that my flesh exists only to be mortified, or to a Buddhist mullah insisting that the joy and excitement of my lover’s kiss is an illusion. Mullahs all over the world fear what women make them feel – that’s my complaint. They seem to detest so much of what nature has provided. I am quite sure that human beings can contemplate the divine without denying their desires.
    …And nothing on earth can be said in defense of laws that permit the males of a society to hold the spirits of women hostage.

    Whatever I may have disagreed with you on earlier in this thread(can’t remember exactly who said what now), I’ll wholeheartedly endorse that last sentence.

  • aunursa

    Jesurgislac: Well, Al Gore won the election. Never understood how people try to make it out it was his fault that, although he won the election, Republican criminal behavior meant he didn’t get the Presidency.
    You must have a different definition of “won” than that indicated by the United States Constitution.
    it’s Jeb Bush’s fault, for deciding that the Florida electoral college votes were to go to his brother regardless of who the Florida voters actually elected to get them.
    Jeb Bush decided nothing. And the Florida mess would have been irrelevant if Gore had bother to WIN HIS OWN DAMN STATE … or gotten Bubba to help him in Arkansas.
    You don’t get out much, do you?
    I visit the far left and the far right. And various points in between. I’d bet dollars to donuts I leave my internet comfort zone more than you leave yours.

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    You must have a different definition of “won” than that indicated by the United States Constitution.
    The United States Constitution says explicitly that the electoral college votes of a state should always go to the state governor’s brother if he’s running for President? Or that a Presidential candidate who fails to carry “his own state” – whatever that means! – somehow shouldn’t be allowed to be President? Can you please point me at the relevant section that says that? Or just quit your bitching at Al Gore for winning in 2000?
    Jeb Bush decided nothing.
    What, you think Sandra Mortham and Katherine Harris both just decided spontaneously that they were going to rig the elections for Jeb Bush’s older brother, without a single word or nod from Jeb? And that Katherine Harris just spontaneously decided, again without any word from Jeb, that they were going to terminate the Florida election without finishing the vote count and declare Jeb’s brother the winner regardless of who the voters of Florida actually wanted?
    I’d bet dollars to donuts I leave my internet comfort zone more than you leave yours.
    You’d lose, dollars or donuts. I admit you comment on Slacktivist, but let’s face it, we all love to hate Left Behind. You don’t seem to have any idea of – for example – the media attitude to Al Gore in 1999/2000, or any notion of the news outside the right-wing blogosphere filter.

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    Amaryllis: Whatever I may have disagreed with you on earlier in this thread(can’t remember exactly who said what now), I’ll wholeheartedly endorse that last sentence.
    It’s a great quote. Thanks for sharing.

  • R. Mildred

    I visit the far left and the far right.
    And yet I’ve not seen your name around the anarcho-communist WOC post-feminist blogs.
    Must use a different handle I guess.
    I’m sort of intrigued now actually, who do YOU consider to be “far left” exactly? Becuase if you’ve found a secret enclave MIMists or stalinists you have to share.

  • Amaryllis

    Jesurgislac: you’re welcome.
    And one more chilling comment from the same source before I stop, again with wider application than an Iranian prison:

    It is obvious that you can prosper in a government such as the one that makes the rules in my country only if you have no sense of the absurd at all. I mean, among my friends, absurdities – even our own – are seized on and made fun of. We are embarrassed by them, and so we mock them. But these people [her judges and interrogators], they’re not in the least embarrassed. I know they say that power corrupts, but they should tell you that the corruption begins with the powerful losing their embarrassment at being ridiculous. Why should they care if you laugh at them? They know they can make you forget about laughter forever if they wish.

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    And one more chilling comment from the same source before I stop
    *puts book on wishlist*
    Thanks!

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    practicallyevil: Also while the church may discourage contraception and abortion they don’t have roving bands of thugs who roam the street and hold women against their will and force them to carry pregnancies to term. If they did have these thugs then the child wouldn’t have been conceived in the first place. While they may discourage abortion and contraceptives they don’t, (or if they do fairly rarely as a church), physically prevent someone access to either abortions or contraceptives.
    Amnesty’s international council voted in August 2006 to end the organisation’s former policy of “neutrality” on abortion in favor of supporting access to the procedure for women who have been raped, or whose health will be damaged if they are not allowed to terminate: and to decriminalize abortion so that a woman who has an abortion won’t be prosecuted for it: and to support access to post-abortion healthcare for women who get abortions in countries where they’re illegal. The change was address issues including the widespread use of rape in war zones like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Since then, eight schools in Northern Ireland have closed or suspended their Amnesty groups and more than two thousand Catholic schools in England and Wales were also – in autumn 2007 – advised to sever their links with Amnesty, following instructions from their bishops. November 2007
    Amnesty groups in UK schools write to prisoners of conscience in countries round the world. The adult responsible for the group will usually choose a country or a specific prisoner for the group to write to. These bishops evidently feel that Matthew 25:40-45 is one of those awkward bits of the Bible that Jesus didn’t really mean.
    What Jesus really wanted, these bishops think, was for Christians to listen to these stories:

    F: That day we were coming from Bukavu. When we reached N., some soldiers stopped the vehicle and made us get out. When soldiers stop vehicles like that, it’s to rob the passengers, but they often take the opportunity to rape the women too. I was with five other women, and we were all raped, there at the side of the road. Then they gathered us together again and told us that they were taking us to their commander. So, like that, we were led off to their camp in the forest. Since there were six of us, when we were presented to the commander, he made the first choice of which woman he would take. Then the other officers made their choice: each officer took a woman. When it’s the commander who chose you, the others can’t touch you. But when he’s had enough of you, he hands you on to others to rape you.

    E: One day I went to the fields to gather some manioc leaves. I saw a man dressed in camouflage, the uniform that soldiers wear. That man chased after us. We ran away, but I fell and he raped me. … There were two other girls with me. … I fell over. I cried out and my friends ran off. No-one came to help me. … He hurt me. It was bad. … After he’d raped me he left me there. I got up and went back home. … I’ve only got my mum. My father isn’t with us anymore. … During the war my father fled. He hasn’t come back. …
    My mother asked me, “Why didn’t you bring back the vegetables?” I burst out crying and I told her what had happened. Afterwards she said, “Come on, we’re going to see the doctor”. … The doctor said that since this man had raped me, I was no longer normal like the other girls.

    and wash their hands.
    Aid worker:

    We listen to the women, try to help them psychologically, help them to get medical care, and we try to give them a small amount of money, because typically the soldiers who rape the women will also take everything they own, even down to their clothes and cooking pots. And many women have been rejected by their husbands and are left on their own to look after the children, to find shelter and food for them. Many of the children are badly undernourished. So we try to give them something, when we have it, so they can start up again on their own: a small amount so they can buy and sell food at the markets and make a little profit, or some seed or a hoe.
    But there are many problems. Even though they say the war is over, I can tell you it is still here. There are many villages where the women are not assisted, are abandoned to themselves. And the women are scared. Our own workers receive threats too. Two weeks ago, as I was on my way to K., I was threatened by three soldiers who said that we exaggerate the rapes and tried to take the documents I was carrying. They are worried that we are divulging all their secrets. We are regularly called in for questioning. We don’t keep our files here. We send them to G., for security.

    From Catholic News:
    Kate Gilmore, exec of AI: “Amnesty International’s position is not for abortion as a right but for women’s human rights to be free of fear, threat and coercion as they manage all consequences of rape and other grave human rights violations.”
    Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace:

    To selectively justify abortion, even in the cases of rape, is to define the innocent child within the womb as an enemy, a ‘thing’ that must be destroyed. How can we say that killing a child in some cases is good and in other cases it is evil?
    I believe that, if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission.

    Insofar as the Catholic Church believes itself to have a mission from Jesus, I think it’s very clear who’s betraying their mission.

  • aunursa

    Jesurgislac: The United States Constitution says explicitly that the electoral college votes of a state should always go to the state governor’s brother…
    The United States Constitution says explicitly that the person who receives a majority of votes by the various state Electors (i.e. Electoral College votes) shall become President. (Perhaps your copy of the United States Constitution comes from an alternate universe?)
    Or just quit your bitching at Al Gore for [failing to win] in 2000?
    I’ll bitch at Al Gore for blowing the election as long as you ignore Gore’s mistakes. Especially since Gore made SO MANY mistakes. The election never should have been that close — he had so many advantages. I know that the far left loves to blame Bush/Cheney/Rove/Jeb/Harris/LePore/SCOTUS/Nader/Buchanan/Bubba/etc., but the lion’s share of blame will always belong to Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.
    What, you think Sandra Mortham and Katherine Harris both just decided spontaneously that they were going to rig the elections for Jeb Bush’s older brother…
    You’ll have to excuse me. I sometimes forget that I’m arguing with someone who, on the one hand, demands ironclad proof by her opponent (and then typically changes the subject, so that she never actually bothers to acknowledge the point) … but who then turns around and expects anything she herself says to be treated as axiomatic, without any need to provide evidence for its validity.
    I’d bet dollars to donuts I leave my internet comfort zone more than you leave yours.
    You’d lose, dollars or donuts.

    So you regularly visit conservative blogs and websites? I’m impressed. I didn’t realize that you were open-minded — that you challenge your own assumptions by actually considering opposing points of view that might challenge your preconceptions. It’s a shame that you keep this knowledge hidden –that your submissions never demonstrate the understanding of your political opponents’ reasoning that you have gained from visiting their sites.

  • aunursa

    R. Mildred: And yet I’ve not seen your name around the anarcho-communist WOC post-feminist blogs.
    Touché. I didn’t mean to suggest that I posted across the political spectrum. The further one travels from the center, the more the discussion descends into emotion and ad hominem, so while one can observe, trying to argue with reason against a mob mentality is a futile endeavor.
    (If you think about it, in the previous sentence, I’m offering a compliment to the Slacktivist community.)

  • http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com Jesurgislac

    So you regularly visit conservative blogs and websites? I’m impressed. I didn’t realize that you were open-minded — that you challenge your own assumptions by actually considering opposing points of view that might challenge your preconceptions.
    I guess you would find it hard to recognize someone who regularly reads material that challenges your assumptions… given that you plainly never do.
    The United States Constitution says explicitly that the person who receives a majority of votes by the various state Electors (i.e. Electoral College votes) shall become President.
    And the electoral votes for each state in the Union, go to the candidate who gains a majority of votes in that state, yes? (That was not the case, I believe, in George Washington’s time, when the electoral college was regarded as an appropriate way of moderating popular opinion – what the 18th century called “mob rule” and what we call “modern democracy”.) In Florida, as we have known since October 2001, the candidate who gained the majority of votes in Florida was Al Gore. (He was also the candidate who gained the majority of votes in Connecticut – for all your bitchin’ about Gore “couldn’t carry his own state”, nor could Bush…) Which means that, had the election in Florida been run by people who were determined to see democracy function according to the laws of the state, to deliver the result that the voters of Florida had decided on, Al Gore actually won the 2000 election – if it had functioned according to the letter of the law and the spirit of democracy.
    You’ll have to excuse me. I sometimes forget that I’m arguing with someone who, on the one hand, demands ironclad proof by her opponent (and then typically changes the subject, so that she never actually bothers to acknowledge the point) … but who then turns around and expects anything she herself says to be treated as axiomatic, without any need to provide evidence for its validity.
    Oh. You were claiming to be so widely read. For a moment, I forgot that I was arguing with someone who won’t read anything that might challenge their preconceptions, and so has carefully avoided all of the websites that outline in painstaking detail the horrifying way in which the Republicans stole the 2000 election. Ah well. No point directing you to them, as I don’t doubt you will come back at me with quotes from the standard right-wing attempted rebuttals, which are clearly your preferred reading.

  • http://jakobknits.blogspot.com Jake

    So aunursa, what you’re effectively saying is that if a candidate doesn’t run their campaign as well as you would have liked them to, and the election gets close, then their opponent is justified in cheating and, having won by cheating, is the rightful winner. You have a seriously fucked up view of democracy, my friend.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Imagine that you were transported back in time to Christmas Eve of 2004.’

    Ironically, just as I began to read this paragraph, my wife turned on an episode of The Twilight Zone on Netflix… in which a certain man (the actor of The Professor from Gilligan’s Island) is transported back in time to the night of Lincoln’s assassination… his first thing is to find someone who can save Lincoln’s life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1149750585 Monica Swanson

    So..their message is only for the “select few” who are ready to hear it? Are we talking about Christianity or Scientology?


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