The Slippery Slope

Here is how Satan spreads his lies:

1. Natural Law is ignored, undermined or made to look stupid by particular instances where it seems not apply.
2. Subsequently religious and civil authorities have their laws questioned because they are ‘too strict’ too ‘black and white’, ‘unworkable’ or ‘lacking in compassion’.
3. Relativism is therefore introduced. An understanding gradually grows that ‘there are no objective rule’ that apply to all people at all times.
4. Individualism is the next step. ‘I guess I have to decide what is right for me in my situation.’
5. Sentimentalism: People who live in a sinful situation demand that they not be judged. They deserve compassion and understanding. They are nice people really…but they have a problem. They’re sick. They’re wounded. Who are you to judge?
6. Dialogue is demanded. “You need to listen to us and to our stories. Then you will understand we are just like you.”
7. Once sympathy is won, the goalposts are moved. Now they are not ‘sick’ or ‘wounded’ they’re just ‘different’. They expect to be accepted despite their ‘differences’.
8. Equal rights are expected by those who are acting against God’s law. “We are not asking you to approve us. We are simply asking you to tolerate a difference of opinion. Simply allow us to be who we are!”
9. Equal rights are demanded. Legislation and lobbying and protests are now in order. The pressure group for sin starts to get aggressive. They do so out of ‘hurt’ and ‘woundedness.’ Once they get their ‘rights’ (they claim) they will be happy and won’t be so aggressive.
10. Tolerance being won, they will not stop. They now demand not only that you tolerate, but that you approve. They’ve moved from being ‘sick’ or ‘wounded’ or ‘disabled’ by their condition to tolerance, and now they proclaim their condition to be ‘good’. As Thomas More was not allowed to remain silent on the King’s ‘great matter’ but had to approve, so the presssure group insists on approval.
11. What was once tolerated now becomes mandatory. Society must integrate the new morality into every level–right down to schools and churches and scout groups. Everyone must adopt the new morality or suffer.
12. Persecution of those who resist.
13. Devil’s real happy.

This process happens on an individual level, a family level, a community level and a societal level. The bigger the level the longer it takes, and for it to take effect at the societal, community and family level it must first work on the individual level.

This means you and I must watch for the signs in our own moral life and be alert. Any of us can go down this path, and any of us may be victims of those who are already well down the path of evil and darkness.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08930852646863448655 My Chocolate Heart

    I think as a nation we're well on our way to #11. They passed that absurd hate crimes bill yesterday, and it won't be long before we're penalized for publicly condemning homosexual relationships. Scary.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01678341854029479678 Old Bob

    Well thought and well said, Father. Thank you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12979831428268753359 Natasa

    So true. Pressure can be so strong especially when groups claim the status of a victim and demand respect. It is easy to fall into the trap of such sentimental langauage. It is fascinating how easily 'vistims' turn into opressors when they get the chance.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16693505024823229152 Catholic Mom of 10

    Excellent..btw Fr Dwight check out my latest post on marrying an anglican priest! Err NOT that I want to..being happily married!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03516444685469895837 Andy

    Keen Observations Fr. Dwight. The scary fact is that this paradigm is playing out right under our schnozolas daily.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06962374096401238994 shadowlands

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06962374096401238994 shadowlands

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01038498107096197056 Edward Elkins jr.

    Yes, There is nothing created that isnt sustained by righteousness. All of nature was created righteously and there is no unrighteous natural law. It is the righteousness of God all things were created by. He didnt created anything unholy. Therefor when they start to make unrighteous decrees they actually become against nature , against all powers that sustain life on earth therefor they exalt their own powers as more powerfull then the powers of life that are beyond their own. So therefor you get Darkness. Meaning it is void of all power to function in the world of the living. Isaiah wrote in chapter 3 enough about this. In chapter 53 I believe there is something about the way it is that people are so sinfull. There are other scriptures. Ultimately it explains about christs marriage making the sinfully born of israel a legitimate birth because of his marriage to israel. Thus our christ birth and marriage to christ as the church in like manner. Regardless of divorced parents. Gay neighbors and relatives, evil state authorities ect.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01038498107096197056 Edward Elkins jr.

    In reply to Shadowlands,It also tells us that we are not even to let people in our homes who dont have the teachings of christ in them. It tells us in the gospels not assosiate with homosexuals not even to sit with them , not to eat with them. That we cannot be their friends. It tells us to remain uspotted from the world and removed from the evils of it. Though we cannot leave the world. Giving place in our ministries or our homes to the world and its teachings is very wrong. Mainly the scriptures about not eating with or sitting with the homosexuals is about those who believe or where baptised already who continue to be homosexual,liars, adulterers , murderers ect. Actually listed along murderers. As so to say it is like being guilty of christ's murder if they indeed were baptised and continued to sin. Many of sin in an outward manner not really giving it a place in our heart. People who let the cuss words slip, People who smoke cigarettes, People who say the occasional lie to hide something from someone or to do business with someone. To get that extra benefit or bargain ect. These sins are serious but are not so evil from the heart.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16506547355314136320 Lee Gilbert

    Well, we haven't drawn the line in our families. Nor have we been encouraged to do so. That would be "judging." As a young man of 18 I was once so judged on the matter on leaving the Church, and asked to leave the house and not to visit. This was one of the best things that ever happened to me. This is what scripture requires of parents. "Let the just man strike me. It is kindness." It is tough love. Does it work? When my father prayed, he was heard. The roof fell in on me. The judgements of God right and left. Within two years I was back practicing the faith. God existed, this I knew, because I had felt his hand strike me across my face!But the children of the indulgent, who come with their lovers to Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter, who show all the younger siblings and nephews and nieces that sinners can be nice guys, and their lovers are nice, and everyone has a nice time, what hope do they have?And from the pulpit, Sunday afer Sunday, we hear nothing but "forgiveness" and "tolerance" and "not judging." No one will draw a line or say a harsh word or keep the gate closed. Then neither will our prayers be heard for their return to the disciplines of the faith.By our softness and "kindness" we are in effect damning the young.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04229134781669560505 Rick

    It is insidious because it mixes truth with lies. And the fall is done little by little.Re 3: "'there are no objective rule' that apply to all people at all times."Aren't there extenuating or aggravating circumstances that can diminish oreliminate culpability. Someone could have been deceived or coerced into doing wrongbut they would be innocent regardless.Re 4: "I guess I have to decide what is right for me in my situation." If you have a starving child, you may know that it is immoral to stealbut judge that the owner's right to property is trumped by your child's right to life.And so you steal and let God be your judge. And, you wouldn't be found guilty by God.Re 5: "You need to listen … Then you will understand we are just like you."What is wrong with understanding & empathy? Two women living together may justbe supporting each other because they never found men to love them. Then ifthey decide to marry, it may be to fulfil institutional requirements for medical insurancecoverage; it is not to defy God's law, engage in sinful sexual acts or scandalize the Church.There's that and there are those who are freaks of nature. That does not give them licenseto institutionalize their disordered lifestyle. But the point is, it is not always wrong or immoral. And so, the devil is in the details.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17284905121465747077 Steve

    Part of me is not certain why I even read this blog. More often than not, Fr. Longnecker's posts and the comments here are full of condemnation than God's hope, love, and mercy. Still, maybe there's room for dialogue. I know that's a dirty word in Fr. L's eyes; in the past he's written about how dialogue compromises the truth and in this very post he mocks the call of disenfranchised people for dialogue rather than angry word-spitting. I will try to engage at least Edward in dialogue. Edward, you stated this: "It tells us in the gospels not assosiate with homosexuals not even to sit with them , not to eat with them. That we cannot be their friends." The gospels are Jesus's teachings and experiences: the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are the core of Christian belief. Where in the gospels does Jesus say that we should not associate with homosexuals? Where does Jesus say that we cannot be friends with a person who is a homosexual? Perhaps you are thinking of the letters of St. Paul. Those too are part of the New Testament, of course. Paul condemns lots of folks in his letters, including those who have had lustful thoughts of any kind or who have engaged in premarital/extramarital sex (fornication, in other words). I wonder if any of those folks are people with whom you associate, people with whom you or I share a pew, people whom you have invited over the years to your table. Perhaps everyone in this commentbox (not just Shadowlands and me) are sinners. Perhaps people who lie and cheat and who therefore deprive others of economic justice (no small sin, that) are also among the baptised who profess to be Christians who are in the midst of an ongoing conversion. Some in this commentbox seem to feel comfortable dividing the world up into sinners and Christians. Every Christian I know — me, especially — is in need of conversion and God's grace, and not at all ready to start picking up stones and throwing them elsewhere. (That reference DOES come from the gospels: John 8:1-11. Yes, I know: Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery to go and "sin no more." But do you suppose Jesus's condemnation of the would-be stoners' hateful attitude can be easily dismissed? Is his rejection of their mentality–their sinful attitude–not at the center of that story?) So condemn and vent a hateful attitude towards other struggling creations of God if you must. (Must you, really?) But please be aware that hatred, however much one wants to call it tough love or "the truth," is chiefly what drives people away from opening their ears to hear the Gospel. And for those who discover themselves relishing the opportunity to condemn others: Is that what Christ calls you to? Is that chiefly why God created you, or any of us? May God help each of us, each child of God, as we are all sinners in need of God's grace and mercy…every day.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12858120820470784593 Anneg

    Shadowlands, Rick and Steve, Did you even read the first line of the post? "Here is how Satan spreads his lies:"Fr D is addressing how easy it is to be deceived and forget that there are objective truths. He is not condemning anyone. Sentimentality doesn't help any sinner. Knowing what God actually desires and why Jesus died for us sinners is the truth. Jesus on the cross is Love. Not letting people dive headlong into destruction or evil. Fr D is instructing us on discernment, knowing the difference between objective right and wrong.AnneG in NC

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12858120820470784593 Anneg

    BTW, Rick, wouldn't it be better for the person with the hungry child to ASK for food and help rather than stealing? Wouldn't that be trusting to God's provision? Do you think? AnneG

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Rick, here are the basics of Catholic moral theology:1. The objective morality of an action2. The intention3. The circumstances.The intention and circumstances of an action can lessen the person's culpability, but they do not make a wrong action right.So stealing a loaf of bread while starving does not make stealing right, but it may lessen the culpability of the thief.The circumstances and intention may also heighten the culpability if the action is itself not a grave sin. So a person who lies intentionally to destroy another person's reputation and steal his business or wife is very culpable, even though the offense itself may be minor.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04229134781669560505 Rick

    Anneg: Of course you're right. And not to steal is even better. I was positing a worst case scenario.Thank you Fr. Longenecker for the guidance. I concur that Flecther's Situation Ethics is not what Catholics believe hence the action remains objectively wrong but the culpability can be diminished and even removed altogether in case where volition or knowledge are severely impaired. Which brings us to the subjective element which is why Lumen Gentium teaches that man will be judged at the tribunal of his conscience.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04229134781669560505 Rick

    Anneg: (I didn't see your earlier note about sentimentality.) I agree with you about that. My sister-in-law divorced and got remarried. She wanted my son to be the ring bearer. I objected and even boycotted the ceremony.About the two women who live together as sisters, tell me what is wrong with that? If they get a civil marriage certificate just to be able to qualify the other as a beneficiary for medical benefits and inheritance, meaning that they do not engage in lesbian acts or any other unmentionables. Can you tell me where that violates any tenet in the Gospel?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06962374096401238994 shadowlands

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13909287683111838852 dancingcrane

    Fr. Dwight, keep telling those 'inconvenient truths'. We need you to. We are like frogs dying by degrees in the soothing growing heat of feel-good Christianity.Their 'parable of the prodigal son' ends with the prodigal demanding his father's forgiveness. Their Jesus stops the stoning of the adulteress, only to say "Go, and sin some more.' They are 'victims' after all, yes?, and must be allowed to be who they are.Forgiveness is for those who know their sin. It is meaningless to those who justify it, whose intent is to force others to accept their evil as good. We should offer it, as Jesus offered His life, but they can only accept what will let them continue in what they refuse to see as sin.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13909287683111838852 dancingcrane

    @rickTwo women do not need to 'marry' to get the legal protections you speak of. Also, the legal and moral definitions of marriage include conjugal consummation. People will assume they are sexually involved, even if they say otherwise. It gives grave scandal, which harms the innocent, and aids and abets the guilty.

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ romishgraffiti

    Catholics should familiarize themselves with CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALSTO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITIONTO UNIONSBETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONSIn short, it says the state (secular or otherwise) has an obligation to protect marriage in the traditional sense and that attempts to end run around this with things like "civil unions" etc, don't pass muster. I know lots of well-meaning Catholics want to punt on the issue, but I'm afraid it's one of those hills we have to be prepared to die on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04229134781669560505 Rick

    Last week, a man smashed a bottle on a gay persons head at a bar in Georgetown. Recently, I heard kids tease each other as "you homo". Perhaps, it will help to articulate the Church's teaching on the matter so that we can teach our children by word and example how the Lord Jesus would treat these people.In fact, Jesus might have enlisted the assistance of a homosexual for his last supper. In Mark 14: 13, Jesus asked his followers to meet & follow "…a man carrying a jar of water…" Back then, women carried the jars of water, so this guy might have been gay or an Essene monk. Regardless, the Church today teaches that homosexuals "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity." Here's the official text from the Vatican:http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.For clarity, I am not a proponent of same sex marriage nor do I tacitly condone sinful unions nor support anyones right for a same sex union. And I am straight.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Rick, thank you for stating the church's teaching regarding homosexual persons. I'm at a loss, however, wondering why you think it necessarily has anything to do with the post I have written.Nowhere in the post do I mention homosexuality. What I have written could be applied to any number of moral situations and scenarios.I think you've jumped to conclusions, and I sense that your need to state this (along with the violence towards a homosexual person) implies that I have somehow condoned 'gay bashing.'If this is the case, I resent the implication and expect an apology from you here.If, on the other hand, I have mistaken your intent would appreciate your clarification on this.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04229134781669560505 Rick

    Re: "why you think it necessarily has anything to do with the post I have written." Your post is truly generic. The application to homosexuals came via the comments.Re: "If, on the other hand, I have mistaken your intent would appreciate your clarification on this." You have mistaken my intent. If fact, I appreciated your post so much that I reposted it on my very own blog last night. Cf. http://divine-ripples.blogspot.com/2009/10/blog-insidious-and-gradual-slide-into.htmlAnd your post had me thinking so much that my next essay would be on the limits of tolerance in a pluralistic society.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    "Everything is in shades of gray. There is no black and white."The problem with that: There can be no gray without a pre-existing black and white.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Rick…thank you. I hope our little exchange has been a good example of proper dialogue :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04229134781669560505 Rick

    Fr. Dwight: And thank you. I do agree that our exchange has been proper. I think of it more of a conference.As Sir Francis Bacon aptly noted, "Conference makes a ready man." And it is needed, now more than ever, as sophistries, obfuscations, fallacies and plain lies are being used to led people astray – specially here across the pond.As you have seen, I've set my account to follow your posts.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12402421489693903192 Joe

    The slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy that is readily found in any intro to logic textbook. Have they stopped teaching logic in Catholic seminaries?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Joe, I can't speak for seminaries, Catholic or otherwise, but I have been teaching logic for 30 years. I don't like the term myself, and always demand a definition when it's used, but it is not a logical fallacy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    I was not talking about logic or theories but about what actually happens.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12402421489693903192 Joe

    Father, how do you know that this happens? And how do you know that it happens just the way that you describe here?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12402421489693903192 Joe

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12402421489693903192 Joe

    I am not a relativist. but, i will point out that far more evil has been caused by "black and white" good vs. evil thinking than by skepticism and relativism. Whether the murders happened at the hands of Hitler, of Stalin, or of the Church, it was those who were absolutists in their view of reality that felt secure enough to scapegoat, demonize, and eventually torture and murder anyone who disagreed. If the Church now preaches peace and love, it is precisely because the Church has been disenfanchised. Our faith can be much more pure when it is not on the side of the state. The earliest Christians preached pacism. But when the church became the religion of the state and of society, the church changed to using violence and coercion for the purpose of social control. I thank God for secularism. Secularism allows the Church to return to her original purity.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    I experienced exactly this process within church and society over the last 25 yrs and within individual lives as well

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12402421489693903192 Joe

    Dear Father,In other words, your whole argument is based on your own anecdotal, subjective experience. Thanks for clarifying that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    I forgot to add a few details to the observable process: when the purveyors of these lies have their cover blown they first deny the process then end up displaying rage, resort to name calling, ad hominem attacks and finally irrational behavior. When enough of th get together their rage will erupt into actual violence

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12402421489693903192 Joe

    Dear Father,So you accuse those who disagree with an ad hominem of your own?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11141335022504962680 HaroldC

    I know that God is forgiving but not tolerant. And the difference between forgiveness and tolerance is love.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11141335022504962680 HaroldC

    Father, it occurs to me that elevating equality as the basis of human dignity may be at the root of this demand to define deviancy down. Basing human dignity on equality appears (to me at least) to pervert charity into conceit. Or at the very least confuse them. If equality is the basis of human dignity then it only the self we see reflected in others that we find worthy of love.I've just found your site due to the new Anglican arrangement and am working my way through what you have written.Harold CrewsColumbia, South Carolina

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    Sorry Joe you lost me there. Not sure what you're talking about. Gotta go. Enough dialogue for tonite

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Harold, that's an astute observation. Personally, I'm suspicious of "human rights." The Church uses the term, so I can't dismiss it altogether, but its use in legislation makes me question it too often to lose my suspicion; e.g., right to choose (an abortion), right to marry (someone of the same sex), right to die ("with dignity"). And, even such rights as those that deal with employment, the sale of one's property, the freedom to have an opinion without the thought police arresting you for stepping on someone's "rights"–so many instances of "rights"Our legal system, and not just ours but others as well, was based historically on good and evil, and our perception of good and evil was based on Natural Law. That's true for Christians, Jews, Muslims, and no doubt many other religions as well, pagans among them. It was not historically based on "rights." But now it is. Possibly the adventure into secularism and its denial of religion caused the dismissal of natural law in the mistaken belief that it was religious. No–it's the other way round: religion is based on natural law. Anti-religious Secularism substitued "rights" for good and evil, while confining those latter concepts to subjective relativism, rendering them impotent. I find this the single most troubling development in the western world. The casting out of natural law in favor of secular "rights" has led to unnatural law–killing your children, abandoning your family, killing the ill and elderly when they become helpless and dependent. The slippery slope has already been traveled. It's too late to worry about slipperiness now.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11141335022504962680 HaroldC

    Estiel, thanks for the compliment. I think we would agree. Rights ought to be defined through tradition and custom. This affords the stability that an organic society requires. Additionally such restraints place limits upon the state such that its ability to become a revolutionary force is diminished. People who are part of a tradition are placed in a communion with others in the present and the past that are also in that tradition.I haven't given it much thought, but perhaps the rejection of natural law by modernism is a rejection of the Incarnation. It is a rejection of the idea that God can reveal himself in time and place.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Harold, "I haven't given it much thought, but perhaps the rejection of natural law by modernism is a rejection of the Incarnation."I think that would be a given, Harold. Modernism rejects religion altogether; the Incarnation would not survive such categorical dismissal. The error that is perhaps fatal is that it assigns traditional good and evil to religion, and acting as "unbiased", assigns those concepts to subjective definition–or relativism. They are more than a matter of tradition or custom, however. As natural law, they are rooted in biology. Religion comes from natural law; natural law is not a product of religion, but of nature. Since natural law is pro-life, their rejection of it rather automatically makes them pro-death.

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ romishgraffiti

    There are two things I encounter on the net that always make me laugh. One is when someone declares themselves a "freethinker" because I always think of Michael Flynn's quip, "you get what you pay for."The other is when someone complains about rigid black-and-white thinking because it reminds me of Obi-wan in Revenge of the Sith when he says, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." and then the very next thing he says, "I will do what I must." Now, usually such people don't contradict themselves in the next sentence, but in my experience, when someone poo-poo's absolutes, it just means you haven't found their hobby-horse yet. When you do, watch them become as dogmatic as any pope that ever lived.Scott


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