Chris Matthews and his Trained Baboons

I couldn’t believe the headline so I had to see it for myself and yeah, Chris Matthews actually said this:

“There are a number of people who have chosen to convert to the Catholic faith because they don”t like the liberal positions taken by their sectarian groups,” said Matthews, “that’s a fact, you can write that down. . . .I’m saying that some people who are bigoted against gay people have changed religions, yes.”

This is a guy who profoundly misunderstands his own faith and its teachings, which are all about saying “yes” not “no” but in ways that challenge us in our earthly brokenness and are just difficult, sometimes. Not only is he contributing to a fashionable new trend of anti-Catholicism (and for all I know, he’s doing it deliberately) but here he is being lazy — really, almost unforgivably lazy — in subscribing to the intellectually dishonest and cowardly idea that to have a different opinion than others, or to simply say “I love you but can’t go there” is “bigotry.” That’s what “progressives” have “progressed” to. If you disagree with Obama, you’re a “racist.” If you can’t get behind gay marriage, you’re a “bigot” and if you think employers should not be ordered to cover contraception (or ordered to cover anything) you’re a “sexist.”

They spit out the vituperative labels because it is frankly easier to muddy up the water with name-calling than actually try to swim the rougher currents, together. Call someone a name and pretend that you’re somehow more noble than the other person because you don’t even have to engage in thought or weigh a philosophy, and you may be a hero to some, but you’re ultimately a coward, hiding behind slander tossed as easily as a rock.

But as idiotic, nasty and gratuitously ignorant as Matthews is, here, it’s his audience that really turns my stomach; watch the video and listen to them howl.

Baboons. Mindless trained baboons, responding on cue.

But don’t get me wrong. I fully expect we’ll hear some trained baboons on the right at some point in tonight’s GOP debate, as well — probably hooting at precisely the wrong time, because if the left is horrid, the right is just hapless.

Still, it makes me sad to see Matthews like that. I used to watch his show every night and really enjoyed it. That was back when our kids were younger and would wander around the house parroting, “yer watchin’ Hardball!” It’s a shame that this is where we’re at. A society of grotesques.

Of course, one of the good things about Lent
is I get to spend some time thinking about how I may have contributed to our shared baboonery, with this blog, so…there’s that.

I wonder if Matthews will also take time to wonder about that, this Lent.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://macbethsopinion.blogspot.com MacBeth

    Why doesn’t anyone say, “Name one!”? Sheesh. Willful ignorance is the disease that is inside the cells of society. It’s the new leprosy.

  • Mike M.

    “But don’t get me wrong. I fully expect we’ll hear some trained baboons on the right at some point in tonight’s GOP debate, as well …”

    Gratuitous, cheap, predictable, defeatist, even, sorry, cowardly…and almost certainly slander, perhaps worse.

    I hate that instinct about our side. Every side is not the same. because you rightly criticize A, does not mean you have a right or duty to wrongly criticize B – who is merely an innocent victim you have made a scapegoat for your own vain reasons of wanting to be seen as “balanced, fair, moderate” etc.

    Our side always does this. It is not right. It has never been right. It is not fair. It is not honest. There is not one blessed thing good about it; not a smidgeon of a microgram of decency about it. Nothing.

    Make me wretch when I seen bad people let off the hook and good people scapegoated for what reason you can tell me I’d love to know.

  • John B.

    Isn’t calling Chris Matthews or his audience idiotic, nasty and gratuitously ignorant baboons worse than what they said or did? I can’t see how this kind of thing is helpful.

    [I know, we should all just shut up about it, right? I was fair. I called the GOP audience the same tonight...although really...a few times it was the candidates - admin]

  • Janice

    I was surprised to hear Bill Bennett say last week that Chris Matthews and he attend the same parish. Weird, huh?

  • Linda Lee

    MacBeth: You literally took the words right out of my mouth! Willful ignorance is just the perfect description for Chris Matthews obstinate stupidity!

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Oh what a jackass. What is the case for Catholics to be Liberals? I don’t understand. They are a dying breed.

  • DaveO

    Anchoress,

    You are incorrect. Matthews understands his faith very well – but it is not faith invested in G-d, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or in the Church. Matthews’s faith is other than Christian.

  • PBuchta

    We are all better off without the name calling and profiling. I place myself #1 on that list as a catholic liberal.

  • kenneth

    I’m not a Matthews fan or even view, but as nasty as his characterization of matters is, it seems like there is a core of truth to it. My admittedly superficial read of the situation with Episcopalians etc. converting in the past couple of years does seem to have a lot to do with the RCC position on gays, women clergy etc. It makes me no never-mind why people choose one church over another, but it did seem like most of these folks had no great underlying desire to become Catholic for the sake of being Catholic prior to the social/theological blowups within their home churches. Would most of them have joined Catholicism in the absence of that rift? I’ll admit I don’t know.

    [But does it immediately and naturally follow that the rift is "bigotry"? Is it NOT possible that a principled belief has something to do with it?

    I've been called a bigot b/c I can't get behind gay marriage. I have gay relatives, and gay friends and I love them and support them and I have even publicly called for the bishops to acknowledge the faithful gay priests who serve, because I think we must live in a place of honesty. And because I am honest, I can look at marriage and see its design -- for the building of family and procreation and I can see that, marriage is not designed for homosexual love. I have no interest in their sex lives; if they want a civil partnership, it's none of my business -- much success to them. But I can't go all the way to marriage. Does that make me a bigot? To some, it does. For all my love, I'm a "hater" because I draw a line at marriage. Chris Christie just talked about this the other day -- he has gay friends, appoints gay judges, etc etc, but b/c he's not for gay marriage, he gets asked to his face, "aren't you a bigot?"

    This is nonsense, and things have come to this pass because for too long we've allowed people with the sensibilities of 14 year-olds to run roughshod over the culture. 14 year-olds are self-interested in the extreme and if they are denied something they want, the world is unjust and people are mean. The people who believe "tolerance" means "give me everything I want, and if you don't you're a bigot/racist/sexist" have been allowed to define "reality" for too long. This is not to say that there are no bigots in the world. There clearly are; but it staggers me how absolutely incapable some "progressives" are of being just a little bit introspective and seeing their own bigotry. I have a friend who is a high school teacher. After she got tenure and felt secure enough, she "came out" as a moderate conservative -- really, I'd call her a classical liberal -- and one of her co-workers said to her, "I can't believe you're a conservative! I mean, I LIKE you! That's so weird! But you're not like them!" You know...just like Archie Bunker saying that the black guy down at work is "one of the GOOD ones!" Who's the bigot, then? The people laughing in Chris Matthews audience were bigots. They laughed at the fellow doing his job because he examined "liberal media bias" they laughed at Matthew's stupid, overly broad, thoughtless and uncharitable comments and his "you can write that down" and there wasn't anything like THOUGHTFULNESS attached to that. It was just reactive, knee-jerk, cue-filled and clueless bigotry on display in the goofball mob. As nasty and bigoted as any gathering of hateful REAL homophobes. -admin]

  • ahem

    From Chris Matthews: A Tingle Inside the Skull” by Kathy Shaidle:

    “I’m notoriously mean-spirited, so please believe me: When I say I think Chris Matthews has a brain tumor, I am trying to be charitable.

    The MSNBC mouthpiece’s show is called Hardball, but Oddball would be more apropos. Matthews’s flaky on-air comments are a matter of public record, with that “thrill going up my leg” thing only the most notorious.

    I dearly hope a Charles Whitman-type autopsy someday reveals that Matthews’s obnoxious manner and twisted worldview were the tragic side effects of a hideous growth the approximate mass of a Titleist. The alternative—that he thinks and speaks as he does of his own free will—is almost too depressing to contemplate.”

    http://tinyurl.com/8xtth8y

  • http://facebook.com/dr.lisa.nicholas Lisa Nicholas

    Kenneth, I know many, many Anglicans/Episcopalians who have joined the Catholic Church and I can tell you that NOT ONE of them did it simply to “get away from” distasteful practices & policies in the Episcopal church, such as women priests or acceptance of flagrant homosexuality. Each and every one of these converts of my acquaintance have made their decision after a long period of prayer & discernment, and usually at considerable personal cost (with respect to family & friends left behind, etc.); each one has been convicted that the Catholic Church safeguards the truth, and has embraced the Catholic Faith with joy. And, yes, with a sense of relief that, while self-styled “progressive” Catholics may militate for such anomalies as ordained women or homosexual “marriage,” they can be confident that the Church will stand fast while the fads of the world swirl around Her on their way to the cultural sewer. Whatever may have driven these converts into the embrace of Holy Mother Church, they are grateful to be here and they often make much better, or at least more deeply convicted, Catholics than many lifelong members of the Church.

  • Roz Smith

    There is something about having to fill a block of airtime on TV that does terrible things to certain kinds of people. A few remain both interesting and true to their roots but others soon beclown themselves for the sake of an attention grabbing sound bite or the cheap applause of the studio audience. Even if those who retain a certain modicum of dignity often seem to have their brains turned to tripe. It is hard to reconcile the excellent From Beirut to Jerusalem with the Thomas Friedman who utters PC inanities on today’s current affairs shows.

  • Kevin

    Matthews is an insufferably rude bully with a microphone. I think ever since Zell Miller humiliated him on air years ago he has never been the same. Now he is attacking his own religion because it is in conflict with the prevailing dogma of the democrat party. I watch screwball only to laugh now.

  • Ellen

    Chris Matthews takes one breath at the beginning of the show and then bloviates for the entire time. Honestly, I can’t stand to watch anymore.

  • Tim

    “If you disagree with Obama, you’re a “racist.” If you can’t get behind gay marriage, you’re a “bigot”…”

    That’s funny, because I agree with the President that marriage is between one man and one woman (and like the President, my views are evolving, although they are evolving toward a stronger conviction).

    Then again, maybe the President is flat out lying. But surely he would never do that (cough – Notre Dame speech – cough).

  • John

    Wasn’t but a few days ago that the pop professed its disgust that someone might be analyzing our national affairs using tradition notions of good and evil.

    Matthews is like any other pop culture enforcer: he makes great pretentions to being non-judgmental — while simultaneously launching verbal attacks that smack of nothing so much as witch-burnings.

    His, er, “belief system” seems to have many of the same rigid orthodoxies he says he rejects. I guess he needs evil-doers to complete his narrative; Catholics are useful to him that way. It does make me angry.

  • Roy

    As kenneth says, I think there is a considerable amount of truth to this. I know quite a few Catholic converts, I think I may even have some responsibility for converting one, and while I am delighted when people turn from darkness to the truth, I am not so naive to think that motives are always of the noblest kind. Henri IV said Paris was worth a Mass, and plenty of people convert for worldly reasons. Just look at the lukewarm who convert for marriage. This does not mean that they don’t feel their conversions are genuine, they often do, but there is often something else going on.

    The thing is that association with the church and most importantly participation in the Mysteries of the Church should lead one closer to God, but it is not enough to make conversion genuine. This is hardly a radical statement for Catholics and it applies to both those born in the church and those who come to it later.

    The truth is that a lot of converte are making a political statement and they can make very dangeroud catholics, many have met the intolerant former protestant fanatic who tries to be more Catholic than the Pope, or more Catholic than the bishop. I know we spend time complaing about many in the heirarchy, this is an ancient part of Catholic tradition, but many, and especially the political converts, do this differently than those raised in the Catholic tradition. They were “shoppers” in religion before “conversion” and unless that conversion was genuine they remain “shoppers” and are only lukewarm in their commitment to Christ and his bride, the curch.

    We must be careful that we don’t let ourselves be coopted by this sort of political christian. The church is very broad and deep and Christ’s message is infinite, and I can think of no modern political force that can fit it completely.

  • Peggy

    Kenneth and Roy, are you saying that those converts to Catholicism are anti-gay bigots? Surely one can have principled reasons for opposing such things as gay marriage and women priests.

    [No, haven't you figured that out? There cannot be principled opposition to anything that the elites say we should want or must do. This is also true about Obamacare and the HHS Mandate. "Just shut up and conform" is the order of the day. -admin]

  • craig

    Without discounting the fact that there are some who convert for worldly reasons, it is an incorrect inference (and many times a slander) to assert that mere political conservatism is behind those conversions away from Episcopalianism in the wake of that body’s transformation away from traditional Christian doctrine on sex and marriage, women’s ordination, and homosexual relationships.

    The uncomfortable question potential converts have had to ask and answer is, how do you know when a church has taught the truth? If you rely on majority vote, or on the editorial page of the New York Times, as your arbiter, then you implicitly accept that your church’s teachings come from men and not from God. What man giveth, man can take away. The Catholic Church lays out a careful claim to doctrinal and sacramental continuity back to the first century apostles. Her members’ human foibles notwithstanding, this is a claim that can be studied, and accepted or not. But many converts have sought out the Church because they are looking for an authority that is bound to serve the truth, and not attempt to master it like Humpty Dumpty.

    [In the dictatorship of relativism there are "many" truths, but really, there is only one. Some truths are simply eternal, because they're always true. Truth doesn't change with times and trends. And perhaps a more fundamental point is this: if people believe their church is no longer holding with what is true (even if YOU don't believe it's true) then why shouldn't they move to a church they believe does hold with what is true? Why assign nefarious motives to people who are simply saying, "this church no longer seems to give a damn about the truth, but is the servant of the times?" That has nothing to do with bigotry or hate, if anything, these people may be feeling hated and bigoted against in their own churches. It's amazing how people who are so sure there are so many truths are usually so unable to consider that what they believe to be true ("look at these bigots") may be precisely the opposite. As I said elsewhere, I think people are just getting tired of being nice and going along and holding their tongues while what they hold sacred is run roughshod. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and to full respect for them, even people who disagree with the ever-changing-zeitgeist. What you call an uncomfortable question is not uncomfortable at all, if you give people the benefit of a doubt, rather than just automatically assigning the worst motives to them. But that wouldn't be any fun, for some. Perhaps an uncomfortable question for you, what if the progressives have it all wrong? - admin]

  • Brian English

    “Isn’t calling Chris Matthews or his audience idiotic, nasty and gratuitously ignorant baboons worse than what they said or did? I can’t see how this kind of thing is helpful.”

    I refer you to any of the points in the Gospels where Jesus goes up one side of the Pharisees and down the other. I refer you to the Letters of St. Paul, where he hammers false teachers who try to mislead the Church and calls for the expulsion from the Church of those who refuse to reject sin. I refer you to the writings of the Church Fathers, where they shred heretics (and sometimes each other). Catherine of Siena was not one to hold back from telling people what she thought.

    You have to identify evil as evil, fools as fools, and yes, ignorant baboons as ignorant baboons. The mealy-mouth approach has helped produce the current crisis. Time to speak plainly.

    [Speaking for myself, I know Jesus said to turn the other cheek, and I do try, but honestly, I'm tired, right now and I'm especially tired of being peaceful or "nice" when others are treating me (or my church) badly. I'm tired of the "we can say whatever we want, but you shut up and be nice, or we'll try to shame you for it" thing. -admin]

  • kevin

    Is Matthews in favor of gay marriage now? If so we can add that to his support of legalized abortion on demand. If he keeps this up he may get some more honorary degrees from catholic universities.

  • Brian English

    “I called the GOP audience the same tonight…although really…a few times it was the candidates – admin]”

    I didn’t watch the debate, but I would bet the GOP audience and candidates were not reacting enthusiastically to a statement attacking the Church.

  • Peggy

    Sorry, Roy, upon reflection, my question should really only have been directed at Kenneth because his comment was less nuanced than was yours. I was rankled at what seemed to be support for Chris Matthew’s association of opposition to gay marriage with “bigotry”, an association that is becoming a commonplace.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Kenneth dislikes Catholicism for many reasons, including its stance on birth control, and its opposition to gay marriage. I suppose “Catholic converts are all bigots who hate gays” is the new Leftist meme now, to slander Catholics, and all Christians who belong to a denominations that don’t permit gay marriage, either.

    Converts join religions of reasons, some noble, some not noble. And, even after their conversions, they remain flawed, sinful humans. Are we supposed to institute a kind of thought police now, to ensure they say and do only things that will offend absolutely no one?

  • Lawrence Cunningham

    It is not my place to offer spiritual advice to the Benedictine Oblate but the Rule does say that the monk should cultivate “taciturnitas” which can be translated as moderation of speech.

    [I love that..."it's not my place to, but" is right up there with, "not for nothing, but" and "I hate to say it, but..." You're perfectly free to say whatever you like and you needn't preface it with that passive thing you don't really mean. And then the usual "you should shut up" but once again framed as a shaming and a correction. I undoubtedly do need much correction but I'm tired of the "let us say what we want and you just shut up and take it or we'll shame you about it" thing. The crowd acted like baboons; if it is immoderate, it's also true. As to the condition of my soul and spirit, I think I've made it clear in the last two posts, that I'm deeply in need of Lent. This may surprise you: I don't need anyone to tell me I am anything but a struggling and less-than-perfect Benedictine. Thanks for your concern, though and your correction. We all need them sometimes, don't we? -admin]

  • Kim

    Most converts I know have converted away from heterodoxy and toward orthodoxy, whether it be the Roman Catholic faith or the Eastern Orthodox faith and not due to politics. Unfortunately, according to them, it has been the ‘politics’ of their former churches that distracted from their faith and worship. I attend what might be called a ‘liberal’ Catholic church but , thank God, our priests focus on our Lord and not politics.

    [The labels are awful, aren't they? "Liberal" Catholic or "conservative" Catholic doesn't really work b/c our church is too large for either of those labels, b/c JESUS is too large for them. Which is why "liberals" love the bishops when they speak out against war and poverty and "conservatives" love them when they speak out abortion, but neither side is ever wholly pleased with them. The bishops are teaching Catholic truth in its totality -- and that truth is complex and can't be reduced to bumperstickers -- and factions don't want to hear complex truth; they just want to be validated, not challenged to go deeper. The truth is, though, that when we go deeper, what we find is a confounding "yes" not a bunch of "nos". -admin]

  • http://www.iannarino.us Franciene

    As for turning the other cheek, I think it was Fr. Barron who said that turning the other cheek was not about backing down. It was about resistance. He recounted a story of Mother Theresa who went to a baker and asked for a piece of bread for a hungry child. The baker spit in her face. She replied: “Thank you, now do you have a piece of bread for the child?” Think about the action of turning the other cheek. How does the assailant strike you again without twisting his arm or using his other hand?

    Since hearing Fr. Barron’s words, I respond directly to verbal attacks with gentleness and the truth. But I am no longer silent.

  • stuart

    I can only speak for myself: I stopped attending the Episcopal church when it drifted away from religion and became a new age business. It did not help that I was raised as more of an Anglican. I shopped around some other faiths in my middle years but finally found God in a small traditional Catholic church hidden away near my home when a girlfriend dragged me there with her one Sunday. I say dragged but I was quite willing having spent happy times in a Jesuit school. I am forever grateful we went. For the very first time I felt God was in that house with us and I have attended Mass ever since. I have not officially converted though I would if I had a reason and I do not, out of respect, partake of the eucharist because of that, but it does not matter; For me religion is very personal and has nothing to do with this World in so much as the two do not conflict. I don’t believe that God gives a whit whether I am Catholic or not. I was raised with the view that the Jews go to Temple, The Catholics and Protestants to church, the Indians to their sweat lodges, etc, etc. Then on Monday they all pull together to make this a better World. It is no longer that simple.
    Folks often say that we become more conservative when we get older. I have not changed much at all; America has changed. The Churches have changed. Thousands of years ago human society had many of the same problems we deal with today and the Church struggles as time goes on. Someday it will struggle with intelligent life from other planets and human life that goes on and on. I might change religions if the Catholic Church declared that Life on planet X was evil because it did not know Christianity….but it won’t. I might change religions if the Vatican said all gays were going to Hell or Allah was the same God or Jesus was a Communist….but it hasn’t and won’t. Men say such things. The Church tries very hard to speak in this world for God.
    What matters to me is that when I kneel and pray I join the billions that have gone before me in a line back to a time before Peter’s Church. What matters to me is that God hears me, hears us and is merciful.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    KIm, one thing my agnostic husband says he likes about the Orthodox church I attend is that the sermons “Always talk about Jesus!” Not politics, whether Left, right or in-between.

    Unfortunately, many of the more mainstream churches have chosen to focus on politics, and it is very distracting for worshippers—not to mention that such churches always seemed to end up promoting what C.S. Lewis would have called “Christianity And. . . “, i.e., “Christianity and the Social Gospel”; “Christianity and the Modern Family”; “Christianity and the Conservative Vision”; “Christianity and Womens Rights”. Not that any of these things are wrong in themselves, but it always becomes a narrow vision of politics and ideology, and not the Gospel—and not even just the politics of particular political party, but of the Pastor and/or the local Bishop’s Commitee/Church Council/Elders, etc., (If Mrs. McBusy and her friends on the Vestry Committee suddenly take up veganism, you can be sure that you’re going to be hearing a lot in church about the evils of eating meat, and the fact that Jesus really must have been a vegetarian!)

    (Having a hierarchical church does go a long way in saving hapless parishoners from local busybodies.)

    I believe, by the way, that, after the current birth control rulings, the next assault on the church will involve gay marriage.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    The general trend does seem to be conversion away from the looser, more mainstream churches, to more orthodox churches, be they Catholic, Orthodox or evangelical.

    Speaking of which. . this is off topic, but please pray for Pastor Yousef Nardakhani, the imprisoned Iranian pastor, facing a death sentence for being an apostate to Islam. According to some sites, such as Jihadwatch, his time is quickly running out

    (St. Patrick’s Breastplate is good to pray, under these circumstances; also, Psalm 23.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Roy, we are all, to some extent, “shoppers” in religion, needy beggars, searching for the bread of life.

    As for making political statements—don’t we still have freedom of speech? And doesn’t that extend to recent converts, as much as to any other American citizen, whether one agrees with what they say, or not?

    I ask again—are we supposed to have some sort of thought police, regulating what recent converts can, and can’t, say, and deciding who “appropriate” to become a member of the church, and who isn’t? This isn’t the way Christ did it. . .

  • Teresa

    My late husband (a former Episcopalian priest) converted to the Catholic Church after many years of witnessing his church devolve into heterodoxy. And yes it was partly because of the Episcopal church’s stance on female priests, homosexual bishops and the Episcopal church’s spiral into moral relativism. To him it was no longer a faith but a secular political movement. I sometimes wonder why the likes of Matthews, Sebelieus (sp?) and Pelosi don’t just leave the Church and go somewhere else.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    According to the website Answering Moslems, Pastor Nardakhani has just been sentenced to death.

  • Brian English

    So Kenneth and Roy get to say which conversions are genuine? You guys would have been great during the Spanish Inquisition. I bet you would have sorted those conversos out immediately with your keen insight into the human soul.

  • Brian English

    “It is not my place to offer spiritual advice to the Benedictine Oblate but the Rule does say that the monk should cultivate “taciturnitas” which can be translated as moderation of speech.”

    Charitable correction certainly has its place, but when the person you are trying to correct believes it is actually you and the Church that needs to be corrected, it is tume for the gloves to come off.

  • Brian English

    “As for turning the other cheek, I think it was Fr. Barron who said that turning the other cheek was not about backing down.”

    In Catholicism he explains that in the Jewish culture of that time period, you would strike someone with the back of your hand, so someone striking you with their right hand would hit you on the right cheek. Standing your ground and turning the other cheek would be presenting your left cheek to be struck with the back of the left hand. Since the left hand was considered ritually impure, you would be signaling that the person doing the striking was engaging in an unrighteous and immoral act.

  • Bender

    Would it be an occasion of anti-gay hate to object if your brother disclosed to you that he was having a sexual relationship with your father?

    And if your brother explained, “But Dad and I love each other. Don’t you want us to be happy? Aren’t we entitled to express our love?”, would it be wrong of you to continue to protest? Would that make you anti-gay? Or is there something about such a relationship that is inherently and intrinsically inconsistent with love and/or truth?

    Or what if you had a friend who was atheist or maybe a Hindu or Buddhist, and he announced, “I want to be a Catholic priest”? If you were to object and tell him that it was not possible, would that be an act of irrational hate or discrimination?

  • Roz Smith

    I was recently accused of anti gay bigotry, anti-scientific ignorance and closed mindedness by a neighbor who a minute later announced with great sanctimony that she gets all her news from Morning Joe and refuses to listen to Fox! I laughed in her face and asked who is closed minded. I almost never watch TV but read voraciously in the public policy area.

    The irony is that when I arrived at the informal dinner party she was busy telling another guest “I usually get along best with Aries but Libras are OK, too.” She has a couple of out of wedlock grandchildren, a husband who hasn’t held a job in years and thinks gay men are hip and cool. A high school graduate who got lucky with an administrative position that made use of her organizing skills at a company that provided her with a nice salary, I doubt if she could describe the scientific method if her life depended on it. I did graduate work on a National Science Foundation Fellowship yet to her I am ill informed and anti-science because I don’t accept the validity of anthropogenic global warming- a term I had to explain to her!

    I suspect she is typical of the gospel of MSNBC audience. She is very good at what she does for a living but her ability to think critically is wafer thin, as is her knowledge of anything other than her job and pop culture. She left the church she was raised in for one with a non credal feel good message. She flits from one trend to another and thinks that makes her sophisticated. In a word she is jejune, a sad specimen of 55 unlikely to ever reach the emotional maturity of a 15 year old.

  • http://NewAdvent Wesley L. Vincent, Ph.D.

    Having left a conservative, once-saved-always-saved, safe-and-secure-for-eternity evangelical denomination and entered the Catholic Church as a convert of conviction, I guess I am a racist, bigoted, sexist pig because I actually believe what the Church teaches. To think I gave up eternal security for worshiping in truth and light. I feel so foolish… and like such a racist, bigoted, sexist. Why can’t we have priestesses? It opens up such interesting possibilities.

  • doc

    Anchoress, in your response to Kim, you launch into your labels are awful theme again. I’m sorry, but as long as Democrats/Liberals support and fund abortion, these labels are essential to combat the Pelosi-type effort to lull the Catholic voter into a “they’re all the same” slumber. This aversion to labels is one reason why Obama got 54% of the Catholic vote in 2008. Can I assume you agree with me that the country would be better off if the Democrats abandoned their support and funding for abortion? Of course you do. I’m not sure how enough voters (Catholic ones, specifically) will force Democrats to abandon abortion if they don’t grasp the message, DEMOCRATS OWN ABORTION at every opportunity. If the Dems lose the Catholic vote over it, they’ll drop abortion, I’m sure of it. Wouldn’t it be worth the effort to find out if I’m right?

    Oh, one more thing. The use of abortion in one hand, and poverty in the other implies that conservatives support povery in the same way liberals support abortion. This is downright offensive and is a lazy leftist talking point. The quesiton is, how best to lift the poor out of poverty. Government cash, as the Democrats have tried for decades now, or free enterprise, traditional morality, embracing family, and work ethic, as is preached by Thomas Sowell, Charles Murray, Walter Williams and a host of others. Sowell’s book, Ethnic America really illustrates how this has worked by contrasting the social trajectories of the Irish and the black populations with those of the Jews, Japanese, and Chinese. The former 2 groups lingered in povery far longer than the latter 3, primarily due to different attitudes toward education and refusing to dishonor the family with destructive behavior. All 5 of these groups started their American journey facing severe poverty and harsh discrimination. It’s a fascinating read and thoroughly researched. Losing Ground by Murray drives home the same conclusions.

  • R.C.

    I grew up calling myself a “Christian” meaning that I always intended to practice the faith once for all delivered to the apostles. It was in Southern Baptist churches that I primarily served the body of Christ and worshiped God.

    Then I began to examine the history of Christianity and the Early Church Fathers, and realized that they were incompatible with the notion (expressed to me during my upbringing) that the Baptist expression of the Christian faith was that expression of the faith which, were we to take a time machine back to the year 70 or 80 A.D., we would see the early Christians practicing under the tutelage of the Apostle John and all the remaining disciples of the apostles.

    I found, for example, that the Christians who learned Christianity from the apostles all baptized infants and understood baptism as a sacrament, a successor to circumcision, so far as we can tell. (By “so far as we can tell,” I mean that the idea of limiting baptism to “believer’s baptism” may have existed somewhere, but we have no evidence to show that it did; to argue that it existed is to argue from lacunae in the record.)

    I found that confession to bishops or priests crops up early, and everywhere. I found that belief in the Real Presence crops up early and everywhere. I found that belief in the authority of the Bishop of Rome to command the church at Corinth to submit to their priests and bishop, and even to send legates to ensure that they did, had already been exercised even prior to the death of the Apostle John. That it was Clement, not John, who should issue such an instruction is itself shocking to a person who grew up without any notion of hierarchical episcopate. That the Corinthians obeyed, and not hesitantly but with such totality that they began a habit of reading Clement’s letter in their liturgies side-by-side with Scripture (!) suggests that they considered the authority of Clement to be not only valid but tremendously important. What they did not do is tell him to get lost, as they would have if they’d been an autonomous Church and thought him to be an outsider poking his nose into their affairs.

    And the list goes on. In the end, my options, if I wanted to continue to claim to be practicing the faith of the apostles, came down to the following:
    - High-Church, Conservative Anglican
    - Eastern Orthodox
    - Catholic

    Which to select?

    As I am a long-time devotee of C.S.Lewis, you would think that the choice was quite obvious.

    But it also seems obvious to me that the Anglican church since Lewis’ day is increasingly heretical and apostate. Given the choice between allowing a random member of the Episcopal hierarchy to catechize my children in the Christian faith, or a randomly-selected director of the ACLU, I would find the choice difficult. This was not so big a problem in Lewis’ day, or Oswald Chambers’.

    And two examples of what I considered heretical are the ordaining of priestesses and the countenancing of actively, openly, and unrepentantly homosexual persons in leadership positions.

    Why do I consider these heresy? Am I just an anti-woman, anti-gay bigot?

    Well, in attempting to discover what real apostolic Christianity really was, I found that one really had two options:

    1. Believe apostolic Christianity was Baptist or something like that, despite the fact that there were no Christians until the 1600′s holding Baptist views. (Sure, there were some holding a few doctrinal views in common with Baptists; but they always held other views in common with Catholics which modern Baptists do not hold, and still other views which Catholics and modern Baptists find equally heretical.) This also required me to believe that real Christianity had largely been forgotten by the world, until suddenly a bunch of Europeans (often with very iffy scholarly credentials) separated by 1500 years from the authors of the New Testament finally figured out what those authors had actually meant, while the Early Church Fathers who’d been instructed by the apostles themselves had largely misunderstood it; or…

    2. Believe that the men whom the apostles had taught and later selected for leadership positions over the first churches had not somehow forgotten the faith the apostles taught them but had instead faithfully transmitted it, and could therefore be relied upon, in the aggregate, to give us an accurate picture of that early faith.

    Clearly, Option 2 is vastly more probable, so I selected it.

    But then I had to face the consequences of that. Marriage and Sexual Morality are obviously of great importance in Christianity and pre-Christian Judaism. It is impossible that the apostles would have taught for twenty-to-sixty years without conveying Christian morality on such subjects over and over and over again.

    So clearly the Early Church Fathers would have a strong grasp of what Christian sexual morality was, a grasp delivered to them from the apostles. Did they allow women bishops or gay marriage?

    Hardly. The notion was clearly unthinkable to them. There was no debate about it, little discussion; any scant reference to such things was almost blasé in its casual condemnation, its assumption of the sinfulness of any sexual expression other than a true marital act between a man and a woman. People would have to commit to years of penance, sometimes, before being readmitted to the sacraments; some of the early heresies involved rigorists who claimed that such serious sins could not be forgiven at all.

    So having adopted Option 2 for understanding what Christianity actually is, the question was this: Would I return to Option 1 purely when discussing matters of sex? Would I profess that today, we know all about the apostolic faith on account of the testimony of Scripture and of the Early Church Fathers except on matters of sex, and that on matters of sex, our forefathers in the Christian faith were all uniformly ignorant, right back to the apostles themselves, and that it is only now, in the last fifty years, in decaying Western Civilization, that a bunch of often-not-disinterested parties have finally, belatedly, discovered what Jesus taught on the matter?

    Ridiculous. No person with an open-minded willingness to follow the truth wherever it led could believe THAT.

    So I was left with one remaining option: The Apostolic Deposit of faith apparently has been successfully preserved by the Catholic Church, in hierarchical matters, and in sacramental matters, and in matters of sexual morality.

    Put it another way: If you think that the whole Christian tradition of faith and morals from the apostles until now is unreliable on matters of sexual morality, you have no plausible argument for saying that it’s reliable on matters of practice and doctrine. Throw out the sinfulness of mutual masturbation between two males or two females, and you immediately throw out any evidentiary claims for the Real Presence, the episcopate, and the canon of Scripture.

    Either Christianity is what the Catholics say it is, or Christianity is unknown to the modern world, lost in the mists of time. And the evidence of what early Christianity believed is really so plentiful as to make the latter option impossible, too, if it weren’t already so improbable.

    On the basis of that reasoning (and a constant urging of the Holy Spirit which, while a “felt” thing and therefore very subjective, I nevertheless believe to have been real), I became a Catholic.

    So.

    Am I a bigot? Or just a rationalist who follows the truth to every last conclusion, no matter how uncomfortable?

  • fiestamom

    I can’t get mad at Chris Matthews, but I do feel sad for him. I think he’s making a fool of himself, that whole leg tingle thing, remember when Zell Miller (a democrat) challenged Matthews to a duel? Sad. I even remember when Matthews substituted for Rush Limbaugh. It was actually a good show, and I enjoyed him. I don’t know what happened to him, sometimes I think the contested 2000 election of George W. Bush drove the already biased liberal media into unprecedented rage and advocacy for anything anti-Republican. Anything. I wonder if that’s what happened to Matthews? One of my lenten goals is to pray for Pelosi, Kerry, Biden, Sebelius, Sotomayor, and now Matthews who are straying so far from our Beautiful Church.

  • Justin

    Elizabeth, I’m just a little confused by your reply to craig’s post (1:31 pm). He was reiterating your defense of the Episcopalian converts and you seem to have dressed him down.

  • Mr. Patton

    Bigot – A person that is bigoted.

    Bigoted – Is obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of one’s own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions.

  • Mark

    WOW, Anchoress, world record on admin comments. I pray that I may never get in the way when that nerve is touched. It really made me laugh, not something I am doing near enough of in the last couple months. It reminded me of a time when I hit what must have been a similar nerve with Greta. I had admin adds all over my torso before she was done. The bad part was that it for some reason hit my tickle bone and the madder she got, the more I had to laugh. I think we came close to the China syndrome on that one. If I had not managed to get “I love you” in between belly laughs, I think melt down would have occured. I think you both were made from some amazing spine and character genes. Keep up the good work. Keep up the fight. It is a good day to fight for if we do not fight, we will become slaves.

  • A.N. Onimous

    I just want to point out here, that most names used in the political sphere to describe “bad people”, are from left wing to right wing, such as: bigot, (race-,sex-)ist, cold-hearted, uncharitable,etc. However, there are examples of conservatives calling liberals names as well, such as: bleeding-hearts, illogical, name-callers, ignoramus, and hypocrites. notice, that the names used by liberals invoke a stronger emotion than those used by conservatives… food for thought…

  • Gerry

    After long and careful consideration, I must sadly conclude that an apology is in order – to baboons.

  • Teomatteo

    R.C. I enjoyed and agreed with your responce. Well done. Godbewithyou.

  • Frank Gibbons

    I’m a Peace, Love and Woodstock guy, but I say sock-it, sock-it, sock-it to ‘em, Anchoress!

  • Rick

    Those to be called Anti-christ.
    I John 1:18
    They went out from us, but they were not of us; they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

    Beware of those who try to deseive you, those that call themselves sheep but are wolves in sheeps clothing. There are many wolves in sheeps clothing in the media, in the world and in the Church, it is time we start calling these false representatives of the faith what they are. It would be realy nice if the Pope with the faithful Bishops start doing their jobs and taking those to task that are misleading the faithful. Peter, John and Paul had no problem calling these false teachers out why do their successors not have the fortitude to do the same? How can those that fall from the faith reconcile if they do not realize or accept the fact that they have sinned against God?


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