Hebdo-Gellergate: Can we Square a Free Speech Circle?

CRM / Shutterstock.com

Sticking a toe into the Charlie Hebdo/Pamela Geller question has not interested me. Watching a debate about what constitutes "authentic" freedom of speech that is meant to provoke, vs "inauthentic, hateful" freedom of speech that is also meant to provoke -- often with the very same voices taking both sides -- has left me thinking more about how too many people in America believe, along with the president, that no crisis ought to be wasted; everything is fodder for ideological exploitation and … [Read more...]

If you like your nun soap, you can’t keep your nun soap…

Japanese Cherry Blossom Soap. Sold out.

At least not if Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) have their way, because the government can't leave anything alone; everything must be regulated: the Personal Care Products Safety Act (S. 1014) will basically regulate the small cottage industry of artisanal soap-making out or existence with annual fees, multiple registrations and detailed information about every product they offer.You like the lady who keeps goats and makes that great lye-soap with … [Read more...]

Steak & Godly Intimacy: Poverty Plus Personal Perspectives

shutterstock roast beef dinner by photoed

In different ways, a few Patheos Catholic bloggers have been talking about poverty, and from a personal point of view, and all unplanned.It started off with Rebecca Lane Frech thinking back on the paradoxical freedoms and intimacies that came with being short of money, when she and her family had to lean on others, who in turn leaned on them:When we were poor, we shared and there was a joy in sharing. I can remember the phone calls to my friend S where I would say “Payday is tomorrow a … [Read more...]

RFRA Tempts Kristallnacht but Sane Voices Arising?

The day after Kristallnacht, Public Domain, WIkimedia Commons

Well, America -- pitching between lunacy and sorrow -- seems to be reaching a tipping point.The Indiana RFRA story has inspired hypocritical businessmen to declare they won't sell their wares to the Midwestern rubes who won't settle down and think right.It has lured dependable establishment shills into bravely expressing the exact moral outrage guaranteed to get a cheer from the audience.It has assured some in the press that cutting off the microphone of a guest who will not buckle … [Read more...]

Indiana’s RFRA: Questions for Christians & Those Crying “Bigotry!”

Image by bikeriderlondon, courtesy of shutterstock.com

The other day Melinda Selmys guest-posted here about Indiana SB101 and made some people happy and a lot of people annoyed. I'm going to take a brief break from my project to touch on it, as well. Unlike Melinda, I believe I will annoy a lot of people, and please almost no one, but that seems to be how I roll, lately.At First Things, I already detailed my position on legal compulsion and whether Jesus would bake the wedding cake, and my feelings haven't changed.In light of this new law, … [Read more...]

ISIS-supporter confirms my point: West too hip to deal

Shutterstock Isis Flag

Regular readers know I've said this often and since at least 2008: the inability of the West to acknowledge Islamic extremism with a fluent language of faith -- their apparent feeling that modern secularist enlightenment can handle events invoking and inviting supernatural forces -- means they lack the means to fully address an evil that will be dissuaded by neither bombs nor sanctions.Today, in a follow-up to his earlier piece, "What ISIS really wants", Graeme Wood presents some reader … [Read more...]

I’m having a Howard Beale Moment

Image patronestaff courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Yes, yes, yes, I'll recover my head and my bearings in an hour or so, but just now I am weary unto death with the headlines I am reading, because so much of it is -- excuse my vulgarity -- unrepentant bullshit. And I'm tired of the government and the press ladling bullshit at me, as though I have grown accustomed to the taste and smell of bullshit and now crave it and would, in fact, happily bathe in it, if only they just gave us all the bullshit they have to spare.First up: We're supposed … [Read more...]

You Want Dignity? You Should Have It. So Should Everyone.

Image Gustavo Frazao courtesy of Shutterstock.com

All day I had hoped to find time to respond to this piece by Frank Bruni in the New York Times wherein he argues that religious liberty must be regulated and sidelined, for the sake of human dignity, particularly his:Christian fundamentalists in this country are practiced at claiming marginalization and oppression. “They’re always saying they’re kept out of the public square, and that’s baloney,” said Marci Hamilton, a constitutional law expert and the author of “God vs. the Gavel.” “They’re … [Read more...]

“Slovenly!” New from KardashianFashian! UPDATED

I'm sorry to rant, but I just don't get it.I mean, it's one thing for extremely rich celebrities to do their everyman-poseur thing with the ripped jeans and tee shirts; their homage to working class people (who would very likely love to afford better wardrobes) has been old hat for decades.But this! This I really don't get:Go HERE to see what I'm talking about!Why would someone as rich as Kim Kardashian -- with stylists and handlers all around her -- go out in public wearing … [Read more...]

Obama, “showing his shortcomings…”

As David Niven once said, "Ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen."Yes, I suppose it was unavoidable.Although very likely we all hoped, sincerely had hoped, that it would be otherwise, President Obama could not find anything like grace, maturity, professionalism, magnanimity or humility when responding to the undeniable drubbing his party took -- largely, it would seem, due to the weight of his own hubris-laden anchor -- in yesterday's election.Despite the … [Read more...]