Murderers for Jesus

Murderers for Jesus January 12, 2012

“On occasion scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.- Rick Santorum

Yesterday, one of my readers was explaining that when you kill a an Iranian civilian in cold blood, that’s “pre-emptive killing, not murder”. “100% Prolife” candidate Rick Santorum holds precisely this view, dissenting from two millennia of Catholic teaching which says that you may never, for any reason, deliberately take innocent human life. Our country is not at war and the Iranian scientist who just got offed was not a combatant. He was a murder victim–which Santorum thinks is wonderful.

One reader, an actual self-identified “FrancoFan” and a fascist responded by saying that no Muslim anywhere is a noncombatant. Therefore it is always legitimate to kill Muslims. Strangely, this apologist for cold-blooded murder of innocents can no longer post here.

Others argued the old “Wouldn’t a well-placed car bomb in 1937 have done wonders for the peace of the world?” Why stop there? Freakonomics fans argue that well-placed abortion clinics in populations prone to a high crime rate have saved us a world of hurt by killing criminals in the womb. Would a well-placed abortion in 1889 have saved the world a lot of trouble?

100% Prolife candidate Rick Santorum, already on record in favor of torture, is now on record as in favor of the murder of civilians on the chance that something or other might happen years from now to justify it. Some people will try to make the claim that he was not a civilian. Sorry, but we are not at war with Iran. The scientist is part of the military-industrial infrastructure of Iran–just like the occupants of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were. If you say it is legitimate to murder him, you are saying it was legitimate for Osama bin Laden to murder his victims on 9/11.

There’s a reason for Just War theory. Santorum should try learning about it. Particularly since if you grant his logic, there’s no reason why you should confine “pre-emptive killing” to swarthy foreigners. As Freakonomics fans make clear, you can (and should) apply the same logic right here at home to unborn babies from the lower classes. Santorum has laid the groundwork for prolifers to find their way back into the pro-abortion fold of the American Empire. How good and pleasant it is when Planned Parenthood and Santorum are on the same page about “pre-emptive killing” of the potentially dangerous. Maybe he can head up the Department of Pre-Crime for our God King.

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  • Charlene

    Hi Richard Johnson: The real question in my mind is whether we are at war with the people of Iran or at war with a group of barbaric Islamist mullahs who happen to control the country and who want to develop nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to Israel and Europe. From everything I have read and heard, the Iranians despise their fundamentalist rulers. Perhaps they are responsible for the elimination of this “scientist”? If so, great! (Here’s a question for you – suppose it WAS the Iranian “resistance”or whatever they’re called – does that make the event and the conduct acceptable to you?) As a woman, all I can say is take a look at the photos of the graduating classes of university women from, say, 1970, and the present in Iran. The country is ruled by barbaric, misogynistic weirdos (can’t think of a better term for them!) We should be supporting the Iranian people in their efforts to rid themselves of these fascist, moronic heathens!
    And BTW, Mark, I never called myself a “faithful pro-life Catholic” – don’t put words into my mouth. I am a Catholic, a mother, pro-life, pro-death penalty and pro-just war. I will, without compunction, kill to protect my children. If you are not willing to do so, then you are neither rational nor “pro-life.” As I said before, try living in the real world.

    • Dan C

      I have heard people claim they need to abort their child to “live in the real world.” Its a bad motto.

    • Richard Johnson

      “The real question in my mind is whether we are at war with the people of Iran or at war with a group of barbaric Islamist mullahs who happen to control the country and who want to develop nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to Israel and Europe.”

      That is a moot point, Charlene, since those Islamists who control the country now and took control of the country in 1979 were not in power in 1953 when we declared war on Iran.

      “We should be supporting the Iranian people in their efforts to rid themselves of these fascist, moronic heathens!”

      They did, but we overthrew the person they put in power in 1953. Were we wrong to do that? Are they right to suspect that we might do it again?

      Further, if a foreign nation were to somehow overthrow our national government and install their puppet leader, would you consider it an act of war? Would you work for 25 years to try to overthrow that puppet dictator?

      Again…you cannot justify the intentional murder of an innocent civilian in one situation and still ethically condemn it in others save for allowing the doctrine of “American exceptionalism” to be your guiding teaching.

      Does American exceptionalism trump Catholic teaching?

    • Mark Shea

      The man whose cold blooded murder you cheer was no threat to your children. And for all you know, he may have been one of the Iranians who despise their rulers. He may even, for all you know, have been engaged in espionage against the regime. Because you know nothing about him except that he was murdered in cold blood and you, a “prolife Catholic” spit on the Church’s teaching about the taking of innocent human life, preferring your cowardice about something you fear maybe possibly could one day happen to the word of the Living God. Shame on you. Your reasoning is identical to that of Bin Laden (“civilians are part of the system and deserve to die”) and Planned Parenthood (“Kill innocent people before they do something bad”). Your only quibble is about murdering innocent people in the womb or a little later. Disgusting.

      • Megan

        For example. She disagrees with you and gets this. Uncivil name calling. Talk about disgusting. What a sorry representation of a Catholic.

        • Mark Shea

          You mean she cheers enthusiastically for cold blooded murder of an innocent man and receives the rebuke she richly deserves for that?

          Do you use kid gloves when Catholics for a Free Choice argues that you can stick scissors in a baby’s brain and it’s okay? Do you think it’s disgusting when a Catholic tells such a person that they are apologists for murder who care more about comfort than they do about the Living God? I called her no name. I named for her what she is doing: apologizing for cold blooded murder. if that upsets you more than murder does, then your priorities are seriously confused.

          I have no interest in the tender feelings of apologists for murder. If they can dish out murder, they can take a little stern rebuke.

          • Megan

            Called her no names? You called her a coward and compared her to Osama Bin Laden. Give me a break, I’m not stupid.

            • Megan

              And I only need read as far as Richard Johnson’s very intelligent and civil response to show an example of how an intelligent Catholic can argue an issue.

            • Mark Shea

              My heart is breaking for the tender feelings of excusers of cold-blooded murder. I can see how murder pales in comparison to saying it is cowardly to endorse murder.

              Please do me a favor and leave in disgust. I’ve about had it with murder apologetics today.

              • Megan

                I’m not apologizing for anything, but please be the victim and throw around another strawman if it makes you feel better about yourself. I’m happy that you are so proud of your self-righteous anger and disgust. How embarrassing.

                • Mark Shea

                  Goodbye Megan.

                  • Zach Foreman

                    Though I agree with 95% of what Mr. Shea writes, I think he is being unfair and circular in his reasoning. He is presupposing the point that is being argued: “Since you are clearly supporting murder, I will not listen to your arguments saying that it is not murder.” He explicitly says that he is rebuking his opponents more sternly today because they support murder. But that is exactly what they deny, but they would, because, hey they support murder!
                    He does the same with those he calls torture-apologists. He doesn’t hesitate to call them names or attack them because they support torture, even though this is the very point they are arguing against.

        • rakowskidp

          What name-calling? Charlene advocates for grave evil in the name of “protecting the children” and “living in the real world,” and Mark rightly called it disgusting. Any time a Catholic advocates grave evil, something that stands in direct contradiction to the moral teachings of the Church, it is right to label such advocacy as “disgusting.”

          • Megan

            Are you his paid defender or just bored?

            • Megan

              I am sure he can defend himself, he is a big boy.

              • Mark Shea

                She said as she defended an apologist for cold-blooded murder.

            • rakowskidp

              No, I simply agree with him (and with the teachings of the Church over and above tribal allegiances to either the United States or any of it’s political parties).

    • kenneth

      How’s this for “rational”? Those barbaric, misogynistic weirdos came to power through our actions. They would not have ever become a serious political or military force in that country were it not for our actions in the 1960s and 70s.

      What’s worse is that our current war posturing and back-channel assassinations are destroying whatever meager chances existed for a democratic opposition to overthrow the regime.

      We are giving the extremists of the regime the best gift they could have ever imagined. In the last few years, their hold was cracking. The economy was rotten, people were finding the courage to stand against a brutal government. That’s ALL gone now. We’ve united the Iranian people in what they see as a national cause for survival and sovereignty. We’ve done the regime a bigger favor than if we had Fed-Exed them a functioning warhead with instructions….

  • Chris

    I’d just like to point out that character assassination is also a mortal sin that falls under “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.

    • What are you trying to say?

      • Chris

        Oh I don’t know. Recklessly tagging someone a “murderer” on the World Wide Web is a start. Last I checked, whether you’ve killed a man or killed their good name, the destination is the same if a person doesn’t repent.

        Splinter, plank, all that.

        • Mark Shea

          Who did I tag a murderer (aside from the people who, you know, murdered the scientist). Jesus does say that if you are angry with your brother (not mention cheering for his murder as “wonderful”) you have already committed murder in your heart. So in that sense, yes, Santorum is a murderer for Jesus. And if he should, God forbid, become President, he could well become a murderer in deed, as well as in his heart, should he order the death of other innocents in pursuit of his perverted theories of Just War that lie behind this piece of disgusting cheerleading.

          But by all means, continue the handwringing for the tender feelings of rich and powerful pols who lead Catholics to believe they can be 100% prolife and simultaneously cheer for murder in the first degree. The delicate feelings of powerful men are *so* much more important than murder in the first degree.

    • Cinlef

      Actually it false under “Not bearing false witness”

      But who here is engaging in character assassination?

      • Cinlef

        *falls under “not bearing false witness”

      • Chris

        No, actually, it falls under “Thou Shalt not Kill”.

        • Cinlef

          Character assassination in the sense of slandering someone? Really? (Sincere question)

          • Mark Shea

            Chris, like the other people energetically laboring to make excuses for cold-blooded murder of innocents and those who cheer for that, is gone. I’ve read enough nauseating apologias for one day.

  • kmk

    If the murder of scientists or anyone else who is working for the defense department of any given country is justifiable and classified under “Just War Theory,” how come the man who murdered two CIA agents in Langley in 1997 and was executed in Virginia in 2002 was not subjected to any kind of US military tribunal/court of law, as a combatant under the Geneva Conventions would be? I know it predates 2001, but the Twin Towers had already been bombed:

    “Mir Aimal Kansi was put to death in Virginia for killing two CIA employees.

    In January 1993 he picked up an AK-47 and started systematically pumping bullets into cars parked at a red light near CIA headquarters in the US. He killed Frank Darling, 28, and Lansing Bennett, 66 and seriously injured three others.

    The Pakistani immigrant was given the lethal injection in 2002. He was 38.”

    • kenneth

      It’s all covered in the Official Handbook of American Imperial Exceptionalism. If we do something, it’s a “blow for freedom” or self defense. If a brown guy carries out an extrajudicial killing, it’s terrorism…

      • I’ll assume then that you don’t actually live in America.

        • kenneth

          Not anymore, I’m afraid. I live within the geographic and political boundaries of the United States, but I have a hard time thinking of it as “America” anymore.

          • kmk

            I proudly live in America, and am a veteran, and my (civilian) husband often works for the US defense department (not a scientist, though!) . If he were killed on the way to work one day because of where he worked, would he have been classified as killed in action, and would his killers have been tried in a military tribunal, under the terms of the Geneva convention?

          • Funny thing is? We’ve been trashing the country for so many decades, it’s finally beginning to live up to our criticisms. Sort of like a person who spends his whole life insisting he’s a loser. As often as not, he’ll end up being a loser. A country telling itself that it’s as bad as the worst countries in history will, shockingly, probably end up being as bad as the worst countries in history. A nice little package we’ve left our posterity.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              You forced the sovereign nations around you to cede a set amount of land to you, under the obvious threat of arms, so you could expand your national territory at our expense.

              And you couldn’t even be bothered to abide by the very treaties you forced our leaders to sign (when, of course, you weren’t just murdering our oldest and most peaceful diplomats under flags of truce.) And when it became obvious to everyone, red and white, that you weren’t, and never had any intention to, abide by the treaties you forced us to sign, you’d come, armed, and foist on us yet another treaty.

              You used your advanced technology to take whatever land and wealth you wanted, without any regard for who or what was already there.

              Once established, your national government still had to cut deals with its constituent states, again at our expense. And then a generation later had the audacity to try to pin responsibility for the concentration camps* that came out of the 1802 compact on Georgia.

              But Jackson’s on the $20.

              Dave G, I keep trying to tell ya, you’re backing the wrong horse.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Meant to add…

                *Yes, Virginia, the concentration camp was first born into modernity in Georgia, United States, in the 1830’s. I can show you the sites of multiple log stockades used to house thousands of human beings in conditions that frankly would shame the perpetrators of the Shoah. I can even show you some of the chestnut logs used to build these hulks that my grandmothers and aunts were herded into like pigs or cattle, and left to die through winter of the filth and disease that comes when you lock 3,000 people in a hole in the ground the size of a small parish hall.

                Yeah, ya’ll are just the last best hope of mankind.

                Where’s my sick bag?

                • Hezekiah Garrett

                  Further, I don’t personally believe for a moment that it was purely coincidental that the 1st and 3rd most wealthy men living on this continent at that time just happened to be Cherokee men.

                  And because their plantations were coveted, as well as some of the rocks on our land, many of the rest of us were driven from one-room cabins, and waddle and daub huts, under armed guard.

                • Confederate Papist

                  Hezikiah – your people and my people both….plus, my wife and children are Lakota, sooo, the Federals have not been kind to any of us.

                  • Confederate Papist

                    My bad….spelled you name wrong! Sorry!

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      No worries on the spelling.

                      It just frustrates me that Americans really don’t get why so many people both hate and fear them.

              • Sorry guys, I just don’t subscribe to the America Sucks attitude. But then I don’t see the appropriate alternative to ‘my mother drunk or sober’ as ‘my mother: drunken slut, just give me my inheritance then drop dead.’ Perhaps I’m not good enough to only see it one way, but I’m trying.

                Oh, and I’m descended from Cherokee myself, and my wife is descended from both Iroquois and – wait for it -Jenny Wiley. So there are some differing opinions for you.

  • Megan

    I agree with this. I typically cannot stand Mark Shea’s partisan political bloviating, but as my dad says, the sun shines on a dog’s butt every once in a while.

    • rakowskidp

      Partisan political bloviating? You haven’t been following him all that closely, have you?

    • Mark Shea

      I’m curious. Who do you think I am a partisan for given that, at best, I have a modest bit of support for Ron Paul while recognizing he’s kind of a kook, a mild interest in Huntsman, while the rest of the field on both side are, I think, worthless as candidates. In which sense is that “partisan”?

      • Megan

        I have seen you write numerous blogs that are clearly slanted toward a specific political point of view, I am not speaking to just the past few months. There is nothing wrong with that, but using the Church to advance a political agenda is wrong and you have done that. It’s not just the politics, I have always found you to be mean-spirited in your responses to people. I don’t listen to Catholic Answers Live when you are the guest because I think you are often curt and condescending to callers. You’ll probably attack me now and other commenters will too, but whatever. Like I said, at least you’re correct in this case.

        • Megan

          I guess mostly I am just tired of politics on blogs that claim to be about the Church.

          • Mark Shea

            This blog claims to be about everything that interests me–from the perspective of a Catholic layman.

        • Mark Shea

          My blogs on politics are typically on ethical and moral questions, viewed from the perspective of somebody who thinks the Church’s teaching trumps the partisan needs of apologists for the favorite grave evils of their particular party. As such, I oppose abortion IVF, ESCR, euthanasia, gay ‘marriage’–and torture, murder, and unjust war. The latter three are particular favorites of the Right and (since my readers are mostly Righties and don’t make excuses for the first five evils but make copious excuses for the last three, I argue with them. If you can tell me what political agenda I’ve advanced beyond “Listen to the Church” I’m happy to listen. I hope you don’t think me curt and condescending for saying so.

          • I don’t know. It seems that your readers are split down the center. If the majority of your readers still are card carrying Conservative Republicans loyal to the party, at least half of those who comment are firmly in the camp of Paul, libertarianism, and any one of a thousand different non-conservative Christian Republican American whatever views. Assuming there are problems outside of the GOP/Conservative fold of ideas, maybe it’s time to address those problems a little more often since there are obviously many readers who don’t fall into the ‘loyal to the Republicans no matter what’ category anymore. Just an observation.

  • Jim Mazzarelli

    To Mark Shea: You make many good points here. Have you come out and endorsed anyone yet? Are you willing to tell us who you voted for in the last presidential election? Thanks

    • Mark Shea

      I vote for some third party guys whose name escapes me. Before that I had always voted GOP. This time I will vote for Paul or, if he’s not on the ballot (likely) somebody else who does not ask me to support grave evil–assuming such a candidate runs.

  • Brian in Peoria


    Serious question, no sarcasm intended here: If you had to vote for any one of the Republican primary candidates or President Obama, who would you vote for, and why?

    I have not read all of your writings, so maybe you have already said who you would support, but I respect your opinion and would like to know who you would support.


    • Mark Shea

      As I said, I’d back Ron Paul. See my archives for why–and for the qualifications on that. He is not a candidate without problems.

  • Faith Roberts

    Joe Schriner! That’s who you vote for sometimes. I do too when I can’t bear to vote for either party candidate.

  • Zach Foreman

    As I said in a previous comment, I have written hundreds of pages on Just War and Terrorism, here is a paragraph from my conclusion that may cause those who support “by any means necessary” logic to pause:

    We are not angels, as many pacifists assume, neither are we beasts, as the total war doctrine assumes. Fallen creatures, we lie in between: rational animals with the capacity to use force in the service of justice. We do not live in a utopian paradise, where war is obsolete; neither do we live in General Sherman’s hell, where even the most heinous acts are permitted. Just War has proven itself nuanced and flexible. Augustine wrote that the true evil of war is not the deaths it causes, for they will all die anyway. Rather, the true evil of war is the anger, lust for power, and other sins that accompany it. Taking this view, it is clear that just war is meant to protect the virtue of the soldier as much as the lives of the innocent. “War brings a disproportionate increase in hatred, destruction and cruelty.” The rules of war, especially ius in bello considerations such as discrimination and proportionality, are set up to protect the soldier just as much as the civilian. These rules prevent a soldier from becoming a murderer. Thus, violence must be avoided not only because it violates the human dignity of its victims, but wounds the dignity of the perpetrator as well. War can be, if not ennobling, then at least conducive to virtue, which in Latin and Greek is a cognate of “manliness.” Proper restraint in war is not mere kindness, compassion or hope for reciprocity, but part of the virtue of justice. Practicing restraint in war will make the warrior a better person and prevent a descent to animality, all too common in warfare.
    The recent example of troops in Afghanistan urinating on Taliban corpses underscores it. Frankly, the Iranian scientist is not in a position to care whether he was killed according to just war principles or not, he is just as dead. But *we* must care because we must bear the sin, if sin it be. We are cooperating with evil, however remotely, if we condone injustice, performed in our name.

  • yan

    In defense of Santo and others who favor the killings, may I say that they believe that their position is justified, in part, by the judgment that we ARE in a sense at war with Iran.

    Are we, or aren’t we? It’s not a question just of declarations, but of reality.

    And yes, Mark you are right, that this is the same logic used by BinLaden: namely, that we are at war with Islam, and that therefore, we are legitimate targets.

    Again: are we at war with islam, or aren’t we? [It’s not a question just of declarations, but of reality….]

    As we know however, Catholic teaching on just war doesn’t only address the justice of the underlying cause, but also the means and proportion used in carrying out a war.

    In my opinion it is difficult to argue, assuming arguendo that either Bin Laden or Santo et al were/are waging a just war, that the means [attacking civilians with airplanes or assassinating scientists] are proportional or just, using our best understanding of Catholic teaching on just war.

    [Would I nevertheless vote for a nominee Santo over Obama? you betcha.]

    • Mark Shea

      Every moral idiot who endorses grave evil “thinks their position is justified”. The Nazis thought their slaughter of the Jews was justified. They even diverted resources necessary to the war effort to accomplish it, so blinded were they by their own rationales for evil. Sin makes you stupid and makes you persuade yourself that the monstrous evil you are committing is “justified”. Santo is cheering for cold-blooded murder of an innocent civilian. Those of us who still believe the teaching of the Church over the needs of postmodern relativists in the Thing that Used to be Conservatism know that there is, by definition, no possible justification for the deliberate murder of an innocent human being.

      And no, we are not “at war with Islam”. That’s why, if you blow up a mosque, you will be jailed for murder, not hailed as a war hero.

      What is the matter with you? Are you seriously proposing we attempt to murder a billion people?

      • yan

        Mark, please relax. I didn’t say we are at war with Islam nor that we are at war with Iran. Nor did I suggest that we ought to be. I don’t know if we should be or not. I just said that it might be reasonably argued that we are IN such wars. And I said, assuming that either of those arguments were correct, that it still would not be justifiable to fly planes into buildings nor to kill an Iranian scientist in cold blood under Catholic just war teaching.

        I don’t want to argue with you over whether or not we are at war with Islam or Iran. I really don’t know. It depends how you define war, really. Some people assert quite vehemently that we are at war with Iran. I think they have some good arguments. And OBL had some good arguments. I tend to think OBL was wrong, but perhaps I am biased.

        Isn’t God the judge of such things? Isn’t the reality known fully to Him alone? Some people say [e.g. Ron Paul] that sanctions [were they to occur] are an act of war. Presumably Obama would disagree. Others say [e.g. many neocons and others] that the 1979 hostage taking was an act of war. Others could say [e.g., gore vidal? some liberals and paleocons anyway] that our taking down Mossadegh was an act of war.

        Recently some have written that our sanctions against Japan were really an act of war.

        I agree that it is hard to justify Hitler’s holocaust under a just war theory. Almost all those Jews killed were very remotely responsible, if at all, for the war against Germany. And just to be clear, I am not saying that there is some way other than just war theory to justify the holocaust. As a group, they were not members of a foreign state at war with Germany, they were not giving aid or succor to Germany’s enemies, and they certainly were not giving armed resistance to Germany as a unit, nor were they even causing any problems in civil society. The killing of the Jews was justified by Hitler and the nazis, in my opinion, on false pretenses.

        But the point is that this is my opinion based on my knowledge of the facts.

        Catholic teaching, I think, assumes God’s knowledge of the existence of a certain state of affairs when it says for instance that ‘such and such acts during war [i.e. assuming war is the actual state of affairs] are not moral.’

        I’m not saying we can’t ever know if we are at war, but I am saying that in the case of Iran or Islam the knowing is fuzzy, and that there are good arguments on both sides.

        Of course, if there is even a chance to justify 9/11 or killing the Iranian scientist, we would have to be at war first. But even if we are/were at war, I don’t think those actions were justifiable, for reasons already stated.

  • WMG

    I think the key word in this discussion is aggressor.
    If the scientist in question was developing nuclear weapon technology for the Iranian regime, which has demonstrated a clear intention to use these weapons offensively against peaceful countries, then he was an aggressor and therefore a legitimate target. This holds true even if the scientist was coerced, since the coercion does not take away the fact of his aggression. Similarly, a home-invader could morally be stopped with lethal force, even if the invader was coerced by a third party. This assumes that those responsible for public safety see no other less serious means of stopping the aggression.
    Charlene made an interesting point… that perhaps resistance groups among the Iranian people themselves carried out (or cooperated with) this attack. In this case, they would be acting to prevent a terrible injustice while also trying to prevent their own destruction (from a retaliatory nuclear strike).
    I fear that reasonable and traditional Catholics would not be able to run for office these days, with the constraints of Catholic magisterial teaching at all levels… and from all sides.
    If Santorum’s position on national defense does not qualify him as “pro-life” by all accounts, then so be it. For me, it speaks loudly that he is anti-abortion. He condemns and will never permit the direct killing of babies (including Iranian babies). He also condemns and will never permit same-sex marriage. These are two strong points for all God-fearing people.

    • Mark Shea

      Damn that Catholic teaching, getting in the way of candidates who cheer for murder in the first degree. How can we have a functional government when the Catholic Church keeps pettifogging about murder. An election is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who. And since Santorum is against (most) cold blooded murder of innocents let just say that opposition to abortion and gay marriage takes away the sin of murder in the first degree and get behind him. Jesus’ extremism about *all* murder being worthy of the fires of hell is perfectionism, not “real world” practical politics.

      • Chris

        I’m finding this discussion fascinating. Mark has assigned the sin of murder in the first-degree to Rick Santorum, yet he himself couldn’t help posting a nauseating, lyrical love letter to the memory of Christopher Hitchens, who made his bones actually engaging in the destruction of souls with his demonic works against the existence of God. Yeah, that Hitchens was an atheist, but he was a SWELL atheist and someone we’re ALL going to miss – never mind the carnage in HIS wake. But Santorum – he’s a hell-bound murdering reprobate? Good lord. What disoriented priorities.

        • Mark Shea

          No. Mark has assigned the sin of cheerleading for murder in the first degree to Rick Santorum. That’s because Rick Santorum said that when innocent civilians get murdered, it’s wonderful, so long as they are innocent civilians Santorum wants dead. A lyrical love letter? I said something kind about Hitchen on the day of his death because, you know, cheering for the death of innocents is evil. I have also strongly criticized him, precisely for his ignorant atheism. And, by the way, his own cheerleading for the death of innocents was equally appalling. But then, he didn’t have the advantage of having the Catholic faith. Santorum does, and so his sin is all the greater.

          That red herring aside, your argument boils down to “Look! Hitchens! Pay no attention to Santorum cheerleading for murder! If a Catholic cheers for murder, you have to say nothing, because he’s one of our guys.” I think I don’t need you in my comboxes either. Bye.

      • jack

        lol pettifogging

    • Cinlef

      “Iranian regime, which has demonstrated a clear intention to use these weapons offensively against peaceful countries”
      What is your proof of/basis for this claim (What constitutes a “clear intention” ? can you cite anything that remotely supports this beyond that one speech where Ahmadinejad talks about Israel being wiped from history?Which Persian/Farsi speakers claim was poorly translated. Cause its doubtful that that alone justifies murdering civilian scientists ]

    • Dave K

      Your argument completely falls apart because Iran has not threatened Israel. This is agitprop. Google; Rumor of the Century. Iran wants to see an end to the Zionist regime in the same sense that the US Gov. wants to see an end to Castro’s regime in Cuba or the Chavez regime in Venezuela. This is not a call for genocide.
      Iran thinks the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved by a vote of the people of that region in a fair and impartial referendum on who will govern them. Isn’t that scary?

      • Dave (but not the Dave)

        You’ll need to write a letter to the editor of the NYT because they don’t agree with you. They must be in bed with those Zionist you refer to.

        • Dave K

          Other Dave,
          This story has been debunked time after time. Yes, the NYT is a mouth piece for Zionism in the USA. They promoted all the propaganda that got the USA into the Iraq War. Wake up and smell the coffee.

          • Dave (but not the Dave)

            Dave K, just provide a link to the NYT correction or retraction, or a link to a story from a paper of equal prestige as the NYT, challenging the NYT’s reporting.

  • Derek

    Dang I like it when Mark get’s fired up!

    That was a fun read!

    Now back to praying for the poor suckers that think grave evil can be justified cause “their guy” said so….

  • B.E. Ward

    Ok ok.. if the Iranian civilian nuclear scientist happened to be pregnant, *then* it would’ve been immoral to murder an innocent Iranian civilian nuclear scientist.

  • “Every moral idiot who endorses grave evil “thinks their position is justified”

    As a general rule, just about everyone who holds a position thinks their position is justified. That alone should give us pause.

  • Jack

    I’m thinking that Iranian scientist might have committed suicide. Can we get a justification-of-suicide thread going here?

  • Zach Foreman

    I find that people misinterpret what is meant in Catholic moral thought by the term “innocent”. When it is said that the Iranian scientist is “innocent” we don’t mean that he is without sin, but simply that he has not been found guilty of a capital crime by a legitimate authority. A civilian is a noncombatant and thus off-limits in war. But, since we are not at war with Iran, that is irrelevant. And since the scientist isn’t subject to our judicial system, his guilt or innocence is also irrelevant. There is simply no basis in international law nor Catholic tradition to support an assassination of a civilian in peacetime. We shouldn’t assassinate civilians in war either. We even avoid assassinating political or military figures in time of war. It is simply ludicrous to entertain the notion that it is morally just to assassinate a civilian in peace time.

  • Zach Foreman

    I am always interested in why people of good faith, not poorly catechized can be so wrong (I have thoughts about torture as well). I think that much of the blame is on the example of our assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Think about it, the facts are somewhat similar to this case. Bin Laden was living in a country with which we were not at war (Pakistan). The US military unilaterally went in and killed him (I never saw much evidence that they tried very hard to capture him alive). The war on terror seems to know no boundaries, so why not extend it into Pakistan… and Iran. And it it was just (and worthy of celebration even) to kill Bin Laden, for motives of revenge or to correct past injustice, how much more just must it be to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, for motives of preventing the nuclear destruction of America. The last ten years of drone attacks, assassinations, detentions, etc have coarsened our moral sense to such an extent that we cannot see that this is wrong. We feel that the US can do whatever it must, wherever it must in order to protect itself. This is wrong. If a Christian must choose between becoming a murderer or a martyr, we choose martyrdom. It is incompatible with Christian tradition to choose preserving your life or even the lives of others over justice. There are some things we cannot do, no matter what the consequences.

    • Actually not. The problem is, as children of the post-modern west, we avoid being murderers by being willing to let others become martyrs in the event we were mistaken. If we’re wrong about Iran, and 20 years from now they hand a nuclear device over to terrorists who then blow up some city, how many folks really, really think it will be them and their home town that pays the price? I’d be more impressed if the folks saying ‘what, me worry?’, were getting plane tickets to go spread the Gospel of Jesus in Iran to make sure nothing happens. But perhaps that’s the appeal of Paul and his libertarianism, especially in the Internet Age. It allows me to take the moral high ground, while washing my hands of the consequences if I happen to be wrong.

      • Mark Shea

        The consequences of not murdering someone in cold blood is that you didn’t murder somebody in cold blood.

        • Perhaps it would be better to formulate a positive solution to the problem instead of pointing out the flaws in the solutions presented. Sure, I’ve got a problem with what Santorum said, and what others have said. But I have problems with what Ron Paul says as well, which is more or less founded on lunacy mixed with complacency – neither of which is good for Christian living. I don’t support the killing in cold blood of anyone. You know that. But too much – way too much – time has been spent over the last ten years saying what we shouldn’t do, and virtually nothing said about what we should. Especially when we all know that if we’re wrong about Iran, or other similar issues, it probably won’t be us who pays the price.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            One good solution for Americans might be to actually study the country you’re so afraid of…

            You know, how their nation is structured, how Achmedinijad falls into their org chart, what he has actually said, versus how it was reported, his current political viability, etc.

            Having some tenuous ties back there (my uncle oversaw business operations in the Shah’s Iran for GD and Grumman (I think?) He left, with his family, as the Shah fell. From what we hear, from average Persians and family-friends, is that American saber-rattling has consolidated the people, out of fear, where they were many horribly opposed to the regime just a few short years ago.

            They’re just not the threatening juggernaut ya’ll feverishly imagine.

            In fact, it looks like a lot of projection from where I sit. (I mean, ya’ll did use nukes as soon as you got them in your hot little hands. Even them damned red Communists were able to acquire them without use.)

            • Perhaps we should stop being afraid of that other country – you know, the US. How many people have I read on this blog alone who will assume the absolute worst in anything our own government says, and take the most positive, least worrisome view of any other potential government on the planet.

              Iran? Sure, I know it’s not ‘we have to worry they’ll nuke Washington.’ Most who are worried about Iran don’t say that. In fact, things like ‘Iran flying jets over America’ are often words put in the mouth of folks who are worried about Iran.

              Most folks I hear fear Iran in the same way we tend to fear ourselves – a problematic government trying to do something (nuclear power, perhaps eventually weapons), that through incompetence alone will allow said weapon into the hands of some terrorist organization. Maybe not now, but ten, fifteen years from now. Just like after the first World Trade Center bombing, we were told only warmongers were attacking Clinton for not doing more (the same warmongers who were itching to start a nuclear war in the 80s). Because, as we all know, there was nothing to worry about after the first World Trade Bombing. It’s not like it would ever happen again or anything.

      • Marion (Mael Muire)

        It allows me to take the moral high ground, while washing my hands of the consequences if I happen to be wrong.

        God alone has power over life and death, over all powers and principalities, over the heights, the depths, the past, the present, and the future. Not one sparrow falls to the ground, nor one hair on our heads changes from black to white, without THE LORD’S permission. We beg THE LORD that the good we seek to do He would bless with success, else our work would not be completed. Even the acts of criminals and of terrorists THE LORD permits, even though they act against His will . . . else those acts would not be accomplished. He has His own purposes and designs, all ultimately for our good, wherein He permits, for a time, evildoers to prosper, and the wicked to carry out their deeds against the innocent . . . that THE LORD permits this we may be confident will ultimately work out for the good in time and in eternity.

        Meanwhile the number one priority of Catholics is to worship, praise, bless, and thank THE LORD in all circumstances, looking to Him for every good thing that they need, and that they hope to accomplish for His Name’s sake. And their second priority is like unto the first, which is, to obey God who is THE LORD, carefully observing all His laws and His statutes, and refraining from doing that which offends His holy Name.

        It is a noble and worthy undertaking, when called by God, a nation and a people take up arms against the wicked to punish and subdue them, so that they may no longer strike the innocent. If He so wishes, let us become indeed a race of warriors, taking up the sword to vanquish all who threaten evil against us, if He so commands. The outcome of this undertaking, however, is not ours, it is GOD’S. We are to act within circumscribed limits set forth by THE LORD, obeying OUR GOD’S commands as to how prisoners are to be treated, what we are to do with and for non-combatants, and in general, how we are to conduct ourselves as Christian knights, obeying the laws of God in all we do.

        If, after being called by God to do so, we dedicate ourselves to vanquishing evil-doers, and do all in our power to accomplish this, those evil-doers nevertheless evade our efforts and bring death and destruction to the innocent, that is out of our hands, and a matter which God alone, in His Wisdom, has seen fit to allow to come about according to designs of His own which we cannot understand.

        To believe that with bombs and determination I can somehow control everything that happens in the world is the pinnacle of monstrous arrogance.

        • Yeah, I’d say that to believe such a thing would be the pinnacle of monstrous arrogance. Now for the tough question, does anyone who doesn’t agree with me on the solutions automatically think that? I might want to be careful. I’m the last to say we should trust in chariots and horses and just toss God out the window. But there is a balance, and I’m afraid we’re sooooooooooooooo focused on those who would do evil that good may come of it, that we’re slowly – and perhaps unconsciously- beginning to adopt a philosophy that says ‘but I’d sure as heck let evil happen so I didn’t have to get my hands dirty.’ There are other options, there’s doing good so that good may come of it, not just always railing about those with whom we disagree.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            ‘Let evil happen’?

            nah, its not a nation of control freaks or nothing.

            • No, just folks insisting that it’s better that the rich man be allowed to freely step over Lazarus than the federal government get involved and mess things up.

              • HGL

                What about Government BEING the rich man at whose door Lazarus begs?

  • Larry

    Isn’t the killing of a scientist working in the nuclear program by a car bomb the same as blowing up the factories and killing him and many others? Yes it is. Hasn’t the leader of Iran called for the extinction of the jewish people? Yes he has. Should we believe what Ahmedinaja says? Yes we should. Should we wait until he drops the bomb on Israel killing millions? No we shouldn’t. I hate the idea of war so I hate the fact that I agree with Santorum, but I still agree with him.

    • Asclepius

      This is part of the distinction here, that I don’t think many people are getting.

      Full disclosure: I am a systematics guy, but I’ve been trained in moral theology and would say that it’s the field I’ve taught and use most in the parish as a priest.

      In classic moral theology, there’s a direct dilemma we face. A person who works in a bomb factory is not a mere “civilian,” yet at the same time it is not correct to label them an “enemy combatant.” They directly aid in the war, in a very real way (which is why this target, even in a classically civilian area, is a morally acceptable target).

      Thus, this conversation keeps getting worse and worse as Mark interjects that these people are “innocents,” and that their murder is “in cold blood,” since they would not be legitimate moral targets if they stand as “non-enemy combatants” in the classic sense. Meanwhile, others interject that they are. So the argument moves forward and nobody gets anywhere.

      Mark has reached the right conclusion with all the wrong arguments. Let me explain.

      Because (a) this conflict exists in categorizing these employees, who are not-quite civilians and yet not-quite military, and (b) because Just War only applies in wartime…. the tie goes to the runner, as they say in baseball, and it is not likely morally acceptable to execute these individuals.

      However, we might then get into the murky area of whether or not the execution of these individuals is needed for public safety, ala Osama bin Laden: is there no other way to properly handle these individuals, and do they — as essentially breaking the edicts of the International Community — warrant death?

      These are lofty questions, ones I am not qualified to answer. But as I parse the distinctions, my answer would be a “no.” While these scientists do pose a direct threat to society, I do not believe we’re in a situation where assassination is the best way to handle that.

      My major point here in posting, where I was just going to let this one go, is that Mark’s emotional plea is just as misguided as Santorum’s. They’re not civilians, yet they’re not enemy combatants. Santorum is just as wrong to turn them into expendable targets, as Mark is to make them innocents.

      And that’s why this thread exploded :).

      • Larry

        Santorum did not say americans should kill any scientist by car bomb. He said he agreed with others who attempt to stop them. Like the many of attempts to stop Hitler. I believe the nuclear facilities in Iran should be destroyed completely. It’s most unfortunate people will die when they are destroyed. Mark is wrong for all his wrong reasoning.

        • Asclepius

          Car bomb doesn’t really matter: it’s their execution/assassination at any level, by any method, that is at question here.

          Hitler was also clearly a military target. Scientists, as I just explained, are in a gray area.

          I also believe the nuclear capabilities of Iran should be destroyed, and see this as morally acceptable given that casualties are minimized and that all diplomatic approaches have been exhausted.

          But we’re talking specifically about the assassination of these individuals in a gray area, not the larger picture.

          • Larry

            However the individuals are stopped, whether by car bomb or by the facilities blowing up it is the same thing. They are dead. It is part of the big picture. Assinations have the advantage of scaring the other scientist into maybe leaving the country or slowing progress on their work. None of it would be going on if the government of Iran was not a supporter of terrorism and had not threatned to destroy Israel. There is more argument in favor of stoping Iran than against doing nothing. Avoiding a military strike is preferred by Israel, from everything I have read.

      • Seamus

        “A person who works in a bomb factory is not a mere ‘civilian,’ yet at the same time it is not correct to label them an ‘enemy combatant.’ They directly aid in the war, in a very real way (which is why this target, even in a classically civilian area, is a morally acceptable target).”

        The bomb factory may be a morally acceptable target, and it may be licit to attack it knowing that the civilian employees will be killed or injured, but it is not licit to bomb it with the *intention* of killing those non-combatants.

      • Dan C

        Why is face-saving for a cheer-leader of immoral killing not called into question, but the man who notes it is a problem?

        The scientist is not innocent, but does not pose a “direct” threat, his job is unclear and it is likely a “terror” action that is really at work here.

        This action is on certain employees and is intended and will function like a terrorist action will-to deter further workers. As such, its moral integrity is in immediate doubt.

        The worker is a low-level replaceable peon. It is like bombing the citizens of Dresden because of their support in one way or another for a war industry.

        We have individuals in this country that do efforts that create technologies that are more likely to be used against Iranians than this particular technology. Think drones. Think gun manufacturers, weapons and mine producers. Are they now legitimate targets. By your assessment, yes they are.

        • Asclepius

          The average peon in the bomb factory is himself not a permissible target, but because he is associated with something directly related to war (the bomb factory) it is morally permissible under the principle of double-effect to level the bomb factory with him in it.

          However, things get more complicated with a scientist. He is not a mid-grade peon, and is not replaceable. He works directly for the government. These guys are most certainly housed, fed, and guarded by the military (now, especially). They work directly in military areas. And they do, very directly — based upon their knowledge — pose a threat.

          Please note, however, that I did not actually say the scientist is a valid target. I said it’s an area where moral theology regarding war is rather silent because of the complexities of that particular role, and as such, your conclusion (that our drone makers, etc.) are valid targets, or that I implied that they were, is erroneous.

          If the intention is to discourage other scientists by killing someone, this is certainly not a right intention. You’re right about that. However, if the elimination of a target is meant to slow progress, we might argue whether or not that’s a right intention…

          …but it’s all moot. We’re not in a state of war, and one would have to argue that the only way to deal with these scientists is assassination for the public good. Good luck going down that road: I certainly wouldn’t :).

        • Asclepius

          …and there was no face-saving for Santorum in my post. I called his advocacy of this — based upon the fact that he clearly believes them to be valid targets — wrong. But it’s also wrong to categorize these guys as innocents according to moral theology, as Mark has.

          What has sparked a 400 comment thread is that failure to distinguish a gray area where these two realities regarding scientists butt heads. The truth is somewhere in the middle on this one, which is why the Church isn’t about to come out with a pronouncement regarding this practice/the status of scientists any time soon.

          But I can tell you this: where there’s doubt regarding the just/unjust action of a behavior, don’t do it.

          Good Lord, especially when there’s lives involved.

    • HGL

      “Hasn’t the leader of Iran called for the extinction of the jewish people? Yes he has.”

      Not according to Jews living in Iran. Jewish people and state of Israel are two different things.

  • brian martin

    by the assinine logic being spouted by defenders of Santorum, I should have a right to go shoot the boss who downsized my wife out of her jobe because the bugger was at war with my family..he certainly did violence to my wife. Infact, my wifes former boss did more direct damage to my family than this scientist did, so I guess I’m even more justified.
    Wow. Funny how it’s ok to target politicians who are Catholic and are Democrat and vote pro-choice and that is a “pro life” issue, but Santorum’s cheerleading murder isn’t. And they call the left cafeteria catholics

    • Asclepius

      A profound categorical error here:

      You may only use potentially lethal force when someone is threatening your person or property with physical violence (not emotional, economic, etc.), or when it’s the only way to maintain order in a society, or in war.

      I would say the Iran situation still does not qualify under any of these scenario, but it’s at least in the moral ballpark and susceptible to questioning, whereas your scenario is not.

      • B.E. Ward

        Wow.. there’s a moral ballpark?

        • Larry

          That would be the one where good and just people disagree.

        • Asclepius

          In terms of discussing these things: yes, there’s a moral ballpark.

          In order to determine whether or not such a thing is a just action, for example, it has to be within the ballpark of satisfying certain criteria. Once we get there, we’re then free to discuss the morality of a certain issue.

    • Larry

      Keith Fouriner editor in chief over at would probably disagree with you and Mark.

  • Phil

    Thanks for posting this Mark. Being the lone voice as these issues will not be popular, but thank you nonetheless for being principled on pro-life issues.

    3 years ago, I thought you were liberal, but I really just had to turn off my Mark Levin/Rush Limbaugh/Hannity radio and my FoxNews television to be able to iinject Catholic doctrine into my politics. For this, I believe it’s much clearer and less muddy.

    When I heard of stories of Iranian men being held by pirates who were freed by a US ship last week, that gave me positive hope…but, I heard no mention of it anywhere.

    • Dan C

      Conservatives need to read more about liberals and our thinking. You don’t know anything about liberals and your critques as such (Obama is a socialist!) sound ignorant and juvenile.

      A little sophistication, please.

      • HGL

        It seems in some US usage “socialist” but not communist is called “liberal”.

        Bad politics whatever you call it, pretty often.

  • John Zmirak

    Iran has been in a low-level war against Israel and the U.S. (which are, I am well aware, two separate countries–thanks very much, I was a 1996 Buchanan delegate) for a decade, using terrorism and now planning and trying to build weapons for genocidal attacks. A scientist building weapons for a terrorist state is a combatant, and a legitimate target. I wish I had shot him myself.

    That said, we may NOT target civilians in a foreign state, even in a declared war. Santorum’s willingness to fight real, BIG wars in which civilians will die in huge numbers, which will create chaos that Americans will die trying (and failing) to clean up, as in Iraq, is much more worrisome than his endorsement of an arguably justified discrete attack on a weapons manufacturer.

    Some people are mistaking for bloodlust the proper anger at the genocidal intentions of the Iranians, and the satisfaction that they are one step further away from nuking the Holy Places and killing millions of civilians.

    • Seamus

      If the Iranian scientist was a combatant, then so are civilian employees of the Pentagon, Mitre Corporation, and Northrup Grumman, and al-Qaeda may assassinate them on their way to work without violating ius in bello.

      • Larry

        This scientist was considered a key person in the development of Irans nuclear capabilities. If he was a combatant or not does not matter. His work, wether he was forced to or not, has to be stopped. Al Qaeda probably agrees with you.

        • Mark Shea

          That’s funny. Panetta just said Iran has no nuclear weapons program. But I guess a guy in a combox is smarter than the head of our intelligence community. So cold blooded murder is okay.

        • Seamus

          OK, change my hypothetical to “key” civilian employees of the Department of Energy (working on US nuclear weapons), Mitre Corporation, or Northrup Grumman. Are you saying that, apart from the unjustness of their waging war on the US at all, it would be OK for al-Qaeda to whack those key employees?

    • Dan C

      Ridiculous bloviating from someone who should know better.

      You have formed your conscience with fear and loathing and propaganda that you should know better than imbibe. This, as someone as informed as you, differs dramatically from any magisterial teaching.

      You, more than any Christopher Hitchens, are able to improperly sway and lead Christians from the truth. He (like most liberals) at least acknowledged that he was being defiant and disobedient.

  • John H.

    John Z, when you say, “Iran has been in a low-level war against Israel and the U.S,” what do you mean? Israel, perhaps. But when did they attack the US. Please don’t tell me you mean activities in Iraq, a place we had no business being in. I mean, when did they deliberately target legitimately held US positions?

    • Dave (but not the Dave)

      Hezbollah is Iranian sponsored.

      • Dave (but not the Dave)

        Bombing of the Marine compound at Beruit airport was carried out by Hezbollah and sponsored by Iran.

  • Kirt Higdon

    It bears repeating. There is no evidence that this scientist or any other Iranian was working on a bomb. Don’t take my word for it. This was just recently said by US Defense Secretary and recent CIA chief Panetta. Also no Iranian has threatened the Jews with genocide or Israel with destruction. There is a Jewish community in Iran which has all the rights of Iranian citizens including guaranteed representation in the Iranian parliament. Two or three years ago Iranian state TV featured a telenovela (loosely based on historical occurences) about how Iranian diplomats had saved the lives of many Jews during World War II. It was one of the most popular series ever shown in Iran. It’s time to stop this campaign of blood libel against the Iranians before the US regime and all Americans become complicit in the destruction of a 2500 year old civilization and the genocide of millions of Iranians. What was done to Iraq was inexcusable. The same applies to a somewhat lesser degree to what the US has done or is doing to Afghanistan, Libya, Yugoslavia and Somalia. Is slaughtering nearly defenseless foreigners such an addictive habit that the US can’t break it – sort of like abortion?

  • Dither

    To all those who say the Iranian scientists are not innocent, I ask: Would it have been just, and in keeping with Catholic moral teaching, for someone to have killed the scientists working on the Manhattan Project, who built nuclear bombs that *were* actually and deliberately used against civilian population centers?

    Worth noting is that Nagasaki was the center of Christianity in Japan.

    • Kirt Higdon

      The Nagasaki cathedral was the aiming point of the bomber after the primary aiming point was obscured by fog. Ground zero was a Catholic elementary school. It is estimated that three quarters of Nagasaki’s Catholics were killed by the bomb.

  • Flamen

    Traditionally Judith has been considered a heroine for her killing Holofernes. Yet she was a political assassin. So what else is new?

    • Dan C

      And polygamy wasn’t uncommon in the Old Testament.

      That reference is unlikely to be helpful.

    • HGL

      Holophernes was a clearly military target. Not a civilian.

  • Art

    What I have heard Dr. Paul say on the TV and Radio about marriage is that it is a matter between the individuals and the Church. My understanding of Dr. Paul’s position is that there should be no State involvement in marriage and that it should be regulated by the church.

    I agree with this position.

    To attempt to regulate the behavior of others is a lost cause. Sorry, that cat’s out of the bag. To allow the state to regulate marriage is to allow the blasphemy of state definitions to intrude where the church should govern. The state should be removed from marriage on the separation doctrine – for the good of marriage!

    Mind, others may claim marriage without the church, and under other definitions, but this only begs the question attributed to Lincoln: “How many legs does a mule have if you call the tale a leg? Four.”

    • John H.

      Art, I’m voting for Ron Paul, and I agree with him on many things, but in this regard he is mistaken. I am not saying he is FOR homosexual marriage as some have said, but he is mistaken as to the role the government has in society. It is the duty of the state to protect families, and therefore, to protect marriage. Allowing abuses of marriage is not just an issue that affects the “spouses” of said marriage. It affects the children and society as a whole. It is not just of society to allow children to be raised by 2 mothers, or 2 fathers, or any other odd combination we can think of. Allowing homosexual couples to become parents, via adoption, in-vitro, etc, is a major issue, an issue that should be handled by the state.

      That being said, at this time I do think it prudent to kick the government out of our lives as much as possible. It has already made a wreck of everything else, we don’t need it further ruining our families. So pragmatically, I agree with Paul at this time. But philosophically, he is wrong.

      • justamom

        Funny, because it sounds like you agree with him philosophically as well.

        I also agree with you and all the things you mentioned are wrong and unjust and we should keep all these issues at the state level where we can have the most impact on a corrupt legislative process.

      • Michael

        Politically, you are wrong. The federal government is not granted general police power by the Constitution. There are a couple crimes defined by the Constitution, treason for example, and the Constitution simply does not authorize Congress to define or proscribe any additional crimes. Trying to outlaw gay “marriage” or abortion at the federal level is simply illegal. Time to accept that. You’re still free to influence your state and try to get as many state laws as you like. Then people will be free to choose whether they want to live under your laws. If not, they can move to another state. Then you’ll start building actual empirical evidence that will prove the wisdom (or not) of your laws.

        • Michael

          John, I think maybe I misunderstood your posting. Sorry. I would argue that it may be right and wise to outlaw abortion or gay “marriage” at the state level, but it’s flat-out illegal trying to do so at the federal level, which is what I thought you were advocating. I believe this is also Paul’s position. I don’t believe he would object to a state making laws about marriage. If I’m wrong about that, I’ll be grateful for any references anyone may have.

  • Steven

    Lots of talk about abortion, who is a combatant, just war….all fine and good.
    One thing for certain – someone set loose a killer. A team of killers more likely. And they brutally killed a man in Iran, then ran away.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to know where this scheme originated? Who financed it, who knew about it, who ordered it done?
    Oh, of course, it’s secret. Deeds of evil love the darkness, but the darkness has never overcome the light.
    Thank you Mark Shea.

  • Rachill

    “If you say it is legitimate to murder him, you are saying it was legitimate for Osama bin Laden to murder his victims on 9/11.”

    In other words, Ward Churchill was right.

    • WJA

      “If you say it is legitimate to murder him, you are saying it was legitimate for Osama bin Laden to murder his victims on 9/11.”

      I think that analogy is not quite right. Under no precept of the moral law or civil law does al Qaeda have authority to commit acts of war. Iran, on the other hand, as a state, can legitimately commit acts of war. So a better analogy would be: “If you say that the U.S. is in a state of war with Iran and that it may therefore kill an Iranian nuclear scientist, you are saying Iran is in a state of war with the U.S. and may therefore kill an American nuclear scientist.”

      I think that analogy is correct under civil law. I don’t think it can be correct under the moral law, however, because (in a two-party war, anyway) only one side, at most, can be engaged in a just war. E.g., Germans killing American soldiers in WWII was OK under civil law but not the moral law.

      • HGL

        “E.g., Germans killing American soldiers in WWII was OK under civil law but not the moral law.”

        What about Germans killing Soviet soldiers and reverse?

        Whichever side was morally wrong there was plenty to say for the other being wrong.

        What about German soldiers killing US soldiers marching in to what became a kind of occupation? Can they at least have had the excuse of supposing, though perhaps erroneously, that after Dresden bombing they were in a Just War?

  • brian_in_brooklyn

    “The Church teach that it is never–ever-justifiable to deliberately take innocent human life. This was an act of cold-blooded murder against a civilian, found guilty of no crime, in a regime with whom we are not at war.”

    Thank you, Mark.

  • Pat Mason

    I’m wondering what kind of ‘Catholicism’ was taught to blogger ‘TAAD?’ He also butchers Ron Paul’s agendas as badly as Fox “news” does. First of all, the Catholic Church DOES NOT advocate ‘Preemptive Strikes’ which is defined as a ‘War Crime’ of NAKED AGGRESSION in both our laws and internationally. ‘Sanctions,’ ‘Blockades,’ et al, are ALSO ‘Acts of War’ which makes the purveyor of these acts the ‘AGGRESSOR.’ As for ‘Marriage’ (gay or otherwise), Ron has specifically stated that his view of ‘Marriage’ in the eyes of God is between a MAN AND WOMAN. However, he also says that ‘Marriage’ laws – as with any other law – should be the sole realm of the STATES, not the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. If that isn’t clear enough for TAAD (and anyone else who agrees with TAAD), then maybe a refresher course in 8th grade ‘Comprehension’ is due.

  • Xavier

    So, tell me, why did CatholicVote endorse Rick Santorum? No doubt these “faithful Catholics” are cold blooded murderers and their associates and apologists as well.

    “If you seriously mean that any nation in the world that is hostile to us is ipso facto at war with us, then we are at war with half the world.”

    It is only inability, not want of intention, that restrains Iran. That is what makes cooperating in fulfilling that intention, as these scientists are doing, equivalent to engaging in combat. Are you seriously telling me these scientists don’t know what they are doing, that they don’t know full well for what purpose the technology they develop will be used, none of which bodes well for the world? This is just like those who glamorized the Nazis and the Communists.

    Tell me which “half of the world” says they want to wipe Israel of the map? In how many nations would the expressing of such sentiments be tolerated, which for so long was deemed impossible anyway, but if they develop a weapon, is not? Hitler was mild compared to this in his day.

    And finally, which “half the world” has repeatedly engaged in acts of war like killing US troops?

    • Mark Shea

      Your logic is “Since Catholic Vote, not knowing about Santorum’s repellent remarks, endorsed him they therefore must agree with and defend his remarks.” See if you can spot the flaw in your logic. And all to defend cheerleading for cold-blooded murder. Do you not fear God?

      • Xavier

        You are effectively questioning the Catholic faith of those who support Sen.Santorum. That is a very serious charge, so you need to follow through, if you fear God.

        Your claim that they didn’t know of his position is unwarranted. Sen.Santorum had made his views on Iran very well known much earlier.

        Again, I’m confident my position is well thought out, and reasonable, if not the most reasonable position. And if I err, I would definitely wish to know it. But as a matter of fact great Saints, theologians and Doctors have never dealt with matters as you are doing here, where there was a difference of opinion among Catholics (I mean between you and CatholicVote) who on both sides desired to be faithful to the Magisterium.

        • Mark Shea

          I know you badly want to play “Let’s you and him fight”. But the reality is I have faulted Santorum’s cheerleading for murder. As far as I know, Catholic Vote has said nothing about Santorum’s cheerleading for murder. if they defend it, they are wrong. But I am not aware they have defended it. Do you defend the proposition that it is licit to murder in cold blood a civilian, guilty of no capital crime, in a country with whom we are not at war? Yes or no. If yes, get off my blog. I’ve had enough murder defenses for one week.

          • Xavier

            Wow. “Let’s you and him fight”. You got that from what I said? I’m sorry, I really had a much higher opinion of you. Your manner is more Protestant than Catholic.

            The procedure of the Catholic Church has always been that, in a disputed matter, avoid the anathemas. For one, it makes discerning the truth and settling the question near impossible.

            No one is defending murder. Now you say, “Not guilty of a capital crime”. Says who? This is by no means clear, which is why Catholics of good will can at least disagree about it.

            As a matter of fact, it would seem that helping Iran develop nuclear weapons is even worse than, say, giving them to Osama would have been. Or would you argue that someone who facilitates that was a “civilian” as well?

            • Mark Shea

              Says who?

              Says all civilized nations. People are found guilty of crime in *courts*, not by anonymous drive-by murderers on motorcycles. Why ask such a stupid question if you are *not* defending the cheers for cold blooded murder?

              • Xavier

                Gee, really? You pick *that* to respond to? Try this question, “Or would you argue that someone who facilitates that [giving nukes to Osama] was a “civilian” as well?”

                If Mark Shea were president, he would stand by watching and do nothing were this to happen? Really?

                • Mark Shea

                  Osama is dead. You have zero evidence this guy was making a nuke or that “he was going to give it” to the dead man you still mysteriously fear. You are defending murder. Repent.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Excuse me, Dark Lord, but did you ever get to 400 comments on a post about us nuking Japan?

    Purely out of curiosity.

    • Yeah, close to it at least. Don’t know if it ever hit 400, but there seems to be several different threads and subjects on this one (libertarianism, Ron Paul, the GOP), while the annual posts dealing with America’s decision to use nuclear weapons to end WWII typically stay centered on that one topic. So it’s not easy to compare.

  • John Campbell


    I’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ll never be the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S Armed Forces.

    • Mark Shea

      Back atcha.

  • Littleeif

    Clearly genuine Catholicism requires credible threats of nuclear genocide by a nation’s governing officials and theocracy be discounted. Ahmadinejad’s is certainly hyperbole. If not, a genuine Catholic is required nonetheless to stand aside genocide as the price of faith. Conversely, a genuine Catholic has no difficulty identifying Rick Santorum’s observation as the principal evil, inherent evil, and necessarily of first concern to a true Catholic in these gathering clouds of war. He must be stripped of his claim to Catholicism no doubt (and please lets gather up other so-called Catholics the likes of Pat Buchanan, Bill Bennet, etc. – can we please exhume Bill Buckley and re-tomb him in unconsecrated ground?) Any good Catholic knows that even if he cares not a whit for the fate of an Iranian nuclear scientist, his faith requires schadenfreude at a minimum else no corpus exists over which to excommunicate so-called Catholics.

    Looking back, we should have allowed the Russians Werner von Braun, who could have then developed their rocketry sparing us the shocking immorality of arriving at it first. A terrible moral lapse on our part. Why do so many nominal Catholics not get the moral equivalency between nations – you know, between those brought to war by those advancing it? And once at war, why do so many Catholics not realize the true task of faith is to lose it! Let the war happen or lose it as quickly as possible – this is the path to heaven. A good Catholic realizes the only course to clean hands is not to get them dirty in the first place no matter how dirty the job is. Inactivity, indifference, apathy, self righteousness might be venial sins but they share the ability to look an awful lot like virtue in a dirty fight and they allow that type of sinner the luxury of pointing clean fingers at dirty hands while claiming exclusive access to his faith.

    Yes, the white sepulcher thing does make me a little uncomfortable sometimes, but I know how to process that. In this case, excommunicate the evil Rick Santorum!

    Mark Shea: Too wordy. Here’s what you meant to say

    “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” – Hermann Goering.

  • A funny thing happened on the way to the Catechism. I found this little teaching tucked away as I was looking around for things:

    2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.277 He becomes guilty:
    – of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
    – of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;278
    – of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

    2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

    Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. and if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.279

    2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

    I’m sure it doesn’t really pertain to things said here. After all, it never does.

  • shani ameir

    supposed one of our scientist got killed in very suspissious circumstance and Iran abrutly react like Santorum’s did it any one here can tell me how emotiotion can take us

    • S. Murphy


      Kind of like Saddam celebrating 9/11. We might just pull that nugget into a preconceived narrative.

  • Les

    are people “innocent” because they are civilians? I hardly think that is the proper description , since innocent implies that they didnt have evil intent or didnt intend to create a bomb.

    wars and abortion are not quite the same, in that the parties killed by abortion, are unable to either speak for themselves or defend themselves from what is inflicted on them, it is never a “just” war.

    • Mark Shea

      People are innocent until they have been proven guilty in a court of law of a crime. If they are not soldiers or their commanders they are civilians. And if we are not at war with a nation, we cannot kill even their soldiers.

      • HGL

        “People are innocent until they have been proven guilty in a court of law of a crime.”

        Exept when the attack is imminent, in relation to just self defense. (Note that though murder attack are clearly such, they are not all of the unjust attacks, there was a Pope in 17th C. giving a list of falsely alleged grounds for just self defense involving death of attacker, like when attack is verbal on one’s good name or involves a very minor sum of money that a robber wants to take).

  • Dave K

    Mark Shea is correct about Santorum. A few points will make this even clearer. First, Iran has not threatened Israel. This fiction has been debunked time after time. Google; Rumor of the Century. Other experts in Middle East affairs who are no fans of the Iranian regime, like Juan Cole, have shown that the words attributed to Ahmadinejad have been mistranslated and blown up into threats which were never made. Since this controversy began Iranian leaders have denied over and over that they threaten anyone with war. So, there is no threat of war.
    Second, Iran , as a sovereign nation, has the same right to nuclear power and weapons (if they actually want them) as does any other country. If they want nuclear weapons as deterrents for war with other superpowers this would actually make war less likely. To deprive them of this capability would be unjust and destabilizing. So, killing their scientists would be unjustified.
    Third, Assassinations of this sort are illegal and contrary to international justice. To advocate such activity violates international order.
    Santorum ought to know better. He swallowed all the propaganda that got the USA into the Iraq War and doesn’t seem to have any second thoughts or regrets. He seems to be blind to the perverse forces that crave war and bloodshed regardless of the consequences to civilians and the international community. He is a dangerous demagogue.

    • Isn’t he though? If only he could be more like Ahmadinejad. Ah, then we could all sleep better at night.

      • Dave K

        Dave G,
        I would invite you to read what Ahmadinejad actually says rather than be told by others what we are supposed to believe about him. I know those who would drag this country into more war are at the same time haters of Ahmadinejad and vicious liars and war mongers. Ahmadinejad isn’t the “decider” in Iran anyway. The Iranians have threatened no one.

        • Where do I find the official translation, as opposed to the other translations that are apparently wrong? I can’t read the language, I have to depend on translations. So which one is the right one? That’s my question.

          • Dave K

            Dave G,
            I’ve seen English translations of Ahmadinejad’s speeches from the German Magazine Der Spiegel and other sources on the internet. YouTube has video and translations of his UN speeches. He never comes off as the lunatic he is portrayed to be. In fact, he comes off looking much more intelligent and accommodating than his hysterical enemies who push the Zionist agenda.

            • Well, I can’t say. I can say I’ve seen many treatments from a host of competing sources that suggest he is either cracked or cunning and stands for evil either way. Certainly the people of Iran didn’t seem to share that positive view of him a few years ago. It’s hard for me to say, since I don’t know the language. Perhaps Youtube and Der Spiegel are right. Perhaps they aren’t. My gut tells me that while some of our own politicians may be overstating the case in some ways, those who are attacking them may be understating it in others. There has to be a whole lot of people, including those in Iran who protested him and tried to get him out of office, who are all wrong. Some who seem to speak his language. That’s enough to make me think that just because some of our own may be overstating something is no reason to think that there’s nothing else to worry about, and it’s all part of some vast conspiracy to make a man who seems pretty bad look bad. That’s my take, at least until I have time to learn the language.

  • Dave (but not the Dave)

    Davd K, I’m still waiting for your link to any NYT story correcting the NYT story titled “Wipe Israel ‘off the map’ Iranian says.”

    Should I try to find it over a Hutton Gibson’s blog?

    • Dave K

      Dave (but not the Dave),
      Gosh, I’m not aware of the fact that in order for something to be true the NYT has to acknowledge it as such. Is this your point? Was the NYT correct in all its reporting in the run up to the Iraq War? try this;

      • S. Murphy

        Thanks for that link- interesting stuff

    • SKay

      From the article —

      “TEHRAN — Iran’s conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesdaythat Israel must be “wiped off the map” and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.

      Ahmadinejad was speaking to an audience of about 4,000 students at a program called “The World Without Zionism,” in preparation for an annual anti-Israel demonstration on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.”
      Maybe Dave K. missed that speech.
      We also know Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism.

      • S. Murphy

        The link Dave provided claims, with detailed explanation, that the the inflammatory line was mistranslated. According to the article he links to, the original was more like ‘someday the Zionist state will succumb to the forces of history’ than ‘the Zionist state needs us to erase it from the face of the earth’ – as Mr Achmeninejad is assumed, by the New York Times, to have meant. Not entirely the Times’ fault – apparently the Iranian state news service did a Vatican-style PR move, and provided the mistranslation themselves. Anyway, ‘down with Zionism’ remains boilerplate Middle Eastern rhetoric. Not that they don’t really wish the forces of history would hurry up; but the statement itself doesn’t constitute a legitimate casus belli for Israel, let alone us.

  • geoff gray

    How odd that the issues raised by the author are hardly discussed and the conversation turns to the sanctity of marriage. What kind of intellectual suffocation do Catholics suffer from? As to the writer who thinks that pre-emptive murder of a civilian can be justified morally is- -that’s a rationalization. Why not murder Iranian physics students? Or scientifically talented Iranian 12 year olds. Or is the killing in utero, the only place you aren’t allowed to kill?
    One more thing–what about the sanctity of the scientists marriage? Strangely, no one seems to talk about that.

    • Mark Shea

      Yes. It is fascinating how coming face to face with 100% Prolife Catholics for cold-blooded murder forces some people to simply blot it out, issue some statement of denials and then get back to something safe and comforting like opposition to gay marriage. And yes, it is bizarre that nobody connect is with the sanctity of the scientist’s marriage. Sick.

  • Xavier

    No space for the response above.

    “You have zero evidence this guy was making a nuke”

    Wonderful. You keep changing the subject. Let’s take it step by step.

    The question was, “Should scientists involved in a nuclear program be treated as enemy combatants?” You maintained this was intrinsically wrong and could never be done. Is that or is that not your position or are you now wavering?

    Therefore you are saying it is never a crime to be instrumental in providing someone with a nuclear weapon. But that is obviously absurd, for no one would have maintained the same in the case of say, someone who helped Osama do the same. Would you? Therefore your major premise is in error.

    The proliferation of nuclear weapons is hardly a desirable thing, and someone who is an accessory to helping the autocratic regime in Tehran gain access to one is a perpetrator of a crime. Iran stands now in practical violation of international law, it is not the US alone who have responded by the strongest sanctions hoping this would prove a deterrent, but even the UN and the EU are concerned.

    • 1: Non-sequitur; one does not need to be an enemy combatant to commit a crime.

      2: If it is a crime for Iran to pursue nuclear weaponization then the United States is the worst offender and would have no grounds upon which to condemn Iran, a sovereign nation, until we have first disarmed our own nuclear arsenal.

      • Xavier

        Dear Christian,

        1. No, but the question was whether these scientists may be treated as enemy combatants.

        2. With possession comes responsibility. “To whom much has been given, much will be required”. Iran has shown time and time again that it is not a reliable and trustworthy international player, unwilling to be transparent with the world, not at all inclined to play by the rules.

        • What rules are we referring to exactly?

          Lets look at the count, Iran vs. America.

          Invasions: Since the Russian war in 1828, Iran has never been the aggressor towards another country. We on the other hand have attacked to name a few: Libya, Iraq, Nicaragua, Haiti, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Honduras, Chile, Congo, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Angola, Columbia, Peru, Panama, Yemen, Pakistan, Grenada, Mexico, etc..

          Nuclear Weapons: Iran doesn’t have any. Furthermore, Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta stated last week that Iran is not building a nuclear weapon. Iran’s supreme leader has publicly denounced nuclear weapons as sacrilegious and has issued a Fatwa against their production, stockpiling, and use by Muslims. The United States on the other hand has the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world and remains the only country to have ever used them. Additionally, our political leaders including Obama and Santorum refuse to rule out a preemptive nuclear strike which would result in the deaths of 3 million Iranians as a result of nuclear fallout.

          Transparency of nuclear program: Iran allows Additional Protocol by the IAEA in their investigations, including surprise investigations. The US however has refused such transparency within our own program.

          I’m all for nuclear disarmament but we cannot honestly expect our enemies to just turn their back on the national defense that a nuclear weapon provides when we are constantly invading other countries, use our own nukes to bully other countries, and demand that countries like Iran “prove” they aren’t building bombs when we’re so clandestine about our own nuclear arsenal.

  • Also, the internationally-recognized laws of war state the following:

    Rule 5. Civilians are persons who are not members of the armed forces. The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians.

    Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was not a soldier with a gun, he was not some suicide-bombing terrorist, and he was not a military officer. He was not a member of the military and in no way armed. Therefore, he was a civilian. Did his work pose a “threat” to American national security? Obviously, many people think so. However, that in no way addresses the definition of a civilian under the laws of war and therefore is irrelevant to the “civilian or enemy combatant?” debate.

  • Bridget

    There are so many comments on this already, I doubt anyone will get way down here to read mine. But I’d like to contribute my two cents anyway.

    I don’t know the Catholic teaching on assassination – can’t seem to find it anywhere. So I’m not going to say that the scientist’s death was necessarily something to be excited about. But equating the assassination of a nuclear scientist in the employ of a nation with a hateful, insane man as its president with 1) the World Trade Center and 2) abortion is totally illogical and very offensive. A nuclear scientist (who has agreed to develop a nuclear bomb, which Ahmadinejad has threatened to use on America), whether technically a civilian or not, is in a completely different category than people like janitors, secretaries, and other WTC employees, not to mention all the people on the planes. And abortion really has no equivalent as far as immorality, except perhaps something like… killing millions with a nuclear bomb.

    • CG

      I got down here and read your comment – and agree completely.

      Mark is in error. Santorum’s comments do not necessarily equate to a break from church teaching – although he might be advised to choose his words more carefully.

      Mark is also in error in assuming a non-soldier is a non-combatant, or that a declared war must exist before an enemy can be an enemy. Mark does not know enough of the scientists involvement – and neither does the former Senator from Pennsylvania.

      Mark leaps a few steps in his argument – I suspect passions and emotion and disappointment in the candidate got the best of him.
      Stephen White does a better job illustrating Mark’s overreach at on

  • Hans-Georg Lundahl

    If the “Franco Fan” was a Spaniard, he might be disappointed with the situation of the Muslims let in by precisely Franco, and excepting Moros da Pace in or from Portugal (St Francis Xavier knew one) first time after the expulsion made by Ferdinand and Isabella.

    In parts of Europe, notably France, Muslims are vastly more present than in US, some are doing it very wrong (heard bad news from Nîmes, and when I was there they were asserting themselves, to say the least) and some indigenous are getting very worried, sometimes overreacting.

    Of course, there have been parts of history when Muslims to qualify as non-combatants over here have had to convert, I think of the “Turkish head” in an Austrian village after their retreat from Vienna (1529 or 1683).

    But one cannot blame anti-Muslim feelings on Franco. He was part of the reasons, once he was caudillo, that Spain gave up the Rif where he had been fighting. And, quite as much as with Sephardic Jews (leaving no doubt the Ashkenasim to people like Raoul Wallenberg), it was he who once again opened Spain to them.

  • Hans-Georg Lundahl

    For the record, Franco was not and I am not any fan of pre-emptive war.

    When he, Sanxurxo and Mola started in 1936 (I have heard rumours someone had Sanxurxo killed, but if so I cannot substantiate it was Franco and he never gloated over it, even if it benefitted him), the reds were already killing in the streets (Church, military, one parliamentarian like Calvo Sotelo, one José Antonio whom I can see how you could call a thug, but he got no fair trial) and the government of the left was doing nothing to stop them.

    The worst deeds in his carreer were not on the 1936-39 campaign (and the worst right wing deeds then were not his), but before, when he was obeying the legal rulers (King Antonio XIII and President Gil Robles) of Spain. Or, some of them, possibly afterwards, when empowering psychiatry for pre-emptive antirevolutionary purposes. But even then not to murder.

    • HGL

      Note, I am not equating José Antonio to a thug, and I am not implying you do so. But if you did, I could see how you came to do it.

  • HGL

    “As a group, they were not members of a foreign state at war with Germany,”

    It seems the synagogue – which sees itself not just as representing a religion, but in fact a nation – did declare war on Hitler.

    “nor were they even causing any problems in civil society.”

    If you add “as a unit”, there is something to be said for it. Chesterton and Belloc have been accused for antisemitism precisely because they tried to deal with some of the problems caused by, if not all, at least prominent Jews, in a kinder and saner way. Dollfuß, who never targetted them as private individuals, nevertheless thought they should not be in the administration.

  • HGL

    “The last ten years of drone attacks, assassinations, detentions, etc have coarsened our moral sense to such an extent that we cannot see that this is wrong. We feel that the US can do whatever it must, wherever it must in order to protect itself.”

    Reminds me that September 11th was Eustace Clarence Scrubb’s last diary entry before turning into a dragon.

  • Hans-Georg Lundahl

    Here is another September 11th, as we are talking about that:

    “A month before the inauguration, Pope John XXIII assigned to this ‘world meeting’ the goal of ‘making earthly existence more noble, more just, more meritorious for all’ by exalting ‘the profoundest applications of fraternity and love’ (Message Ecclesia Christi lumen gentium, September 11, 1962).”