Set. Spike.

Set. Spike. February 2, 2012

An atheist troll writes in my comboxes: “My name is Legion: for we are many.”

My reply: “My name is Exorcist and you are expelled from my blog.”

Golden opportunities like that don’t come along every day.

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  • Ryan C

    Now if he appreciated the anti-Imperial irony Mark was employing for his Roman audience, I would really give him credit.

  • Jared

    Bravo, Mr. Shea. Bravo.

  • Ha ha. Good one.

  • SDG

    I swear I was once walking along a Manhattan street and a car pulled up and the guy says to me, “Can you tell me how to get to Radio City Music Hall?”

    To my everlasting shame and grief, I did not reply, “Practice, baby, practice!”

    • Margaret

      Damn– like the time I went in for hand surgery and FORGOT to ask the surgeon if I’d be able to play the violin after. Never played the violin before in my life of course, but… 🙂

    • Ed Mechmann

      I was driving in the country once and a chicken ran across the road in front of my car. I rolled down the window and shouted “why? why?”

      I thought it was hilarious. Embarrassed the heck out of the kids, though.

      • Claire

        The comment thread should end right here. No one has anything better than that.

        • Chris M

          Ed is my new hero.

  • Becky!!!!!

  • johnpaul79


  • Liz

    Hahahahahah!!!!! Great comeback, Mark!! I am laughing so hard I am crying!!!!!

  • Porphyry

    Even FUNNIER for Catholics, I guess, is the kind of religious bigotry they promote driving LGBTQ teens to commit suicide:

    Sam’s death lit the fuse of a suicide epidemic that would take the lives of nine local students in under two years, a rate so high that child psychologist Dan Reidenberg, executive director of the Minnesota-based Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, declared the Anoka-Hennepin school district the site of a “suicide cluster,” adding that the crisis might hold an element of contagion; suicidal thoughts had become catchy, like a lethal virus. “Here you had a large number of suicides that are really closely connected, all within one school district, in a small amount of time,” explains Reidenberg. “Kids started to feel that the normal response to stress was to take your life.”

    There was another common thread: Four of the nine dead were either gay or perceived as such by other kids, and were reportedly bullied. The tragedies come at a national moment when bullying is on everyone’s lips, and a devastating number of gay teens across the country are in the news for killing themselves. Suicide rates among gay and lesbian kids are frighteningly high, with attempt rates four times that of their straight counterparts; studies show that one-third of all gay youth have attempted suicide at some point (versus 13 percent of hetero kids), and that internalized homophobia contributes to suicide risk.

    Against this supercharged backdrop, the Anoka-Hennepin school district finds itself in the spotlight not only for the sheer number of suicides but because it is accused of having contributed to the death toll by cultivating an extreme anti-gay climate. “LGBTQ students don’t feel safe at school,” says Anoka Middle School for the Arts teacher Jefferson Fietek, using the acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning. “They’re made to feel ashamed of who they are. They’re bullied. And there’s no one to stand up for them, because teachers are afraid of being fired.”

    Can your “Christian love” at least agree there should be laws against bullying LGBTQ teens for their orientation and gender identity?

    • Geoffrey

      Porphyry, isn’t Anoka-Hennepin a public school district? Ah yes, indeed it is! And that doesn’t surprise me, because I know that bullying of any kind has zero tolerance in Catholic schools, which, by the way, do not discriminate in any way, shape, or form against sexual orientation or even the religious viewpoints of their students. Public schools, on the other hand, are a corrupt hell hole of swirling chaos in general. Take it from a guy in a wheelchair who survived it. And you know what helped me through?

      1) A wonderful Boy Scout troop at the local Methodist church, where two of my fellow scouts were the adopted sons of a lesbian couple.

      2) My local Catholic Church, which stood by me as I questioned my faith and assured me that I had value as a disabled individual.

      3) A gay Catholic elementary music education teacher, who taught me to return good for evil no matter what and that God loves you, even when you screw up.

      Good day, and God bless you.

    • Jack Swan

      Not often that you see Luke 11:24-26 demonstrated before your eyes.

    • What a non sequitur to the post.

      But I will address your question. No, I am against these laws because they will quickly be used as a weapon to suppress free speech. Any comment that reveals disagreement with their lifestyle will be labeled as bullying and be used to silence those who do not promote their agenda. Bullying activities are already against the law. The bullying laws are only designed to make homosexuals an elevated class.

      For the same reason, I am also against hate crime legislation. Assault should be punished regardless of the victim’s sexual preference. Hate crime laws inherently make the case that homosexuals are more valued because assaulting one carries more penalties.

    • I was curious about the school district and found the Wikipedia article which supports what I said:

      “The district has received criticism for its Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy because it states that teachers should be neutral when addressing issues of sexual orientation in their classrooms. Critics have said this “neutrality policy” prevents acceptance and open discussion of GLBT people and issues in schools, and is essentially a “gag order” on teachers.”

      See, even a policy of neutrality (i.e. “tolerance”) is unacceptable. Only active support of the lifestyle will be acceptable to advocates, which means we must force a viewpoint on teachers and students. So much for freedom, but that is the price GLBT advocates are happy to pay to further their agenda.

      • Porphyry

        We need to teach equality, not tolerance.

        • JonathanR.

          No we don’t. At least, not equality as I suspect you define it.

          • Margaret

            Sure– “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    • Mark Shea

      In answer to your question, yes. Can your pleas for tolerance acknowledge the reality that gays are quite as capable of bullying people?

      Oh, and given that you are a troll who has no interest in anything but accusation: goodbye.

      • Porphyry

        So is there an epidemic of suicide among Catholic teens due to bullying by LGBTQ teens at school?

        • Mark Shea

          Notice that even though I agreed with you that bullying gay kids is evil, you ignore me and change the subject, like a troll. That’s why I ban people like you. You have no interest in actual conversation. Just…. bullying.

        • Amy P.

          Suicide rates are highest among Lithuanians. Clearly this is caused by all the Luthanianphobia out there, right?

          People commit suicide for many sad reasons. Unless a person leaves a note explicitly saying they committed suicide because of the bullying they received from someone because of their sexual orientation, the assumption that every gay (or possibly gay) teen who kills him/herself did so solely because of their orientation is an insult to that person’s memory.

          But since it’s also a convenient tool with which to bludgeon the God-given rights of people who disagree with homosexual behavior (and remember that word is emphasized for a reason), who cares why these kids committed suicide since chalking it up to one cause is politically advantageous to us?

          • Noah D

            Good Lord, what’s going on in Lithuania? That’s a HUGE statistical jump from #2 to #1.

        • JonathanR.

          Catholics are sturdier than that.

          But we do have the coming spectre of the Catholic Church being bullied by LGBTQ activists into violating their consciences.

        • Thomas R

          I have no idea. I didn’t commit or attempt suicide in High School despite developing same-sex attractions. Catholic teaching is pretty strongly against suicide. (Oddly I remember being almost mad my priest was not as upset by my sexual attractions/fantasies as I was. However if you’re a priest you probably here plenty of men saying stuff like I did, people have weird stuff in their minds sometimes)

    • Amy P.

      What about laws prohibiting the persecution of Christians, including lawsuits and other legal/civil penalties, for daring to express what our religion has taught for two millenia?

      Tolerance and equality are two-way streets.

      • AngelaT

        Well this is awkward…

        While Christians are not killing themselves, they are at the very least suffering around the world and being killed by others.

        I will say this: I am against anti-gay bullying; I believe that that they ought to be treated with the same level of respect as any other human being, and I think that most here would agree with me, believe it or not.

      • Amy P.

        Either bullying and persecution is wrong, or it isn’t.

        If you argue it’s wrong when directed toward gays (as I agree it is) but that it’s also wrong for Christians — who endure as much public persecution as gays, and more — to even mention that there might be bias in this culture, you have the problem. Not me.

        As I said, tolerance is a two way street. Remember that thing called the Constitution? You don’t get to nullify it because you don’t like what our religion teaches.

    • Scott W.

      Here’s the problem: If I ask, “OK, how do we prevent bullying and suicide AND make it unambiguously clear that homosexual acts are always and everywhere wrong?”, I’ll get a bunch of waffling indicating that bullying and suicide wasn’t your real issue.

  • Rich Fader

    I think I would have first asked Legion if there was a herd of pigs near him. And a deep lake.

    • current lector

      How about Hogtown, on Lake Ontario?

  • Laurie

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

  • David

    Porphyry: I read that three times trying to find the link to Catholics. Am I missing something?

    • Eli

      You’re not. I’m guessing Porphyry is probably the same person as Judas. whom is probably the same as Reality Check. Just a guess though.

      • Rosemarie


        Yeah, that is my guess, too.

  • randy

    Canada has ssm and abortion rights for women. Light years ahead of the states

    • sjay

      Which has what to do with what here?

      • Chris M

        zero. Give him another couple minutes and there will be a non-sequitur about overpopulation.

    • Amy P.

      Canada also has a nasty history of criminalizing ungoodthink and stifling freedom (of speech and religion). Yes, so many light years ahead of the U.S. they’ve gone back to 1984

  • Chris

    Well, Mark, at the rate your bringin ’em in…. You wont have to post stories anymore. Just create a timestamp and wait to see how that is connected to the Church’s oppression of pornographers, adulters, baal worshippers, etc

    • We have a winner. With that, the combox can be closed.

      Chris, you had me lol’ing out loud. And, I don’t do that very often. Ed Mechmann’s was very, very good. Yours was great.

  • rakowskidp

    AngelaT: exactly. Nobody deserves to be bullied like that, ever. Including those who are, or are perceived to be, gay.

    But this is what I expect to hear next: that the Church’s insistence on the inherent sinfulness of homosexual activity, we’ll be told that we create a climate in which hate can flourish, which encourages bullying and assault of those who engage in it. Kinda how the MSM blamed conservative talk radio for the attempt on Gabrielle Giffords’ life. It’s nonsense, but it won’t stop folks from saying it.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Sorta like the way we stigmatize kleptomaniacs by making theft illegal.

  • Manwe

    Very nice Mark! You had me and my whole family laughing with that one! 😀

  • Marthe Lépine

    Some of the funny comments at the beginning of this reminded me of another little story: My friend was sitting in hospital having her broken wrist wrapped in plaster when her attention was caught by a poster on the wall that said: “Don’t drive while plastered!”

    But seriously, what was this with Randy and Amy P. bringing totally out of place nasty comments about my country, Canada? Let me reply to them that, myself, I have been severely shocked and needed several months to recover, when I discovered how different from the Catholicism I have been taught, brought up into, as well as continuing to believe in and practice, in my own country, was the attitude of so-called conservative Catholics of the US “right” towards several teachings of the Magisterium such as just war, torture, social justice, solidarity (especially when it is about paying taxes), etc., as well as about such other things as the death penalty, helping people pay for their medical bills without going bankrupt, just wages, etc… As Mark has said before, there is more to being a Catholic than being opposed to abortion, particularly if one forgets much of everything else about supporting life.
    Here! Tit for Tat!

    • Amy P.

      But seriously, what was this with Randy and Amy P. bringing totally out of place nasty comments about my country, Canada?

      I have no problem with any of the Church’s teachings, thank you very much. I don’t even mind Canada, and I’m sorry that my comments hurt you.

      However, when one looks at Canada’s recent hard swerve into political correctness — from telling the Rev. Stephen Boissoin he could not preach on issues related to homosexuality, to going after Catholic magazines for the same, to allowing “hate speech” lawsuits to proceed against conservative bloggers, to one Canadian politician who basically said songs about killing Christians *aren’t* hate speech because well Christians deserve it — there are some issues with Canada that I disagree with and, yes, find slightly Orwellian. I do have a problem with that. It’s no different than the topic at hand here in America: either religious freedom means something (and Canada’s charter is supposed to protect both religious and speech freedoms) or it doesn’t. Religious freedom, free speech, cannot be dismantled at the behest of those who simply disagree with what the Church teaches re: homosexuality, marriage, etc.

      There is also more to being Catholic than being politically correct, and sacrificing one’s faith in the name of pseudo “justice” rather than the genuine artifact. And believe me, I’ve run into more than my fair share of conservatives who think the Catholic church is just this side of socialism when it comes to certain issues (war, immigration, etc.).

      The beautiful thing about Catholicism is — some of the things you mentioned, like health care and helping the poor — are not dictated to us in the Catechism. *HOW* we help can be as varied as how we pray.

  • Marthe Lépine

    As I was quietly doing my work, after writing my first comment, something came back to mind. A while ago, in a conversation with a Catholic friend (originally from the US, by the way, as a conscientious objector during some or your big wars from the past – VietNam, I think), he happened to mention that, although Canada had very liberal laws concerning abortion, the rate of abortions compared to the size of the country’s population is actually LOWER than in the US. Randy and Amy, do you happen to have an explanation for this? Other, of course, than our better social safety net and our better medical insurance system?

    • Joseph

      Sounds to me that you are asking a couple of people to speculate. And I’m sure you have a ready-made conclusion as well… derived from speculation. So, what exactly would be the point of asking such a question in a combox when you know that neither you nor the parties you are questioning know the answer? Speculation doesn’t score points.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Well, I don’t know about speculation… The friend who was making that comparison of abortion rates actually has a Ph.D in sociology, I can be forgiven for assuming that he knew what he was talking about. Sorry that my Canadian viewpoint does not correspond to yours. And by the way, I am as pro-life as one can be – since I did not even think about an abortion when it would really have been good for my career at the time to have one…

    • Joseph

      And… BTW… when speaking of abortion, it always ends in the murder of an innocent human being at the hands of a self-proclaimed “doctor of medicine”. Whether it’s one or fifty million, it’s a grave evil. Comparing numbers of times a murder has been committed between two countries that have both legalized the murder of innocent human beings (mainly used for perceived convenience and not out of necessity) is nonsense. So, waiting for someone to speculate on the reasoning is irrelevant and just exposes how ridiculous your own line of reasoning is.

      That said, my concern for you is growing. Please make sure that the jack in the back of your head is still firmly connected to your television set. I wouldn’t want you to slip into a coma.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Hey! I don’t watch TV! My set has NEVER been connected to any cable, satellite, etc designed to sell shampoo and soap, it is just for movies. And I happen to have been brought up in very Catholic Quebec by parents who, even if they had their own problems, were extremely grounded in the Church teaching. I don’t think attacks on me are productive to the discussion, they sound more like “brownshirt” comments! You may think that my way of thinking is ridiculous, but it says more about you than about me.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Of course, one murder is as bad as 50,000 murders, therefore how come your country considers it appropriate to murder a swarthy-looking stranger just because he might some time be a threat to your country? Abortion is not the only evil to be concerned about.
        Another point: Is punishing murderers more worthwhile than trying to prevent the murder in the first place? If there is a lower rate of abortion in one country than in another one certainly does not mean that the evil of abortion does not need to be fought against. But it might mean that fewer women are guilty of having had an abortion, and to try to save sinners “one at a time” does not seem like such a bad idea. Preventing abortions does not just mean attacking the abortion providers; once a woman arrives at the door of the abortorium, it is a little late in the game, there could have been other ways to prevent her from coming to the door at all, but of course some of them might involve some apparently unrelated things that conservatives do not like their tax money go to, such as fighting children’s poverty, providing affordable medical care, and even, just even, trying to send fewer of their fathers to spend years in prison… (this is only a short list from the top of my head, I am busy now trying to reach a deadline).

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          how come your country considers it appropriate to murder a swarthy-looking stranger just because he might some time be a threat to your country?

          Actually, the requirements are somewhat more stringent. Swarthiness, for example, has little to do with it, save as a possible statistical correlation.
          + + +
          Regarding abortion rates: in the US abortion providers preferentially target minorities. For 2007, the last year of record in the US Statistical Abstracts of 2011, the abortion rate per 1000 women was:
          13.8 for white women
          48.2 for black women
          21.6 for other women
          19.5 for all women
          In contrast, the rate for Canada for the same year was:
          15.2 for Canadian women
          This is not astonishingly lower than the US rate and is higher than the rate for US white women. The overall difference may be due to the different proportions of white and black women in the two countries.

  • Will

    What about the way your criminal Catholic grandparents murdered 80,000 Turks?

    There. That is old Internet lore. Those who were not around when “Serdar Argic” rampaged through Usenet will have no idea what I am alluding to. But I suspect we are witnessing another wave of it.

    • Joseph

      Dunno, my Catholic grandparents (as children) were too busy being considered dogs by their occupiers, the British Anglicans. I’m sure they didn’t even know who the Turks were at the time. They were too busy making sure their family was safe from the Black & Tan mercenaries who were raping and killing almost at random.

  • Joseph

    This from a man who’s most difficult reading probably comes from one of Dawkin’s books, if he reads at all. I suspect that it’s more likely that he obtained all he thinks he knows from the History and Discovery channels, like most modern atheists. The rest he probably learned playing video games and smoking pot in his parents’ basement. Anyway, for him to try and outwit a person who has not only read many, many books, has actually written a few himself, and practically has a shrine to G.K. Chesterton, the inventor of modern Catholic wit and irony, shows that my diagnosis for the sources of his wee anthill of knowledge is true.

    Brilliant, retort… but an obvious one (and one that could be seen coming a mile away, hence the blog post title).

  • Brett Powers

    “MY” name is Legion?

    To quote Daffy Duck: “HA!! THAT’S IT! Hold it right there!

    PROnoun trouble.”