Dear Good Christians Railing Against Helping Refugees

Dear Good Christians Railing Against Helping Refugees November 19, 2015

The Satanic Temple Minneapolis Chapter writes:

If there is anyone in the Minneapolis area who is Muslim and afraid to leave their home out of fear for some kind of backlash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would be glad to escort you where you need to go without advertising our presence – just big dudes walking you where you need to be. We would also happily accompany you so you can get some groceries.

In other news, godless socialist cheese-eating surrender monkey French whom courageous Crusader warrior Clash of Civilizations heroic conservatives have derided for years show the Frightened Party of Banishing Five Year Old Orphans to Death Under Daesh how it is done. France declares they will not appease or surrender to Daesh and will receive 30,000 refugees over the next two years, in contrast to this shameful spectacle of cowardly appeasement:

Also, a Frenchman released this video to ISIS in honor of his murdered wife which is a *vastly* more courageous act of defiance than trembling at five year old orphans or offering bellicose promises of blood and thunder.

YOU WILL NOT HAVE MY HATRED

Friday night, you took an exceptional life — the love of my life, the mother of my son — but you will not have my hatred. I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God, for whom you kill blindly, made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife would have been one more wound in his heart.

So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You’re asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.

I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago. Of course I am devastated by this pain, I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in this paradise of free love to which you have no access.

We are just two, my son and me, but we are stronger than all the armies in the world. I don’t have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.

I have been told for *years* about the cowardice and silliness of the French by the Real Americans who are currently cowering at the thought of the Orphan Terrorist Threat. I have heard for *years* from Real Catholics about how the reason the French are cheese-eating surrender monkeys is because, unlike the Greatest Catholics of All Time (who are cheering for the American Conservative “Slammed Door” policies), they have no moral fiber due to their godless socialism and Euroweenie reluctance to fight manly wars. I’ve heard times without number that Real Catholics obey the Church and Do the Right Thing and Stand with the Pope.

And yet here we are, with the French showing the Party of Personal Responsibility how it’s done and Satanists–SATANISTS–showing more guts, compassion, human decency, and, yes, Christian charity and obedience to the Pope than the Greatest Catholics of All Time (who were busy in my comboxes denouncing him as “your senile boyfriend” this weekend).

The judgments of God are piquant. Using the French and Satanists to highlight the shameful cowardice Real Americans and Real Catholics is classic.

“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
¶ Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
¶ But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” (Ro 10:19–21).

If you are among those cheering for slamming the door in the faces of refugees and orphans, feel the shame and repent.

And for God’s sake (literally), stop saying “We can’t just fling open the doors and let people in unvetted!” Absolutely nobody (except for conservative politicians who are playing on your fears) is saying that. And the conservative politicians know perfectly well that we already have an elaborate screening mechanism in place. But they count on you not knowing that to control you with fear.

Don’t believe me? Here is the Cato Institute, not exactly a liberal think tank, to tell you that Syrian refugees don’t pose a serious security threat. This is the Ebola panic redivivus, a panic du jour from the party that governs almost entirely by panicking its followers.

Stop being played, repent, and believe the gospel.

"If your Diocese has a TL Mass, you should go one time (If you haven't).It's ..."

Rod Bennett on his new book ..."
"You, and Tom, and the very host of this blog are all avoiding my question. ..."

Some Reflections on the Crucifixion for ..."
"as I'm fond of saying, the Church and the truths she teaches belong to Christ, ..."

Rod Bennett on his new book ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Cas

    Bravo, Mark!

  • Elmwood

    there is a difference between refugees and terrorists and people lying about being refugees to circumvent the immigration process. i don’t think there is anything wrong with trying to sort that stuff out given what is going on in Europe right now.

    the catholic patriarchs in Syria seem to suggest such problems.

    or is the christian thing to do to let them all in without asking any questions?

    • chezami

      I repeat: absolutely nobody is saying “Let them all in without asking questions”. Stop this dumb straw man argument.

      • Elmwood

        i’m all for helping out refugees but i’m concerned about the process is not good enough to ensure public safety, even the usccb is calling for a strengthening of the screening process.

        btw, germany pretty much sent out an invite “without asking any questions”. don’t you think it’s probably very easy for terrorists or fundamentalist mooslims to get bogus passports and documentation?

        “They’re not refugees. This is an invasion,” said Bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigo, whose dominion stretches across the southern reaches of this predominantly Catholic nation. “They come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They want to take over.”

        some catholic bishops seem to call it an invasion. i guess he’s a selfish christian too.

        • Anna

          There’s typically a wait of at least 2 years, often longer (e.g. Burmese refugees have generally been in process for about 7 years). They’re screened, plus they aren’t just dumped here and never seen again. They have caseworkers, and, if they’re lucky and people volunteer, mentor families as well.

          I won’t argue that the government offices in charge aren’t as dumb as government offices for anything else (they are), but I also haven’t seen them being in any big rush even to evacuate people who are in danger after helping our troops for a decade.

          I’d direct anyone to Humans of New York where he’s been talking to people in Greece, as well as visiting Iran and Pakistan. Good source of refugee stories, including why there are plenty of healthy young men (hint: not all young men are eager to be sent to kill their countrymen).

          • Elmwood

            somalians from minnesota have joined isis and the two boston massacre bombers were refugees. now we think some of the paris terrorists were disguised as syrian refugees. it’s not like there isn’t a threat.

            • Anna

              Sure, but I’d argue it’s *far* smaller than the threat from the ever-growing number of American-born-and-raised mass shooters. Syrian refugees don’t want to bring along the people they’re fleeing; we should be enlisting their help, which will only happen if we pay attention to individuals rather than broad-brush with “they’re all innocent!” or “they’re all terrorists!”

              • Dave G.

                The good news it that when I step out and listen to the debate, few are saying ‘they’re all innocent’ or ‘they’re all terrorists.’ That’s one of the biggest problem with the debate. It seems to be dominated by the scant few who try to make us believe that’s what everyone else is saying.

                • Anna

                  Few normal people are saying those two extremes, but the latter seems to be the gist of the governors who won’t allow Syrians into their states. Or at least “well, maybe they aren’t all, but some are, so no help for any of them” which amounts to the same thing.

                  • Dave G.

                    No, not the governors I’ve heard. They’re merely saying they don’t have confidence, given the stumbles of the president and his apparent lack of grasping the situation, that the current policies are what they need to be. All the ones I’ve heard merely have said to tighten up the current rules and procedures. Now, they might be wrong. Perhaps their ideas are no better, or even worse. But plowing into this debate based on the Limbaugh/Comedy Central dual option does no good for anyone and is hell and gone from actually making sure refugees are helped while those living here are kept as safe as possible.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      Ten “likes” for this one.

                      Stay tuned for being denounced by the once-but-no-longer genial host of this blog.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      In defense of our host, I can easily understand that an accumulation of frustration at having to read the same arguments over and over again can be irritating and that such irritation can be reflected in some of his posts.

                    • Anna

                      But we’ve been taking refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan for some time (and a few Syrians here and there) so I don’t get why the current policies are suddenly so scarily inadequate for current Middle Eastern refugees.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      It could be because the Administration said it so carefully screened the “allies” it recruited in Syria, for a “moderate” opposition. And then our “moderate” allies turned over their weapons to the terrorists there.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      As i seem to be noticing, from a distance of course, is that when there is a matter of fueling wars which allow your weapon-making industries to increase their already considerable prosperity, “vetting” is of a completely different nature, since it is probably influenced by an army (pun intended) of lobbyists. But it is only my own impression as a citizen of a foreign country…

                    • sjay1956

                      Of course, they were being egged on in doing so by a lot of the same Congresspeople who are now claiming skepticism about their ability to screen out fake refugees.

                    • chezami

                      There you go with facts and thinking again. You are going to turn gay if you keep doing that. Only real men live by perpetual fear.

                    • LFM

                      What? Mark, you are beginning to sound more and more like Donald Trump yourself. What goes on here?

                    • Dave G.

                      My guess is because of the suddenness of it, and the fact that the FBI and other security agencies admit we haven’t obtained the same amount of information on Syrians as we have others. Last week, of course, is a part of it too. And contrary to some narratives, it’s not just all conservatives who worship Trump. I watched a string of interviews on CNN with folks from all over Europe. They tried to pretend they were American Republicans who worship Trump, but their accents were dead giveaways. Anyway, almost none said they thought the refugees should just be turned back and thrown in the sea. But almost none said their governments should just go on with business as usual. They seemed to be sounding a lot like most of the GOP reps I’ve seen interviewed that said it might be worth making some changes and reexamining our policies (or Europe’s as the case may be).

                    • LFM

                      Ah yes. I remember the refugee from Afghanistan whom I encountered in a history class in the mid-1980s. He said, with a wondering air, that it was a huge surprise to him when he came to North America and discovered that everyone here thought that Hitler was a devil, because he had always been taught that Hitler was a hero.

                      No, I am not making that up. The fellow was not necessarily speaking as an anti-semite (though he might have been); as an Afghan in the 1980s, he might have been taught to admire Hitler because he attacked the Soviets. But it is clear to me from the comments I read here that few people have any idea of the cultural gaps that still exist between the Western world and everywhere else.

                    • chezami

                      There’s this thing called Google, governors. Instead of dramatically declaring your state is surrendering to ISIS, you could have just done some research and found out that things are really fine: https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cato.org%2Fblog%2Fsyrian-refugees-dont-pose-serious-security-threat&h=4AQG1EUXK But that was never the point. The point was to play to the base of bigots who adore Donald Trump and think the first amendent should be repealed and Muslims force to wear yellow stars.

                    • Dave G.

                      And if I hadn’t met Nabil, only recently from Syria, I’d almost be willing to accept the Democratic narrative that open doors or vile racism are the only two options because everything is right, just like it was last Thursday when we were told Isis was all but contained. Yet each time I listen to him, it’s just not quite as quick and easy as the Obama/Trump narratives. Are some bigots? Yeah. So are others. But the fact is, most of the candidates who aren’t Trump are merely saying that given the string of mistakes and missteps on Obama’s part in dealing with Isis, there’s no more reason to think he’s got things in spotless order than there is reason to believe Bill Kristol is going to be spot on correct about our next military venture.

                    • LFM

                      Straw men, again.

                      At least some people like Donald Trump not specifically because of his views on immigrants, but because he has refused to let the champions of identity politics force him to back down or apologize.

                      An inability or refusal to apologize is not an admirable characteristic, but in the present condition of identity politics in the US, in which people resign from their jobs at any sign of pressure from social justice warriors, it is probably a useful one. However, it takes someone with the tin ear and brash confidence of a Trump to be able to exercise it. Everyone, and I mean everyone else has backed down in the face of the tantrums of ID politics enforcers; Trump has simply brazened them out.

              • Elmwood

                but it’s fun to argue with Mark and play devils advocate. it’s also the traditional catholic mentality to kick out mooslims anyways (and sadly jews).

              • LFM

                Syrian refugees will almost certainly bring along the people they’re fleeing, or at least some of them.

            • sjay1956

              “Refugees” or “asylum seekers”? Apparently,there’s an distinction between the two and it’s important. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bier/the-boston-bombers-were-n_b_8584016.html

          • chezami

            Anna: Facts, information and thinking make conservatives turn gay. You wont fool them into dying at the hands of terrorists that easily.

            • Dave G.

              I remember when I first started visiting CAEI all those years ago. Shortly after I started, someone wrote that Liberals were spoiled brats who hated their parents, or something along those lines. Wow. The backlash from the readership was swift and harsh: that’s the sort of lame partisanship that Catholics would do well do avoid. It was a childish and stupid thing to say, or so the readers (more than one) stated. And those were readers who were a far cry from liberal themselves. It was clear that in Catholic circles, more than the typical talk radio style rhetoric was going to be expected, no matter how intense the actual debate over the substance of the issues became. Ah me. Seems like so long ago.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Yes, of course, and it is Germany that has been the target, or even been the place where the planning was made, of one of the largest terrorist attacks in recent years Europe last on Friday Nov. 13…

          • Elmwood

            the reason isis attacked paris and that russian airliner is because france and russia are actively bombing isis in syria, being part of the u.s. led coalition. germany isn’t part (i think).

            i agree with mark on this btw, he consistently sees through the stupidity of the conservative ideology. i’m just angry about the whole paris massacre–like the rest of us–and i’m getting sick of islam, no different than that angry dumb-ass who yelled at this poor muslim guy.

            • orual’s kindred

              I think a lot of us are or have felt sick about the whole mess. I for one might not complain if Our Lord suddenly decided to just wave away sin and its consequences.

      • Cypressclimber

        Wondering whether the screening process is all it should be isn’t either “dumb” nor evil — at least not to most reasonable people.

        • chezami

          Nothing wrong with wondering. Plenty wrong with refusing to find out and then cheering for slamming the door in the face of an orphan under five–which is what Good Christian Conservatives are doing.

          • Cypressclimber

            Would the outstanding vetting of Syrian refugees be anything like the vetting of our “allies” in Syria, as part of the half-billion dollar program of building a “moderate” Syrian opposition?

            Didn’t bunches of those carefully vetted “allies” end up turning over their weapons to the really bad guys?

            Is it that sort of vetting?

            This is the sort of thing that has reasonable people concerned.

            • Marthe Lépine

              As i seem to be noticing, from a distance of course, is that when there is a matter of fueling wars which allow your weapon-making industries to increase their already considerable prosperity, “vetting” is of a completely different nature, since it is probably influenced by an army (pun intended) of lobbyists. But it is only my own impression as a citizen of a foreign country…

  • Stu

    This sort of post will change few minds.

    • Cypressclimber

      Is that even the point anymore?

      • chezami

        You’re the real victim here.

        • Cypressclimber

          The heavy blanket of sarcasm cast over several comments here makes my point. Is this persuasive?

          I happen to think we should admit refugees, but I don’t dismiss the concerns people have about terrorists sneaking in thereby. It’s not unreasonable.

          President Obama, for example, would be more persuasive if he treated those concerns with respect, rather than mocking them. Yes, I know he was responding to other politicians; but he’s also the president of the people, and quite a lot of we the people have the same concern. Mocking those with concerns isn’t persuasive.

          • Andy

            Perhaps if the alleged republican leading candidates treated the Syrian people with respect it would be easier to treat them with respect. If Catholic charities in Baton Rouge wasn’t receiving death threats because a Syrian refugee moving to D.C legally, it would be easier to treat concerns with respect. The behaviors of those in the public eye are playing into what ISIS or whatever they want to call themselves are using to find recruits.
            I have concerns, yet I think we should accept refugees; in fact our community is organizing to find a way to bring some refugees here. Even those with concerns are working towards that end.
            I think the public. xenophobia reflects so badly on this folks with concerns that it makes them into a mockery. I am not defending Obama, merely noting that we need leaders who rather than inflame, and belittle one another, act in ways that unify people.

            • Cypressclimber

              I am not particularly concerned about the GOP candidates; they can take care of themselves. As I said, the contempt which the President (and Mr. Shea) dish out doesn’t just slop all over the GOP candidates. It falls on all those who think there are reasonable questions to ask. They deserve better. The readers of this blog, in my opinion, deserve better.

              • Andy

                I agree about the need to ask reasonable questions, but those with reasonable questions/concerns are drowned out by the xenophobic noise. We all deserve better, but we all have to call out the idiotic, the dangerous, the vile with power.

                • Cypressclimber

                  …but we all have to call out the idiotic, the dangerous, the vile with power.

                  Well, yes, but I’m not convinced the world needs me to denounce anyone right now.

                  I’m reading what various folks are saying. Mr. Trump has said some offensive things lately about special ID cards and monitoring mosques. He has a record of saying thoughtless, reckless things, so I don’t know that I need much more to make an assessment there. Mr. Christie, on the other hand, doesn’t strike me the same way; and his comment about 5-year-old orphans strikes me as anything but a politically smart thing to say. So I’m wondering if there’s more to that story.

                  As far as various governors and others who are weighing in: are they being opportunistic and are they likely insincere? Of course; but that is true of pretty much all politicians, with rare exception. But, as it is, what I’ve seen of their various comments, they seem to be: we’re not confident in this administration; we want a pause until we’re sure they’re handling it the right way.

                  However insincere they probably are, that position is not unreasonable. So if I’m supposed to denounce something here, what am I supposed to denounce?

                  • Andy

                    If one wants reasonable to be heard then one has to lower the noise of unreasonable – denouncing it is one way to approach it – that is what many who claim to be conservative do with liberals – so what is the difference

                    • Cypressclimber

                      Who do you want me to denounce? Trump? OK. I denounce him. Anyone else?

                      I tend to take a different approach. I never supported him, so I didn’t think I needed to denounce him. But happy to do so, if that’s helpful.

                    • Andy

                      If indeed conservative Catholics or conservatives in general ant to denounce the Donald, why is he lading? He has found a niche that appeals to what passes for conservative in America today – your sarcastic denouncement as Mark’s often sarcastic denouncement is the problem – few if ant conservative truly challenge him, rather they point out his excesses and ignore his insidious place. Maybe instead of going after Mark, recognize the frustration he feels when folks ho claim to be christuan ignore basic Christian principles.
                      I gave to go to our church meeting talk as we try to find a way to bring refugees to our community. Have a good night

                    • Cypressclimber

                      Sorry, I wasn’t aiming to be sarcastic in my response, I was aiming merely for a smile.

                      About Trump: I don’t know what you want me to do about him. I am not for him. His “lead” is in the polls. I haven’t been polled. I am unhappy he’s leading in the polls. When I talk politics with people, I am happy to point out Trump’s problems. What more do you want me to do?

                      I’m “going after” Mr. Shea because he seems to be using a “one wrong justifies another” approach. The wrongs of others justifies his wreckless, shoot from the hip approach. When people point out the flaws in his arguments, he resorts to ad hominems (implying that his critics are claiming that to be victims, when I, at least, have made no such claim).

                      If Mr. Shea can’t engage in this discussion without the meannessand anger, that is a problem I can do nothing about.

                    • Andy

                      I apologize for misreading your comment about denouncing the Donald. I was having a bad day. I do not believe that sarcasm or louder screaming is the way to respond to this line of thought – however, I find that Trump suggesting that Muslims must wear a symbol, that Carson comparing people to rabid dogs, that Cruz claiming we need a religious test seems to be history repeating itself.

                      We need to stand up to the folks who spout these xenophobic rants. I ask in seriousness, especially about the refugees – would ISIS want a terrorist to spend 18 months or longer in a camp before s/he can act? Would ISIS need to do that when they are successful n recruiting nationals from various countries, training them in Syria and then sending them back?

                      To defeat ISIS or other groups is not a military only battle; it means standing up for what we allegedly believe – we seem to have lost that ability. That is why my wife and I are working with members of community to bring some Syrian refugees to our community. That is how one stands up.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      I appreciate your reply.

                      No offense to you, but I’m done here.

                  • chezami

                    But the world badly needs you to denounce me. Thanks for clarifying. Really feeling pastored here.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      I am not “denouncing” you. I am challenging you. This is ridiculous. You accuse Mr. Christie of wanting 5 year old orphans to die — a monstrous charge — and now, you are complaining that I’ve been too tough on you?

                      This is becoming pointless. I really did hope to induce you to greater care in what you say, and less anger. You aren’t interested, clearly.

                      So this may be the time I just check out.

                    • chezami

                      Christie is the real victim here.

                    • Stu

                      So, it’s you who is the real victim here. It’s been a real episode of’To Tell The Truth’ with all of this “You are the real victim” talk.

                • [but those with reasonable questions/concerns are drowned out by the xenophobic noise]

                  Fair point, but is the solution to shout even louder with even more vitriol and sweeping generalizations?

                  Hey those guys are shouting over the people with real concern. I know, I’ll shout back, and louder.

                  • Andy

                    I don’t believe that shouting louder works – it takes actions, as I said above my wife and i working in our community to bring some Syrian refugees to our community.
                    I do believe though that we need to call out the xenophobic behavior, not is screaming at them, but in calling it what it is – unAmerican – and that can be done in many ways. If perhaps we all boycotted the news shows/stations for a period of time we might have an impact – because if the news was not so joyful in reporting what these folks say it might start to fall apart. We can do so by pointing out that terrorists come in all colors and from all religions and all regions.

                    • I don’t disagree with you at all. My question is whether what mark is doing here is what you’re saying we should do… or shouting.

                    • Andy

                      I don’t think that trying to out-yell or out-sarcasm people works – I believe that we need to act quietly and “publicize” quietly what people are doing – actions I think speak louder than words. I share Mark’s frustration with what has become the standard political discourse and find myself “screaming” at the news, which I have begun to give up. I favor quiet actions – like what we are doing my community.

                    • OK I see what your saying. I have no idea about what mark does or says or who he supports politically IRL, so I’m not speaking to the quality of his actions or even the legitimacy of his frustration.

                      I’m just saying that here on this blog, especially in the comments, it seems a lot like shouting-over and name calling. And that is doing very little to reduce the polarization.

                      Some people like the polarization because the more sharply they can disagree with the other side, the better they can feel about their opinion.

                      Having followed Mark a long time, that’s not him. But If I was just jumping in recently, I would think he was another Michael Coren in this respect and be lest inclined to listen. I’m saying, his tone here is making it seem like he revels in polarization so that he can clearly define himself as above the fray. I know that’s not who Mark is, but I fear that becoming the norm of how he presents his political opinions.

              • chezami

                You’re the real victim here.

                • LFM

                  Your behaviour here is truly repellent. If you think that Jesus, Chesterton, the Catholic bishops, Pope Francis or any of your heroes (and mine) would find you sympathetic or righteous in this mode, you are mistaken.

                  I will continue to post for as long as you permit me to do so because I left a number of comments this morning and last night and will answer them if I can.

          • chezami

            People who think it is reasonable to spit in the face of an orphan under five and who feel butthurt for receiving the scorn for cowardice they so richly deserve can expect nothing but sarcasm from me. This whole episode is a stain on the honor of our country and brings the Church into disrepute among the Gentiles. Stop making excuses for it.

            • Cypressclimber

              If the target of your insults is the GOP candidates, fine; are you under the impression that they constitute your primary readership? If so, you are mistaken.

              When you pour out the abuse and invective, I’m telling you it’s off-putting to your readership, of which I remain, for the time being, one.

              And, by the way, I am not making excuses for “people who think it is reasonable to spit in the face of an orphan under five.” That is a baseless slur. Either substantiate it — if you can — or retract it.

              • chezami

                What constitutes my primary readership is a conservative Catholic readership that confuses conservative talking points with the Magisterium, seethes with contempt for the pope (pardon me, my “senile boyfriend” as one of the Greatest Catholics of All Time put it) and will happily doom a five year old orphan to a short life under ISIS rather than be inconvenienced–all because they are so damn holy and patriotic.

                • Cypressclimber

                  By your own admission, you hold your “primary readership” in contempt.

                  Is this healthy? If blogging is making you this angry, this filled with vitriol, maybe find a way to be less angry.

                  • chezami

                    Your scolding and excuse-making for those who heap contempt on the desperate will really make that much easier. That doesn’t give scandal or anything, Father. Helps me calm right down. Thanks.

                • Stu

                  Is that really your primary readership? What percentage are they? How many have changed their minds?

            • [scorn for cowardice they so richly deserve]
              Aren’t you not supposed to treat people how they deserve? Because none of us deserve what God has given? Isn’t that like Christianity 101?

              I’ve never met you, but the person you’ve been playing on the internet lately is kind of a bully toward anyone who disagrees or even calls for nuance.

    • DaveG.

      Yes it will. It changed mine. It’s now clear that there is only one acceptable opinion or else I’m evil and a racist (so says Comedy Central). So there’s no sense trying to discuss things from there. You see Stu, I learned after 15 years of debating with Fundamentalists that there is a point when you simply stop wasting your time.

      • chezami

        It is Slam Door Conservatives and them alone who say there is only one acceptable opinion: Keep them all out–even orphans under five. It is people who are listening to common human decency and the teaching of the Church who know, as the Cato Institute shows, that we already have an elaborate screening mechanism–and who know that care for refugees fleeing horror that we have done so much to create are owed refuge by us. For God’s sake, stop whining about Comedy Central and try listening to your bishops and the pope: http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-157.cfm It is ou who are politicizing everything, not the Church.

        • Dave G.

          I am listening to the Bishops. I simply disagree with the assumptions you bring to the debate, as well as your interpretation of the events taking place. To disagree with you or how you are approaching an issue is not to fail to listen to the Bishops.

          • Joseph

            Good on ya. Same here. The bishops aren’t employing the language of the President who personally oversaw the arming, funding, and flourishing of the very terrorist groups that ultimately caused this mess and also that of a media that has repeatedly done everything in their power to distract people from that fact.

            Mark has, unfortunately, been assimilated into the Obamabot Borg. RIP, Mark. It was nice reading your stuff before you drank the Kool-Aid of The God King.

      • Cypressclimber

        Actually, along the way to his current rage-and-contempt-a-thon, Mr. Shea did manage to make a persuasive argument, when he cited — in another thread — the facts regarding the vetting of the refugees.

        That was helpful. That can persuade.

        But for some reason, he prefers attacking those of his readers who don’t share his increasingly nasty disposition.

        • chezami

          And those facts are repeated and steadfastly ignored by readers who just go on blithely repeated bullshit about some imaginary liberal demand for open borders, which might have a tad to do with my frustration about Real Christians who would rather spit in the faces of orphans and trumpet their superiority to the pope than listen to holy Church.

          But you’re the real victim here, not the refugees these people would doom.

          • Cypressclimber

            Are you drunk at the moment? It’s hard to understand your seething rage at your own readers.

            Who here is “spit(ting) in the faces of orphans” and “trumpet(ing) their superiority to the pope”?

            When the administration claims it can carefully vet refugees — from Syria — it is not unreasonable to anyone but you for folks to recall how much the same administration promised it could carefully vet “allies” — from Syria — and how that came a colossal cropper; and, recalling that, wonder what such a failure here might mean.

            I happen to think we should accept refugees; but who knows, you may yet talk me out of it.

            • chezami

              Who here is “spit(ting) in the faces of orphans” and “trumpet(ing) their superiority to the pope”?

              Chris Christie and the Silence Implies Consent base spit in the faces of orphans. Indeed, they literally go to the southern border to *scream* in the faces of orphans and wave guns in their faces too. Invaders, doncha know.

              And, as I already said, I was regaled repeatedly by Real Catholic trumpeting their superiority to my “senile boyfriend” and his alleged stupidity for urging us to help refugees. I don’t make this stuff up.

              • LFM

                The fellow who raged about your “senile boyfriend” made two comments in one thread before he was banned. Perhaps he has appeared on other occasions or in other guises; I don’t know. But to make him sound representative of your critics is inaccurate, to put it as neutrally as I can. Most of the rest of us who were critical of your views tried to be both civil and logical but that did not spare us from a blast of your wrath. And no, I do not feel like a victim.

              • Joseph

                Screw Christie… he and Trump are idiots like Obama and Hilary. Look at yourself, man! You’re acting like a fool and have now just totally ruined my view of you. You’ve gone off the deep end, man. You’ve literally been assimilated into the self-righteous lefty hipster Borg… shouting at everyone else while you do *nothing* but sit there and slam buttons on a keyboard. You live in Washington… and your peeps up there have *not* been pulling your/their weight when it comes to providing *refuge*, yet you sit there with your trumpet of glory and bash all of the other states who *have been* while you’ve comfortably enjoy your white f*cking neighborhood free and clear of Muslims. You are so holier than thou and you’ve done absolutely *zilch* yourself and this can be proven statistically with the very links you’re providing!!! Thereby proving my point that all you and your other lefty Obamabots want is for everyone else far, far away from you to do all the refuge stuff while you win awards for your self-righteous grandstanding… as if you’re actually playing a part in helping anybody. Wow, I totally shocked and disappointed by your behaviour.
                .
                Thank God the bishops are still Catholic, unlike some people who’ve gone all leftist fundamentalist. At least they can explain what Catholics need to be thinking in a rational non-hypocritical way. I’m sure glad you don’t speak for the Church. F*cking hypocrite. I’m done, dude. I’ve followed you since at least 2006. I even followed your arc from more of a conservative to more of a pure Catholic centrist (in political terms). But you’ve been drifting back to the other dark side in the last year or so and now you’ve gone full retard. Never go full retard. Good luck with your self-righteousness. I can’t stop you from sinking down into that pit.

          • LFM

            Not liberal demand for open borders. Libertarian demand for open borders.

          • Joseph

            Like the facts that Washington state, your state, full of lefty hipsters shouting and screaming their rash judgments until blood sprays forth from their raw vocal chords, has been woefully behind the curve for helping those very refugees up until now? Those facts? You know, that in October 2015 alone Washington lefty hipster self-righteous hypocriteville took in way less than Texas or Kentucky at a ratio of 26/1? Oopsie… I hope I didn’t make you spill your herbal tea. F*cking hypocrite.

            • chezami

              Goodbye.

    • chezami

      Selfish Christians are the *real* victims here.

      • Stu

        If you say so.

      • Joseph

        No, actually, *real* refugees are the victims here. While you and those your rail against both argue over the fact that neither of you want these refugees in your neighbourhood. Those other *bad* people are overt about their desire not to have them, you and the other *good* people just keep your desire not to have them under wraps while lamenting the fact that you’re going to have to bitch and complain about the *bad* people not taking them.
        .
        You’re actually *not* in the morally superior position that you think you are since all your doing is complaining about everyone else not taking them in, when in fact you have done nothing to bring them into your own neighborhood… which would show true charity. I’ll be waiting for your report. Until then, you’re just as selfish as those big, bad Christians who express their feelings publicly. I hope people realise that and it can officially shut down any future sanctimonious garbage about this from you.
        .
        P.S. My local community will be receiving many of these refugees soon… so I’m sick to death of hearing pretentious Americans argue over this. You all are so full of it.

  • Dave G.

    If there is anyone in the Minneapolis area who is Muslim and afraid to leave their home out of fear for some kind of backlash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

    Because one of the great tragedies of American history is how many tens of thousands of Muslims who have been butchered in America since 9/11. But it being a Satanic temple, it must be true.

    • Heather

      Well, the other day here in friendly multicultural Toronto, a Muslim woman going to pick up her kids was physically attacked and told she was a terrorist and to go back to her own country.

      It’s not ludicrous to think that these kinds of idiotic reprisals actually happen and that there are people who might actually be afraid to go out alone right now for good reason.

      • Dave G.

        Of course. In a country with 300 million you’re going to get that to some degree. But compared to what people thought would happen (and still think is happening), it’s been nothing. I remember on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Here in Columbus, the local media had a special on how Muslims are coping with all the backlash. Muslim leaders were interviewed about how terrified they and their communities were. And yet, since 9/11, there has been little backlash in this area at all. There have been several churches burned down (including the Catholic church in the town I grew up in just north of here). A Catholic priest was also murdered. Some Antisemitic attacks as usual. But that’s been it. No mosques burned. No Imams murdered. And yet the narrative continues….

      • Joseph

        Canadians are nuts. Doesn’t surprise me.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Thanks for the compliment! However, our nuttiness seems to be more open to accepting refugees, in spite of having some extreme nuts react negatively. On the other hand, though, some friends of mine have been wondering why we don’t see Canadian Muslims on the streets or on Parliament Hill demonstrating their opposition to extremism. There could come be a point where quiet press conferences by various Muslim leaders to condemn violent extremism might not be enough to alleviate fear among some populations.

          • Joseph

            :)… It was a friendly jab. I think Canadians pretty much agree that they’re nutty.

  • Art Deco

    If they were ‘helpless’ they would still be in camps in Turkey (and a great many knocking about in Europe are neither refugees nor Syrian). Public health problems in the refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan can be addressed by aid personnel with the conventional tools of the building trades. They are not addressed by importing refugees into Nebraska (much less by allowing flash mobs of refugees and ‘refugees’ to traipse through your country on their way to Maalmo housing projects).

    • Cypressclimber

      While I don’t recall the President making this argument — he was too busy mocking those who have concerns — there seem to me to be a couple of very sensible arguments for why the U.S. (and other countries) are accepting refugees currently resident in Turkey, as well as Lebanon and Jordan:

      1) The numbers of refugees there are huge — in the millions. This is very destabilizing for those frontline countries. This certainly ought to be a concern. If the chaos in Syria spreads to any of these three countries, that is a worse problem for everyone, including us.

      2) The Turks in particular are an obstacle to the U.S. working with the Kurds to oppose ISIS. It may well be that helping Turkey with its refugee problem is a price we were asked to pay for Turkey to acquiesce in us giving the Kurds more help, as it seems we are doing. We can’t afford to ignore Turkey’s concerns; and the Kurds seem to be the best option for pushing back ISIS, other than our army going back.

      • chezami

        Actually, he was mocking those faking concern while in fact having already decided to reject orphans under five because it is super popular with the GOP base of cowardly xenophobes.

        • Joseph

          *sigh*… one has missed the point.

          Neither your wonderful president intend to live amongst the refugees, nor have you done anything but hulk smash your keyboard over everyone’s head in your throne of judgement. You have more in common with him than you think. As I said all of the Americans need to shut their pie holes. Ye all are hypocrites. None of you want them in your backyard and that’s the whole reason for this grandstanding in the first place. Now, I’ll let you get back to walking your dog through your blessed homogeneous whitey middle-class neighborhood to your local Starbucks while to let your joyful thoughts of judgement roll through your carefully molded mind by the mainstream media about all those wicked people who want the same thing as you do… your homogeneous whitey neighbourhood to be left alone just the way it is. Hypocrite.

          • Cypressclimber

            You have more in common with him than you think.

            Yup!

        • Art Deco

          I’m not mocking anyone.

        • Cypressclimber

          I find it hard to understand why Gov. Christie said what he said about those under five. It seems so strange! On it’s face, it’s so obviously offensive, so indefensible, so ripe for mockery. Mr. Christie is many things, but he’s not stupid. So why in the world did he say it?

          According to you, rejecting “orphans under five” is “super popular with the GOP base of cowardly xenophobes.”

          Really? I am willing to bet real money that there’s no polling data that will support that. If you think I’m wrong, propose terms of a bet, and we’ll have at it. If you know of such data, feel free to post it.

          On the contrary, I think “the GOP base” would be singularly uncomfortable with refusing sanctuary to 5-year-old orphans. To their grownup guardians? Probably they oppose that; but refusing children? I think that is a real loser, politically.

          So that’s why I think this particular comment by Christie is very hard to explain. Hmm…

          Well, I have this process I follow — perhaps it seems strange to you — in which I wait to find out more. When someone is quoted as saying something really odd, I immediately think of possible explanations:

          1) He was misquoted;
          2) He was incompletely quoted;
          3) There’s more to the story;
          4) He really is as stupid and evil as that quote suggests.

          Somewhere, I got the notion that charity requires giving people the benefit of the doubt, which — to my unlearned mind, includes pausing to wait and see if more information comes out to clarify the situation. After all, I don’t kid myself by thinking the world is waiting with baited breath to hear my assessment of Mr. Christie, and it needs to hear it right now!

          Now, I have no obligation to add this, but I will. I’m not a fan of Gov. Christie; I have no reason to rise to his defense. It’s just that somewhere, somehow, I got this notion of “fairness” and “withholding judgment” into my head.

          • chezami

            The real question is “Where are voices in the Party of Courageous Realism who have said boo about Christie’s idiotic cowardice?” Nowhere. Why? Because the xenophobic Base That Trump Built *loves* this stuff.

            • Cypressclimber

              I repeat my challenge for you to substantiate your claim — made twice now — that refusing admission to 5-year-old orphans polls well with the GOP base.

              Do you believe you have the right to make up facts to suit your arguments? Whence comes this right?

              If not, produce the evidence to support such a strange claim.

              Second request.

              • chezami

                Show me the denunciation of Christie’s cowardice from anywhere in the GOP base. Trump just called for repealing the first amendment for Muslims and for the equivalent of yellow stars and, as usual, his polling numbers jumped. And all I hear from you is “Boo hoo.. You’re mean.”

                • Cypressclimber

                  We were talking about Christie, not Trump. So you acknowledge you cannot back up your claim that letting 5 year old orphans die polls well. Therefore we can dispense with that absurd non-fact.

              • Joseph

                It comes from laziness and the fact he’s a total bleeding hypocrite. He’s just mad that the states that have been carrying the burden up until now (where his hasn’t as can be seen in the very data he’s been providing himself) had decided to no longer carry the burden for him and his other lefty hipster friends who want to protect their whitey communities in Washington state. They’re afraid the muzzies might steal their Birkenstocks.

            • Marthe Lépine

              I have been wondering, also, about the age of those Mexican children some people were so vocal about several months ago? Would that recent comment by this Mr. Christie be somewhat linked to past comments by other Republican loud mouths? To me, both sound inspired by the same “spirit” of whatever and might just be expressions of popular “conservative” ways of thinking…

      • Art Deco

        The UNHCR census for the three neighboring countries is 3 million, though, curiously enough, the camp census for Turkey is only 1/8th of the total census. At ordinary urban densities, that number of people can be housed in an area about the dimensions of the old Canal Zone. The problem is addressing public health with concentrations that large. Another problem is security.

        • Cypressclimber

          Thanks. I think I know why I still bother to read this blog — at least, one reason: because however badly the host behaves, he still has readers who post worthwhile comments.

          • chezami

            You’re the real victim here.

  • Fox

    I am so afraid! Muslims are mean and scary! Keep them away! Dear lord, I am scared!!

    • Joseph

      You sound like a Democrat. If the Democrats weren’t scared, they wouldn’t be so upset when the opposition says, ‘you want ’em, you take ’em’. No, instead they’d be delighted. But since their not, well, I guess we know where they stand, right?

      • Bob

        So California, Virginia, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon, Missouri and other states with Democratic governors that have announced they are accepting refugees don’t count? Face it, Republicans are furious that they are being called out for being wimps and are now trying to claim the Democrats are the real cowards. Or are the Democrats supposed to take “personal responsibility” for the conservative bed wetting?

        • Joseph

          Good for them, why are they complaining that everyone else isn’t? It’s because they really don’t want them either. Otherwise, they’d just accept them and keep their mouths shut. Derp. The US created this problem, you don’t see Europe whining that they aren’t pulling their weight. Europeans are taking the massive bulk of them despite the risks. Lazy Americans, go have your Starbucks and pat yourself on the back for your teensy weensy bit of charity that you’re accepting in someone else’s proximity. F*cking hypocrites.

  • Joseph

    So, looks like Imma gonna have to edumacate you. This is the way it works. The paranoid Republicans don’t want to take in any refugees because they fear the small percentage that loves to kill. The self-righteous Democrats want to take them all in, so long as they aren’t placed anywhere near them or their Apple Store or other hipster hangouts. Those Democrats are upset at the Republicans because the Democrats were hoping to place them all far away in Republican country so they could all pat themselves on the back at the next wine and cheese tasting drag queen show for being so charitable, but since the Republicans are saying no, they’ve got their knickers in a twist now that they have this problem where they might actually have to have these dirty outlanders living even remotely close to their homes and/or hipster hangouts. They simply can’t have this, so they enlist the media, who is already firmly on their side, to tar the opposition while completely ignoring the fact that *they don’t want them either*, hoping that they can shame them into taking this potential unwanted burden of theirs… and it will probably work. So, with fingers crossed and with help from bloggers like Mark, they be able to have their refugee-free wine and cheese self-congratulatory party and hand out their awards to each other while the opposition party is made to look even more stupid than they already look *and* take in the dirty plebeians from Syria that just simply wouldn’t fit in at their parties or felt art exhibitions.

    Don’t fall for the trap, Mark. Neither party wants them, one only pretends they do as long as they are kept far, far away from them. And until I see you help some refugees integrate into your neighborhood, I think you need to get off your f*cking soap box you hypocrite.

    I can say that because my community *will* be taking in some Syrian refugees… who happen to be Muslim. Our cops don’t carry guns here, so we just have to hope that the group we’re getting aren’t tainted by the small minority of verifiable Muslims with chips on their shoulders and a mission of conquest. I’m pretty sure we’ll be good here though.

    • Art Deco

      The paranoid Republicans don’t want to take in any refugees because they fear the small percentage that loves to kill.

      Again, customary refugee relief houses same in camps proximate to the source of the disturbances, with an eye to eventual repatriation. Refugee relief is not a substitute for immigration policy, which has other drivers.
      Please recall, there were refugee camps in Thailand for decades, one set housing the Khmer, the other the Karen.

      Other than spot admissions here and there, Cuba and Haiti are the only proper sources of refugees to harbor in appreciable numbers. If refugees wish to apply to immigrate, that can be arranged, but they’d have to meet customary criteria to qualify for a settler visa in the U.S.

    • LFM

      Your group won’t be tainted by that small minority? Wonderful. But do you know whether it practises polygyny, clitoridectomy, forcible marriage or cousin marriage? Depending on national origins and educational levels, those are not necessarily minority practises among Muslims.

      Polygyny may be a minority practise wherever it occurs because it requires prosperity, but it is always anti-democratic because, since the sexes are at a more or less even ratio when they reach the age of reproduction, if only 10% of men have 2 or more wives, more than 10% of men won’t be able to marry at all. It’s an inherently destabilizing practise that is probably connected to the chronic instability of most Muslim societies. (Outside interference no doubt also plays a part.)

    • Sue Korlan

      Of course, since ISIS has said they want to attack DC and New York, if they’re really terrorists they may be settled in the other states, but they probably won’t stay there.

  • Elmwood

    i just wish people (chezami) were this passionate about protecting creation from the serious threat of global warming and environmental degradation.

  • Re_Actor
  • Tater Spivey

    hatred produces odd results.

  • anna lisa

    I think we’re allowed to feel nervous about refugees coming here. I don’t feel hysterical or anything, and I’m not a Republican. My oldest, dearest friend came as a refugee during the Iranian hostage crisis. Heck, even she’s nervous. She’s living in an Arab country now and has some pretty sketchy things to say. She keeps telling me “you have no idea what it’s like!” –No we don’t. We have had the privilege of living in a culture built upon Judeo-Christian values. Should we take the risk, and share our way of life with them? Yes. But I have no doubt that in the next 10 years at least one brainwashed refugee will do something horrendous here. Even if 99% of them are good, worthy and honest, and deserving of asylum, all of us here can agree that the assimilation of these people should be done under a microscope.

    That’s pretty funny about the Satanists though. They need to get their sh*t straight.

    • Dave G.

      That’s what I’ve been saying. Seize this debate from the extremes on both sides. Those who say toss a kid back into the ocean, and those who say Americans are racists anyway, and unless they support Obama they’re racist since all is well with the world. That helps not. I’ve been mentioning a fellow I’ve gotten to know from an Antiochian Orthodox church, similar to your friend. From Syria no less. In addition to some pretty interesting ideas about diets, his take on the problem is not Christie, nor is it Obama. He, too, is worried about the ‘nothing to see here, throw open the door’, because his take on the crisis is not anything close to either the FOX or CNN take. Much less the Limbaugh or MSNBC take. And yet he sounds like a little of both. The point being, it’s entirely logical and almost sane to assume, in light of last week, that we need to reexamine what we are doing. Just like the various Europeans interviewed by CNN today that, perhaps disappointingly to the network, admitted that some changes might be needed. Still, we want to guard against the extreme reactions and over the top backlashes that swallow up the innocent and the helpless. That should – should mind you – be our approach as Catholics. To me, it’s not Catholic to simply side with the latest side against the others on any given topic. You look at what each brings to the table, take the best that’s there, acknowledge that most sides probably aren’t defined by their worst elements, and therefore avoid reducing the Church’s views to nothing more than a Catholic version of what marks too much of modern discourse.

    • orual’s kindred

      I’m nervous. (I admit it may not be in the same way, or in the same level, as your feelings or others’, but that may be in part because my country isn’t that much of a step-up for refugees 🙂 ) And of course terrorists are going to take advantage of the situation, in one way or another. Why shouldn’t they? Which is why I emphatically do not suggest that the risks are insignificant, or that screening and security protocols should be dome away with.

      And I guess even the followers of Ol’ Grimdark aren’t immune to fits of inconsistency 😀 (Seriously, though, some Satanic groups seem to consider themselves as another, legitimate religion, defining their…er…founder differently from what the Church teaches. They apparently call for morality and eschew violence, in general bearing some similarity to other non-denominational churches. And this group seems to be one of such.)

      • anna lisa

        Oh Orual, now I’m dying to know what country you are from! You don’t have to tell me, but I love surprises. I can’t imagine that it’s not an English speaking one since your English is perfect. Anyhow –ignore me if my question poses any kind of inconvenience. I know I have to watch what I say when I correspond with my friend in the Middle East via email, as she does too. If anyone is listening in, they must have a good laugh, but I worry that men in long robes and funny hats will come in the middle of the night and haul her away for making fun of the wrong things. We make fun of our lives, each other, American idiosyncrasies, and Middle Eastern ones. We generally try to keep each other laughing and entertained because she is so sad to be there. Some things she tells me really surprise me, because here, we have these murky stereotypes in our heads about the Middle East (probably from Hollywood).

        I have to confess something, and want to know your opinion about it (you are so level headed).

        We have had a few waves of immigrants here, and of course we have lots of Hispanics (but they were here first). All of them assimilate quite well (though there is some hispanic gang culture). Nobody has worn anything but Western clothing including the Muslims. There is one African family (beautiful) that we see at mass, and she sometimes wears gorgeous brightly colored clothing that seems to be a blend of African and Western. It is a pleasure to behold.

        For the first time ever (only in the last decade) we are seeing more and more women wearing headscarves and Muslim clothing. It’s never the men, only the women. So here’s my confession: We were standing in line buying tickets to go to the movies and there was this young couple (early 20s) buying tickets about five feet ahead of us. He was wearing a white sleeveless muscle shirt (to show off his ripped muscles) with white sports shorts and basketball shoes. She was wearing a headscarf that completely covered her hair and forehead. That day I was overly emotional, because those awful, awful photos of the dead children washing up onto the beach were in the news and I’d just seen them for the first time (still traumatized) I just felt this horror and disgust well up in me for what she was wearing. I just went around the corner and cried –it hit me so powerfully. A few days later I saw another pair of older women wearing Muslim clothing in a coffee shop, and I had to ask myself why on that occasion I was not only not bothered, but admired how elegant and refined they were in the way they comported themselves. I was relieved to know I wasn’t guilty of irrational anger/emotion. I realized what had really pressed that button in me that night at the movies –It was the way that couple presented themselves –the overt sexism, her willingness, at her age to be a party to it, and the expression of *superiority* they both wore on their faces. That symbol of fundamentalism, combined with the fresh mental image of the drowned babies freaked me out.

        I remember a while back reading about something about the banning of head scarves in French schools, but had felt ambivalent, and have always leaned toward free religious expression (for obvious reasons) and personal freedom. Now, after all that has transpired I feel differently about that clothing.

        In L.A. schools they had to ban the gang members from wearing red and blue because they were symbols of gang affiliation, and it fed into their hostility toward each other. Now, I can’t help but feel like that fundamentalist Muslim garb is similar. It doesn’t represent modesty at all, and it isn’t about freedom of expression any longer –any more than yelling “fire!” in a theater is.

        • orual’s kindred

          Dear anna lisa, thank you for once again for the kind words you so generously bestow. And once again I am afraid I merit none of it.

          As for my country, I think it will suffice for now to say that, while English is a tolerably familiar around here, it’s not the native language. And while I know my own lapses, I owe a great debt to my parents for teaching me at an early age. I also admit that I have trouble adopting the rhythm and attitude that inform my native language. (I’m not even sure if it can be rightly called a language instead of a popular dialect, but I digress). And we have our own problems regarding certain rebel Islamic groups.

          I’m afraid I haven’t quite grasped your question (if indeed you were specifically asking any in particular). I hope what thoughts I can offer help somehow; and anyway please let me know in what way or aspect you want me to focus on. And please bear with me, as I try to distinguish a few things that I think need to be sifted through.

          The time when the pictures were first released I think was a very emotional time for many people. And given the subject matter, it’s quite natural that people should experience it as such. It also, I think, quite naturally made many Muslims more sensitive of their religion and identity. And those living in America and other democratic countries, which maintain freedom of expression, I think became more inclined to display symbols of their identity. I take note that the couple you saw were young, and you know how young people can be. (Ha! I am employing the ‘young people’ thing! My friends and not-friends will be amused 😀 )

          None of this is meant to excuse any actual fundamentalist superiority that they might very well have been indulging. I’m just allowing for the possibility of other factors that usually accompany these instances and complicate matters. And while I’m not sure if fundamentalist Muslim garb has necessarily warped into something that can no longer be included within freedom of expression, I also think that we will see more instances where displays of that sort constitute more of an abuse of that freedom. And I do sympathize with your misgivings. For myself, without any definitive words or acts to go with, I try to pray for such people and move on.

          Again, please let me know if there’s anything you wish us to elaborate on further. I hope I don’t fail your confidence too terribly!

          • anna lisa

            Orual,
            Thank you. (: You answered the question as I thought you would, with charity and composure. (And appeased my sense of guilt for even asking the question.) You are right in saying we haven’t quite reached a need to banish certain fashions. If things keep going the way they are, it might get to that point, but it hasn’t yet Other examples of some things that are like this come to mind: The fact that they took down the confederate flag where a white supremacist slaughtered black people in a church. That flag has become a symbol of something more than just the confederate states.. You can’t walk around with a K.K.K. pointed hat either.

            Personally, if I were a young Muslim woman, living in France, I would stop wearing the head scarf out of sheer protest for what ISIS, and fundamentalism represents. (There are plenty of other ways to cover your hair if you feel you need to! –French beret?)

            Another example I can think of where clothing meant so much more than just what it was, happened in my husband’s native country of Colombia. There is a popular singer who wrote a song about wearing a black shirt as a kind of protest for all the years of civil war, kidnappings and drug trafficking violence. It sparked a huge popular movement among the people and especially all of the young generation, coming of age. —-So they wore the black shirt as a sign of solidarity, and to say, “Enough!” It sent a powerful message and gave them a sense that there were more of them, and strength in those numbers. Things have gotten much, much better there.

            So yes, I am calm now, and am trying to be more understanding of myself for the feelings I had that night at the theater. I flipped a bit as I was watching the news the night of the Paris massacre too ( yes, I was telling the TV set that they should make every single possible hooligan take a polygraph test, and kick. the. fundamentalists. out. (sigh)

            Thank you for your kindness, and for listening to my rant!

            • orual’s kindred

              I am glad I didn’t bungle things up or cause you any trouble. And I am glad you have set yourself at ease for these questions. These are matters that need to be talked about and discussed. We don’t all of us have all the answers all the time, and the Church is meant to be a community. And as you say, it probably will come to the point where wearing fundamentalist Muslim garb will become disproportionately inflammatory. I hope it doesn’t, and I hope we can avoid it. But certainly the likelihood is quite…likely.

              There are many things that all of us will have to confront, things that we may or may not have taken for granted. I have been talking to a friend, who has just returned from a short family vacation a country more economically progressive than ours. Now he is of the mentality and temperament that especially seeks out order and discipline; and in coming back here to this part of the world’s topsy-turvy backwaters, he was overcome with frustration to the point of tears. And as I tried to comfort him I mentioned that, while it was completely understandable that he would feel so frustrated, social and economic stability is not a guarantee of overall well-being, whether that of a society in general or an individual. And as I said these things I was cringing at how trite my words probably sounded. I felt especially conscious because he is struggling with God and humanity, while I have made it clear that I identify as a Catholic. I felt like the sterotypical church lady warbling out platitudes to the troubled soul. Yet when I looked at him, I saw in his face the vague confusion of someone who was hearing something very unfamiliar. And I realized that I may have been the only person in his life who has actually said such things to him. So I went on to say that, with so few people trying to raise themselves to a higher standard, it would be a shame if he should put too much store on economic ratings. And as I said that he looked so very weary. And I thought of what you said, and wondered just how much we really talk about with one another, about things we’re hesitant to ask and things we think are “settled”.

              I am grateful to have been of help, and am humbled that you consider me at least competent enough to listen you 🙂

              • anna lisa

                Orual,
                Thank you. You are a kind, and good girl. What struck me the most about my inbox this morning was a message from you and another girl, quite like you who lives in Brussels (daughter of my daughter’s godmother). I am simply floored over the world becoming such a smaller place.

                I have reflected a lot about what you said, your young friend who was despondent about chaos, and I want to tell you a few thoughts of mine on the subject, but I will do so in the morning (hahaha)–there is a bit of chaos here right now 🙂 🙂 🙂

                • anna lisa

                  It’s no longer morning…:/
                  We have stomach flu here #7 and #8 and birthday party for #6 the day after the Thanksgiving holiday with a sleep over for a handful of 12 year-olds. –So I’m in this tightrope walk where I don’t know if I should call off the party and devastate the birthday boy (who hasn’t come down with it yet…)

                  My job for the feast on Thursday is do-able I need to make the chicken/Turkey stock for the gravy. My husband will finish it, make mashed potatoes, and fuss over the perfect cooking of the big bird for my Mom. We are dreading. the. empty. place. at the head of the table where our grand patriarch sat. Just dreading it.

                  What you said about your friend struck me. Most Americans would rest on their laurels and agree that we live in the best country on earth, but it’s really not that simple, is it? I think Americans suffer from a lot of isolation. We struggle to keep up with the neighbor (while not necessarily speaking with him/her) get in our cars to commute, and worry about whether we are cutting it. We worry ourselves into a bottle. In my old hometown which was a bedroom community of San Francisco people had really ridiculous road rage. There were signs posted on the trees (by some well meaning hippy probably) on the freeway on-ramp, reminding us to “breathe”. It’s hard to breathe when you have a $6,000 mortgage, an Audi payment, a second husband/wife and a teenager that hates you and sneaks to the park at night to get high. But at least there, the kids still hang out with each other.

                  Here, where I live now, the kids are even more isolated because they communicate mostly on games and phones. It isn’t a “walkable” community. Parents control, but aren’t necessarily there for their kids because the culture of THINGS and STUFF rules over a culture of nurture and togetherness. Does all of that work to produce an illusion of order, wealth, beauty, goodness?
                  Of course–
                  But with two parents working, it’s more of a survival game than anyone wants to own up to. Parents are spread thin, and kids sense that the ground beneath their feet is not solid. Having kids at all is becoming more and more of a luxury for the middle class.

                  I’m sure you helped bring your friend back to some reality. ( Was your “church lady” comment a reference to SNL?)

                  Now I’m going to go pour myself a glass of wine because I feel like Debbie Downer, lol!

                  Maybe raising a family is easier in other places, of the U.S. but for me, despite the high cost of living in California, it’s the only place to be because of my extended family…I feel so sorry for those that feel compelled to move to chase a dollar. The mothers of young children really *suffer* here without the support of extended family. It’s difficult to trust strangers, and then once you get used to that, it forces a mother to need to harden her heart to not suffer because of it.

                  I count my blessings every day, but I don’t fool myself to realities here that come with a ball and chain.

                  I didn’t want to end on a bad note!

                  Asking God to bless you wherever you are on this blessed planet!

                • orual’s kindred

                  I’ve been through a bit of chaos (at work) myself. I hope you are doing alright! Thank you once again for your wonderful generosity. Please know you have my prayers!

  • Steve

    Re: why would Christie (or Trump) say something so stupid or controversial?
    1. They think it might work in terms of playing on people’s fears and current events and suspicions.
    2. Even if it doesn’t “poll well”, it serves to get them in the news, and there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
    3. Force of habit / character. I have a habit of raising my voice toward my children far too readily. Because it’s a bad habit, it leads me to using that method of parenting or discipline without even thinking. To me, this is an analogy to these candidates & their party & their supporters. I jump immediately to yelling at my kids, and these folks just charge unthinkingly into making stupid statements. There is no value placed on a good faith effort to find out the facts, and then come out with a reasoned statement.
    4. They really are vile cowards. I probably am too, for that matter.
    There’s plenty of blame to go around, and I am not giving a pass to Democrats who, as Mark often points out, are just as prone to being made stupid by sin.
    I’d rather have my initial unthinking reaction be inclined toward charity, welcoming the stranger, and honoring our Blessed Lord, Who was Himself a refugee. Then, when someone reasonably points out to me that I ought to be perhaps a little cautious (“wise as serpents” as some are perhaps overly-fond of saying), I pray I have the prudence to listen.
    But it is way more fun just to yell at eachother. And as Joseph is constantly pointing out, most of us have relatively little skin in the game.

    • Dave G.

      Well said. The interpreting things charitably statement is not in the ‘Optional Rules for Advanced Catholic Play’ section of the Catechism. Any more than feeding the hungry or clothing the naked are. I find being a Cafeteria Catholic is, sadly, the default place for most of us – myself included. Actually following the whole package is far more often the rare exception. But your approach is definitely on the right track, and far better than I’ve seen in most of this debate. Though as you said, there have been several trying to rescue the crisis from the extremes on both sides. I’m glad I came back to this post, if for no other reason than reading this.

  • Steve

    Am I missing it, or are we even worrying about the most likely threats? No one seems to mention that there are surely radicalized FRENCH (or Belgian or …) citizens who would have a much easier time coming to the US on a tourist visa. Should we be talking about profiling instead? Are we willing to count on enough intelligence cooperation to know that dangerous people will be flagged at the airport? What is the answer to that? It seems to me a far more likely possibility. Follow some of the stories of the suburban ghettoes of Paris and other French cities. I don’t think it’s the refugees we should be (as) worried about.
    People mention the Tsarnaev brothers, saying, “See?!? Dangerous refugees!!!” Their radicalization happened in many ways on American soil, if I remember correctly.

    • Elmwood

      ‘Murica!

      Some of the people in the meeting were concerned the Mosque would take in refugees from Syria.

    • Joseph

      God… if i see another reference to the Tsarnaev brothers, I’m going to lose it. How quickly we forget in the info saturated world:http://www.businessinsider.com/r-russia-warned-us-about….
      Just in case you missed it. FSB first told the FBI, who concluded that he shouldn’t be detained. Then, the persistent FSB, told the CIA, who also supposedly *dropped the ball*. So, how do both the FBI and the CIA who were notified on separate occasions let this slide past them (even after interviewing him allegedly) when a Russian intelligence agency (obviously they have a good one, and obviously they know who’s who around their borders) warns them not once, but twice? Why were they let into the country… hmmm? You can find more on this story if you look for it. But at the very least it should make you think that perhaps things aren’t as simple as they may appear.
      .
      Whoever keeps saying that they were *refugees* is only using them to bolster a political point of view. These guys were identified by Russia as Islamic agitators on their border years before they bombed the Boston Marathon. People need to start using their critical thinking skills or try to actually pay attention.
      .
      The Tsarnaev brothers are *not* examples of bad refugees, they are examples of US Intelligence/FBI *allowing* them into the country despite overwhelming evidence that they were a threat well before the attacks too place. You need to start asking ‘why’.

    • LFM

      You are wrong. I have said repeatedly in comments here that I am as much/more concerned about radicalized citizens of France or Belgium, who of course were once either immigrants or refugees or both. It’s not usually random French or Belgian people who become radicalized in this way though, is it? It’s Muslim citizens. That’s the point. And what you are missing is that although the vast majority of Muslims will never even dream of becoming terrorists, they will dream of and even act on implementing sharia, at least for themselves, of practicing polygyny, of cousin marriage, of clitoridectomy (although that is not peculiar to Muslims), of forcible marriage, and in rarer cases of honour killings.

      The UK has had to introduce legislation and police divisions to cope with its problem of forcible marriages:
      https://www.gov.uk/guidance/forced-marriage
      http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/forcedmarriage
      http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/jul/22/how-prevalent-is-forced-marriage-in-the-uk

      If Muslims did not tend to arrive in “waves” and if Western culture were healthier than it is just now, the various issues that divide us might not matter and Muslim immigrants might gradually let go of those habits that are foreign to Western tradition. They are not doing so now, at least not in Europe – and, increasingly I suspect, not in North America either. I don’t blame them for this, in a way: the disintegration of family life in the West cannot be very attractive to outsiders. But it is difficult to integrate peoples of such different customs into one society.

      • Andy

        A small issue – I agree with what yo have said. I would just add that whenever there is war that all groups arrive in waves, this is not a Muslim alone problem. I think what you point out the illness of Western culture is more of a problem then any of us care to admit.

        • LFM

          Sorry; that was an error. I meant, “if immigrants did not tend to arrive in waves”. The trouble is that Muslim customs are rather more removed from those of modern Western culture than those of immigrant Italians in the 1960s, or (Catholic) Vietnamese in the 1970s, or even Sikhs and Hindus who, however different their culture may be, at least do not practise polygyny, which I have read is far more common among immigrant Muslims than outsiders suppose.

          • Andy

            I agree with the issues with Muslim immigrants – I am reacting rather badly to how many – not all – in the US are reacting to the word Muslim.

            • LFM

              I have mixed feelings about Muslims and Muslim culture. As I said somewhere else in a recent thread here, I tend to enjoy the company of Muslims and often prefer it to that of North Americans. I lived in Muslim countries at a formative stage of my life, although not for all that long. When given a choice in public situations – let’s say a large meeting or a bus trip – I am rather more likely to chat with Muslim women than with my fellow North Americans. I like Muslim art and architecture and at least some aspects of Muslim living arrangements – the walled courtyards, the hospitality. But Islamic culture has been both vulgarized and radicalized by Saudi Arabia and Wahabism. Its worst elements have come to the fore and its more attractive side is being crushed.

              • Andy

                I have no experience living in Muslim countries and have a couple of friends who are Muslim, and your comment about hospitality rings so true. . I agree that in Wahhabism has had a horrific impact on the Islamic culture, from what I have read. Thank you of sharing.

          • kenofken

            Polygyny is also farm more common among plain old white bread Americans than many people suppose as well. Is there something about that state that predisposes one toward radical jihad and suicide attacks?

            • LFM

              Yes, there is, when it is combined with a religion that tacitly, or in some cases explicitly, encourages such attacks. Young men who cannot hope to find wives have always been known to be a threat to social stability.

              Meanwhile, it is my understanding that young men in “fundamentalist” Mormon (and other?) American groups that practise polygyny are given a hard time by their elders once they reach the age of sexual maturity and become a threat. The difference between them and young Muslim men in Muslim countries is that the former can readily escape into an outside world that does not allow polygamy, or at least disguises it as serial “monogamy”. But the more young Muslim men live in North America, etc., the more likely they are to live in exclusively Muslim communities and retain customs peculiar to Muslims, and the more difficult it will become for them to break free from those customs. The UK has seen this happen to a dangerous degree.

  • orual’s kindred

    senile boyfriend

    Well, it isn’t quite the “little boy fondler in an ass hat” I see in certain social media circles.

  • Joseph

    Ladies and Gentlemen, ignore the sanctimonious do-nothings on the internet. They have done nothing themselves for the refugees and have no plans to integrate them into their own personal society. Do not be intimidated by their grandstanding and spittle-filled shouting. They are not morally superior as they are just like those they rail against. They would not have their middle-class whitey life disrupted either. Just ignore them, don’t waste your time arguing with them. They just want to feel good about themselves.
    .
    Move on.

  • Joseph

    Gee willikers, Batman. So, far look at how many refugees have been taken in by Texas vs. Washington state in just October 2015? Gosh darnit! The ratio is 21/1 in favour of Texas; 26/1 in favour of Kentucky. Golly gee, Mr. Sanctimonious Shea… looks like your state has some catching up to do, eh? Case in point… the lefties are only complaining because the states that have been carrying the load up until now are ready to share the burden with theirs. I smell a major hypocrite!

    http://www.cato.org/blog/syrian-refugees-dont-pose-serious-security-threat

  • LFM

    Indeed, the Cato Institute is not a liberal think tank. It’s a libertarian think tank. Libertarianism is NOT just an interesting outgrowth of conservatism. Libertarians generally resemble a form of (more extreme) classical liberals. They believe in “no borders” and the free movement of peoples, just as they believe in free trade and no tariffs. I don’t know whether this is generally true of the Cato Institute, but it very well could be. I do not think you are well-informed about ideology or political thought. [updated; guess I can do that]

  • Stu

    “What constitutes my primary readership is a conservative Catholic readership that confuses conservative talking points with the Magisterium, seethes with contempt for the pope (pardon me, my “senile boyfriend” as one of the Greatest Catholics of All Time put it) and will happily doom a five year old orphan to a short life under ISIS rather than be inconvenienced–all because they are so damn holy and patriotic.”

    This statement by Mark blew me away. It really did. Now I’m not sure how he came to this conclusion but given the combox traffic I would never come to this conclusion. In fact, I would characterize Mark’s comboxes to have the following participants:

    -Fanboys who will agree with anything Mark says.
    -People who ask follow-up questions.
    -People who mostly agree with Mark and are happy to affirm what he says.
    -People who typically agree with Mark but think his style is often lacking.
    -People who genuinely disagree with Mark”s position on something.
    -People who just hate Mark.

    Of those groups, while I think the first group is the smallest, I don’t believe the last two groups are that big. So again, how does one come to this conclusion? My suspicion is from email. I think Mark gets some pretty nasty and negative email and he brings that with him when he blogs. That explains the tone of the posts and the hair trigger when anyone might dare to point out that our apologist host is firing high and right.

    Regardless, I wholeheartedly disagree with him on his primary readership. It really is Catholics who agree with him sometimes and disagree with him at other times and just want to have a place to have a good discussion.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Food for thought:

    From: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/john-mccallum-syrian-refugee-conference-1.3328851

    Provincial support exceeds Canada’s Syrian refugee target: immigration minister

    CBC News Posted: Nov 20, 2015 6:41 PM ET Last Updated:
    Nov 20, 2015 10:11 PM ET

    “I am an economist and I often deal with what you might call dollars-and-cents or
    bread-and-butter issues, but this one is different,” [immigration minister John McCallum] said.

    “This one is about values, this one is more emotional, and this one leads me to say I have never felt so patriotic as a Canadian as I am today, to be involved in bringing 25,000 people from the direst conditions on the planet here to our blessed country of Canada.”

  • Shawn Smith

    Why do you insist on lying to us? These refugees are not primarily widows and orphans and many of them at not even from Syria. They are overwhelmingly young, fighting-age Muslim men, i.e. prime ISIS recruitment targets.

    If you want to advocate for this, feel free, but please do not lie to us.

    P.S. Where is this horrible anti-Islamic backlash in America we keep being warned against? I’ve heard of numerous instances of Muslims massacring us, but I don’t recall hearing about the reverse.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Most state and diocesan branches of Catholic Charities have offices for refugee resettlement and immigration services. Not only do these offices provide excellent opportunities to practice the works of mercy, but they also provide an opportunity to enter into personal relationships with these people (whose dignity as persons is fast becoming lost to no few comboxers).

    After all, Catholics at least give lip service to the notion that they really didn’t want those 70mn innocent children aborted, and who knows how many of them would have become criminals and murderers? It’s as if there’s a parallel here, or perhaps as wise men have oft observed it is easier to love humanity in the abstract than persons in the concrete.