I’m Free. And So are You.

I’m Free. And So are You. October 8, 2018

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gigi Ibrahim https://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiibrahim/

I know that it is a settled fact that Brett Kavanaugh is on the United States Supreme Court for as long as he lives. However, sexual assault, rape and child molesting are no more acceptable to me now than they were last week. Neither is the continual verbal hazing of women by the President of the United States, who is himself a sexual predator, that has gone on for the past two years. I am disgusted to my core by the moral blackmail that has been used against pro life people in an attempt to coerce us into supporting monsters for high positions in this country. When religious leaders join in with it, it is spiritual abuse, and I am way past tired of that, too. Being pro life does not mean accepting rape and supporting putting rapists in positions of power. The very thought is anathema.

I posted that paragraph on my Facebook page on Saturday. A reader responded with the latin phrase “anathema sit.” This phrase means “he is anathema” and was used in times past to express that someone had been excommunicated. 

I don’t think the Church does this kind of showy excommunicating anymore. The closest I’ve seen was when Pope Francis excommunicated members of the Mafia a few years ago, and even that wasn’t like the scene in the old movie Beckett, with its candles, black robes and thundering pronouncements.

Still, “anathema sit” is a fine Biblical phrase, especially today. So far as I’m concerned it applies to every rapist-loving, sexual-assault-supporting, child-abuse-backing walking barrel of dirt on the planet. 

I tried to make a play on the phrase “anathema sit” last Saturday. I pulled out my hillbilly Latin and my faulty memory of Scripture and typed “si quit per falsum evangelii ipsi anathema sit.” The feeble little joke fell flat, as it should have. But I still think my point was valid. 

Anthema sit means “he is anathema.” It comes from Scripture. I think it’s from one of the letters St Paul wrote. He said (and I paraphrase and misquote) “a man who changes the Gospel is anathema.”

I thought that applied rather elegantly to the situation at hand. Pro life people have, for half a century, been blackmailed on peril of their immortal souls to act as Stepford voters. We’ve been told over, and over, and over that we must ignore every other issue, and, as it turns out, every moral precept, in order to support the push to get five justices on the Supreme Court who have been vetted by our religious and moral leaders to be “the ones” who will overturn Roe.

If we ever, for any reason, stopped marching in line long enough to consider the wrecking ball that our movement has become to our democracy, or the dastardly people that we are being asked to blindly support, then we were told that we had become fellow travelers with the long knives and bloody butchery of abortion. 

Thinking for ourselves, caring about basic morality or the common good, were verboten in the Stepford voter world of pro life politics. Stepping out of line would make us guilty of mortal sin and doom our eternal souls to hell. That was the story. 

That is how the Republican Party has managed to transfer so much of the wealth of this nation to a few extremely wealthy campaign donors. It is how we’ve gotten a Supreme Court that has given Constitutional Rights to corporations, adjudicated a national Right to Work and opened the floodgates for people of wealth to literally buy our government with dark money that no one tallies and no one has to tell they are using to buy election after election. 

It is also how Christian people have been bamboozled, bullied and blackmailed into turning their backs on the Gospel. It is how political-whore religious leaders have reduced  Jesus to a get out of hell free card and used Him as a club to beat and batter anyone who fails to support their work as political operatives for the Republican Party and extreme right wing policies. 

This almost total abandonment of the Gospel of Christ for the gospel of Republican Party worship has driven people away from Christ in massive numbers. We are losing whole generations to Him because we are preaching, teaching, and following a false political god.

Si quit per falsum evangelii ipsi anathema sit indeed. 

Something terrible happened last Saturday. But something wonderful also happened. 

The United States Senate put an attempted rapist and sexual predator on the Supreme Court. That’s the terrible. 

The United States Senate put the fifth hand-picked, signed, sealed, and delivered golden boy, anointed by the pro life movement, all the political preachers, and legions of screaming Stepford voters as The One on the Supreme Court. Justice Kavanaugh, we were told over and over, is The One. Not only that, but he is the only One who can fill this position. 

He will overturn Roe v Wade and Casey. That’s why pro life people had to support him, no matter what he had done. It is why no one else could be nominated to fill this spot. God sent a sexual predator to overturn Roe because, evidently, God has a sadistic sense of humor and despises women just as much as the political preachers and the President of the United States who nominated The One. 

The fact is that there are now — count them — one, two, three, four, five handpicked, vetted, promised ones on the Court. We have paid with our souls, our ability to think, our fidelity to Christ, our witness for Him, and our country. But we have five votes that we have been promised over and over and over again will overturn Roe v Wade and Casey. 

But that isn’t the wonderful thing that happened. The wonderful thing is that we are now free. We don’t have to be Stepford voters ever again. 

We can pay attention to other issues, such as protecting social security and health care, rebuilding our infrastructure, taking the power back from the wealthy and giving it to the people again, keeping our kids safe in schools and providing every child with a first-class, free education. We can end this endless war and finally live in peace. We can reclaim our sanity and stop blindly hating one another. Maybe we can even begin to follow the real Jesus Christ of the real Gospels. We can be Americans again. 

There is a catch to this. We have five justices on the Supreme Court who were put there, not to support the sanctity of human life, but to make America a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy. Their real job isn’t overturning Roe. That’s just the hook in our mouths that the power brokers have used to drag us around. Their real job, and why they were nominated, is draining every last drop of blood out of the people of this country and putting it into the coffers of a few obscenely wealthy people. We have a Congress that labors in the same vineyard. Indeed, we have an entire political party and most of our religious leaders who are nothing but whores for the rich. 

The moral destruction to this nation has been immense. And the almost total annihilation of the witness to Christ from our religious leaders has become rock hard and set in concrete. 

There’s a lot of power to be had in the moral blackmail and spiritual abuse to which pro life people have been subjected this past half century. The holders of this power aren’t going to free us willingly. 

But we can free ourselves. We just have to be very stubborn and tough about doing it.

I think this whole deal may falter. It won’t surprise me if we aren’t given some sort of King’s X story about how we must, on pain of committing the mortal sin of supporting abortion, continue to vote like a bunch of blind, totally amoral rabbits. But that’s a lie. Five votes are enough. And if they’re not enough, then why did we give away everything to get them? 

I think it’s very possible that the five chosen ones will not perform as pro life people have been told they will. It’s a real possibility that they will punt and not overturn Roe. I know that the power brokers on the right need legal abortion so that the moral blackmail can continue. 

I expect that pro life people have become so accustomed to Stepford voting, non-thinking, and sleazy what-about-him amorality that they won’t want to let it go. They’ve become habituated to following the easy false Gospel of vicious self-righteousness and condemnation that these liars and manipulators have taught them. I think that many pro life people will never be able to think, live, function as free people again. 

A huge number of people, both inside the churches and outside of them, have been lost to Christ because of “religious” leaders who preach an anti-Christ political gospel. There is murder of the body, and there is murder of the soul. These political religious leaders are murderers of the soul on a mass scale. 

Si quit per falsum evangelii ipsi anathema sit. A man who teaches a false gospel is anathema. 

That is the judgement of Scripture on those who twist the Gospel for their own ends. 

As for me, I am on a new path. I know that many of my pro life brothers and sisters will never leave their prison. They will allow themselves to be morally blackmailed and spiritually abused for the rest of their lives. They will continue Stepford voting and heaping hate on everyone their political preachers tell them to hate. 

But I am a free American again. I’m going to work to reclaim my country for the common good, including an end to rape, sexual assault and child abuse. I am going to work for the sanctity and the dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death, including the lives and dignity of women. I will not allow anyone, no matter their collar, to subject me to moral blackmail and spiritual abuse ever again. 

Will you join me? 

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38 responses to “I’m Free. And So are You.”

  1. It is a shame when a man like Brett Kavanaugh makes pro-life folks happy with his wrongful appointment to the Supreme Court of our country. The man has no regard for women—and personally I think he is guilty of the accusations made by Dr. Ford and the other women. His temper and lack of self-control didn’t seem like qualities that I feel show qualities for that position. He is there and I will probably be dead way before he is done sitting on the court.

  2. “We have five monsters on the Supreme Court”

    Whatever chance you had to convince me of anything, you lost it there. Calling Kavanaugh a monster? Well, if you sincerely believe he committed rape/attempted rape and lied about it under oath? Somewhat ok.

    But if i remember correctly of the 4 other “monsters” only one was also accused of similar behavior. So no justification for calling three supreme court justices “monsters”.

    If you tried to support that label by their rulings, then sorry the statement would still be wrong. Cause even if you could make the case that the conservative justices are “monsters” due to decisions furthering an evil economic agenda, the four liberal justices would by the same standard be guilty of furthering with their votes/decisions/opinions an agenda of baby shredding.

    Hence, you would have to deplore having nine “monsters” on the supreme court.

    So however i turn it the above quoted statement is wrong to single out “five monsters”.

  3. That’s a good point. I overstated it. I went back and changed it. Thank you for pointing this out.

  4. My respect for being able to recognize the problem.

    And congratulation for all the hard legislative work you did in difficult circumstances for the protection of the unborn.

    Myself i am from Germany and mostly i look at what happens regarding abortion in the US as one would watch the battle raging at one sector of the front to learn from failure and success there to be more able to engage in one’s own sector of the front.

    It seems like in the US pro-life might end up or is already between a rock (democratic party on the verge of condisering “pro-life” a disqualifier for any office) and a hard place (better on Trump to be beneficial for “pro-life” in the long run).

    From my perspective there is a fundamental problem for “pro-life” in the US in the in my opinion black-whiteness of US law tradition; meaning that it is hard to formulate a legal position beside “unborn is a worthless clump of cells” and “unborn humans are humans as born humans” and meaning that the former leads to the legal conclusion that no limitation on abortion is permissable whatsoever (for why should it be ok that the state interfers with what women can do with worthless clumps of cells being inside their own body?) and that the latter leads to the legal conclusion that abortion has to be treated and punished as homicide with the pregnant woman usually being an abetter.

    In Germany it is easier to formulate something between, as the supreme court twice already did so and as in German law tradition the concept of some intentional killing of a human not being homicide is much more multi-faceted.

    And also more fundamentally, in US rights are tied to personhood, while in Germany rights are tied to human dignity. Arguing that something with a beating human heart has some sort of human dignity and therefore is not a worthless clump of cells is a lot easier than arguing that a beating heart alone is sufficient for personhood.

    All this allowed me to formulate myself some suggestions for some pro-life laws at the state level and have some positive feedback from both conservative and left-of-center legislators and even from what is the local equivalent of planned parenthood (and that really suprised me; while i avoid the use of the phrase “unborn humans” in the direct law proposal, i constantly use it in the reasoning for the proposal); unfortunately the conservative lead ministry for social affairs was opposed due to reasons eluding the conservative party whip, general secretary and the legislator being the spokesperson of the party for abortion issues. Somehow there seemed to be a serious rift regarding the formal party goal of also protecting the unborn.

    On the plus side, the ministry bungled to such an extent the official reply to my petition, that legal recourse has some chance for success; and having a court finding the ministry incompetent in handling my proposals might be shameful enough to increase my chances in the next “round”.

  5. And the answer is… what? Voting for the party of “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern?” The next Democrat I hear repudiate that little bit of Catholic-bashing will be the first.
    I’m a union member and I can’t stand Trump. I gave up on the GOP long ago for the reasons you outlined. But, the party of Feinstein, Durbin, Hirono and Franken — all of whom went after Amy Coney Barrett for her faith? Not a chance.
    One more thing: Have you noticed that a lot of the people who are screaming the loudest that allegations against Kavanaugh disqualify him from the Supreme Court were enraged when Franken resigned from the Senate, and he resigned under duress because of PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE that he did the exact same thing Kavanaugh was accused of.
    I can’t. I love your column, but I can’t. I just can’t.

  6. I knew years ago that we were being played. I’m betting Roe vs. Wade is safe and people will still be afforded the legal opportunity to murder their babies. But this: “The United States Senate put an attempted rapist and sexual predator on the Supreme Court.“. As a centrist, I really hope you mean an “alledged attempted rapist and sexual predator on the Supreme Court.” If you didn’t mean “alledged,” then you are a symptom of an equally alarming, albeit different, trend in our country.

  7. After reading this column I find it very hard to believe you ever voted for republicans. There’s way too much venom on display here.
    Condemning fellow citizens in print because they have a different governing philosophy than you and other progressive/socialists is the same as the ugliness on display when they chase republicans out of restaurants and airports. All with the threat of potential violence.

    No, I will not join in the progressive causes such as-abortion, same sex “marriage”, sale of baby body parts. Euthanasia, income redistribution and the orchestrated destruction of a good man’s name with completely uncorroborated accusations, which conveniently came out at the 11th hour. Just like Anita Hill. coincidence? I think not.
    The truth about the democrat machinations will come out and I in the meantime will pray for you and your fellow deluded travelers.

  8. I agree with you about this: “No, I will not join in the progressive causes such as-abortion, same sex “marriage”, sale of baby body parts. Euthanasia,”

    The rest of it, no. Don’t think for a moment that the Republicans aren’t into “wealth redistribution.” They’re robbing the whole country blind and redistributing the wealth to the wealthy.

    As for chasing Republicans out of restaurants and airports, I don’t agree with that, have never done it and never will. I have been harassed myself when I was in office, as was my husband. it happens and people on both sides do it. The incivility in our society has grown exponentially since Trump took office. I think his behavior is the main reason why.

    I’m not a Republican, but I do vote for some of them. I even donate to their campaigns. Can you say the same about Democrats?

  9. I’ve decided that the only option open to us is to make sure that no one party has enough power to do any real harm. Right now, the Republicans have too much control.

    As for whether or not the people who opposed Kavanaugh supported Franken, I doubt that. I don’t think Senator Franken had that level of support or anywhere near it. But the important thing is that this continuous pointing out of impurity in the behavior of someone else is not relevant. The only relevant thing is whatever issue is at hand. Kavanaugh should not be on the Supreme Court. Period, As for Franken, he resigned, so that’s a pretty inept analogy if you don’t mind my saying so.

  10. Men are no longer free. Sure, Kavanaugh was confirmed (barely) but at this point, any boy who ever was a boy and flouted the rules, is at risk of being destroyed by emotional blackmail from events that happened before they were even adults.

    I no longer trust Democrats, Republicans, or democracy. It’s all just an reason to destroy people. I can no longer give to politicians of either stripe.

  11. “Right now, the Republicans have too much control.”

    Right now, Republicans can’t even nominate a judge to the Supreme Court without having his name dragged through the mud. Some control.

  12. He convinced me that feminists have zero regard for men. The main reason he doesn’t belong on the supreme court is because he acted like a typical adolescent boy 36 years ago, because some woman who *voluntarily* went to a party and *voluntarily* put herself in a position to be raped, decided to make it rape by retroactively removing consent three decades later.

    You have zero compassion and zero soul. But that isn’t surprising because feminists are the true monsters in this.

  13. “Kavanaugh should not be on the Supreme Court. Period.” Oh, really? You reject the rule of law. Thank goodness you’re not in a position to decide important matters.

  14. My grandfather used to say that all his life he’d voted for whichever party was out of power. Didn’t matter which one.

    Sometimes I can see the appeal.

    But then, sometimes one party really is consistently worse than the other, in this voter’s opinion. Also, if neither side has any power to do harm, they probably don’t have any power to do good either. Don’t know the answer to that one.

  15. I accept that he is on the Supreme Court. But if a just world that cared about basic morality and cared about all human beings, including women, he would not be.

  16. Since Trump, the Republicans have become the party of traitors and of rape. Kavanaugh is the 3rd sexual predator in a row that they’ve back for high office. Once, is reprehensible. Three times is what they are. That said, I do not agree with the Ds on several issues that are very important to me. The difference? I will not abide traitors to this country or sexual predators, either one.

  17. Ted, they have the Senate, House and presidency. If they can’t function, that’s due to their incompetence. Their boy is the third sexual predator in a row that they’ve backed. This is not open season on men. I don’t know one man who’s been accused of sexual crimes except Senator Ralph Shortey who was caught in a hotel room en flagrante delicto with a teen-aged boy.

    I know plenty of women who have been molested and raped. I also know several women who were raped and molested as children. Get your head out, my friend.

  18. What do you mean by flouted the rules Ted? We’re talking about throwing a 15-year-old girl on a bed, covering her mouth with your hand and trying to pull her clothes off, all while she struggled and your drunken buddy yelled “go for it” from beside the bed before jumping onto the bed with you. We are also talking about gang rape.

    I love you Ted. But you’re way off base. You also have nothing to fear unless you start acting like this, which.I don’t expect to happen. 🙂

  19. I did act like this. So did every man I know, if they are honest about it. And just about every man I know outgrew that behavior by the age of 20. Which is why juvenile criminal records are sealed.
    But of course feminists like you can never forgive, never forget. So once a rapist, always a sexual predator. No mercy, no forgiveness possible.

  20. You only have something to fear if you tried, and/or succeeded at raping someone.
    Or if you intend to rape someone.
    Women only lie about rape 2% of the time.
    Men lie about rape 99% of the time.
    Who has more to fear here?

  21. And I probably agree more with the D’s than with you on at least some of those issues. But I think we have a lot of common ground on so much that you’ve written here.

    The Republicans have become the party of traitors and of rape. They’ve brought that reputation on themselves, they’ve earned it.

    The Republican governor of my state seems to be campaigning for reelection on an implicit platform of “not as bad as the rest of my party.” Which may be true, but I’m not in the mood to be impressed.

  22. I support your conclusion, and (as I have written elsewhere) I do not think it was wise of pro-lifers to support Kavanaugh because it is important for the pro-life movement to build a broad culture of life in our society, which means engaging in dialogue with our adversaries rather than pushing them away. And as you say, one cannot simply assume that Justice Kavanaugh will overturn Roe v. Wade (and Thornburgh, and Webster, and Casey…). Building a culture of life — indeed, a jurisprudence of life — requires bottom-up work, not top-down adjudication. That said, treating Kavanaugh as a “monster” on such thin evidence shows little regard for the rule of law — and that, too, it behooves pro-lifers to respect.

  23. Andrew I agree with you absolutely that we need to broaden our base and engage in conversion by reaching out to people. I think that is true of Christianity as well. Christians have pretty much abandoned the idea of converting people. However, I don’t see how the rule of law was in any way violated by believing that these women are telling the truth, which would make him monster, so far as I’m concerned. His confirmation was in accordance with the Constitution, as were the protests against it. Nothing illegal happened at all. People have confused this with. a criminal trial, which I guess is due to far too much television or something. It was, essentially, a job interview, and the Senate functioned as the questioners on behalf of the American people who are the ultimate employees of the senate, the president and the Supreme Court. in any other job interview, three women coming forward like this would have immediately resulted in the decision to look at other applicants. That is what should have happened here. By repeatedly backing sexual predators as they have done, both the pro life movement and the Republican Party have painted themselves into a morally bankrupt position. That is tragic for the pro life movement. As someone who is passionately pro life, I am both heartbroken and irate about it. I feel betrayed by our pro life leadership. We should not be forced to make such immoral choices by our own movement.

  24. No two people agree on everything. That’s the power of being human, this ability to think and decide for ourselves.

    “The Republicans have become the party of traitors and of rape. They’ve brought that reputation on themselves, they’ve earned it.”

    I would say they’ve worked hard to obtain that reputation for themselves and are vociferous about continuing down this path.

  25. Ted, I deleted this at first because I wanted to protect you from yourself, to keep you from using this combox as a place for public confession of something like this. Even after I let it through, I couldn’t get it off my mind.

    I’m sympathetic with you. I’ve done things that were terrible too. But it is not my place to forgive you. You need to go to the girl you did this to and ask her to forgive you. If she won’t, then at least you did the right thing. You also need to own up to the simple fact that what you did was wrong. It was not just some natural rite of passage that every boy does. It was a really bad thing that you did to another person. It wasn’t my fault, or feminists’ fault or anyone’s fault but yours.

    As I said, I have done terrible things. I was part of the murder of innocent unborn babies. I will grieve that all my days. But it wasn’t the feminist movement’s fault. It wasn’t misogyny’s fault. It wasn’t the fault of unjust things that happened to me. it was my fault. I am responsible for what I did, and I repent of it with my whole heart.

    That is what you need to do with this. Stop blaming everybody else and accept your own guilt. Then, make it as right as you can by owning up to what you did, asking for the forgiveness of the person you harmed and telling her that you are sorry. Go to God in confession, even if you have already confessed this and clear your soul. Ask Our Lady and all the saints to pray for you that you will use what you have learned from this about your own sinful self to help other people, in particular women who have been assaulted or men who assault them.

    Be honest Ted. God will forgive you, and, if you truly repent and ask Him, He will use what happened to bring something really good into the world. He will give you a chance to make it right in a way that heals and matters to many people.

    You have my sympathy and friendship, dear Ted. Also my prayers. You are a valued member of this on-line community. You can comment here any time you want.

  26. It’s one thing to doubt the accuracy of the accusations against Kavanaugh
    (we *do* have statutes of limitation for a reason, as long-term memories are often unreliable and it’s often simply impossible to prove what happened decades ago, and in this hyper-partisan climate many people were clearly rushing to assume his guilt for political reasons), but claiming that even if he *were* guilty of attempted rape it would be no big deal is a world apart, and just makes people feel justified in assuming that *everyone* who expresses any skepticism about the allegations must be a misogynist.

  27. I tend to come across Ted on other Patheos blogs and he tends to be, intense, to put it mildly. Honestly, “borderline psychopath” is the term that has often come to my mind, although to be fair, those types of comments seem to be narrowed to and triggered by the topic of sexuality that deviates from Catholic dogma in any way.

    I once got into a lengthy argument with him because he said of transgenders joining the Boy Scouts: “This will last until the first rape, and then they’ll learn the error of their ways”. That conversation ended with him informing me that the Catholic Church had implemented “blame the gays” as an official policy in response to the abuse scandals and with me losing a significant amount of respect for the Church as a result of our exchange.

    Now I look back on all that and wonder how much of it is just guilt and projection. The way he goes on about the “sexual revolution”, he acts as though the only options people can choose from are strict adherence to Catholic teaching on sexuality or complete depravity. As you mentioned, sexual abuse is not normal behavior; even for godless heathens.

    I would add one thing to your recommendations and advise against another.

    He should consider getting professional help. I’m not the first person to suggest this. There are some issues your average priest may not be prepared to deal with, and honestly, his issues do not stem from a lack of knowledge of Catholic dogma. Maybe it would help if he sought out a fellow Catholic who was an expert in mental health.

    As to the other thing, unless we’re talking about a close acquaintance or someone he crosses paths with on a regular basis, I would recommend against seeking them out to ask for forgiveness; and even if they were, I would be wary. If his online interactions are any indication, he might end up re-traumatizing this girl for what could arguably be considered the selfish reason of easing his guilt.

  28. The correct Latin is “Si qui per falsum Evengelium, ipse anathema sit”. Going forward, I agree with most of your comments. The GOP is not anymore than Grand Old Party, but the Gross Old Party.

  29. I long ago asked for forgiveness. The response was to cut off contact, and I’ve respected her, now his, decision to do so.

    There’s no forgiveness in this life from something like this. And perhaps, there shouldn’t be. But if we start using it as political ammo, then NONE of us are safe.

  30. I am more than a little chary about allowing this comment. I know that you and Ted have talked back and forth in comboxes for years. I also know that he can sometimes express himself harshly. I’ve decided to allow it primary because the two of you have such a long sparring history and have demonstrated mutual respect within it.

  31. Ted, there is forgiveness and there is forgetfulness. Forgiveness is the chance to live your life and write a new chapter with new rules. You can live out your forgiveness by taking this public declaration as an opportunity to advocate for the dignity of all people, including women. You have live what you have learned from what you did by being a force for good in respect to the this specific crime against women.

    But you can never undo what you did. It happened. You did it. And that is part of your story, of your life and your history. Forgiveness does not say that what you did was right. It says that what you did was wrong and that it is always wrong, in any circumstance. But that you still matter. You are still a person made in the Image and Likeness of God and you can change and use your experience as a way to help others.

    I don’t like using myself as an example, but its what I know best. I can never unkill the babies that I helped kill. But I can acknowledge what I did and try to prevent it happening to anyone else. By that I don’t just mean prevent it from happening to the babies, but prevent other people from falling into the traps that I did. I thought I was doing the right thing. I believed it absolutely. And, believing I was doing the right thing, I did the worst thing. I can talk about that openly and try to help other people avoid the traps I fell into. I don’t succeed too often, and I get slammed around for saying these things. But that is the gift God gave me; the chance to use my sin as a witness for good.

    You have the same opportunity my friend. You can never undo what you did. But you can acknowledge how wrong it was and tell the story of how much it has hurt you. Maybe some other young boy will hear you and be saved from doing the same thing. Each time that happens, you will have saved two lives: the girl’s and the boy’s, both. That is what it means to trust Christ’s forgiveness and truly live it.

  32. I want to tell the story of not only how it hurt me, but hurt my cousin- after all, it’s her life that got turned so upside-down that the only solution in her mind was suicide attempts, transgender hormone therapy, and mastectomy. Not sure I have that right though, and like I said, we haven’t talked in 20 years, so I’m not sure I know that whole story outside of what he’s put forth in the bathroom debate in Florida.

    But I ALSO want to tell the story of the intent- because that’s where it starts. I have told this story in autistic forums for years, because in my case it was a Theory of Mind issue: I assumed because she responded to my physical affection with physical affection of her own, that she was feeling and thinking the same thing I was. This is a bit more specific to my case and to the case of people with my disability. This theory of mind issue causes problems with consent. Even in the fictional universe of the Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon it takes extreme measures such as written relationship agreements to overcome this consent issue, and even then mistakes can be made. I pray that by telling the story of intent, I can save at least one young autistic boy from being branded for life by making the same mistake.

    YOU CAN NEVER ASSUME that the other person is feeling what you are feeling, or thinking what you are thinking. Human beings do not have telepathy, and barely have any real empathy, only a very sophisticated simulation from body language and tone of voice- both of which can be untruthful.

  33. Really? Women are the true monsters in this? How’s that? At my age, being married for 50 years, before becoming a widow, I have never heard a male say that. My son and son-in-law didn’t engage in attempted rape, nor did my husband in his “single” days. I consider myself a feminist—–and I do have regard for men. I most certainly do not hate men. IMO, it is NOT TYPICAL adolescent male behavior now or 36 years ago. (my son is in his mid 40’s) to rape or assault women/girls. I am not innocent of the fact that males of all ages do engage in forced sexual contact, but I do not consider it “normal”. You are blaming women for going to a party, so they are responsible for being raped? OMG, Ted, that is as bad as the “she was wearing clothes that invited it”, or “she was drunk, so it is her fault”, etc. No wonder women are still afraid to come forward when rape or assault happens. Women do not put themselves in a position to be raped!!! Good Grief!

  34. To be fair, I was quite chary (learned a new word!) about posting that comment myself; more often than not I try to avoid interacting with Ted and I also feel like I’m tattle-telling on him. But I’m seeing that what I had previously passed off as quirks resultant from being on the spectrum and thus OCDish about adhering to Catholic norms, were actually indications of something deeper and far more troubling.

    And he needs to deal with this, because far from being something left in the past, its affecting his interactions with other people now. Its like he got stuck with this idea that by default, men are rapists, women are sluts and adherence to Christian norms are the only thing keeping them in check. That’s led to some epically misogynistic and cringeworthy combobox arguments that I’ve watched from the sidelines for some time.

    He needs to somehow get it through his head that no, rape is not “typical” male behavior and no, there are no circumstances under which women are “deserving” of rape. But its going to take someone with far more experience, empathy and patience than me to drive that point across.

  35. You can make a difference for good Ted. You can save other boys from your mistakes and other girls from what happened to your cousin.

    No. You cannot tell any story but your own, except in the most general terms. You can say that your hurt the girl and she suffered greatly and that knowing this hurts you too. You can say that the pain you caused hurts you and fills you with guilt — if these things are true.

    But your story, what you have suffered because of what you did, and how you want to save other boys from doing the same thing, you can say that all you want.

    Telling the truth and admitting your own sin is the first huge step toward inner healing. I know. I have lived this. It also turns you from a victim of your own sin into an instrument that God can pick up and use for good.

  36. Ted,

    No, I did not act like this, ever, on any occasion. Neither did any man I know.

    We all know that there are young men who behave this way. But they are the minority. You were, I must inform you, a worse than normal young man, at least in this area.

    Speaking only for myself as a man, I forgive you for your insult against the honor of the male sex.

    Since I’m confident you’ve received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for this matter already, you’re already forgiven by God and reconciled to His Church.

    It is the victim’s duty (if she doesn’t wish to go to hell, of course; Our Lord was pretty clear on that point) to forgive you for the actual assault.

    (And in all of the above, the usual clarifications on “forgiveness” apply; e.g., that it isn’t the same as pretending it didn’t happen; that it frees the forgiver to release the hatred even when the guilty party didn’t ask for forgiveness; that willed policy of intending good towards the other is at issue, not one’s emotions; etc.)

    But I really hope you will cease…no, wait; that’s not the right terminology. I exhort you to rid yourself of the falsehood that “all” men have behaved in such a way at some point (they haven’t); that your behavior in this case was not outside the typical behavior for young men of that age (it was). And I exhort you not to befoul my reputation as a young man, or that of other men now-old or still-young, by assuming that their or my behavior was similar.

    For some of them it was, to be sure! But for many others it wasn’t. And for those of us who acted, throughout our youth, with the decency one ought to expect of Christians, or even of well-raised pagans, or even of egg-sucking dogs, well! We don’t deserve special credit for it, but we sure as hell don’t deserve to be blamed for things we didn’t even do.

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