A tale of two bishops


Glorifying God, leaking into the world the love that he leaks into us through the wounds and breaches and gaps of our own lives, is a severely practical and down to earth activity.

In that sense we do in the world what God does in us. We receive His love where we are vulnerable and weak, and lose sight of it when we claim strength and power. Christians reach to the jagged edges of our society, and of the world in general. Food distribution, places for rough sleepers, debt counselling, credit unions, community mediation, support for ex‐offenders, support for victims of crime, care for the dying, valuing those who have no economic contribution to make, or are too weak to argue for their own value. All this is the daily work of the church, which goes on every day and everywhere. We leak out into the world the love that God leaks into us.

The above bit of revoltingly banal, worldly shlock comes to us from the Christmas sermon of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who was enthroned today as head of the Anglican Communion in a ceremony that looked like this:

Some relevant quotes, courtesy of the Daily Mail (h/t The Thinking Housewife)…

Welby the Most modern Reverend becomes 105th Archbishop of Canterbury with African drummers, Punjabi music and passionate sermon against slavery. . . .

And in a moment of history, the Venerable Sheila Watson, archdeacon of Canterbury, took a central role in the proceedings. It is the first time an Archbishop has been enthroned by a woman. . . .

He also had a message for Britain as a whole, warning the country against ‘severing its roots’ in Christianity as he attributed important social movements such as the abolition of slavery to the influence of religion. . . .

‘But if we sever our roots in Christ we abandon the stability which enables good decision making. There can be no final justice, or security or love or hope in our society if it is not based on rootedness in Christ.’

He warned that modern-day challenges on issues such as the environment, the economy and tackling global poverty could only be faced with ‘extraordinary Christ-liberated courage’.

…which, really, speak for themselves, but Dr. Charlton’s observation is too pithy not to take note of:

What is Welby’s Church of England, anyway?

Well, apparently it is a really important part of the welfare state.

Just so. Meanwhile, The Guardian declares that Justin Welby “doesn’t do fluffy spirituality — he’s the tough leader the church needs. . . . Welby is a decisive man of action.” First of all, what counts as “fluffy spirituality” if not the above-quoted banality? But don’t doubt that he’s a “decisive man of action.” He’ll decisively complete the Anglican slide into liberal apostasy.

Check out his vestments, by the way:




Meanwhile, in another universe:

We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord. When we are not walking, we stop moving. When we are not building on the stones, what happens? The same thing that happens to children on the beach when they build sandcastles: everything is swept away, there is no solidity. When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: ‘Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.’ When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness.

Those words come to us from Pope Francis’ homily delivered at his first Mass. It is more or less an explicit rebuke of liberal Welbyism. Francis was installed a few days ago, in a ceremony and Mass that looked like this:

The homily delivered at his inaugural Mass (note, not the same Mass as the homily quoted above) touches on some of the same themes as Welby’s, but note the subtle differences:

How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. . . . In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation! . . .

The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.

Here, Christian charity, service, and love for the poor are placed in their proper context: love for Christ. To a Welby, Joseph might be a good example because he didn’t pass judgment on women in crisis pregnancies; to a Francis, Joseph is a saint because he loved Jesus and Mary.

Speaking of vestments, hey, is that a pallium?


Catholics, rejoice. You have been spared this:

70 thoughts on “A tale of two bishops

  1. On the other hand, as far as we low-church types can tell, you Romanists are living in the same glass house as the Anglicans, when it comes to praxis and banal, worldly schlock.

    • Proph has not been mum about problems in the Catholic Church, at times voicing criticism of the very things you mention here. However, if you do not see the difference between the two installations, which is the point of the post, then I must conclude that it is not very “far” that you “can tell.”

      • People intentionally dressed in ridiculous clothing prancing around, compared to people intentionally dressed in ridiculous clothing swawingaround, and with self-consciously pious looks on their faces as they watch someone else perform what look like magic tricks. You’re right, there is a world of difference!

        *eye roll*

      • God bless you, Troy.

        I calls ’em as I sees ’em — and I intensely dislike double standards and the appearance of such.

        Being very low-church, being from an environment of low-key and minimal ceremony, *neither* ceremony appeals to me. If pressed, I’d admit that among other things, both ceremonies seem to me to be both ridiculous and childish. BUT, here’s the thing, what appeals to me isn’t what God cares about — God doesn’t respect your (Roman and Anglo) high-church ceremonies nor my lack of ceremony; God doesn’t care about graceful-and-measured swaying while holding a pious-and-farawaylook on one’s face, nor does he care about exuberant and sweat-inducing prancing which produced a rictus of exertion on one’s face.

      • One reads the Bible; one knows God — Since God is “not a respecter of persons”, why would you even begin to imagine that he’s a respecter of ceremonies?

        “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” — Amos 5:21-24

      • Troy, I understand your message. However, I think you are slightly misinterpreting that passage and the like. Why would God despise offerings and ceremonies in themselves? He doesn’t; He despises those without heart, those of out of vanity. Righteousness comes first, and from there true beauty flows (e.g., in the traditional liturgy).

        When we see the prevailing ugliness of modernity, such as has been displayed above, we see the vanity within as well. No, we don’t know their hearts, but there is a sickness of the modern mind that lives on despite good intentions.

      • Are you calling Africans ugly?

        CODEWORD! Hatred of Modernity equals “fear of a black planet.”

        OK. Just kidding.

      • why would you even begin to imagine that he’s a respecter of ceremonies

        The importance of ceremony is not lost on successful cultures of any kind. Where an altar is found, there civilization exists. (Where did I see that recently??)

        I suppose you think that these few verses in Amos were intended by God to somehow convince Israel to throw away the Torah, in which he himself divinely instituted in painstaking detail the rubrics of how he would, in fact, be worshiped. Taking the Bible out of context is fantastic way to prove whatever the hell one wants.

        Children *love* ceremony and solemnity and pious poses and dress-up!

        Yes, and I suppose you’re here to tell us how that is a bug and not a feature.

      • John Khoo:By which Kristor means ….

        The link isn’t coming up for me (in a reasonable amount of time). But, I suspect that you’re accusing Kristor of passive-aggressively using “God bless you” to sarcastically/ironically mean something other than “God bless you”.

        Sure, I considered that as a logical possibility — humans are humans, after all — and then I promptly rejected it as something I can’t quite see Kristor doing.

      • No, no, he’s genuinely blessing you. But you must realise the last time he left a short (!) comment with benison as its only content was when dealing with an angry bile-spewing atheist troll over at Bonald’s (which I highly recommend you read, especially with regard to ritual, tradition and paganism. Though you may disregard many of my comments there, which were made in my mental infancy in reaction).

        And given Kristor’s writings on the numinous in ritual (among other topics), I highly doubt he was expressing assent.

      • Are you saying that you know the hearts of these Catholic bishops and priests? If not, then all you have demonstrated to us here are your tastes in worship. I take that for what it is worth.

      • Pot, meet kettle.

        Damn! Don’t you people pay attention to what comes out of your own mouths? I mean, I fully understand that most of you are not going pay the least attention to understanding what I have said, seeing that I am criticizing what you are saying. But, to be so oblivious to comprehending what you yourselves are saying is just amazing.

      • So the most of us here are imbeciles. Show us, don’t tell us. I, for one, am willing to learn.

      • Don’t you people pay attention to what comes out of your own mouths?

        How could we, Troy, if you won’t tell us? We don’t have access to the morality tale playing in your head, in which Orthospherites literally cannot understand the very words that their fingers type.

    • Your propaganda sounds about 400 years old, Troy: Papist! The term of derision is: Papist, not “Romanist”. The Catholic Church consists of approximately 17 rites (Proph probably knows the exact number), of which precisely one (1) is Latin, i.e., Roman. You’re entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts.

  2. The African ‘dancing” at what is supposed to be a solemn religious ceremony, just about sums up the fatuous redundancy of the Church of England now.

    As for Archbishop Justin Welby, the Wizard of Oz would have more gravitas.

    • This does not fit in a Western setting. An alleged conservative like yourself should see the mockery of tradition and agenda beneath such a performance.

      • And by that I mean a very low church, doctrinally and ethically orthodox, new world, black, Protestant, “AMEN! PREACH IT BROTHER!” kind of ‘Amen’.

    • Had they broken into spontaneous dance, or just one of them busted some moves– led by the Spirit, that would be one thing. Inviting a group of outsiders only to purposely genuflect to liberal PC hooey has nothing to do with being chosen by the Lord to be ruler over the Lord’s people. Also, I don’t think many here are reacting to the scant clothing or sexual suggestiveness of the dancers as much as the pandering to liberal and Marxist class warfare. By including the dancers and the woman their intention was not to celebrate the Lord, it was to celebrate diversity and religion.

  3. Since I’m not a Christian, I probably shouldn’t comment, but good heavens. The only church I’ve ever belonged to is the Eastern Orthodox Church, and my last parish was a conservative Russian one. Thus I find even having pews and instrumental music in a church is just too much, but how could any honest Christian sit through the heathen dance party put on for Welby’s enthronement? I truly believe that the health of the Catholic and Orthodox is essential if civilization is to take root in the West; what we saw in Canterbury is a chilling reminder of how deep the disease of modernism has penetrated Christianity.

    • Perhaps the dancers are Christians? That makes it only a little less worse by absolving at least the dancers of their guilt. Christians are allowed to retain their culture as long as it doesn’t conflict with scripture.

    • Uh, no, Ralph. Not really.

      Setting sola scriptura aside, let us instead see the Anglican debacle for what it is: the promotion of liberalism over Christianity. Liberalism has infested the Roman, Canterburian, and Protestant churches; the differences are a matter of degree, not substance. (I imagine that the Orthodox churches also suffer, to some degree, from this dread disease, but I do not have enough familiarity with the Eastern Orthodox world to say.)

      We see here that the Anglican/Episcopal church has fallen prey not to reliance on scripture alone—nothing in the Bible suggests that having imported Africans in a white nation pound drums, bounce around, and present menacing figures, like Nation of Islam bodyguards is a good idea—but everything about liberalism and its handmaiden, non-discrimination, does.

      Please read Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism. If he was not the first to suggest that liberalism is a religion, then he was at least the best explicator of that position.

    • Ha! Ralph, I think yer getting the Protestants confused. (Perfectly understandable…) Sola Scriptura is more of a Luther and Calvin sort of problem. The Anglicans have their own unique set of debilitating heresies.

      • We see sola scriptura as a solution. Regardless, the five solae are such a fundamental difference between traditions that they are an unbridgeable gap.

        I will agree to contain myself on this topic on this thread if you do.

      • Actually Catholics agree on 4 of them, so the gap isn’t that big… but agreed this is not the place. It was more of a good humored (I hope) jab at Ralph, whom I happen to know from our real-world Orthosphereantologist-ists meetups… He no habla la protestant.

      • Really? My understanding is that all the solae negate specific Catholic teachings, but as I am not a Catholic, and, as we have agreed, this thread is not really the proper forum for that, perhaps we can take it up again later.

    • I apologize… My reply was directed at Troy, and it appeared here. After reading buckyinky’s commentary on imbecility, I thought it had to do with the new Orthosphere format.

      • If you’re going to criticize, you should at least get the doctrine right: there are no popes in Protestantism. Perhaps you mean “the priesthood of all believers,” John?

        Though the doctrinal differences between Protestantism and Catholicism are fascinating, I still don’t think this is the right thread for it.

      • No, no, of course even the simplest fool knows that there are no Popes amidst the heretics Protestants. But sola scriptura endows every believer with the infallible jurisdiction over doctrine that the Pope has.

        But I agree, the issue at hand here is not sola scriptura (liberal as the doctrine is). This disaster that is the Anglican “Church” is a consequence, I suppose, of being cut off from the grace of God through their separation from the One True Church. Amongst us Catholics, the issue at hand is not doctrine as it stands, but rather everywhere else: how it is disseminated, how it is taught, how it is accepted (by clergy and laity alike). But at least the ultimate, correct answers are, at least on paper, Christian (that is, true).

      • John, your “heretic” comment is most unwelcome and inappropriate. Shall we start calling you a “papist” in return? Shall we level the charge that the Catholic Church is corrupt, and isn’t really Christian at all?

        No, that is not the right path.

        This is not a Catholic website, John: it is a Christian one. While the differences amongst the various denominations are real and worthy of intelligent discussion, you are not participating in such when you hurl insults. That is no better than our leftist “friends.”

        Think about it this way: of the Orthosphere’s contributors, would any of them have written something as intemperate as what you wrote?

      • One more thing. Mainstream Protestant denominations recognize that all men are fallible, that we are imperfect and inherently imperfectible. Accordingly, we acknowledge that our interpretation of Scripture might be incomplete or mistaken. This is why we have ministers to help guide us, understanding still that their interpretation might also be incomplete or mistaken, but that through their ongoing education, training, and practice, their mistakes are likely to be fewer and smaller than our own.

        Again, if you’re going to criticize, please get the doctrine right. Otherwise you’re just knocking down straw men.

      • I’m sorry if I may have come off as insulting; the “heretic” thing was made largely in jest.

        But on to the main point. I appreciate that Protestantism acknowledges the imperfection of all men, but the thing about sola scriptura is, any man is left free to have his own interpretation. The ministers are there, but no-one compels you to listen to them. The ultimate arbitrator is yourself. Of course, although I can respect that some/many/most (I’m not too sure how widespread liberalism is amongst them) Protestants are intellectually honest enough not to say something blatantly contrary to the text, though not few are above rationalising and reinterpreting in highly implausible (but still, slightly viable) ways to justify their other beliefs. A prime example among otherwise conservative/orthodox Protestants would be the whole “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock…” thing, and among liberals it would be the Queen James Bible.

      • …the thing about sola scriptura is, any man is left free to have his own interpretation. The ministers are there, but no-one compels you to listen to them.

        Depends on the church. Alan Roebuck addressed this in his Orthosphere post Fixing Protestantism. A confessional church, such as the one he belongs to, or the one I do (the Orthodox Presbyterian Church), addresses the issue of everyone potentially having his own interpretation by adhering to one (or more) of the confessions (Westminster Confession of Faith for Presbyterians; Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dordt for the Reformed; Augsburg Confession for Lutherans; London Baptist Confession for Reformed Baptists; Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion for Anglicans). These are authoritative only insofar as they are faithful summaries of the Bible itself (much of this paragraph was cribbed from Prof. Roebuck’s article).

        In my church, the deacons, ruling elders, and teaching elders (ministers) are responsible for making sure that congregants adhere to the accepted interpretation; those who do not are counseled, possibly reprimanded, and potentially expelled. So not every Protestant church suffers from the problem of free interpretation.

        While you did identify a real issue, I think you misidentified its source. The issue is not that anyone can have his own interpretation. The problem is the liberal rot infecting every church, Protestant, Catholic, and (presumably) Orthodox (again, I don’t know enough about the Eastern Orthodox churches to say, but I would be surprised if liberalism had not afflicted them as well). I’m sure you recognize liberalism’s pernicious influence in the Catholic Church; it is well documented here and elsewhere (VFR and The Thinking Housewife come to mind). Just as there are those within Catholicism who reject liberalism and the deleterious effects it has had on the church, so there are those in Protestantism who reject it. Fortunately for us, we can create new churches that are explicitly anti-liberal and not risk being excommunicated for it.

      • Well, I suppose it is a bit difficult to find a common problem between the Catholic/Orthodox Churches and the Protestant…um…I don’t really think “Churches” will be a ppropriate here; the order-of-magnitude and organisational differences are rather significant.

        Anyway, you’ve got a point in that Protestants can break off and all, but what I’m worried about is that, save for the Confessional Churches, it is entirely possible for liberalism to enitrely suffuse a Protestant community. And even then, who’s to say what’s a faithful summary of the Bible? If it is only a summary then it can’t be of much utility, can it? But if it’s mixed in with interpretation, then it’s not solely a summary, is it?

        I do not deny that the Church is also infected with liberalism, but at least this liberalism will always be officially classified as apostasy and heresy. The rot has not reached the core; indeed it can never reach the core (“The gates of hell will not prevail…”).

        At any rate, sola scriptura is a fundementally liberal (or at least proto-liberal) principle, because of, among other things, its focus on individuals.

      • I have tried to be as ecumenical as possible. I have turned the other cheek. I have tried to work and reason with you. Yet you cannot let go of your anti-Protestant prejudices.

        I am not asking you to give up your Catholicism, or to acknowledge in your church that which non-Catholics identify as faults. All I have wanted is to engage in productive discussion in which I do not have to defend Protestantism from gross misrepresentation and scurrilous attacks at every turn.

        …the Protestant…um…I don’t really think “Churches” will be a ppropriate [sic] here…

        So I’m not a member of a church? We cannot even get that much from you?

        If it is only a summary then it can’t be of much utility, can it?

        Is that how you feel about the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its antecedents?

        …who’s to say what’s a faithful summary of the Bible?

        People far more knowledgeable about the Bible than you or I?

        I do not deny that the [Catholic] Church is also infected with liberalism, but at least this liberalism will always be officially classified as apostasy and heresy.

        Sadly, the apostasy and heresy that infects the Catholic Church runs deep, sanctioned by Vatican II. We all suffer from the decline of the Catholic Church, just as we all suffer from the decline of most Protestant denominations into liberalism.

        …sola scriptura is a fundementally [sic] liberal (or at least proto-liberal) principle, because of, among other things, its focus on individuals.

        As Lawrence Auster put it, “Christianity is the basis of liberalism in the old sense of the word in that it gives unprecedented importance to the individual human being, as the seeker and knower of the transcendent God…” He points out that this goes back to the Old Testament. If focus on individuals is liberal, then both Judaism and Christianity are inherently liberal, too. I don’t buy it.

        Having said that, I’m through with you, John. I’m sick and tired of your incessant sniping and your perverse distortions of my faith. Thanks for picking the motes out of my eyes, though.

      • I’m sorry if I’ve been an ass at any point here. I’ve not meant to misrepresent or distort anything, but I suppose I could have been much clearer in framing my arguments (or perhaps, more sensitive in my choice of comments to make). I wish we could keep things to a friendly fruitful discussion (I have learnt quite a bit from this exchange) and I’m sorry if I’m obstructing that.

        So, in as ecumenical a fashion as I can manage:

        The main difference between the massive big-C Churches (like the Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican Churches, and Judaism, even, now that I think of it) and Protestant churches is that the former are lent to a sort of unity that the latter are not. All the Jews are united in a visible community (or rather, were): that of Israel, in the same way that all Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican believers worldwide are united, respectively. In contrast, the links between Protestant churches (which are numerically dwarfed by the big-C Churches) are far less concrete, far more tenuous, and thus, far easier to break or form (e.g. your point about breaking off, etc.). This is a symptom of sola scriptura, which is not merely individualistic, but formulated in rebellion to external authority and community.

        The Catechism (and similar documents) is not merely a summary. It contains scriptural interpretation and other such extra-scriptural elements which can still be considered authoritative because we do not hold Scripture to be the only source of authority.

        As for the criteria for a faithful summary, consider the following: the most rabidly leftist ideologue could learn every verse in the Bible, but still propagate his Satanic falsehoods, and reinterpret the Bible to justify them. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”, no? But this whole argument about the extent to which sola scriptura causes modernism to take root is tangential; it does not affect the question of whether sola scriptura is essentially liberal.

        Finally, the rot of liberalism runs deep in both the big-C Churches and the Protestant churches. But it runs deep in different ways. Of the Churches, only Anglicanism has succumbed entirely to liberalism. The rest, while extensively polluted, are, at the very core, still pure (as far as I know). But Protestant churches being entirely overrun by liberalism is entirely possible. In fact it’s common. But I agree, both are intensely detrimental to us trads.

      • Ah, apologies. 3rd paragraph, 3rd line, should be “think about it” rather than “think about it”,

      • There are some commenters who still fail to grasp the meaning of the creeds and sola scriptura.

        As Prof. Roebuck put it in “Fixing Protestantism,”

        Each of these creeds [i.e., the various catechisms] has authority only by virtue of being a faithful summary of what the Bible teaches, the Bible being the supreme (and only inerrant) authority on every subject about which it speaks.

        (emphasis added)

        I don’t think that could be any clearer.

        Sola scriptura and the other solae are not about “individualism” or “rebellion.” They are about recognizing that man is fallible and God is not, that human words can err but the Bible does not. The five solae do not deny authority to the church to teach the word of God. The workings of the Holy Spirit are essential to accepting and understanding God’s word, so anyone motivated by any other source will necessarily be mistaken, even Satanic, in his interpretation of Scripture.

        At their heart, the five solae are about correcting error and guiding the faithful towards God.

    • All this talk of leaking makes it sound like God needs some Depends.

      Given the world in which we live — given that “those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life” are always on the lookout for any imprimatur of legitimacy on their ever-growing need to meddle in and run the lives of others — which do you think is the more dangerous, to our liberties, and our lives:
      1) a new Archbishop of Canterbury, who says “Glorifying God, leaking into the world the love that he leaks into us through the wounds and breaches and gaps of our own lives, is a severely practical and down to earth activity.
      2) a new Bishop or Rome, who saysI would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.

      • Given the world in which we live

        The world you and Rush Limbaugh describe, a world in which a lack of fweeedom is the big problem, and the world of observed reality seemingly have little in common.

        which do you think is the more dangerous,

        Well, 1) is insipid, ugly, vague nearly to the point of meaninglessness, and in obvious tension with the actual conduct of the ceremony, whereas 2) is beautiful, orthodox, specific, and highly relevant to the present realities. So, I’ll go with 1) being the more dangerous.

        On the other hand, 1) cannot fail to continue to drive the faithful away from Anglicanism, so maybe it isn’t so bad. Who can tell? I’m mostly just sad that I can’t say “Archdruid of Canterbury” any more. “Archplumber of Canterbury” just doesn’t have the same ring.

      • And yet we do lack freedom. Once upon a time, the phrase “it’s a free country” was on people’s lips as appropriate. It may have been abused and misunderstood, but it was common.

        Now, however, we never hear it anymore. I believe that people understand, if only inchoately, that the country they live in is not free. We are not free to speak our minds on a variety of topics without fear of repercussion; we are not free to associate–or not–with whom we please; we are not free to go about our lives without the overweening state sticking its unwelcome nose into our business.

        I don’t know what Rush Limbaugh has to do with all this, but Troy’s comments are not completely off the mark.

      • We don’t lack freedom. We are much freer today than we were in the fifties. The expansion in personal and economic freedom has been enormous. Blacks are free of Jim Crow. Top marginal tax rates are much lower. There are no blue laws any more. Censorship of sexually suggestive material has gone from ubiquitous to non-existent. Divorce is easy. Contraception is easy. Women are free to pursue careers in rough parity to men. Norms constraining all sorts of behaviors have been dramatically relaxed. Consumer freedoms have expanded to a degree which is almost indescribable. Information costs have collapsed—I just saw a cute picture on Facebook of a woman looking something up in a Dewey card catalog (remember those?), labelled something like “Antique Googling.” Unions are dead. Trade is much freer. Borders are more open. Travel costs are lower. Antitrust laws are largely dead. The draft is gone. Price regulation in many important industries is now gone.

        The decrements to our freedom are pretty minor by comparison. We can’t say mean things about women and non-whites. Big bad OSHA makes dental hygienists wear silly face masks and gloves. Various job benefits are now mandated.

        More of this poison we call freedom is the very last thing we need. Now, getting white America to grasp that its central myth is a lie is a tall order: I agree with that. “America is worse” gets parsed as “America is less free” precisely because America/free/good are assumed to be synonyms and unAmerican/unfree/ungood are as well.

      • Bill, I see what you’re saying, and agree with your conclusion–“More of this poison we call freedom is the very last thing we need”–even if you are mistaken in some of the facts that get you there.

        Jim Crow was bad in that it required official discrimination when it wasn’t necessary, but good in that it protected whites from black mayhem (this has been discussed repeatedly at View From the Right, and was documented on the late, lamented Big Lie On Parade).

        Censorship kept society at large free of prurient filth. Making divorce difficult to obtain kept us free of the many social dysfunctions stemming from divorce. A lack of easily obtainable contraception kept society relatively free of venereal disease and bastardy. Single-earner households as the norm kept women free to stay home and raise their children themselves, rather than farm it out to a series of uncaring and underpaid anonymous faces.

        On the other hand, I’m guessing you’re an employee and not an entrepreneur. The explosion in the tax code–from about 14,000 pages in 1954 to about 73,000 in 2011–puts an enormous burden on individuals and businesses. Although you poo-poo “big bad OSHA,” OSHA, EEO, AA, and a host of other regulations require that companies have compliance officers, even whole departments, whose job is to ensure that the business complies with the multitude of regulations affecting it. Mandated benefits, including minimum wage laws, decrease employment and therefore limit economic opportunity for both businesses and employees.

        Now for freedom. If we look at those in the First Amendment–speech, press, religion, petition, assembly–we are much less free now than in the past in terms of speech, religion, and assembly, and this was my point with my observation that no one says “it’s a free country” anymore. I think heavy regulation also played a part in the death of this phrase.

        Getting to the crux, though, you’re right: we lack so many constraints–i.e., we are so “free”–that personal and societal dysfunction are inevitable. Many of the changes since the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s have increased “freedoms” at the expense of having a safe, decent society to live in.

        So perhaps we are arguing two sides of the same coin. “More of this poison we call freedom is the very last thing we need,” indeed.

      • Leftists strip freedom from self-governing peacful people and deliver more freedom to self-deficating filthy lunatics. There are less self-governors, and more filthy lunatics, therefore freedom appears to be increasing. They do this by using the law to weigh down the good guy. Take away the good guys burden and the bad guys will go away, just like how the Wild West was won.

  4. I once attended a mainline Protestant service (can’t remember which denomination) when I first moved to this city. The minister didn’t just say the word ‘God’, as a normal person would. No, no, no! Every time he said it, and he said it a lot, he said a reverberating “Gaawwd!” (with an exclamation mark). And, every time “Gaawwd!”, in my mind I repeated: “Gaawwd!”

    I never went back.

    So, what do you think? Was my mockery of the silly-and-dramatic way that that fellow said the word ‘God’ a reflection of God’s displeasure, or of mine.

    • Was my mockery of the silly-and-dramatic way that that fellow said the word ‘God’ a reflection of God’s displeasure, or of mine.

      “Gawwd” sounds more like a Pentacostal or Baptist homiletic technique to me… but who knows, maybe even mainliners imitate some of the successful strategies of their troglodite brethren when it serves a purpose. Glad to hear you didn’t go back, tho’.

      But in answer to your question: I dunno, do you really think you have a personal telepathic link with God that this pastor doesn’t have? Did you have some special ability to see this pastor’s heart?

  5. Damn! Don’t you people pay attention to what comes out of your own mouths? I mean, I fully understand that most of you are not going pay the least attention to understanding what I have said, seeing that I am criticizing what you are saying. But, to be so oblivious to comprehending what you yourselves are saying is just amazing.

    In other words, what are you trying to accomplish by telling us we are so dull? If it is so, and you are so superior in your understanding, then you appear only to come here to insult us about something over which we have little control.

  6. Speaking of imbecile, I can’t seem to get my comments to appear where I would expect them to. Sorry about the confusion.

  7. I was reluctant to weigh in as this entry seems to have touched some nerves, but it seems the animus against against more regal liturgy seems to have a twinge of what I’ll call the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fallacy. If you recall the end of the movie, Dr. Jones finds the Holy Grail, but it is hidden amongst a number of false grails. The villain gets the drop on Jones and his accomplice chooses one of the more ornate chalices. The villain drinks from it and, as it is a false grail, he immediately shrivels into dust and blown away by the wind. Dr. Jones instead chooses the most modest cup he can find declaring, “That’s the cup of a carpenter.” He drinks from it, discovers he is right, and the plot moves on from there.

    It’s good drama for an silly action movie I suppose, but it misses something I think. The first is the anointing at Bethany, where a woman attending Our Lord pours a flask of costly oil on Him. The apostles with them, and Judas in particular if I recall correctly, take on a rather dickish indignation about how the oil could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Our Lord rebukes them. Now while there may be debate on what the anointing signifies, but there is a general point that the King of Kings is worthy of kingly gifts.

    The second is the preparation of the upper room for the Last Supper. Taking a cue from Bethany, it is not outrageous to think that those preparing the room were capable of finding something better than a carpenter’s cup for Our Dear Lord.

    All this is in aid of the fact that at a cathedral, one would expect the best “upper room preparation” as possible. Dignum et justum est. “It is right and just.” But what can be forgotten is that Mass is also sometimes celebrated on the hood of a jeep in the middle of a war zone by a priest in a flak jacket. The Mass is the Mass in either case. It’s both/and; not either/or.

  8. There’s something wrong when a mass (Anglican or otherwise) reminds me that I need to renew my subscription to National Geographic.

  9. I admire the Anglican Church for the beauty of its hymnody, the splendor of its organs, the magnificence of its cathedrals, the rhythm of its prose, the weight of its traditions, and the example of its good works and good will. So I am willing to overlook some aesthetic discordance. And the ceremonies of a faith tradition not quite one’s own will almost always seem a bit strange.

    I am neither an Anglican nor an Episcopalian, for among my ancestors there were some who left the Church of England for something greater, and, having put their hand to the plow, never looked back.

  10. “When we see the prevailing ugliness of modernity, such as has been displayed above”

    Are you calling Africans ugly? CODEWORD! Modernity equals “fear of a black planet!”

    OK. Just joking.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.