Same-Sex Proponents Have Found Their Fulcrum…

…and are now just waiting for the lever to be long enough.

Archimedes said:

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.

The same-sex “marriage” proponents have their fulcrum in the Supreme Court decision. Now all that they require is a lever long enough to dislodge Christianity from Western civilization.

The Lever Lengthens

They are winning the culture war one person at a time, and with each person their lever lengthens. It will not be long before they win substantial victories over Christians in every area of society.

They will modify school curricula to require the teaching of books and materials that assert same-sex “marriages” and households are equivalent to traditional ones. If you are a teacher and refuse to go along, you will be fired and branded as a hateful bigot who will then find it difficult to get another teaching job.

teach1If you have your children in public schools, they will force your child to listen to same-sex propaganda. And before long they will push to force any school, including Catholic ones, who receive state funding or tax exemption, to teach such things.

They will require churches to marry them, and if those churches refuse they will sue the churches. Even if churches get “out of the civil marriage business,” this will happen. Churches will lose tax exempt status and lose countless millions of dollars to lawsuits until they cave or go bankrupt.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. One day I have little doubt that people who write blog posts like this one or who speak about traditional marriage will be ostracized and be at risk for being sued as bigots.

Have We Lost the Cultural War?

We are losing it.

We are being routed, in ways that a 5-4 SCOTUS decision doesn’t properly reflect.

The squashy middle has been won over. They were ripe for the picking, given the degraded state of our society and the lack of education in objective philosophical and moral truths that all of us in the past six decades or so have grown up in.

I have discussions with my coworkers almost everyday about these topics. They don’t understand why two people shouldn’t be able to do whatever they want, with whomever they want, as long as “they don’t hurt anybody.”

I’ve tried explaining fundamentals of natural law, teleology, and ontology, but this is gibberish to them. No comprende/it’s a riddle.

My friends counter that traditional couples divorce at a high rate, some abuse children, and many are generally awful. (All those things are true, I grant them, but those are all bad things that no one thinks people should be doing.)

nat1I point out that children need a mother and father, and even those who agree counter that different people could fulfill the mother and father role.

I point out that children in traditional families objectively have better lives than those from same-sex households, but they say that is not true. I point to Mark Regnerus’s study as solid evidence of my position, but they do not care.

Most of my friends who support same-sex “marriage” are not the extremists who want to use it to demolish Christianity and hurt Christians. But the extremists will happily use them to do so, by winning the court of public opinion, academia, the courts, legislatures, and social media.

My same-sex “marriage” supporting friends have even started to be appalled by the ways that traditional marriage supporters are being attacked. They see that it is being used as a baseball bat to bludgeon religious people.

Get On the Bandwagon

I listen to a popular entrepreneurial business podcast. Last Friday’s episode had all the hosts rejoicing over the SCOTUS decision with lines like:

“Finally the courts decided what we’ve all known for 15 years.”

(Though apparently Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton didn’t know it back then, in spite of them being champions of enlightened liberalism.)

“We are for equality. Why shouldn’t all people be equal?”

love1These inane quips, along with the #lovewins hashtag, reheated and repurposed from Rob Bell’s universalist movement some years back, seem to them as obvious and impenetrable slogans that auto-counter any argument.

The software development twitter sphere was abuzz with glowing tweets about love winning and how awesome everything was. No peep of protest from anyone, myself included. Because the instant you try to say something against it, you will be demolished, protested against, and likely banned as a hater from twitter entirely.

“Love” as they define it, doesn’t win. But ostracizing people socially does win.

The point is simple: you will get on the bandwagon or you will be crushed.

What of Our Churches?

Our churches have been largely silent. A fortnight for freedom here, a mildly worded message there.

We were and are largely silent about no-fault divorce, contraception, cohabitation, pornography, and all the other ills that have undermined families and the very understanding of what a family is that has allowed this debacle to take place.

pas1Our time of reckoning is coming, and we deserve what we get.

I have been blessed to be at many good parishes over the past fifteen years, with pastors who spoke out against all these things, but those priests and parishes have been all too rare in the decades leading up to now.

I don’t advocate giving up, of course. We can and must continue to fight and to encourage our priests and bishops to stand for truth with courage. But our failures must be admitted, too. We as Catholics have not lived as faithfully as we should have.

We Were Made For This Time

Far from being despondent, we should be renewed with conviction.

satWe were made for this time. God has given you life here and now. Nothing is ever hopeless with Christ.

Pray like a saint. Evangelize like a saint. Live like a saint. Speak like a saint. Become a saint.

The Lord knows how far I fall short of this, but I believe with His grace I can become who He has created me to be.

Is Leaving An Option?

Some friends have felt the desire to leave the United States and go elsewhere. Is that an option?

I think it is. Parents must consider not just what they can endure themselves, but what kind of society they will rear their children in, and what future their children will have.

es1Sadly, many countries are even worse than the United States morally speaking, so a tough question is where could you actually go that wouldn’t be out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Malta? Monaco? Luxembourg? Philippines? Thailand?

Obviously it is a huge decision to leave your own country, something that would take the most serious discernment. And I think that overall most people would not be called to it, but I also think it is a possibility families should consider.

Our country is in a steep decline. The consequences of the SCOTUS decision and the subsequent actions that will shortly follow are dire and will affect children, families, and our country and world for the next century and beyond.

In the end, true Love wins, which means God wins; truth wins. We are facing a new time, when being a Christian will not be acceptable. But this is a time that other Christians have faced before us, even to the point of giving their lives for Christ. Our martyrdom will be slower, white instead of red most likely, but still painful and difficult.

May God give us the strength to persevere.

Practical Actions To Take

What can you do now?

Arm yourself with a good book by Ryan Anderson like Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.

Also I just heard about this easy way to consecrate (or reconsecrate) yourself and family to Christ through our Blessed Mother via St. Louis de Montfort’s 33-day prayers and readings.

Pray, be converted, evangelize, love others and speak the truth in love.

A New Demonology Book Discerns: Demon Possession Or Mental Illness?

Fr. Mike Driscoll has written a much-needed and helpful book on demonology called Demons, Deliverance, and Discernment: Separating Fact From Fiction About the Spirit World.

Are Demon Possessions Really Just Mental Disorders?

In our modern times it is en vogue to explain away demon possession in ancient times and in the present day to mere mental disorders.

demo1But Fr. Driscoll explains that that is simply not an acceptable belief as a Christian. Instead, demonic possession is real, and mental disorders are real. Sometimes, a person is afflicted with both at the same time, compounding the person’s problems and suffering. He points out that the Israelites in the Old Testament and the contemporaries of the Apostles in thew New all knew about insanity and mental problems as distinct from demonic forces.

I appreciate this book deeply: Fr. Driscoll surveys world cultures on what they believe about demons and how they deal with them. He is eminently practical and faithful in his approach, falling neither on the one extreme that everything is a demonic force nor on the other that demons aren’t active in the world and that all problems are chemical imbalances.

Temptation, Possession, Oppression

Fr. Driscoll then specifically delves into Christian theology from Scripture and Tradition to examine demonic activity.

It is clear from the Bible that demons sometimes possess people. But it is also true that more commonly demons tempt people to evil. Demons can know our habits and are much more clever and intelligent than we are. So they can tempt us strongly along sinful proclivities that we already are prone to.

opp1Between temptation and possession is a broad middle ground that Fr. Driscoll labels obsession and oppression. He explains that these beliefs are not Catholic dogma but are acceptable opinions for Catholics to hold.

In the Old Testament, we would say that Job was not possessed but certainly was oppressed by demons–his entire family being killed and himself afflicted with infirmities. Similarly in the New Testament we see a woman afflicted by a spirit of infirmity. She did not display the signs of possession–great strength or knowledge that she would not normally have-but Satan had “bound” her in some way.

Exorcists and Exorcisms

Fr. Driscoll describes the Church’s response to demons, in particular exorcisms and how she discerns whether someone is possessed versus having a mental disorder only.

He explains aspects of the Rite of Exorcism, including the interesting fact that in cases of possession, the possessed person is always revulsed by sacred objects and words: crucifixes, holy water, saintly relics, and particular prayers.

Fr. Driscoll discusses too the role that ordained clergy play in exorcisms and the more limited roles that laity have in resisting or helping someone against demonic attacks.

He also gives practical advice on working with the Church to find an exorcist and get help if you or someone you know are experiencing possible demonic activity.

Fr. Driscoll addresses the question of authority in regard to exorcisms and whether Protestants are able to perform them. Here and also where he gives directives on practices and actions to avoid in order to not expose yourself to demons and the occult, are very helpful and practical chapters.

Overall the book is excellent: simple, thorough, and faithful. An important book for all Catholics but especially for those who deal with the difficult discernment of whether someone is being spiritually attacked, possessed, and/or having mental disorders.

Pope Francis’s Eco-Encyclical Shows How Catholicism Is Neither Right Nor Left

I’m glad that Pope Francis has written an encyclical (Laudato Si) on the importance for humans to care for the environment.

Because, quite simply, God created the natural world and has commanded us to be good stewards of it. That is neither left nor right. It is simply Catholic.

A Thought-Drowning Furor

Unfortunately, a furor has already grown over the very fact that Pope Francis has written the encyclical, before the ink has even dried on it.

Two persons yelling out to each other
Constructive dialogue goes out the window

How we should care for the environment is a deeply politically polarized issue. As such, people get up in arms the instant that anything related to it is mentioned: pollution, emissions, global warming, climate change, climate disruption, and so on.

So it is unsurprising that his encyclical was being lambasted before anyone had even read it. Like many other contentious topics in our society today, the furor drowns out actual thought and respectful dialogue.

The Wisdom of Pope Francis

Pope Francis introduces his encyclical’s theme: care for the environment and responsible development, especially to help the poor:

Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.

He decries pollution and other well-known problems, but also jumps quickly to affirming man-made global warming:

A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon.

Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.

I’ll say more on global warming shortly, but regardless of whether it is occurring and caused by humans, the latter statement Pope Francis makes, that we should change our consumerist, throwaway lifestyles, is accurate and urgent.

Pope Francis goes on to write about the importance of water, both its purity, wise use, and access for all people. Then he talks about biodiversity and extinction–all important topics when discussing ecology.

He then expands his focus to include social inequalities and injustices found in inner cities and in the concentration of resources among the wealthy at the exclusion–both physically and socially–of the poor.

I was pleased to see that the Pope discusses how many people push for contraception and lowering the birth-rate as the solution to our problems:

Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”.

Obviously for us as Catholics this is problematic in the extreme and cannot be condoned.

In the next section, Pope Francis turns to the theological basis for ecology: the Bible, sacred Tradition, and in particular the words of Jesus. He presents solid Catholic social teaching on the fact that humanity is a communion where the fruits of the earth are for the benefit of everyone.

What I Wished Pope Francis Had Excluded

Global warming and climate change.

Pope Francis wrote about anthropogenic (man-made) climate change, going with the popular consensus that it is a fact.

Firstly, these statements are in the area of science and so are not to be considered dogmas of the the Faith. Pope Francis is going with the popular opinion on these matters to get into the more important aspects of the Church’s teachings on caring for the environment.

I wish that Pope Francis had not included statements about global warming or climate change, because 1) they are not scientifically proven, 2) they are not concerning faith and morals, and 3) they are used by secular ideologues to promote anti-human agendas.

her1Quite frankly, it confuses the faithful when contested scientific opinions are intermixed with the presentation of Church doctrines. Which statements are binding upon Catholics? Which are not?

He could have included everything else he wrote about, without opining on climate change, because whether anthropogenic climate change is happening or not, the bottom line for Catholics is still the same: care for people and the environment in prudent and wise ways.

He could have omitted those opinions, left the controversy to the scientists and public at large, and instead put the spotlight on some examples of ways humans are harming the environment that neither the Left nor the Right pay attention to. Then he could have discussed the innovative ways that people–including Catholics–are solving these problems to improve the environment.

Which brings us to…

What I Wished Pope Francis Had Included

I wished that Pope Francis had delved into actual solutions to the problems facing our world and how we treat it.

He does write in a general way on ecosystems, which comes close to what I was hoping for:

We need only recall how ecosystems interact in dispersing carbon dioxide, purifying water, controlling illnesses and epidemics, forming soil, breaking down waste, and in many other ways which we overlook or simply do not know about. Once they become conscious of this, many people realize that we live and act on the basis of a reality which has previously been given to us, which precedes our existence and our abilities.

The milk stanchion with Miss Cordelia Jane in it
The milk stanchion with Miss Cordelia Jane in it

But I would love to have seen him include detailed paragraphs on permaculture in small-scale farming, for instance, and on decrying the evils of conventional agriculture.

In my book Farm Flop, I describe one of the glaring problems that we saw out in the country, problems that no one talks about:

Neighbors drenched their fields with Grazon, a broad-leaf herbicide that people use on their pasture when they want a pure grass stand. The positive side of it is that it kills off weeds like Silverleaf Nightshade, Pig weed, Dove weed, and Purple Thistle. The bad side is that it kills every other non-grass plant as well, even good ones.

And the scientists at Texas A&M had discovered that Grazon remained the soil for months and months. Even if the grass was cut for hay and baled, the Grazon was still in it—we learned this lesson when we used some Grazon-laden hay as sheet mulch in one garden bed, and all the plants died. It could even pass through the manure of animals intact.

Here in central Texas, rural land should be a healthy mixture of trees, bushes, and grasses, but over the past two hundred years the trees were mostly cut down to make room for tractors to easily go up and down fields, cutting hay or planting and harvesting crops. Ironically, it meant that out in the country we had less birds and squirrels and trees than we did living in the suburbs of Austin!

This line from Pope Benedict, quoted by Pope Francis, is prescient:

“The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast”.

Friends of ours in Kansas told us how the wheat farmers there, after cutting the wheat in summer, left the fields bare, without any cover crop, and the hot sun baked the ground, increasing the ambient temperature by over ten degrees after the wheat harvest was taken.

Conventional Agriculture’s Ills

But even these bad practices pale in comparison to how conventional farming is done today.

gm1Farms have centralized in the past fifty years to where relatively few owners own huge tracts of acreage. They buy GMO seeds from the big chemical companies (Monsanto, Dow, etc.) and then douse the plants with herbicide to kill the weeds.

Cows are raised in pasture for the first part of their life but then sent to the feedlot to fatten them up quickly for the sale barn. This makes their manure, which should be an asset, into a pollution and transportation problem, because it is so highly concentrated in one location (the feedlot).

Similar problems exist with CAFO chicken operations and pig lagoons. My family in the Panhandle of Texas fought for years (unsuccessfully) to prevent a big pig corporation from moving in upwind from them. They failed, and the pig lagoons were created, smelling terribly and using up vast amounts of water in an already fast-depleting aquifer.

We Need Another Encyclical

When we are doing such obviously awful things to the environment, an eco-encyclical is a no-brainer. But what Pope Francis cannot do is write the follow-up encyclical that describes in detail how to solve these problems.

matild1We need an encyclical on pastured beef and poultry, one permaculture and guilds, on water systems and keylining and contour farming.

Since he can’t write it, we as the laity need to do so. We need to write books and establish sustainable farms and rebuild agrarian Catholic community like the original Catholic Land Movement attempted to do.

Katie and I tried to play our part in this, but ultimately for various reasons we had to give up on the farming dream. That said, you can take us out of the farm but not the farm out of us. We have created a garden in our suburban lot that is already producing vegetables and fruit, plus making habitat for butterflies, snakes, bees, spiders, and soil life.

Why Isn’t Pope Francis Focusing On Real Threats?

Some friends of mine expressed their concern and frustration that Pope Francis spent so much time on an eco-encyclical, instead of raising awareness and an outcry on weightier matters like abortion, the widespread loss of faith in the world, the plummeting birth rates in the West (including in Europe and in Italy), the horrific rise of radical Islam, and so on.

I can sympathize to a degree with this desire. While the environment is important, 1) writing an eco-encyclical and mentioning anything about man-made climate change plays into the hands of the political Left, whose policies are contrary to the Catholic Church’s is almost every way, and 2) the health of the natural world at this moment is not the gravest threat to people and to the truth of God.

Jesus please rescue her
Jesus please rescue her

When women and girls are being sold as sex slaves by ISIS, is raising the flag about caring for nature the most pressing issue?

No. But that doesn’t mean that he can’t decry both wrongs. It doesn’t mean he can’t or shouldn’t write about the Catholic teachings on people and the environment.

His eco-encyclical is in fact needed, as I have supported with examples in this post. But in our age of sound bites and co-opting of messages, such a work is too easily spun, subverted, and prooftexted for out-of-context passages to seek to line up Pope Francis and the Catholic Church on a particular side, and the side that can do that most readily is the Left, a deadly enemy and persecutor of the Church and her people.

But the bottom line is that Pope Francis is the bishop of Rome, and I am not. I am a Catholic and therefore faithful to him and the Church. He has a greater understanding than I do of the needs of Catholics around the world.

What the Left And Right Should Do

I am glad that Pope Francis wrote this encyclical. I find it helpful and can read it within the rich Catholic tradition from which it springs.

The political Left should read it carefully and seek to understand the healthy and deep perspective from which it comes. They should avoid taking quotes out of context to try to proof-text their own opinions on climate change and what should be done about it.

left-right-politicsThe political Right should, first of all, actually read the encyclical and resist the urge to have a knee-jerk anti-ecology reaction to it. Pope Francis is not a Leftist tree-hugger who prioritizes bald eagle eggs over unborn human babies. Rather, he is a deep thinker and Gospel-believer who infuses environmental concerns with the true understanding of God and the human person, and how we are made to live in this world.

The Right should consider the wisdom given and the extensive Catholic thought on this subject. They should consult their faithful Catholic friends who have given much thought to these areas, especially those who follow the Catholic Land Movement and its principles.

Amid the noise and clamor of the talking heads about Pope Francis’s eco-encyclical, my hope is that some sane voices will rise and be noticed who can speak intelligently and wisely about what he wrote and how we can make practical application of the ideas he shared.

Too much to hope for? Perhaps, but I’m Catholic, so I am always confidently hope-ful!

We can and must care for our world. We have developed sound ways of doing so, that balance economic and technological growth with prudent care of ecosystems. Let’s hope that we can take a big step forward in doing so, beginning one family and community at a time.