Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Medieval Whimsy in Serious Places

Today at the Treasures of Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral, I saw a 13th century copy of Gratian’s Decretum complete with an illumination of some odd imaginary creature, a friendly dragon perhaps?

Since Gratian was the dominant canon law reference of the time, that’s a bit like seeing a modern lawyerly tome illustrated with Spongebob.

Now I am certainly aware that many medieval manuscripts, even of religious import, are whimsically illustrated. The Luttrell Psalter, which I intend to study in some detail, stands out in that regard. But I certainly did not expect such in a medieval law book.

Such can also be found in English cathedrals and churches. In Hexham Abbey is stone carving of a jester and of a fox preaching to other animals. And this on a chantry near the altar no less. At the crossing of Wells Cathedral is the famous stone carving of a man with a toothache.

I have not yet come across much scholarly commentary on frequent medieval whimsy in illuminated manuscripts and in places of grave, even holy import.

But I have a theory . . . which I may promulgate at a later time.


Housekeeping: I did promise you a surprise about this time. I am studying in England again. And my posts will focus mainly on that experience for a while.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Obama’s Class Warfare Attack on Muni Bonds

Yes, this is a slightly arcane subject. But it reveals so much about the sheer madness mindset of Obama, I cannot let it pass.

Among Obama’s tax hike proposals is removing the tax exemption on municipal bond interest for high income earners.

Leaving aside the important issues of how this would affect individual muni bond holders and whether it is right to tax something that has traditionally been tax free for good reason, this proposal is a punch in the gut to states and municipalities at a time when many are struggling to fund themselves. It would make muni bonds much less attractive to investors and, therefore, make it harder for states, municipalities, and school districts to raise funds. That Obama has now even made this a possibility harms states and localities as it puts a question mark of the valuation of muni bonds.

Concerning school districts, for all Obama’s talk about education, one could hardly come up with a more anti-public school proposal.

Fortunately, this proposal has about 0% chance of passage . . . at this time. But that Obama is even remotely willing to inflict such collateral damage on states, towns, and school districts in his relentless class warfare shows how radical, petty, and profoundly irresponsible the man is.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here we go again. Another Obama Snitch-line: Attack Watch

Remember that Obamacare snitch-line? Well, the Obama Regime is at it again. They are acting like the petty totalitarians they are and trotting out another Snitch Central, namely Attack Watch.

It already seems to be backfiring, not unlike that earlier snitch-line. Go to twitter, search “#attackwatch” (which is now trending) and enjoy the fun.

I’ll conclude by repeating what I said at the demise of the Obamacare snitch-line:

I am convinced this administration has a totalitarian streak that won’t go away until we make them go away in 2012. In the meantime, if you like your freedoms, you better fight for them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Obama’s HHS: Abstinence Programs Need Not Apply

From the National Catholic Register:

The Department of Health and Human Services released a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for initiatives that promote healthy marriages — as long as those projects don’t include abstinence-education programs.

FOA applicants are required to include a written statement pledging that abstinence education is not a part of their programs. In fact, teaching abstinence is defined as an “unallowable activity.”

Groups are asked to make a “commitment to not use funds for unauthorized activities, including, but not limited to, an abstinence-education program.”
The funding for these marriage programs comes from the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, which includes $75 million for “healthy-marriage promotion” and “responsible fatherhood grants.”

There is little question that abstinence before marriage is conducive to healthy marriages. And, certainly, “responsible fatherhood” includes not bedding around.

But Lefty secularist ideology comes before genuinely healthy families (and common sense) in the Obama Regime, especially under Kathleen Sebelius’ HHS.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cranmer’s Law

His Grace has promulgated a law of political and religious discourse:

CRANMER’S LAW: “No matter how decent, intelligent or thoughtful the reasoning of a conservative may be, as an argument with a liberal is advanced, the probability of being accused of ‘bigotry’, ‘hatred’ or ‘intolerance’ approaches 1 (100%).”

He helpfully fleshes out this law in action:

Should you dare to raise the thorny subject of limiting immigration, you are ‘racist’; if you juxtapose homosexuality with sin, you are ‘homophobic’; if you argue for the Protestant foundations of the British Constitution, you are a ‘bigot’; if you expresses theological concerns over Islam or utter a word in defence of Israel, you are is ‘Islamophobic’; if you are sceptical about man-made global warming, you are a ‘denier’; if you reason from Scripture and seek to uphold traditional morality, you are ‘intolerant’; and should you ever dare to question any precept or directive of the ‘ever closer’ European Union, you are a not only ‘xenophobic’, but a ‘swivel-eyed, right-wing loon’.

Thus is the level of political discourse in modern Britain . . .

And thus is the level of political and religious discourse in the U. S. as well. And it is shutting down real dialogue that liberals claim to cherish.

Nevertheless we must not allow this libelous and poisonous atmosphere to cow us from standing up for what is right and opposing what is evil.

Friday, September 09, 2011


An August 2009 cable has been released that shows Obama State Department concern with “homophobia” in Poland and points the finger at the Roman Catholic church as playing “a significant role in the formation and propagation of anti-gay attitudes in Polish society.”

Now, that State Department bureaucrats favor the gay agenda hardly shocks. But what is shocking is that the State Department under Obama considers the status of that agenda in Poland and RCC influence thereon any of their business.

What the heck does this have to do with American interests? And with 9-11 upon us, the question must be asked – what does this have to do with protecting Americans?

Yet few are making any note of this. Can you imagine the outcry if there were a cable within the Bush State Department that showed concern for how Sweden has gone whole hog for the gay agenda and pointed the finger at the Church of Sweden for pushing it?

The news media and the chattering classes are, as always, dropping the ball on the excesses of Obama and his feds.

And this is inexcusable excess. There is a word for the Obama State Department sticking its nose in Polish domestic affairs that are none of their business – meddling.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Publican and Purgatory

Since most of us are very familiar with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9ff), which is the Gospel Lesson for this past 11th Sunday after Trinity, it is easy to miss how radical it was . . . and is.

Jesus emphatic statement that the publican “went down to his house justified” after a simple but heartfelt confession of his faith and of his own sin (“God be merciful to me a sinner.”) went very much against the grain of Jewish culture which emphasized the works of the law and did not like tax collectors.

And, as Fr. Robert Hart points out, Jesus’ statement goes against the grain of prominent church errors through the centuries as well. The church has often either diminished the power of the cross of Christ to forgive sin or has diminished the evil of sin itself. But Jesus does not give room for that.

Jesus’ radical statement particularly does not give room for Purgatory. The Publican did not go home in hope that he can somehow work off his sin after death. No, he “went down to his house justified.”

The doctrine of Purgatory has compassionate origins and was a comforting doctrine, at least before the likes of Johann Tetzel got ahold of it. But the doctrine grew out of a lack of comprehension of the finished work and willingness of Christ to forgive all who come to Him.

But more on that in due time.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Obama Black-outs?

This has been largely drowned out by other news stories. But I expect this to be a big story in the future.

The EPA under Obama’s pick Lisa Jackson is pushing regulations that may shut down 8% of U. S. electric generating capacity. AEP alone says it will shut down five power plants because of the EPA regs.

I see more black-outs in our future . . . a lot more. And the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has warned as much, not only saying the regs increase the likelihood of rolling black-outs, but that there would have been rolling black-outs in Texas last month if the regs were already implemented.

Now Obama can stop his rogue EPA from shutting down so much U. S. power. But will he?

I do not think he will unless forced to do so politically. But a bad spate of rolling black-outs this winter or next summer in the midst of a presidential race combined with campaigns smart enough to call him out on this may push his hand. We shall see.

But sooner or later, the EPA’s putsch to shut down U. S. power plants will become a big issue, as it should be.