Saturday, May 2, 2015

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, May 2

by David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


The arrest of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, on charges of carrying a switchblade in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 12, 2015, is mapped and detailed here. His spinal cord injury either before or en route to jail, which led to his hospitalization and death April 19, will soon be better understood. The burning of cars and stores after his funeral on the night of April 27 was followed by marches and disturbances in cities around America. At Camden Yards ballpark the first-ever major league game in which fans were shut out was won in eerie silence by the Orioles over the White Sox 8-2. The traditional civic gathering of crowds cheering their male warriors is an icon to ponder.  Earlier that day there was a widespread social media call for a "purge" (a night in which all crime is permitted). This was answered in a disturbing way in one high-school neighborhood by the Baltimore police.

National commentary was revealing. Mrs. Clinton placed the police vs black males at the center of the problem. President Obama condemned "thugs" who burn and steal, but said the problems of inequality and injustice between police and certain communities seems only to be addressed when a CVS drugstore burns.The president certainly includes himself as someone who has not made black inner-city males a priority. The devastation of the black community by a combination of Black Power racism, the sexual and drug revolutions, and the de-Christianizing of black male socialization has never been the focus of his presidency. The feminist/homosexual movement has claimed his heart and sustained a series of  incredible social victories. The police/black male interface is the nexus of conflict because that its where the failure of black power and gender ideology as social movements is most glaring.  Socializing teenage males into the public protective agreement of our cities and nation would involve celebrating a common masculine identity based on communal duties. This would cut against the entire gender ideology project. Building brotherhood among black and white men as fellow territorial citizens cuts against the whole color scheme of black power. The war against patriarchy and fraternity has once again left men who should be fathers,sons, and brothers in a standoff.  Rand Paul calling for fathers in the family is one step forward but it will not address the breakdown of a masculine Christian public life. That is the only bond that is capable of socializing young fatherless males into a brotherhood under God. That is the "root problem," as we liberals like to say. Neither the sexual left nor the libertine right has quite figured this out yet. These godless civic actors have risen in a corrupted urban culture of libertine atheism.  Catholic urban culture should have been the prime source of patriarchal fraternity for the inner city. Its collapse will only be reversed with a deep reform of an emasculated clergy and feminist school system by priests and nuns who rededicate their masculine and feminine communities to the sacred work of building the city of God.


The frantic rush toward the normalization of homosexual relations in America coincided with the Baltimore male riots when arguments were heard at the Supreme Court on April 28. The arguments by the State of Michigan lawyer were extremely narrow and unconvincing. Justices Roberts and Kennedy were much better than the lawyer in raising the most pointed of all arguments -- the male female character of marriage is definitional to the institution.  Roberts said: 
 "You're not seeking to join the institution, you're seeking to change what the institution is. The fundamental core of the institution is the opposite-sex relationship and you want to introduce into it a same-sex relationship."

Kennedy followed:

"The word that keeps coming back to me in this case is millennia, plus time. ... This definition (of marriage) has been with us for millennia. And it's very difficult for the court to say 'Oh well, we know better.'" 

Ironically one of the great tributes to the precedence of marriage as a sacral institution was found in the decision allowing contraception for married couples. The Griswold vs Connecticut decision (unlike the later Baird case locating sexual privacy in the individual, not marriage) produced an eloquent paean to marriage by Justice William Douglas:
"We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights - older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions."
The fact that thrice-married and thrice-divorced Douglas mentions neither children nor the male-female character of marriage does not detract from his more essential understanding that marriage is a sacred institution grounded in nature that can make claims against state power.

Arguing that marriage can be redefined by the people's will, laws of the legislature or decisions by the Supreme Court are all similar to the arguments that Stephen Douglas proposed to protect slavery from the natural law arguments of Lincoln. Pitting the rights of states vs the autonomy of individuals to alter the definition of marriage was no victory for the jurisprudence of a Christian nation.

Both Ruth Ginsburg and Elena Kagan have performed gay marriages. Judges Sotomayer and Kagan are appointees of President Obama. While President Obama has not exactly been a reconciling father figure for black males who need religion, manual labor, and fathers, he has been transformational in mobilizing all branches of government to implement the gender-bending policies of feminists and gay rights. People ask, "How did the social reversal on gay marriage  happen so quickly?" Justice Ruth Ginsburg had one of the most accurate insights. Gay marriage is feminism's Frankenstein. (Those are not quite her words.) The inability to defend sexual distinctions in all-male institutions from Rotary Clubs to VMI to the US military has led to the day where our mixed gender Supreme Court can wonder aloud if heterosexual marriage is not just another form of sexual discrimination. And of course it is. The intellectually simplistic celebration of the individual against all communal status obligations and gender identities has been the gist of Ginsburg's legal career from her days as an ACLU attorney. Justice Roberts got her arguments perfectly when he said,
"I'm not sure it's necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve this case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can't. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn't that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?" 

We will see if any of the Catholics on the court can defend sexual distinctions in the created order as proficiently as Ginsburg pounds for the autonomy of individuals. The male lawyer (John Bursch) arguing against gay marriage was no match for her well developed position. Justice Scalia was similarly refuted by Judge Elena Kagan when he raised an extremely weak religious liberty argument concerning ministers and priests. Judge Kagan came to the rescue when the religiously impaired lawyer for gay marriage (Mary Bonauto, "a revered gay activist" according to the Washington Post) was befuddled by Scalia's question. Kagan was deft and deadly. Scalia goes to the opera at times with Ginsburg, but he goes skeet shooting with Kagan.

When Ruth Ginsburg was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice under President Clinton, he openly wept at the installation ceremony. Listening to the lawyers and pundits who are opposed to gay marriage but make their arguments with their feminist brain-implants fully wired, I wanted to do the same.


Although he won't follow the desired code of apologizing for long-past Japanese war crimes in World War II -- nor should he -- Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, seeks a militarily resurgent Japan. In a rising multipolar world, the United States cannot afford to be the world's sole police force. Moreover, the temporal sword is meant to be shared, not possessed by one or two world powers. With Shinzo's visit to the United States, the announcement of new rules governing military cooperation now gives Japan the ability to aid US forces endangered by a third power. The US and Japan are not the only powers with naval ties, however. China and Russia now plan to coordinate their first joint naval drills -- not in the Pacific, but in the Mediterranean!  Russia is also keeping its eye on any American or Japanese threats to its far east by bolstering its missile defense, building up its far eastern navy, and running some of the largest military drills there since the end of the Cold War.

China continues to look around its periphery like a game of Go. Looking off its eastern seaboard, China faces encirclement by Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam. To understand how China may proceed, we must be familiar with China's great strategic thinker, Zhang Wenmu. Zhang wrote China's Sea Power in 2009 and has since been known as "China's Mahan" (a reference to the American author of The Influence of Sea Power upon History). Zhang sees Taiwan as the key to breaking China's encirclement. Although secondary in Zhang's mind, the South China Sea remains an important area for Chinese naval and economic expansion. Chinese influence in this sea, however, is under threat from a new strategic agreement between two of Asia's most Catholic nations: Philippines and Vietnam.

China has also bolstered its western land borders. China and Pakistan have announced the creation of a "new silk road" running from China's Xinjiang province (with its heavy Muslim population) through Pakistan and terminating in its coastal city of Gwadar -- a strategic warm-water port on the Arabian Sea. What's more, China's investment of $46 billion in Pakistan will greatly exceed the United States' investment of $31 billion since 9/11. In the words of Pakistan's Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif: "Friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy."

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