RELIGION, NATION, MARRIAGE: THE LOYALTIES OF MEN
PRAY, WORK, STUDY, PROTECT: THE DUTIES OF MEN


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, JANUARY 22

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

THE MUNICH REPORT: The results of an investigation into priest sex abuse in the Munich archdiocese has been released. Pope Benedict XVI was found negligent in four cases while the current archbishop - Cardinal Marx - appears to have botched two. The real story may be found in the man who led the archdiocese between Benedict and Marx, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter. Under Wetter's leadership, a full twenty-one cases of sex abuse were mishandled.

ORTHODOX EPIPHANY: The Russian Orthodox Church, which uses the old Julian calendar, dates Christmas and Epiphany later than most Christians throughout the world. This week they celebrated Epiphany with, in the Orthodox tradition, an emphasis on the baptism of Christ. It is traditional for Russians to enter into this holy day by immersing themselves, outdoors, in freezing waters as an imitation of Christ's baptism. Even Vladimir Putin participated. More from Dr. Steve Turley.

IRENAEUS, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH: Pope Francis will declare St. Irenaeus, the great Church Father of the second century, a Doctor (Latin for teacher) of the Church under the title of “Doctor unitatis,” or “Doctor of Unity.” Originally from Smyrna (now in present day Turkey) but moved to what is today France, St. Irenaeus' defense of apostolic succession and papal primacy makes him an early witness to the dignity of the episcopacy and the status of Pope from a man with one foot in the east and the other in the west.  


II. AMERICAN POLITICS

WHO IS RAY EPPS? As the House Select Committee on January 6 continues its mockery of an investigation to the Capitol Riot, a man named Ray Epps is poking holes in the official narrative. Epps, who is on video telling protesters they need to storm the US Capitol, was placed on the FBI most wanted list only to have his name quietly removed later. Was he a federal agent or working for the feds in order to entrap Trump supporters? What role did the FBI play in instigating the events of January 6? Officials from the US government refuse to say - and we have a hunch the "insurrection" will turn out to be just another "Russiagate" (i.e. fake news). In related news, Politico "debunked" the story about Ray Epps by telling its readers that Mr. Epps has denied any wrongdoing. Of course that's like letting a person accused of a crime off the hook because he said he didn't do it. 

AMERICANS EMBRACE THE GOP: For the first time in decades, Gallup now shows Republicans outnumber Democrats across the nation. Meanwhile the polling organization Trafalgar - one of the most accurate pollsters in the nation - says that the GOP has a +14 point advantage on the generic congressional ballot. If true, this is a bigger advantage than the GOP held in 1994 and 2010 combined - both of which were massive red wave years.

BIDEN ADMITS 2020 ELECTION ILLEGITIMATE? In Joe Biden's most recent disaster of a press conference, he declared that US elections conducted without his hoped-for election reform bill would be illegitimate. President Trump followed the logic and was glad Biden now seems to agree with him about the illegitimacy of the 2020 election.

A TURN IN VIRGINA: Virginia's new governor and attorney general are making waves. Governor Youngkin immediately ended the teaching of critical race theory in Virginia classrooms and appointed an ambassador for the unborn. Meanwhile the new Attorney General, Jason Miyares, took bold steps in his first days on the job. Since taking office, he has fired all the lawyers in Virginia's civil rights division and plans to take up cases that local leftist district attorneys fail to prosecute. He also announced plans to investigate Loudon County Public Schools and the State Parole Board over their handling of transgendered students accused of sexual assaults. If the ship can be righted this quickly in Virginia, the rest of the nation can quickly follow suit.


III. THE NATIONS

KAZAKHSTAN UPDATE: The latest US/European-backed color revolution on Russia's borders has come to complete failure. What most do not understand is that the former leader of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev (president from 1990-2019), was leading the nation in a pro-European direction. For example, Nazarbayev embraced the use of the Latin alphabet over the Cyrillic and sought a legal reform on the basis of English common law. What's more, Kazakhstan's rich energy sector has been dominated by American companies, not Russian. Though Nazarbayev recently left office and was succeeded by President Tokayev, he had the capital city of Astana re-named after himself and placed himself as head of the Kazakh military - clear signs he wasn't going anywhere. Since then it's been unclear what direction Tokayev would take the nation. With the recent coup attempt, however, Tokayev has brought his nation under Russia's wings. Nazarbayev is now firmly out of power and his family members in the government have likewise been removed. Even the Kazakh defense minister has been fired amid the purge. To the consternation of the Americans and her allies, Kazakhstan is now more firmly allied with Russian than ever before.

NATIONS WITH NUCLEAR POWER: The United States is the world's largest producer of nuclear power, producing more power than the next two nations - China and France - combined. Learn more about the nations that use nuclear power - with excellent charts - here.

"THE WEEK" GIVING GOOD COVERAGE TO UKRAINE-RUSSIA: The media has never been more in lockstep with the warmongering neocons and neoliberals seeking war with Russia. Two short editorials from The Week, however, are the first we've seen to make sense of the current situation in Ukraine. The first is entitled The false premise making war with Russia more likely while the second is The war hawks are at it again.

RUSSIA STAGING A FLASE FLAG ATTACK? One of this week's big news stories about Ukraine revolved around intelligence reports that Russia planned to stage a "false flag" event that would justify its "invasion" of Ukraine. It turns out that the "intelligence" was spoon-fed to the director of the CIA by... Ukrainian politicians.

CANCELLING SWIFT CANCELLED: While Russia has plans for calibrated responses to any threat, the US has but two tools in its toolbox: sanctions and military action. The biggest sanction of them all was the plan to "cancel" Russia's ability to use SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the interbank global payments system. Now, having been warned that such action would result in more damage to western Europe and the US than to Russia (which has created its own version of SWIFT), America and her allies are backing away from the the biggest sanction weapon in their toolbox. Russia wins again.


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

COVID RESTRICTIONS LOOSENING? In the wake of the US Supreme Court ruling on a federally-imposed vaccine mandate, other countries appear to be loosening their pandemic restrictions. The United Kingdom has cancelled all restrictions while the Czech Republic put off imposing a vaccine mandate. Meanwhile in Israel, an end to the green passes - or showing one's papers to enter public life - appears to be imminent. Are we in the waning days of this pandemic?

COVID AND HOSPITALIZATIONS: While the CDC has admitted that the coronavirus vaccines do not prevent the transmission of the virus, many still seek to impose vaccine mandates. Their reasoning is no longer based in transmission prevention but rather in the problem of overwhelmed hospitals. But this problem has a much longer history than the past two years. Time, for example, reported in 2018 about a flu epidemic that led to the exact same problems we see today (yet no one sought to impose flu vaccine mandates, masking, and social distancing). It turns out that in 1975 there were nearly 1.5 million hospital beds in the US. Today that number has declined to around 900,000. Critical care beds are rarer still as hospitals deem them not financially viable. Indeed, a focus on the bottom dollar has driven the reduction of America's ability to treat patients, especially patients with the coronavirus. But rather than the US government applying pressure on the medical industry to increase its care capacity, the government punishes its own citizenry by spending billions on experimental drugs and forcibly imposing them on everyday Americans. Meanwhile nearly half of Democrats approve of jail time for the unvaccinated. Something is not adding up.

MORE FAMILY DECLINE: Rod Dreher sounds the alarm at a rapid decrease in American's favoring couples with children should marry. The numbers he examines are scary.

USING ARREST WARRENTS AS ID: In the latest sign that we live in clown world, the TSA has announced it will accept arrest warrants as alternative ID for illegal immigrants seeking to board airplanes. One would think such documentation would lead to an arrest. Funnier still is the thought of an illegal immigrant visiting his local police department in order to get a copy of his arrest warrant for travel use.

QUARTERBACK ARRESTED: Ex-Alabama quarterback, Jay Baker, was arrested and charged after allegedly using his car to try and run over his estranged wife. This brings a comparison to the car rampage in Waukesha - an event that only took place after the suspect Darrell Brooks, who is alleged to have been arrested - and released! - after attempting to run over his girlfriend. Apparently "southern justice" has moved much father north.

BLM, THE NFL, AND MLK: Despite the NFL fully caving to BLM and even mandating the performance of the racist, ethnic nationalist "black national anthem" at all its games, the far Left continues to say the NFL isn't doing enough. And that's why it's never worth caving to radicals. No matter how much you embrace the cause, it will never be enough.

TRAIN RAIDING IN CALIFORNIA: The far Left continues to run California into the ground as now even trains are being raided for goods. A recent video revealed hundreds of Amazon packages gutted and spewed along a stretch of train tracks. Since Leftists give the looters a mere slap on the wrist, the Union Pacific railroad now considers leaving Los Angeles. And rightfully so.

Monday, January 17, 2022

In remembrance of Martin Luther King: Sacred Selma is no bridge to Sodom

[first published March 17, 2015]

{Jan 21, 2019 Addendum--Student statement on fabricated racism event at pro-life march by students from Catholic Boys School-a white teen guilty of looking an old fraud in the eye. Looking eye to eye is the Latin root of the word RESPECT}

by David Pence
                               
One of the themes preached at Brown Chapel Church in Selma, on the day before the 50-year commemoration of 'Bloody Sunday,' was how the liberated Israelites forgot their true destination and were soon worshiping false gods in the wilderness.
                           

In the spring of 1965, local Negro Christians led a procession across the Alabama River in response to the shooting of a black Baptist deacon, Jimmie Lee Jackson, two weeks earlier. The purpose of the march was to link the shooting to the need for black voting rights in the state. The destination was Montgomery, the capital 50 miles away. When the marchers left the city limits and crossed the Pettus Bridge they came under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff and state patrol. The sheriff, Jim Clark, had called all white males over 21 to be deputized as a county posse. The state troopers were George Wallace’s men, and eager to strike a blow for a segregated "Heart of Dixie." Several national TV camera crews recorded the onslaught. A nation still capable of moral outrage was shocked.

It was several days later that Reverend Martin Luther King and ministers from across the land came for the second Selma march. They only went to the end of the bridge, obeying a federal injunction against completing the march to Montgomery. After kneeling in prayer where the violence had occurred, they then turned around. Some of the younger black activists criticized King and dubbed that day "Turnaround Tuesday." It wasn't a compliment.

The third march (Mar 21-25,1965) two weeks later was allowed and protected by federal military policemen, army troops, and a federalized Alabama national guard. They completed the march to the state capitol in Montgomery four days later. This time, preachers from all over the country and famous entertainers were in the crowd to hear Reverend King's "How Long, Not Long" speech. He praised "white Americans who cherish their democratic traditions over ugly customs and privileges of generations to come forth boldly to join hands with us." He gave a history lesson on Jesus and Jim Crow:
If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. (Yes, sir) He gave him Jim Crow. (Uh huh) And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, (Yes, sir) he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man. (Right sir) And he ate Jim Crow. (Uh huh) And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings. (Yes, sir) And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow, (Speak) their last outpost of psychological oblivion. (Yes, sir)
He explained the many contorted forms of segregation that it took to divide a Christian nation by color:
 They segregated southern money from the poor whites; they segregated southern mores from the rich whites; (Yes, sir) they segregated southern churches from Christianity (Yes, sir); they segregated southern minds from honest thinking; (Yes, sir) and they segregated the Negro from everything. (Yes, sir).  
But for this Christian movement the cry of "no justice, no peace" was not a threat of violence but the continued soul-power of love restoring men to brotherhood:
"And so I plead with you this afternoon as we go ahead: remain committed to nonviolence. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man."
Finally he reminded us that persistence in protest does not come from the defiant wills of clenched fists, but the open hearts of men who trust in God:

"How long will justice be crucified, (Speak) and truth bear it?" (Yes, sir)I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, (Yes, sir) however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, (No sir) because "truth crushed to earth will rise again." (Yes, sir)How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because "no lie can live forever." (Yes, sir)How long? Not long, (All right. How long) because "you shall reap what you sow." (Yes, sir)How long? (How long?) Not long: (Not long)Truth forever on the scaffold, (Speak)Wrong forever on the throne, (Yes, sir)Yet that scaffold sways the future, (Yes, sirAnd, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above his own.How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. (Yes, sir)How long? Not long, (Not long) because:Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; (Yes, sir)"
Reverend King called President Johnson's speech, given ten days earlier on the Voting Rights Act, "an address that will live in history as one of the most passionate pleas for human rights ever made by a president of our nation"; and he noted it was given by a "president born in the South."

After his speech to a joint session of Congress, LBJ ordered that protection be provided to the Selma marchers. He challenged an attentive, wary, sparsely applauding legislature:
"The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. For with a country as with a person, 'What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' "
The Voting Act became law on August 8, 1965.

John Lewis, congressman from Georgia, was one of the few men who spoke at the 50-year commemoration who also marched on Bloody Sunday. In his short and stirring speech before President Obama’s address, Lewis quoted LBJ's opening words to Congress: "At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama."

Johnson said in the same Selma-inspired speech: "I want to be the president who helped to end hatred among his fellow men and who promoted love among the people of all races, all regions, and all parties." John Lewis began his talk not addressing the dignitaries, not even the president. He said, "Beloved brothers and sisters." He said we are here to "renew the soul of America." The movement was about love -- and John Lewis still remembered. It was about love of God and love of neighbor. It was not about black men yelling 'racist' at white men, but calling them brothers and calling them to love as Christ had commanded us. It always began in churches; and there was a lot of spiritual healing and calling on Jesus to grant courage. It was about redeeming love; and we cannot properly remember this day without remembering that building the spiritual bond of civic charity was driven by the redeeming suffering love of the Gospel.  

Lewis remembered: "We walked down that sidewalk over there. With a kind of military discipline, we were so peaceful, so quiet." Listen to the voice of Lewis, listen to his plea, and the spiritual echo of that day will come clear. Only their prayer time in a church when they were not so quiet had armed them for what would come next. It was not "their will against the will of the policemen," as the president said. For when Israel fights its enemies depending only on itself -- on its own will -- it always loses. These men and women knew they were following the will of God, and that is why eventually as Lewis said, "they knew the truth would win out." It was not their will that triumphed that day. Someone else was writing in His own hand, turning the soul-force of unrequited suffering into Victory.

                             
Rev King flanked (at far L) by Rev Abernathy and (far R) by John Lewis

It was shortly after Selma that a lot of chosen people forgot, again, where they were marching and Who was directing their march. Five months later the first great urban burning and looting riot would occur in Watts, California. That looked a lot more like the revelry at the Golden Calf, than the redeeming march through the parted waters of the Red Sea. Younger men turned the movement for Christian brotherhood into something very different -- black power, color identity, hatred, and a glorification not of redemptive suffering but redemptive violence. The Christian themes of following God’s will and reuniting a beloved community in the brotherhood of men under the Fatherhood of God gave way to color consciousness, sexual licentiousness, envy, greed, and wrath. “Soul” which once meant that spiritual principle of human life, which was instantly recognizable by men of every color, was turned on its head and came to be shorthand for “Black.” The jutting of the chin, the militant posture on college campuses, and the celebration of the criminal inside the confines of black ghettos had replaced the open hearts and hands seeking love.

The devil loves to tear apart. He is a divider and a liar from the beginning. He loves to come disguised as an angel of light, fighting for liberation but still peddling his same old chains of slavery.
And just what the racists had predicted started to happen. All the moral capital of the innocent, beaten by lawmen, was set aside. The march for freedom was perverted into a license for revelry -- just like the pagan erotic cult at the foot of Mount Sinai that had so angered Moses. The higher morality of love over law became the immorality of disrespect for authority and the law. "The Man" became the enemy. Another kind of male became the Superfly. Then, the greatest metaphysical error in American political history insured that the movement among men for the equality of public brotherhood was hijacked by the protest of middle-class white women against the sexual order of marriage and familial duty. This was coupled with a wild sexual rut among the males, again masquerading as a freedom train. The women said they would not be mothers and clamored for abortion, while the men said they would not be soldiers and ran from their protective duties. So many times during this forty years of wandering, the devious cults of "self" came cloaked in the sacred cloth of Selma.
                                 
"The Adoration of the Golden Calf" by Nicolas Poussin (1634)

White feminists were quite content that black men were into separatism. Back then, black men did not treat the analysis of the white chick with the obeisance we see now. The feminists left the black man his urban streets and the prisons. She and her soft white male allies took the universities, churches, and public service unions. Later, a crass calculation of everybody against the white male (down with patriarchy!) would lead to the diversity racket of electoral majorities and cottage industries in big cities, universities, and the world of non-profits. As Eric Hoffer said, "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."

Black men who wanted to progress in public office drank the feminist Kool-Aid in public speeches and policy, if not in their personal lives. Religious institutions rejected the patriarchy of the Lord's Prayer for the gender obfuscation of inclusion. The widows begged for husbands and the orphans for fathers -- and in the name of civil rights we gave them sexual anarchy, making more spiritual widows and orphans than ever before in our history. Under the rubric of diversity, a coalition was struck of rights and reparation, the black power movement, the feminists, and finally the homosexuals. The party of city immigrants and working men turned into an umbrella for diversity. God was exiled, the beloved community abandoned, and idols erected by a coalition of the oppressed.

The faith-healing, Scripture reading, and Gospel singing that broke the back of racism were sent to the back of the bus. It could be resurrected when needed for nostalgia, but it could no longer be taken seriously as a spiritual organizing principle. It was not a worship of the mighty God, though He still could be evoked for the closing of speeches. It was a celebration of "us," of the humanistic pride that turned worship of God into a celebration of congregations. The people celebrate themselves, savoring the wounds of their parents while rejecting their wisdom. This communal celebration of self had happened long ago. The people set out to make a name for themselves and forgot God. They built a tower at Babel.

The ordered relationship of sexual fidelity in marriage, the purity in thought and speech toward the sacred goods of God’s name and the marriage act -- these ordered relationships became the enemy of the new freedom divorced from freedom’s Author. And that public form of Christian love -- fraternal brotherhood among adult men -- now became the love "that dare not speak its name." It became a mantra of militant black men that they did not seek to love or to be loved by the white man. Brotherhood was for wimps, and soon the wimps would rule in a way no American man of fifty years ago could ever imagine.

The integrated body politic, the black and white males in a posse for justice who would protect the widows and orphans of every color -- that dream became a joke. The marriage of a black man and white woman or a white man and black woman -- that sacred bond was now allowed. But in a bizarre twist that could only come from the twisted Father of Lies, this natural love has now become a rallying flag to honor the unnatural. Those who marched at Selma would wonder at a president who diluted their blood with such acts of sexual sacrilege. All of us who were in the movement, we exchanged our glorious God for a grass-eating bull. Elections indeed were won, a coalition with those serving other gods was struck…but what doth it profit?
                                     
Bloody Sunday in Selma

There are many more female black faces in high places, and yet so many more male black faces in jail. Every third pregnancy by a black female is aborted -- five times the rate of white women. There are black males in elected offices, but all must worship at the altar of feminism to be admitted to the club.

In his speech at Selma, President Obama broke open the moral capital of the Selma "bank account" and distributed blank checks to the sexual pretenders. It had been his honest claim as a black man to that social capital which helped him defeat an entitled feminist for the presidency in 2008. But any honest assessment of Mr. Obama reveals he has done much more for the sexual revolutionaries than for interracial brotherhood among men. He said he would be Joshua, but the feminist brain chip is the paradigm most deeply implanted in his heart. The sense of solidarity with the men of his country or the men of other cultures who rule by the traditional male forms of patriarchy and fraternity is not part of the moral grammar of this mother's son. He considers patriarchy an evil, and masculine fraternity as fun for the playground but oppressive in religion and politics.

The billy clubs and tear gas of Sheriff Clark could crack open a man's head and break up a marching crowd, but they could never touch the movement's soul. But now the blood of the martyrs has been polluted at an altar to a foreign god in the wilderness. Our souls no longer rest in the Lord. The shame of our president is that his speech at Selma was a sacrilege against a sacred space. The president, whom so many of us voted for as an act of racial reconciliation, once again used his pulpit to preach not the saving grace of brotherhood but the enslaving confusion of the sexual revolution.

The Christian movement brings us back to the original promise of the country and the truth of Scripture. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Real peace comes from deeper and broader bonds. The tenor of the Christian movement, even in its dreams, was a return to some order that lay at the heart of our nature as creatures of God with human souls. It was a check written long ago which we had come to cash. We were not looking for endless change, and more and more categories of the oppressed that might be released from social obligations and rules of decorum. We were seeking something old -- that men might live like brothers, that a man and woman might marry and raise their family in peace, that elders would be called Mister and Missus.

Selma was a place in history where the fate of a nation was hinged. It still is such a place.  As President Johnson said:
"There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans -- not as Democrats or Republicans -- we are met here as Americans to solve that problem."
                                                         
President Johnson

Every crucial speech from that era reminds us this was a Christian movement of brotherhood that was deeply resonant with the initial Christian movement that formed the colonies and towns of America’s Protestant seaboard.

We cannot leave the interpretation of this day to the mistaken notion that sexual disorder is Selma's fruit. The bridge from Selma led to Montgomery, not Sodom. Montgomery was the city where the Reverends King and Abernathy first joined as ministers to unite the Negro community as Christians, and renew the whole city as a "Beloved Community" of fellow citizens. Sodom was destroyed; Montgomery was to be renewed. Selma was a spiritual movement that galvanized white and black people across the country. That’s why, within two weeks of Bloody Sunday, armed American white men protected the marchers from their persecutors. That’s why five months later a Voting Rights Act could be passed. If we can unite ourselves again under God and sing His praises loudly, then we can renew a brotherhood of fathers to socialize all our young men -- black, white and Hispanic -- into the Christian form of masculine love that is citizenship.

This spiritual renewal of the American soul is how the South will rise again. Let us be renewed in the public Biblical faith and Christian love of Selma. It is the road to the New Jerusalem which will shine with the glory of God when He comes to dwell amidst His people. Let us not ignore the living Lord or surely we shall be chastised; and the blood drawn at Selma will lose its sacred power "to renew the soul of America." 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, JANUARY 15

THE WEEKLY BRIEF
By A. Joseph Lynch

BIDEN'S BAD WEEK

Biden's fifty-first week in power was but his most recent disaster. It featured defeats on many fronts: foreign policy, healthcare, legislation, the US economy, and the polls. Let's briefly consider each.

The big news of the week came from the US Supreme Court, which quickly struck down Biden's efforts to force vaccines in workplaces across the nation. The 6-3 ruling came down along partisan lines, and most conservatives breathed a sigh of relief to see Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett all reach a good decision. The decision dealt a huge blow to Biden's pandemic power play and is a sign that the Supreme Court is willing to stand up to his executive overreach.

The same day the Supreme Court ruled on the OSHA vaccine mandate, Biden was dealt another major blow, this time from the US Senate. Biden - who had declared he was "tired of being silent" - came out swinging this week to end the Senate filibuster so that Democrats could jam through far Left legislation like the new "voter rights" bill. Biden's efforts on this front came to a crashing halt as Arizona's Democrat senator, Kyrsten Sinema, announced she would oppose any vote to jettison the filibuster. Joining Sinema is Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who applauded Sinema's decision. It appears that the two taken together will effectively end Biden's legislative agenda through the midterms.

This week also saw the meeting of US and Russian diplomats in Geneva as they discussed the anti-Russian aggression of the US and its NATO allies since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia seeks an end to NATO expansion, a rollback of American and NATO infrastructure in eastern Europe, and the respectful treatment of Russia going forward. While little was achieved in the meetings, Russia was given ample time to make its case before the United States, NATO, and Ukraine. All are now on notice of Russia's redlines on Ukraine and its demands concerning NATO. When America and NATO refused to heed Russia's demands, Russian diplomats floated the idea of sending the Russian military to Cuba and Venezuela - a threat which if carried out, according to White House officials, would lead to a "decisive" US response. This knee-jerk reaction from the US government, however, proves Russia's point. Why does a Russian presence in the Americas demand a decisive military response from the US while Russia is told it cannot react the same way to the US presence in Europe? (More from Pat Buchanan.)

Interestingly enough, the Democrats' incoherence on Russia and the filibuster collided this week in the US Senate. Ted Cruz rallied six Democrats and every Republican but Rand Paul into voting for his virulently anti-Russian sanctions bill which sought in part to cripple Russia's new pipeline to Germany. (As a brief aside, the bill was so bad that its worth fearing a Republican takeover in the Senate next year. There may be enough votes to overturn a presidential veto - and if this bill passes in a year, expect a massive crisis between the US and Russia. Senate Republicans are on the wrong side of any policy concerning Russia.) The irony of the bill's failure was that the Democrats had declared both that they opposed the new pipeline and also the sought to end the filibuster - yet they used the filibuster to block the bill which aimed to sanction the pipeline they claimed to oppose. While we applaud the end result, it was yet another sign of Biden's policy incoherence.

Making matters worse for Biden, the US economy is in complete shambles. Inflation is hitting a forty year high while store shelves across the country are empty amid a continued logistics breakdown. It's no wonder why even a leftwing polling outlet like Quinnipiac now has Biden polling at 33%. The only question now is whether or not a GOP-controlled Congress can rid the nation of this incompetent administration. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Baptism of Jesus


                                     

Pence writes:

"It was at the Jordan River that Joshua commanded the priests to precede with the Ark of the Covenant, followed by the sons of Israel who – now properly ordered behind the Ark – could enter the Promised Land.

"When Christ emerged from that same river, he was enclosed not by the Ark but revealed in the first manifestation of the Trinity. His Father’s voice proclaimed Him; and the hovering Spirit anointed Him. On this day, the entry of all men to the Promised Land was made possible.

"All the sons of men who would be baptized in the new Adam could now be incorporated in Son-ship with the triune God. Christ’s Baptism washed away Satan, the world, and the flesh – and revealed the sacramental strategy for incorporation in the new Adam.

"The just angels marveled in awe at the new-found glory of man, while Lucifer resentfully plotted a meeting in the desert."

THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST: the Theophany of God and the Baptism of Christ


(first published January 12, 2014)

David Pence writes:  
         
               

                  "... the Sun of righteousness washing in the Jordan,
                                fire immersed in water..."



The Sunday after Epiphany, the Church celebrates the Baptism of Christ. It marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Christ’s public life and “Ordinary Time.” In an older calendar, the Epiphany was celebrated as an eight-day feast. The coming of the Wise Men, the first miracle at Cana, and the most important manifestation – the theophany at Christ’s baptism – were all considered epiphanies which explained the true identity of Jesus Christ. In the Orthodox Churches, the “twelve days of Christmas” are the feast days observed from the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem to his Baptism in the Jordan which is called the feast of the Theophany.

The Baptism of Christ is not merely about God and water, or God and nature, or even God and man’s salvation. This is not just an event of Divine Economy – God’s relation to creation. At the Baptism of Christ, something happened quite unexpected. The Baptism is THEOPHANY – the “appearance of God” – and for the first time Jesus is revealed as Son of God; and God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

For a moment let us forget about ourselves. Let us even forget about the sacramental order of saving our souls.  Let us contemplate what was revealed here about the reality that preceded the creation of heaven and earth. Let us think of God before Satan rebelled and man fell.

Who could imagine this? God is three in one. There is a reality called personhood, which can be united in love, as many in one. On this day, in the Father’s voice, we are definitively told that Jesus is God. We are shown “the Spirit of God descending on Him like a dove.” This is how the Christmas season ends: with a lesson about the identity of Jesus as Divine, and the nature of God as an interpersonal love relationship that constitutes the ultimate reality.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. 

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
                              
                     

"Today the nature of the waters is sanctified,
The Jordan bursts forth and turns back the flood of its streams,
Seeing the Master wash Himself.
To the voice of one crying in the wilderness, 
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
You came, O Lord, taking the form of a servant, 
Asking for baptism though you have no sin. 
The waters saw You and were afraid. 
The Forerunner began to tremble and cried out, saying: 
How shall the lampstand illumine the Light? 
How shall the servant lay hands upon the Master? 
Sanctify both me and the waters, O Savior, 
Who takes away the sins of the world."

  (Orthodox hymn for Theophany)