It’s a Leap Year!!!!!

So I’m not going to name names but a certain brunette blogger with a penchant for bad puns and theology thinks that leap years are just about the coolest thing ever!!!

The last time a leap year rolled around I was in college and my friends and I wanted to do lysomething to commemorate the leap day. We decided to watch the movie Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode (we liked him before it was cool Downtown Abbey fans). It’s a really fun movie that we first saw together when it came out in theaters. Semi-predictable in that you know where it’s going but you thoroughly enjoy the ride and all the scenic photos of beautiful Ireland. If you’re a person with strong impulses like me you too might be tempted to book your trip after watching.

Anyway, to seal the celebratory mood we ordered a cookie cake from Campus Cookies, an organization whose name is too self-explanatory for me to justify explaining what they do. We chose what color icing we wanted and requested that the cake read, “Happy Leap Day!” because we are lovably corny like that.

So we were watching the movie and the cookie-decorated van (true story) pulled up to our complex. The driver came up to our unit and made the delivery. We eagerly opened the box to behold their masterpiece which read, “Happy Leep Day!”

All I can say is I hope the employee who designed that cake wasn’t a fellow college student…

Happy Leap Day!

Dear Person Writing a Letter on Behalf of Everyone

Dear Person Writing a Letter on Behalf of Everyone,

Thank you for appointing yourself to write on behalf of all who encompass your demographic. You have truly dismantled the diversity the world claims to long for by homogenizing absolutely everyone, both those for whom you are writing and the people to whom your letter is addressed.

While I confess that I believe your tactic to be so incredibly overused in our media age I can’t argue with your results. You are certainly in good company. History is full of people who discovered that homogenizing a group of people is the first step to fostering a sincere hatred for that group. Look at the Nazis, for example. If you scapegoat the Jews for economic problems not only does it unite your demographic with feelings of superiority, it frees up your time because instead of ever actually having to meet a Jewish person and interact with them you can instead trust the opinions of your news media and your peers and decline to interact with them at all. After all, why should you? Educated people like us know that the members of any given demographic are absolutely the same, so it naturally follows that if you know one you know them all. Those who think differently are clearly not as enlightened as we are and I feel sorry for them because they don’t understand we can’t let anything get in the way of us and whichever cause we have valiantly chosen to represent, not even pesky things like the truth.

In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that humanity is actually meant to be united and that if we let these humans interact on an individual level we run the risk of them discovering a shared humanity or even, God forbid, that they have more similarities than differences. However, if they are allowed to develop a fundamental respect for each other as human beings created by God, our cause is absolutely lost. This is unacceptable and I thank you for working so diligently to put a stop to it. I too shudder to think what would happen if we spent time fostering human community instead of toting our Facebook pages behind non-descript and vaguely hostile causes like ours with our impassioned demands for progress.

If only everyone would conform to our vision, we spend so much time trying to showcase our intellectual prowess through the written word and still they doubt. Fortunately, I’ve found an incredible defense for  work like ours. When people ask you for things like facts free from bias, question why they are being told to hate others in the name of narrative, or even have the audacity to be offended at the words we put into their mouths without consulting them, simply play the victim and tout your innocence for all to hear. Smother your sentences with the language of relativism. We may not be able to prove we are right but by that same token who are they to think they can prove us wrong? If defaming their character by calling them things like ignorant, offensive, behind the times, Christian, or hateful doesn’t work, defiantly insist that you were simply making a stand in order to “get them to think” and accuse them of hindering progress because they refuse to leave their “comfort zones.”If they ask you exactly what progress they were hindering or what we hope to progress towards end the conversation immediately. Such a question reeks of logic and logic could be the string that unravels the whole tapestry of mutual hatred we work so hard to weave. Those traditionalists who cling to their ideals of universal love and brotherhood make me laugh. I prefer the exciting modern world today where there are entire internet comment sections devoted to nothing but name calling and accusation. It brings a tear to my eye to see those individuals putting their free public education to such good use, even if the grammar is sub-par.

I salute you for your bravery anonymous mystery writer and I thank you for giving us all the same voice.

Sincerely,

All Catholic Muses

I’m A Christian First

No, in spite of the giant picture this isn’t an endorsement for Ted Cruz. I still have no idea who I’m voting for but the nominations on both sides of the aisle are enough for me to contemplate moving to Australia.

The picture is there because I recently read a very interesting article written in response to the following quote from Ted Cruz, who said:

“I’m a Christian first, American second.”

The author of the article thought to point out that if a candidate had made some such declarative statement about another religion or identifier (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.) such as, “I’m a Mormon first, American second” or “I’m an African American first, American second,” then that person would have instantly lost the presidential election. He pointed out that the Christians are the only religion/group of people with such a privilege.

I found this point incredibly interesting.  The author really botched the remaining paragraphs of the article after his observation because he assumed that this privilege is granted because mainstream American society is white and privileged and we (the oppressed masses) have to put up with it because they make all the money and it’s totally unfair, man. It got really self-righteous really fast and I found it hard to take
seriously. Authors with poorly supported arguments who brand their terrible prose as if they are valiantly swinging the sword of truth amuse me. This particular author proudly and blatantly confused injustice with unfairness as if the two terms were synonymous in all instances when in fact they are not. For example, if my sibling and I split a chocolate chip cookie and his half turned out bigger than mine it could be labeled unfair or unequal, but no injustice was committed in that instance because I do not have a constitutional, natural, inherent, or God-given right to chocolate chip cookies. Yet for whatever reason my generation seems to get a kick out saying that either:

a) My natural, inherent, constitutional, or God-given right to chocolate chip cookies is implied on the basis of my wanting them (and how dare the system repress and deny my urge for sweets)

or

b) if I don’t have a natural, inherent, or God-given right to chocolate chip cookies I ought to have it granted as a civil/constitutional right because if I looked at other groups of people I would see that their wealth gives them the privilege of having chocolate chip cookies whenever they so please and I ought to have that privilege as a right in the name of equality and fairness.

I would love to see this law enforced just to show what a disaster substituting the measure of justice with the measure of modern notions of equality would be. That, and I’m very pro-cookie. But with this delightful model of debasing true justice, which, surprisingly, is perpetuated by Americans who have theoretically learned or been exposed in some way to American government and the ideals of democracy through their public or private education, it is easy to see how even the most minor things can quickly get blown out of proportion. To observe how feeling, narrative, and public opinion can be used to shift and alter the meanings and definitions society attaches to words. It’s a clever game, but one, I would argue, that comes with dangerous consequences to the health and well-being of society. 

But while I’ve made a few what I hope to be thought-provoking assertions, I still haven’t explained why the quote was so interesting in the first place or answered the question posed by my fellow writer as to why Christians are the only group allowed the privilege of proclaiming their loyalty to their faith above their loyalty to their office.

For starters, I believe the author is right in saying that Christianity is the only religion you could claim to be loyal to above your job and/or public office and still expect to win in an election. However, I reject my fellow writer’s cynical conclusion that this is entirely due to prevalent white privilege across the country because such a conclusion is drawn from an overly simplistic view of the situation which I find to be shallow, logically lazy, and ultimately false. 

What this author did not stop to think about was anything beyond the most recent news headlines, because a proper analysis requires a bit of history, so bear with me I’ll only include what is absolutely necessary.

The Jewish religion and subsequently the Christian religion have not only been monotheistic (believing in only one God)  since their foundations, each also has a long history of placing the Church above the state, if you will. Ancient Jewish leaders would not pay homage to Pagan Gods worshiped by the Roman state, and they paid a sort of tax to be exempted and got around the law by promising they would pray for Roman leaders to their God. Pretty crafty politics, I give them an A. Similarly, the striking amount of martyrs in the early Christian Church sent a pretty strong message about where Christian loyalties lie. Because both religions were meant to be in the world, but not of the world, never losing sight of the heavenly kingdom they firmly believed themselves (to this day) to be citizens of, belonging to their God not as mere servants or worshippers, but as sons and daughters. This reality was not something reserved for death either, the consecration of the religious (lay people included in that term) was a firm intertwining of God and man, in Christianity through the intermediary of Jesus, that began in the soul and was by its essence so consuming that God and man could not be individually separated back out again.

I would argue that this long-standing history created a precedent for these religions, an expectation and understanding that they could not violate their moral conscience even in obedience to the powers of the world manifested in the state, even on pain of death if it came down to that.

As much as people and curriculums will try and convince you otherwise, the United States was founded as a Christian nation because the revolutionaries who defeated Great Britain not only rejected absolute power in the name of democracy, they also gave their citizens rights based not on the authority of the state but rather in response to a recognition of a truth they found “self-evident.” A truth which stated that all men “were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights… [such as] life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that the state had no right to take away.  They in effect placed the authority of God above the authority of the state and admitted openly that the state had no authority to take away that which it did not grant. Their design from the outset was a government that respected fundamental human rights that were inherent, natural, and God-given. Subsequent laws would be structured to respect and nurture this foundation of freedom and equality each man possessed as a child of God. If you want to be cynical and call the founding fathers hypocrites because of the existence of slavery, which deprived slaves of these basic human rights, don’t forget our currently widespread and government funded practice of depriving our unborn children of all their human rights so that we can murder them without legal consequences in order to “have a better life” for ourselves.

In this light, America could rightly be termed a Christian nation because her laws were derived from the rights granted by God, specifically the Christian God (and Jewish God of the Old Testament). Therefore Christian politicians are allowed to say “I’m a Christian first, American second” and reasonably expect to win an election because the office they held was designed to protect and uphold the natural, inherent, and God-given rights that were promoted under the Constitution. The law and religion may have been “separate” to encourage religious freedom and discourage religious persecution, but it did not follow, as is often implied today, that Christianity and public office, Church and state, were incompatible. I would even argue that in an era where there was more reverence for God it was generally understood that religions were truly sacred to their worshippers and not merely meant to be lumped in with other identifiers like race and ethnicity as it is on all the obnoxious standardized government forms.

However, in our modern era that seeks to divorce the rights of law from their basis of natural, inherent, and God-given rights, a process which I chronicle frequently on this blog if you’d care to read more about it, we are content to trade truth for relativism, justice for equality, and love for tolerance yet maintain the audacity to blindly wonder why the world is the way it is. We please ourselves with these shams, these cheap imitations of what is true, good, and beautiful because they require less of us, yet we adamantly refuse to take the blame when they yield poor results, preferring instead to shift the blame on some vague, corporate, institutionalized other that, once modified and “evolved”, will give us the same truth, goodness, and beauty as the real thing without the cost. An invitation to place your hope in the world and adhere to laws divorced from their foundation in order to join this subjective worldly religion that God Himself has no place in. Those I debate with tell me that this is the world the founding fathers envisioned when they separated Church and State. I doubt that. Yet this is the current reality and it perfectly explains why my fellow writer is so baffled as to why politicians can claim to be, “Christian first, American second” and still expect to win the election. He was never taught the connection in the first place, and that is a shame.

And I think it worth noting that we are facing an old temptation with its usual glamorous allure but an even stronger influence due to the interconnectivity and shared media narratives of the modern world we all live in to throw off the “limitations” of morality and live thoroughly for ourselves and our own enjoyment. A world where laws reflect not what is universally right but instead what is relatively popular. And  as this divorce happens I believe we will be asked to make an outright choice that’s as old as time itself: which way do you want more? Which is just another way of asking: which do you love more?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve made my decision.