Saturday, December 16, 2006
THE BIZARRE WORLD OF THE POLITICALLY CORRECT
Not "Christian" Christmas trees this time. No, now it's snowflakes that have been declared "Jewish."
A Chappaqua jewelry-store owner who adorned the downtown district with holiday banners is saying "Bah, humbug" to those who find them "too Jewish."
Tara Caverzasi says she doesn't understand why dozens of people have objected to the pennants emblazoned with snowflakes - including a few that resemble a Star of David.
"There has to be some tolerance," said Caverzasi. "It was just a snowflake. I really don't see what the big deal is."
Tara Caverzasi is not Jewish, making this even more bizarre.
Hat tip to New Oxford Review. Read the whole story here.
EMAIL FROM ROBERT DUNCAN
Minocracy is creating acute indigestion in Spain
The Spanish Socialist government's support of 'Minocracy' ignores a seismic demographic shift that could rip apart the country's social fabric
By Robert Duncan
Minocracy is well and alive in Spain , and from the stench in the Moncloa vicinity one wonders if the country isn't also experiencing a case of acute indigestion.
The residence of Spain ’s prime minister is in the Moncloa neighborhood. The inhabitants claim to be Socialist yet favor "Minocracy" - or the rule of the minority - by blatantly disregarding their political base and election year promises.
For example, the government appears to be more concerned about garnering the support of fringe voters, when it is not settling decade’s old scores such as the rewriting of history. In one scheme the Socialists have dredged up past horrors of the Spanish Civil War to focus on the Republican victims, while failing to acknowledge that barbarities were committed on both sides. Such legislative stunts and others - like removing statues of the Dictator Francisco Franco at midnight - tend to lessen the Socialists' credibility: after all, if a statue needs removed, why not in plain daylight?
In other areas, instead of worrying about promoting families, the Spanish government has introduced fast-track divorces and embryonic testing.
Even with respect to terrorism, the Socialists have ignored the pleas of victims and instead expressed a willingness to negotiate with ETA, ignoring that for all purposes the Basque terrorist group is actually blackmailing the Spanish state.
Logic is not this government's forte.
This is also a government that is opposed to freedom of speech, and has repeatedly attempted to censor the voice of the Catholic Church by suggesting that those who practice the Christian faith should only do so in private.
The Spanish Bishop's recently exhorted Catholics to live their faith both in private and public. The Socialist party, in turn, responded with a document that stressed its intentions of imposing a system that advocated laicism.
That Socialist document serves to further explain why this government insists that Catholic Religion Courses in public schools should no longer be under the jurisdiction of the Church. Under the Socialists’ program the teachers who would be imparting these classes could actually be people who are opposed to the Catholic faith. To understand the gravity of this, the vast majority of Spanish schools are affiliated with the Catholic Church and it is where many students receive some formation for First Communion and Confirmation, both of which the Catholic Church considers to be sacraments.
In this era of inclusiveness, the Socialist government has also included the possibility that there are religion professors teaching Islam.
This is also the government that turned a deaf ear to the million-plus persons that marched in Madrid petitioning it to not pass legislation to legalize same-sex marriages and under the guise of being inclusive allowed the very definition of marriage to be redefined. At the same time, the government ruled that judges must perform the same-sex marriages, and could not opt out on the grounds of conscientious objection. Socialist law is apparently on a higher moral plane than that of one’s conscience.
There has not been a collapse of homosexuals rushing to get married in Spain , despite very high-profile exceptions. In Madrid in 2005 there were 259 same-sex couples married, 201 of which were between men, and the remaining 58 cases between women. Interestingly, of the Gay marriages, 182 were between Spaniards, 35 were with a South American, 15 included a North American partner, while 10 were with Central Americans, seven were with Europeans, and there was one Asian.
Those figures highlight not only the apathy toward the institution of marriage on the part of the homosexual subculture, but also the government's consummate desire to seek votes in detriment of enacting legislation to foment a higher birth rate and to protect the family, not to mention its ignoring large Spanish families.
These "numerous" - or large - families need help. Help that the Socialists promised while in opposition in the form of tax incentives and subsidies. Of the over 1 million families that qualify as being numerous - having more than three children - only around 6 percent qualify for a monthly pittance of roughly 52 euros that the government provides in the form of aid. There are no real tax breaks, and certainly no incentives on par with other developed countries to encourage families to have more children. Instead, the government promises that in January electricity rates will rise 6 percent across the board - once again punishing those with large families in an exorbitant manner.
Furthermore, instead of providing incentives to help Spaniards have more children, the current government is playing peek-a-boo with a seismic demographic shift that will rip apart its social fabric. According to a recent report, immigrants will represent over 25 percent of the population by 2050, sharply higher than the current 8.5 percent.
With the country becoming increasingly dependant upon immigration and one of the world’s lowest birthrates, the government absurdly turns a blind eye to the active abortion tourist trade operating in Madrid and Barcelona , and where the price includes airline fare, abortion and hotel. No word if the drinks are on the house. Even the Dutch and English have been appalled at the ease with which late-term pregnant women can get an abortion in Spain - the flashing of money can almost always find a willing doctor to forge a document that the pregnancy had to be terminated as it was a risk to the woman.
It's not surprising that under such a hodgepodge of a platform that one can find an abundance of misguided politically correct measures throughout Spain: from renaming a public school to not offend Muslim students - which had the audacity to have been inaugurated with the name of a past Pope - to ridding school calendars of Christmas celebrations.
It smells like sulphur around Spain 's PM's residence. And it's not just the nearby sewage construction contributing to the fine fragrance.
Robert Duncan is a journalist and ombudsman for foreign press in Spain. He is a board member and honorary vice-president for the Organización de Periodismo y Comunicación Ibero-Americana. Robert was the bureau chief for an international news agency in Madrid for many years, and was published regularly in Dow Jones Newswires, with articles appearing in The Wall Street Journal.
He has also been published in World Catholic News, National Catholic Register, Renew America, Lifesite.net, as well as Capital Hill Coffee House, Common Conservative, The Conservative Voice, Enter Stage Right, News By Us, Conservative Crusader, World Net Daily, Mens News Daily and others.
He is News Editor for Spero News, blogs at Pelican Press, and maintains the Santificarnos website.
Friday, December 15, 2006
CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW
Just got back from a quick trip to Oglebay Festival of Lights at Oglebay State Park in Wheeling, West Virginia, where the Christmas lights are famous in this part of the country. Down there I heard "Merry Christmas" time after time, and no "Happy Holidays." This is a popular attraction that had traffic backed up all the way onto the interstate last weekend, and that's one long traffic jam. Fortunately mid-week we had the park roads practically to ourselves while we looked at the lights last night.
The Nativity scene there is life size encased behind glass in a garden of hyacinth Christmas lights. The picture doesn't do the costumes justice.
The mansion museum on the grounds was decorated for Christmas making it extra nice to see. The Lodge was as well. And we walked around without coats due to the unseasonal warm weather. It was nice to see the sun for a change. Then we drove back to Akron's gray clouds and raindrops on the windshield.
I shouldn't have gone to California in November.
I shouldn't have gone to California in November.
I shouldn't have gone to California in November!!
Most of the OTO lodges list only a box number. However, down below in another post in a comments box Dom indicated that the address for the OTO Lodge in Salem, MA is the location of a witchcraft show.
Interestingly, the Thelema Lodge OTO website, page 3, indicates that the Sirius Encampment, a Berkeley OTO encampment, is also located in an occult shop:
Sirius Encampment was founded in 1986 E.V. by Sr. Glenn Turner. It has always been closely associated with Ancient Ways, a Pagan/Occult supply shop in Berkeley. Sirius Encampment currently hosts Rites of Eleusis and other O.T.O. gatherings. After the departure of Thelema Lodge from Oakland, Sirius continues on to represent O.T.O. in the Oakland-Berkeley area.
The paragraph following that one speaks of the Mill Valley Temple OTO
Mons Abiegnus Oasis was founded by Fr. Carpocrates in Mill Valley. It has served the North Bay since 1996 E.V. with Gnostic Masses, initiations, and other Magickal Rites. Many events at Mons Abiegnus (including the Gnostic Mass) take place in the beautiful Mill Valley Masonic Temple, adding a very majestic tone to the ambiance.
I wonder if the Glenn Turner of Sirius Encampment is the Discordian R.U.Sirius of radio fame?
Well, in any case, she runs Pantheacon, the big West Coast Pagan bash. Her picture is here.
Turner is a member of Covenant of the Goddess, a Wiccan assembly, and is (or has been) a member of the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council. While you're looking at that website, take note of the fact that Don Few is talking about United Religions Initiative.
If you're interested, there is a list of all the U.S. OTO Lodges here along with links to their websites. The one in Akron is among the older ones.
Notocon V speakers and biographies are listed here. This one was held in Reston, VA.
There is a picture of an OTO altar here. Frater RIKB is a member of the Akron Black Sun Oasis.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
SCOTTISH RITE LODGE ROOM
Picture of Birmingham Scottish Rite Lodge.
Looks entirely too much like some of our wreckovated churches.
More pictures here.
Here in my area there are more Christmas lights in the neighborhood than I ever remember seeing before. My own street put me in mind of the Las Vegas strip the other night as I was driving home. Of course, there is no real comparison, but more people than last year have the Christmas lights itch. Less Halloween decorations this year. More Christmas decorations. Is this a developing trend or just a fluke? How about where you live?
In the stores, clerks are going back to saying "Merry Christmas" again.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY V. THE MASONIC TEMPLE ASSOCIATION OF ST. LOUIS
This month's Catholic World Report carries an editorial by George Neumayr on the deplorable state of Jesuit education. The case that is the title of my post is especially amusing:
This case--which will cause future Church historians considerable head scratching--pitted Masons arguing that the school [Jesuit St. Louis University - ct] is Catholic against Jesuits arguing that it is not. (The neighboring Masons were challenging a tax abatement St. Louis University received, claiming sectarian schools should not receive government monies.)
The Jesuits in St. Louis prevailed in the case, telling a Missouri appelate court that the school is "independent of the Catholic Church," has a wan mission statement, makes no serious attempt to propagate Catholicism, and disobeys the local bishop. The judges agreed, ruling that the school's "secular identity" is undeniable.
"FREEMASONRY AND JUDAISM"
is the title of a paper by Paul M. Bessel, of the Mt. Vernon Royal Arch Chapter No. 14 at the Henry Knox Field Lodge No. 349. It can be read at the masonicworld.com website.
According to this paper there have been Jewish members in Freemasonry from as early as 1768. This is in stark contrast to other sources which claim that Freemasonry discriminated against Jews until modern times. Bessel is a respected Masonic researcher. I tend to take what he writes to be accurate.
WINTERSTAR SYMPOSIUM 2007
will take place February 8-11, 2007 at Atwood Lake Lodge in Dellroy, Ohio. Once again the Association for Consciousness Exploration (A.C.E.) together with the Druid Fellowship, Ár nDraíocht Féin, will produce the event.
On the program is DePaul Catholic University faculty member Dr. Patricia Monaghan, said to be "one of the pioneers of the contemporary women's spirituality movement." Also on the program is EA, "an initiate of the Minoan Brotherhood, a branch of Traditional Witchcraft that is geared primarily toward gay and bisexual men." Muruga Booker, who has played with the Paul Winter Consort, is scheduled as well. As always, Joseph Rothenberg and Jeff Rosenbaum, directors of A.C.E. are on the program, as is Rev. Ivan Stang and the Church of the Sub-Genius.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
CHRISTMAS TREES BACK IN PLACE
Spirit Daily links the story:
Christmas trees are going back up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Pat Davis, president of the Port of Seattle commission, which directs airport operations, said late Monday that maintenance staff would restore the 14 plastic holiday trees, festooned with red ribbons and bows, that were removed over the weekend because of a rabbi's complaint that holiday decor did not include a menorah.
The story goes on to indicate that the Rabbi will work with the airport authorities in planning next year's Christmas display. He withdrew the threat of a lawsuit, presumably in reaction to all of the negative feedback.
Meanwhile, airline employees brought in small Christmas trees and placed them on the ticketing counters of the various airline. This was not discouraged since the airlines lease the airport facilities and thus have the final say over what is displayed on the counters.
Perhaps religious symbols will be included in next year's display? If a menorah, then perhaps a creche as well, given that Christmas trees are not all that much a symbol of Christianity? I wonder what the Pagans will want?
NOTOCON VI TO BE HELD AT THE HAWTHORNE HOTEL
with opening and closing receptions, formal banquet and vending room at the Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites,
According to their website.
KNIGHTS TEMPLAR OASIS - SALEM, MA
Interesting website. Seems to be a bulletin board for the OTO home in the Boston area.
According to this website the temple is located on the second floor at 175 Essex Street, Salem. Some of the activities at the temple include:
- The Gnostic Mass, presented several times
- They participated in--or at least took note of the Oct. 7 celebration of Freemasonry throughout the Commonwealth
- They taught the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram on Oct. 3
- They have a continuing class on the kabbalistic Tree of Life
- Lon Milo DuQuette presented a program titled "The Most Dangerous Secret in the World" on September 11, also one titled "Initiation: The Western Mystery Tradition" on June 9. (Note the description for the Sept. 11 class: "Did the Knights Templar hold 'the most dangerous secret in the world? This lecture has been called "Biblical Shock & Awe." Prepare to question everything you've been taught about the Bible and the history of Western Relgigion.")
- The September 22 and 24 class offered "Elements of Magic", a "core class in the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft"
- B.O.T.A. members were welcomed for a ritual on Sept. 17, This took place at the Cambridge Masonic Lodge, Second Floor, 1950 Massachusetts Avenue, Porter Square, Cambridge, MA
- DuQuette discussed "Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot: An in-depth look at the artistic mysteries and the secrets of sexual alchemy hidden in the stunning imagery of the 78 cards of the Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot" on Sept. 9
- DuQuette presented his book, THE KEY TO SOLOMON'S KEY, On Sept. 12
- Their journal is called "The Star & The Snake". Joe Shep is the editor.
FALLOUT FROM BENEDICT'S MOSQUE PRAYER
is recounted in an article from Reuters linked at NOR:
Pope Benedict may have prayed with a mufti in Istanbul's Blue Mosque, but that doesn't mean that Catholic children in his native Germany can follow his example when they gather for pre-Christmas festivities at their schools.
Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne last week unexpectedly banned little Catholics from praying with Muslim classmates just as Catholic and state primary schools geared up for Christmas carols and Nativity plays that Muslim pupils often attend.
Coming only days after Benedict made an unexpected gesture of reconciliation by praying toward Mecca alongside Istanbul's Grand Mufti Mustafa Cagrici, the ban on Catholic pupils praying with non-Christians at these events sparked a wave of criticism.
"Especially after Benedict's trip to Turkey, it's amazing that Meisner wants to be more Catholic than the Pope," wrote the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger, the main daily in the traditionally Catholic Rhineland city.
Confusion reigns. According to the article the Association of Catholic Religion Teachers in Germany, who are supposed to enforce the ban, oppose their bishop and promote multi-religious ceremonies. Helped along by a Pope in a mosque.
Looks like we are going to be a long time recovering from John Paul II's and now Benedict's dabbling in religions.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
I downloaded an upgrade to Internet Explorer the other day, and my computer has not been the same since. If it crashes, I may not be back until after Christmas. In the meantime I'll keep playing with it to see if I can solve the problem.
Monday, December 11, 2006
NO MORE CHRISTMAS TREES AT THE AIRPORT
A Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi, Elazar Bogomilsky (Bogomilsky??), hired a lawyer and threatened to sue unless the Seattle airport added a menorah to its Christmas tree display. The airport called his bluff and dismantled the trees, leaving the airport holiday neutral. Now the Rabbi's lawyers are afraid "that the Jewish community will be portrayed as the Grinch". (Well duh...!)
"Harvey Grad, the rabbi's attorney, said the vitriol against Bogomilsky is misplaced, emphasizing that the rabbi neither objected to the trees nor said he found them offensive" according to The Seattle Times. "The last thing we need is anyone thinking that Jews want to end the celebration of Christmas on public property," Grad said.
That is somewhat disingenuous. Chabad Lubavitch is a promoter of the Noahide Laws. According to Bryan J. Ellison who explains the Noahide Laws at noahide.com:
Noachides may not observe any religious holidays outside the rabbinical traditions of Torah -- most especially including such Christian holidays as X-mas, Easter, Halloween, All Saint's Day, Good Friday, Ash Wednesday, and probably even the "new year" (January 1st). Alien religious holidays are forbidden even under the minimum of the Noachide code; these are violations of the commandment against idolatry.
Our generation, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe has repeatedly declared, is the last generation of exile and darkness, and the first generation of Moshiach (the Messiah) and the Redemption. All of us -- Jews and Noachides -- have an urgent responsibility to transform the world immediately in order to bring Moshiach, and this involves going well beyond the minimum of the Law.
The Noahide Laws being promoted by Chabad Lubivitch will not treat Christians kindly. This Seattle Airport dust-up may be just the beginning.
In its own defense, the airport claims employees are too busy during this season to be "cultural anthropologists" who sort out every religious tradition in order to provide a symbol for it. They plan to address the question of religiously correct holiday displays after the holidays are over.
Meanwhile Benedict proposes that Catholics display religious symbols in public buildings such as schools, courthouses, hospitals and prisons so that God will be present in community life. I guess he hasn't heard about American religious correctness yet.
But then, who needs a Christmas tree in an airport police state anyway. Most of them wouldn't clear the metal detectors.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Mitchell Kalpakgian reviews Paul Horgan's Catholic short story "One Red Rose for Christmas" in the current NOR. A portion of his review applies to Catholicism across the board, not just to the story. I thought it needed to be blogged. Kalpakgian writes:
God is always mysteriously present in daily life--hidden but present; God answers prayers and gives signs; God's grace comes through the ordinary persons in our lives--family, friends, colleagues; God can bring good out of evil, and there is nothing that cannot be turned to God's glory; God performs miracles, and nothing is impossible for God; sadness and tragedy must never lead to despair or a loss of faith; God expects all who love and follow Him to bear crosses; coincidence is just a nickname for divine providence, and, in Chesterton's words, the more coincidental things seem, the less coincidental they are; God loves and cares for all human beings and manifests the same divine favors to a wayward child that He grants to a devout mother superior.
That is a perceptive description of what it means to be Catholic. God is part of simply everything. Whatever we can discern God would not be part of is what we must avoid. The Trinity is the standard by which all decisions are made, and all actions are judged. Relationship with God is daily--moment to moment--and may even penetrate our dreams. There is no area of life from which God can be excluded.
This is what we lost starting with Vatican II. This is what we need to regain for there to be a renewal in the Church. It doesn't come via some do-good program that helps the poor or shelters the homeless or cares for the environment. All of those activities are good, but none of them can be a first principle. These activities all flow from the first principle which is God Himself in relationship with each of us here on earth, individually, and in union with the angels and the saints. Until we get this right, we are going to continue to make a mess of everything else.
This is what used to be reflected in our churches before the iconoclasts got loose. This is what is still reflected in Orthodox churches with their rich artistic heritage. The icons, the statues we used to have, all draw thoughts up to heaven and to the heavenly hosts who praise God always. They remind us to do the same. The more we are drawn out of ourselves and into God's presence, the humbler we become, and the closer to sainthood we move.