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It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Haruo Nakajima, Requiescat in pace.

The man who first bought the beloved and feared monster Godzilla to life has died, the film company behind the monster says.

Haruo Nakajima, who wore the Godzilla suit in 12 movies, died on Monday from pneumonia at the age of 88, it said.

In an interview this year Nakajima explained how the original 1954 costume was created from ready-mixed concrete and weighed up to 100kg (220lbs).

He said he studied animals in the Tokyo zoo to prepare for the role.

Nakajima started off as a stunt actor in samurai and war films including "Seven Samurai" by Akira Kurosawa.

He first played Godzilla - a giant beast who emerges from the deep after a nuclear test - in the 1954 film entitled Godzilla directed by Ishiro Honda and produced by the famed Japanese film studio Toho.

He went on to play the character in consecutive sequels as well as playing other beasts Rodan, Mothra and King Kong.

His last outing in the suit was in the 1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan.

Godzilla has since become a monster classic with dozens of Japanese and Hollywood movies made featuring the character. Most of the newer movies use computer graphics to create the monster.

Boo! Hiss!

The latest instalment called Shin Godzilla was released last year under the original Toho studio.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Guilty by reason of penis.

When is a crime still a crime even though the girl accused of being the victim (Seriously, kiddies. No hyperbole here.) says she's not a victim and there was no crime and she and the alleged perp love each other very much?

When the fascist left is in charge of your school! (And the state, local, and federal governments, as well as the media, all other schools, and science.)

From Reign Of Troy:

Matt Boermeester's alleged victim says kicker falsely accused

The girlfriend of Matt Boermeester, the alleged victim in the Title IX investigation which prompted the USC kicker’s removal from the football program, says the player was falsely accused and subjected to an unfair investigation by the university.

The LA Times reported a statement released by women’s tennis player Zoe Katz on Sunday, in which she denied any wrongdoing by Boermeester.

Just weeks after kicking the game-winning field goal in the 2017 Rose Bowl, Boermeester was indefinitely suspended because of what USC termed a “student-conduct issue.” Deadspin reported at the time that Boermeester was under investigation for an incident involving his girlfriend.

SEE MORE: Matt Boermeester Under Investigation for Student-Conduct Issue

While the investigation proceeded into the incident, Boermeester was not allowed to return to school or the football program. USC’s 2017 media guide listed Boermeester as a squadman lost.

Katz, who had tweeted a denial of the allegations against Boermeester in January, is now speaking out about exactly what she says happened back in January and through the spring.
Here’s what Katz told the LA Times:
The Title IX investigation began, Steigerwalt said, after a neighbor witnessed Boermeester and Katz roughhousing. The neighbor told his roommate, who told a coach in USC’s athletic department that Boermeester was abusing Katz. The coach then reported the incident to the Title IX office.
 Well, there you go. I apologize to all the man-hating fascist cows. "Roughhousing" is worse than rape and everybody knows it. How dare a man and a woman roll around on the ground fully clothed while touching each other? Shoot him in the head and send her to a re-education camp immediately!  AND BAN Twister (@twister) !
Katz said she was summoned to a mandatory meeting with Title IX officials, where she told investigators that the two were playing around. Katz was subsequently told that she “must be afraid of Matt,” she said. She told officials she was not. Boermeester has not been arrested or charged with a crime.
 Ironically, ol' SC sounds exactly like a re-education camp. That evil motherfucker Mao would have been pleased.
“When I told the truth about Matt, in repeated interrogations, I was stereotyped and was told I must be a ‘battered’ woman, and that made me feel demeaned and absurdly profiled,” Katz said. “I understand that domestic violence is a terrible problem, but in no way does that apply to Matt and me.”

Katz said that she has “never been abused, assaulted or otherwise mistreated by Matt.”
The topic of Title IX investigations and violence on college campuses is a complex issue across the nation and USC in particular.

In 2015, tight end Bryce Dixon was removed from USC’s football program due to a “student-conduct issue” though no criminal charges were filed against him.

Dixon, who said he was treated unfairly during his Title IX investigation, won an appeal to enroll back at the university as a student, but was never cleared to rejoin the football team.

Later, he was arrested and convicted of carjacking and robbery, earning a six-year prison sentence.

Last year, linebackers Osa Masina and Don Hill were accused of sexually assaulting a fellow USC student.

Masina was charged in Utah for a separate incident of alleged sexual assault and is currently awaiting trial. Neither were charged criminally in Los Angeles, but both were removed from the university.

If you intend on sending your kids to college, start praying now.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.

Asshole is the key word, kiddies. First up is little Davy Brooks who tries to think with his brain for a change instead of his nether regions. To nobody's surprise, he fails.

Getting Trump Out of My Brain  - The Old Gray Whore -

Last week The Washington Post published transcripts of Donald Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders. A dear friend sent me an email suggesting I read them because they reveal how Trump’s mind works. But as I tried to click the link a Bartleby-like voice in my head said, “I would prefer not to.” I tried to click again and the voice said: “No thanks. I’m full.”

For the past two years Trump has taken up an amazing amount of my brain space. My brain has apparently decided that it’s not interested in devoting more neurons to that guy. There’s nothing more to be learned about Trump’s mixture of ignorance, insecurity and narcissism. Every second spent on his bluster is more degrading than informative.

Now a lot of people are clearly still addicted to Trump. My Twitter feed is all him. Some people treat the Trump White House as the “Breaking Bad” serial drama they’ve been binge watching for six months. For some of us, Trump-bashing has become educated-class meth. We derive endless satisfaction from feeling morally superior to him — and as Leon Wieseltier put it, affirmation is the new sex.

But I thought I might try to listen to my brain for a change. That would mean trying, probably unsuccessfully, to spend less time thinking about Trump the soap opera and more time on questions that surround the Trump phenomena and this moment of history.

How much permanent damage is he doing to our global alliances? Have Americans really decided they no longer want to be a universal nation with a special mission to spread freedom around the world? Is populism now the lingua franca of politics so the Democrats’ only hope is to match Trump’s populism with their own?

These sorts of questions revolve around one big question: What lessons are people drawing from this debacle and how will those lessons shape what comes next?

It’s clear that Trump is not just a parenthesis. After he leaves things will not just snap back to “normal.” Instead, he represents the farcical culmination of a lot of dying old orders — demographic, political, even moral — and what comes after will be a reaction against rather than a continuing from.

For example, let’s look at our moral culture. For most of American history mainline Protestants — the Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and so on — set the dominant cultural tone. Most of the big social movements, like abolitionism, the suffragist movement and the civil rights movement, came out of the mainline churches.

As Joseph Bottum wrote in “An Anxious Age,” mainline Protestants created a kind of unifying culture that bound people of different political views. You could be Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or atheist, but still you were influenced by certain mainline ideas — the Protestant work ethic, the WASP definition of a gentleman. Leaders from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama hewed to a similar mainline standard for what is decent in public life and what is beyond the pale...

Ugh! I can't read this drivel any longer. Obviously, none of Dave's organs are coherent.

Here comes Eliza June Dionne, Jr. (who talks to the same cretins at the same parties every week) lecturing us on our narrow-mindedness. Why do I torture myself with this offal?

 There are happier stories about those who travel the nation trying to find buyers for their wares than Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” Just ask Marc J. Dunkelman.

In an essay in the summer issue of the Hedgehog Review, Dunkelman recalls a conversation two decades ago with his grandfather, a retired salesman, about how people discover good restaurants. Dunkelman was enthusing about then-developing technologies that would widely share information on great eateries and even tell people about how to get to the ones located nearby.

His grandfather wasn’t impressed. On his sales trips, he said, he regularly sought out “a friendly looking stranger” to learn where he might find a decent bite to eat. In the process, he would often make a new friend and see him again on a return visit.

“That’s how I got to understand the world — by talking to strangers,” the older man said. “With all these fancy technologies you’re telling me about, how are people going to get to know one another? You ask me, I think it’s going to make everyone lonely.”

Dunkelman, a fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute, is no Luddite when it comes to technology. But the author of the 2014 book “The Vanishing Neighbor” has a healthy obsession with how people connect with each other (or fail to), and his essay asks an important question: In the great revival of cities we are seeing all over our country, are we creating places “where neighbors remain strangers”? Are we thus robbing ourselves of “the crucial ingredient of a thriving American community”? Are we building great places to live (at least for those who can afford them) that are not actually neighborhoods?

He cites findings from the General Social Survey that “the percentage of Americans reporting a social evening with a neighbor has plummeted” and suggests that “cities may be coming back to life — but they’re being rebuilt with a very different social architecture.”

And our social architecture is playing a powerful role in deepening the political polarization we regularly complain about. We know the basic facts about 2016. Thriving metropolitan areas leaned toward Hillary Clinton while less affluent and less diverse places in the interior of the country voted for Donald Trump. As my Brookings Institution colleagues Mark Muro and Sifan Liu pointed out after the election, the 472 counties Clinton carried represented 64 percent of our gross domestic product. Trump’s 2,584 counties accounted for only 36 percent of the nation’s economic activity.
These facts are important, but so are the more subtle issues Dunkelman underscores. The ways in which we arrange ourselves, even within the big metro areas, reduce the likelihood that we will encounter, as a matter of course, people we disagree with but nonetheless like or, at the least, have reason to work with on common problems.

I will confess to a certain romanticism about the kinds of interactions promoted by smaller cities because I grew up in one. We shouldn’t be blind either to the benefits of the openness that today’s urban patterns encourage or to the sometimes vicious forms of exclusion, particularly along racial and ethnic lines, that could characterize relationships in older, tightly knit localities. We shouldn’t pretend that the past was a time of perfect comity.

Nonetheless, Dunkelman is right to worry that we may be weakening the connections that strong neighborhoods can nurture among those of different views. These links can take the edge off political divisions.

“You might not like or agree with your neighbor, but you could understand why someone might hold an opposing viewpoint,” he writes. “You might want to raise taxes to pay for a new amenity, or to reduce environmental regulation to attract new business — but neighborly relationships would help you appreciate any argument’s flip side. Often, such familiarity leads to compromise.”
No doubt the kinds of conversations Dunkelman describes still take place in localities around the country, but we are, more than ever, segregating ourselves along the overlapping lines of class, values and ideology. Our technological interactions, about which Dunkelman’s granddad was so skeptical, create a connectedness among like minds that is also leading to even sharper forms of separation from those who think differently.

No federal program can solve this problem, and no app can force us to have dinner with people whose views we don’t share. But we would do well to ponder whether our social geography is aggravating our already pronounced tendency to treat so many of our fellow citizens as strangers.

I'd like to force you to have dinner with Matt Boermeester and his girlfriend   you fat clown, so they can explain to you how you and your fascist buddies killed AmeriKKKa.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Monday, August 07, 2017

You call this a worldview? Or, How To Bring Hell To Earth Without Really Trying.

Remember the good old days when the Vatican told Catholics which books, movies, and plays could easily lead you to Hell?

Where did Steve Bannon get his worldview? - Washington's other other newspaper -

by Neil Howe

Neil Howe is the author, along with William Strauss, of “Generations,” “The Fourth Turning” and “Millennials Rising.”

I'll save you the time and the brain cells, kiddies. This nonsense looks like the same gobbledygook peddled by Marx in the 19th Century and regurgitated by Francis Fukuyama in the late 20th: History is a Tilt-A-Whirl and we can't get off. Yeah, well Hell is full of circles (See The Inferno by Dante Alighieri.) and ain't nobody ever getting out of there.

The headlines this month have been alarming. “Steve Bannon’s obsession with a dark theory of history should be worrisome” (Business Insider). “Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable” (the Huffington Post). “Steve Bannon Wants To Start World War III” (the Nation). A common thread in these media reports is that President Trump’s chief strategist is an avid reader and that the book that most inspires his worldview is “The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy.”

I wrote that book with William Strauss back in 1997. It is true that Bannon is enthralled by it. In 2010, he released a documentary, “Generation Zero,” that is structured around our theory that history in America (and by extension, most other modern societies) unfolds in a recurring cycle of four-generation-long eras. While this cycle does include a time of civic and political crisis — a Fourth Turning, in our parlance — the reporting on the book has been absurdly apocalyptic.

I don’t know Bannon well. I have worked with him on several film projects, including “Generation Zero,” over the years. I’ve been impressed by his cultural savvy. His politics, while unusual, never struck me as offensive. I was surprised when he took over the leadership of Breitbart and promoted the views espoused on that site. Like many people, I first learned about the alt-right (a far-right movement with links to Breitbart and a loosely defined white-nationalist agenda) from the mainstream media. Strauss, who died in 2007, and I never told Bannon what to say or think. But we did perhaps provide him with an insight — that populism, nationalism and state-run authoritarianism would soon be on the rise, not just in America but around the world.

Because we never attempted to write a political manifesto, we were surprised by the book’s popularity among certain crusaders on both the left and the right. When “The Fourth Turning” came out, our biggest partisan fans were Democrats, who saw in our description of an emerging “Millennial generation” (a term we coined) the sort of community-minded optimists who would pull America toward progressive ideals. Yet we’ve also had conservative fans, who were drawn to another lesson: that the new era would probably see the successful joining of left-wing economics with right-wing social values.

INSTANT TRANSLATION: "The fascist left and the fascist right will finally realize they have more in common than they previously thought, form a one-party State and start shooting.

Beyond ideology, I think there’s another reason for the rising interest in our book. We reject the deep premise of modern Western historians that social time is either linear (continuous progress or decline) or chaotic (too complex to reveal any direction). Instead we adopt the insight of nearly all traditional societies: that social time is a recurring cycle in which events become meaningful only to the extent that they are what philosopher Mircea Eliade calls “reenactments.” In cyclical space, once you strip away the extraneous accidents and technology, you are left with only a limited number of social moods, which tend to recur in a fixed order.

Along this cycle, we can identify four “turnings” that each last about 20 years — the length of a generation. Think of these as recurring seasons, starting with spring and ending with winter. In every turning, a new generation is born and each older generation ages into its next phase of life.

The cycle begins with the First Turning, a “High” which comes after a crisis era. In a High, institutions are strong and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where it wants to go collectively, even if many feel stifled by the prevailing conformity. Many Americans alive today can recall the post-World War II American High (historian William O’Neill’s term), coinciding with the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies. Earlier examples are the post-Civil War Victorian High of industrial growth and stable families, and the post-Constitution High of Democratic Republicanism and Era of Good Feelings.

The Second Turning is an “Awakening,” when institutions are attacked in the name of higher principles and deeper values. Just when society is hitting its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of all the social discipline and want to recapture a sense of personal authenticity. Salvation by faith, not works, is the youth rallying cry. One such era was the Consciousness Revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s. Some historians call this America’s Fourth or Fifth Great Awakening, depending on whether they start the count in the 17th century with John Winthrop or the 18th century with Jonathan Edwards.

The Third Turning is an “Unraveling,” in many ways the opposite of the High. Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Third Turning decades such as the 1990s, the 1920s and the 1850s are notorious for their cynicism, bad manners and weak civic authority. Government typically shrinks, and speculative manias, when they occur, are delirious.

Finally, the Fourth Turning is a “Crisis” period. This is when our institutional life is reconstructed from the ground up, always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. If history does not produce such an urgent threat, Fourth Turning leaders will invariably find one — and may even fabricate one — to mobilize collective action. Civic authority revives, and people and groups begin to pitch in as participants in a larger community. As these Promethean bursts of civic effort reach their resolution, Fourth Turnings refresh and redefine our national identity. The years 1945, 1865 and 1794 all capped eras constituting new “founding moments” in American history.

Just as a Second Turning reshapes our inner world (of values, culture and religion), a Fourth Turning reshapes our outer world (of politics, economy and empire).

In our paradigm, one can look ahead and suggest that a coming time period — say, a certain decade — will resemble, in its essential human dynamic, a time period in the past. In “The Fourth Turning,” we predicted that, starting around 2005, America would probably experience a “Great Devaluation” in financial markets, a catalyst that would mark America’s entry into an era whose first decade would likely parallel the 1930s.

Reflecting on the decade we’ve just lived through, we can probably agree that the 1930s parallel works well. In the economy, both decades played out in the shadow of a global financial crash, and were characterized by slow and disappointing economic growth and chronic underemployment of labor and capital. Both saw tepid investment, deflation fears, growing inequality and the inability of central bankers to rekindle consumption.

In geopolitics, we’ve witnessed the rise of isolationism, nationalism and right-wing populism across the globe. Geostrategist Ian Bremmer says we now live in a “G-Zero” world, where it’s every nation for itself. This story echoes the 1930s, which witnessed the waning authority of great-power alliances and a new willingness by authoritarian regimes to act with terrifying impunity.

In social trends, the two decades also show parallels: falling rates of fertility and homeownership, the rise of multi-generational households, the spread of localism and community identification, a dramatic decline in youth violence (a fact that apparently has eluded the president), and a blanding of pop youth culture. Above all, we sense a growing desire among voters around the world for leaders to assert greater authority and deliver deeds rather than process, results rather than abstractions.

We live in an increasingly volatile and primal era, in which history is speeding up and liberal democracy is weakening. As Vladimir Lenin wrote, “In some decades, nothing happens; in some weeks, decades happen.” Get ready for the creative destruction of public institutions, something every society periodically requires to clear out what is obsolete, ossified and dysfunctional — and to tilt the playing field of wealth and power away from the old and back to the young. Forests need periodic fires; rivers need periodic floods. Societies, too. That’s the price we must pay for a new golden age.

If we look at the broader rhythms of history, we have reason to be heartened, not discouraged, by these trends. Anglo-American history over the past several centuries has experienced civic crises in a fairly regular cycle, about every 80 or 90 years, or roughly the length of a long human life. This pattern reveals itself in the intervals separating the colonial Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and World War II. Fast-forward the length of a long human life from the 1930s, and we end up where we are today.

America entered a new Fourth Turning in 2008. It is likely to last until around 2030. Our paradigm suggests that current trends will deepen as we move toward the halfway point.

Further adverse events, possibly another financial crisis or a major armed conflict, will galvanize public opinion and mobilize leaders to take more decisive action. Rising regionalism and nationalism around the world could lead to the fragmentation of major political entities (perhaps the European Union) and the outbreak of hostilities (perhaps in the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, the Baltic states or the Persian Gulf).

Despite a new tilt toward isolationism, the United States could find itself at war. I certainly do not hope for war. I simply make a sobering observation: Every total war in U.S. history has occurred during a Fourth Turning, and no Fourth Turning has yet unfolded without one. America’s objectives in such a war are likely to be defined very broadly.

At the end of the 2020s, the Fourth Turning crisis era will climax and draw to a close. Settlements will be negotiated, treaties will be signed, new borders will be drawn, and perhaps (as in the late 1940s) a new durable world order will be created. Perhaps as well, by the early 2030s, we will enter a new First Turning: Young families will rejoice, fertility will rebound, economic equality will rise, a new middle class will emerge, public investment will grow into a new 21st-century infrastructure, and ordered prosperity will recommence.

During the next First Turning, potentially the next “American High,” millennials will move into national leadership and showcase their optimism, smarts, credentials and confidence. Sometime in the late 2030s, the first millennial will be voted into the White House, prompting talk of a new Camelot moment. Let a few more years pass, and those organization-minded millennials may face a passionate and utterly unexpected onslaught from a new crop of youth.

Welcome to the next Awakening. The cycle of history keeps turning, inexorably.

Mental masturbation is a really stupid thing, kiddies.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Read La Civilta Cattolica's editorial for yourselves, kiddies, and NEVER LET POLITICS FUCK WITH YOUR SOUL!

I find this document unremarkable except for the fact only the fascist heretic right is mentioned as a contagion to be avoided by good Catholic kiddies. ALL heresy and ALL schism leads to damnation.

In my more usual and colorful idiom: Don't let politics fuck with your soul!

Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism - La Civiltà Cattolica

By Antonio Spadaro - Marcelo Figueroa*

In God We Trust. This phrase is printed on the banknotes of the United States of America and is the current national motto. It appeared for the first time on a coin in 1864 but did not become official until Congress passed a motion in 1956. A motto is important for a nation whose foundation was rooted in religious motivations. For many it is a simple declaration of faith. For others, it is the synthesis of a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy.

Religion, political Manichaeism and a cult of the apocalypse

Religion has had a more incisive role in electoral processes and government decisions over recent decades, especially in some US governments. It offers a moral role for identifying what is good and what is bad.

At times this mingling of politics, morals and religion has taken on a Manichaean language that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil. In fact, after President George W. Bush spoke in his day about challenging the “axis of evil” and stated it was the USA’s duty to “free the world from evil” following the events of September 11, 2001.  Today President Trump steers the fight against a wider, generic collective entity of the “bad” or even the “very bad.” Sometimes the tones used by his supporters in some campaigns take on meanings that we could define as “epic.”

These stances are based on Christian-Evangelical fundamentalist principles dating from the beginning of the 20th Century that have been gradually radicalized. These have moved on from a rejection of all that is mundane – as politics was considered – to bringing a strong and determined religious-moral influence to bear on democratic processes and their results.

The term “evangelical fundamentalist” can today be assimilated to the “evangelical right” or “theoconservatism” and has its origins in the years 1910-1915. In that period a South Californian millionaire, Lyman Stewart, published the 12-volume work The Fundamentals. The author wanted to respond to the threat of modernist ideas of the time. He summarized the thought of authors whose doctrinal support he appreciated. He exemplified the moral, social, collective and individual aspects of the evangelical faith. His admirers include many politicians and even two recent presidents: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

The social-religious groups inspired by authors such as Stewart consider the United States to be a nation blessed by God. And they do not hesitate to base the economic growth of the country on a literal adherence to the Bible. Over more recent years this current of thought has been fed by the stigmatization of enemies who are often “demonized.”

The panorama of threats to their understanding of the American way of life have included modernist spirits, the black civil rights movement, the hippy movement, communism, feminist movements and so on. And now in our day there are the migrants and the Muslims. To maintain conflict levels, their biblical exegeses have evolved toward a decontextualized reading of the Old Testament texts about the conquering and defense of the “promised land,” rather than be guided by the incisive look, full of love, of Jesus in the Gospels.

Within this narrative, whatever pushes toward conflict is not off limits. It does not take into account the bond between capital and profits and arms sales. Quite the opposite, often war itself is assimilated to the heroic conquests of the “Lord of Hosts” of Gideon and David. In this Manichaean vision, belligerence can acquire a theological justification and there are pastors who seek a biblical foundation for it, using the scriptural texts out of context.

Another interesting aspect is the relationship with creation of these religious groups that are composed mainly of whites from the deep American South. There is a sort of “anesthetic” with regard to ecological disasters and problems generated by climate change. They profess “dominionism” and consider ecologists as people who are against the Christian faith. They place their own roots in a literalist understanding of the creation narratives of the book of Genesis that put humanity in a position of “dominion” over creation, while creation remains subject to human will in biblical submission.

In this theological vision, natural disasters, dramatic climate change and the global ecological crisis are not only not perceived as an alarm that should lead them to reconsider their dogmas, but they are seen as the complete opposite: signs that confirm their non-allegorical understanding of the final figures of the Book of Revelation and their apocalyptic hope in a “new heaven and a new earth.”

Theirs is a prophetic formula: fight the threats to American Christian values and prepare for the imminent justice of an Armageddon, a final showdown between Good and Evil, between God and Satan. In this sense, every process (be it of peace, dialogue, etc.) collapses before the needs of the end, the final battle against the enemy. And the community of believers (faith) becomes a community of combatants (fight). Such a unidirectional reading of the biblical texts can anesthetize consciences or actively support the most atrocious and dramatic portrayals of a world that is living beyond the frontiers of its own “promised land.”

Pastor Rousas John Rushdoony (1916-2001) is the father of so-called “Christian reconstructionism” (or “dominionist theology”) that had a great influence on the theopolitical vision of Christian fundamentalism. This is the doctrine that feeds political organizations and networks such as the Council for National Policy and the thoughts of their exponents such as Steve Bannon, currently chief strategist at the White House and supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics.[1]

“The first thing we have to do is give a voice to our Churches,” some say. The real meaning of this type of expression is the desire for some influence in the political and parliamentary sphere and in the juridical and educational areas so that public norms can be subjected to religious morals.

Rushdoony’s doctrine maintains a theocratic necessity: submit the state to the Bible with a logic that is no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism. At heart, the narrative of terror shapes the world-views of jihadists and the new crusaders and is imbibed from wells that are not too far apart. We must not forget that the theopolitics spread by Isis is based on the same cult of an apocalypse that needs to be brought about as soon as possible. So, it is not just accidental that George W. Bush was seen as a “great crusader” by Osama bin Laden.

Theology of prosperity and the rhetoric of religious liberty

Together with political Manichaeism, another relevant phenomenon is the passage from original puritan pietism, as expressed in Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, to the “Theology of Prosperity” that is mainly proposed in the media and by millionaire pastors and missionary organizations with strong religious, social and political influence. They proclaim a “Prosperity Gospel” for they believe God desires his followers to be physically healthy, materially rich and personally happy.

It is easy to note how some messages of the electoral campaign and their semiotics are full of references to evangelical fundamentalism. For example, we see political leaders appearing triumphant with a Bible in their hands.

Pastor Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) is an important figure who inspired US Presidents such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. He officiated at the first wedding of the current president. He was a successful preacher. He sold millions of copies of his book The Power of Positive Thinking (1952) that is full of phrases such as “If you believe in something, you get it”, “Nothing will stop you if you keep repeating: God is with me, who is against me” or “Keep in mind your vision of success and success will come” and so on. Many prosperity prosperous televangelists mix marketing, strategic direction and preaching, concentrating more on personal success than on salvation or eternal life.

A third element, together with Manichaeism and the prosperity gospel, is a particular form of proclamation of the defense of “religious liberty.” The erosion of religious liberty is clearly a grave threat within a spreading secularism. But we must avoid its defense coming in the fundamentalist terms of a “religion in total freedom,” perceived as a direct virtual challenge to the secularity of the state.

Fundamentalist ecumenism

Appealing to the values of fundamentalism, a strange form of surprising ecumenism is developing between Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic Integralists brought together by the same desire for religious influence in the political sphere.

Some who profess themselves to be Catholic express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to Evangelicals. They are defined as value voters as far as attracting electoral mass support is concerned. There is a well-defined world of ecumenical convergence between sectors that are paradoxically competitors when it comes to confessional belonging. This meeting over shared objectives happens around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values. Both Evangelical and Catholic Integralists condemn traditional ecumenism and yet promote an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.

However, the most dangerous prospect for this strange ecumenism is attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations. The word “ecumenism” transforms into a paradox, into an “ecumenism of hate.” Intolerance is a celestial mark of purism. Reductionism is the exegetical methodology. Ultra-literalism is its hermeneutical key.

Clearly there is an enormous difference between these concepts and the ecumenism employed by Pope Francis with various Christian bodies and other religious confessions. His is an ecumenism that moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges. This presence of opposing ecumenisms – and their contrasting perceptions of the faith and visions of the world where religions have irreconcilable roles – is perhaps the least known and most dramatic aspect of the spread of Integralist fundamentalism. Here we can understand why the pontiff is so committed to working against “walls” and any kind of “war of religion.”

The temptation of “spiritual war”

The religious element should never be confused with the political one. Confusing spiritual power with temporal power means subjecting one to the other. An evident aspect of Pope Francis’ geopolitics rests in not giving theological room to the power to impose oneself or to find an internal or external enemy to fight. There is a need to flee the temptation to project divinity on political power that then uses it for its own ends. Francis empties from within the narrative of sectarian millenarianism and dominionism that is preparing the apocalypse and the “final clash.”[2] Underlining mercy as a fundamental attribute of God expresses this radically Christian need.

Francis wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and Church. Spirituality cannot tie itself to governments or military pacts for it is at the service of all men and women.
Religions cannot consider some people as sworn enemies nor others as eternal friends. Religion should not become the guarantor of the dominant classes. Yet it is this very dynamic with a spurious theological flavor that tries to impose its own law and logic in the political sphere.

There is a shocking rhetoric used, for example, by the writers of Church Militant (NOT ME, KIDDIES, I'M ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS! - F.G.), a successful US-based digital platform that is openly in favor of a political ultraconservatism and uses Christian symbols to impose itself. This abuse is called “authentic Christianity.” And to show its own preferences, it has created a close analogy between Donald Trump and Emperor Constantine, and between Hillary Clinton and Diocletian. The American elections in this perspective were seen as a “spiritual war.”[3]

This warlike and militant approach seems most attractive and evocative to a certain public, especially given that the victory of Constantine – it was presumed impossible for him to beat Maxentius and the Roman establishment – had to be attributed to a divine intervention: in hoc signo vinces.

Church Militant asks if Trump’s victory can be attributed to the prayers of Americans. The response suggested is affirmative. The indirect missioning for President Trump is clear: he has to follow through on the consequences. This is a very direct message that then wants to condition the presidency by framing it as a divine election. In hoc signo vinces. Indeed.

Man, prods are soooooooo fucked up. Must Catholics follow suit in AmeriKKKa to fit in, get a job, get ahead, et cetera? Where are we? 1902?

Today, more than ever, power needs to be removed from its faded confessional dress, from its armor, its rusty breastplate. The fundamentalist theopolitical plan is to set up a kingdom of the divinity here and now. And that divinity is obviously the projection of the power that has been built. This vision generates the ideology of conquest.

The theopolitical plan that is truly Christian would be eschatological, that is it applies to the future and orients current history toward the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace. This vision generates a process of integration that unfolds with a diplomacy that crowns no one as a “man of Providence.”

Amen to that. Orange Clump is the prod Mess-iahdent.

And this is why the diplomacy of the Holy See wants to establish direct and fluid relations with the superpowers, without entering into pre-constituted networks of alliances and influence. In this sphere, the pope does not want to say who is right or who is wrong for he knows that at the root of conflicts there is always a fight for power. So, there is no need to imagine a taking of sides for moral reasons, much worse for spiritual ones.

Francis radically rejects the idea of activating a Kingdom of God on earth as was at the basis of the Holy Roman Empire and similar political and institutional forms, including at the level of a “party.” Understood this way, the “elected people” would enter a complicated political and religious web that would make them forget they are at the service of the world, placing them in opposition to those who are different, those who do not belong, that is the “enemy.”

So, then the Christian roots of a people are never to be understood in an ethnic way. The notions of roots and identity do not have the same content for a Catholic as for a neo-Pagan. Triumphalist, arrogant and vindictive ethnicism is actually the opposite of Christianity. The pope on May 9 in an interview with the French daily La Croix, said: “Yes Europe has Christian roots. Christianity has the duty of watering them, but in a spirit of service as in the washing of feet. The duty of Christianity for Europe is that of service.” And again: “The contribution of Christianity to a culture is that of Christ washing the feet, or the service and the gift of life. There is no room for colonialism.”

Against fear

Which feeling underlies the persuasive temptation for a spurious alliance between politics and religious fundamentalism? It is fear of the breakup of a constructed order and the fear of chaos. Indeed, it functions that way thanks to the chaos perceived. The political strategy for success becomes that of raising the tones of the conflictual, exaggerating disorder, agitating the souls of the people by painting worrying scenarios beyond any realism.

Religion at this point becomes a guarantor of order and a political part would incarnate its needs. The appeal to the apocalypse justifies the power desired by a god or colluded in with a god. And fundamentalism thereby shows itself not to be the product of a religious experience but a poor and abusive perversion of it.

This is why Francis is carrying forward a systematic counter-narration with respect to the narrative of fear. There is a need to fight against the manipulation of this season of anxiety and insecurity. Again, Francis is courageous here and gives no theological-political legitimacy to terrorists, avoiding any reduction of Islam to Islamic terrorism. Nor does he give it to those who postulate and want a “holy war” or to build barrier-fences crowned with barbed wire. The only crown that counts for the Christian is the one with thorns that Christ wore on high.[4]

*Marcelo Figueroa, is Presbyterian pastor, Editor-in-chief of the Argentinean edition of L’Osservatore Romano



[1] Bannon believes in the apocalyptic vision that William Strauss and Neil Howe theorized in their book The Fourth Turning: What Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny. See also N. Howe, “Where did Steve Bannon get his worldview? From my book”, in The Washington Post, February 24, 2017.

[2] See A. Aresu, “Pope Francis against the Apocalypse”,
in Macrogeo (www.macrogeo.global/analysis/pope-francis-against-the-apocalypse), June 9, 2017.

[3] See “Donald ‘Constantine’ Trump? Could Heaven be intervening directly in the election?”, in Church Militant (www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vortex-donald-constantine-trump).

[4] For further reflection see D. J. Fares, “L’antropologia politica di Papa Francesco», in Civ. Catt. 2014 I 345-360; A. Spadaro, “La diplomazia di Francesco. La misericordia come processo politico”, ib 2016 I 209-226; D. J. Fares, “Papa Francesco e la politica”, ib 2016 I 373-385; J. L. Narvaja, “La crisi di ogni politica cristiana. Erich Przywara e l’‘idea di Europa’”, ib 2016 I 437-448; Id., “Il significato della politica internazionale di Francesco”, ib 2017 III 8-15.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

The Vatican warns us not to lie with right-fascist heretic dogs lest we wake with Satanic fleas. Too bad Pope Francis doesn't seem to care what his left hand is doing.

The Pontiff should cut them both off.

Beware ANYONE using words like "left" and "right" when talking about the One True Church. Steve Bannon and other right-fascist Catholics From The Waist Up are heretics just as the "Liberation Theology" cretins of yesteryear were.

First up is the flagship of the ChristLast Media. Please note the liberal use of anti-Catholic hate-speech disguised as journalism.

A Vatican Shot Across the Bow for Hard-Line U.S. Catholics - The Old Gray Whore 

Two close associates of Pope Francis have accused American Catholic ultraconservatives of making an alliance of “hate” with evangelical Christians to back President Trump, further alienating a group already out of the Vatican’s good graces.

The authors, writing in a Vatican-vetted journal, singled out Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics” that has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”

The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed dangerously into the deepening political polarization in the United States. The writers even declare that the worldview of American evangelical and hard-line Catholics, which is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, is “not too far apart’’ from jihadists.

It is not clear if the article, appearing in La Civiltà Cattolica, received the pope’s direct blessing, but it was extraordinary coming from a journal that carries the Holy See’s seal of approval. There has apparently been no reprimand from the pope, who is not shy about disciplining dissenters, and La Civiltà Cattolica’s editor has promoted the article nearly every day since it was published in July.

It is no secret that Francis, the first Latin American pope, who has often criticized capitalism, has a complicated view of his old neighbors to the north.

Not long after Francis’ election, Vatican ambassadors briefed the pontiff about various situations around the world and suggested that he be especially careful when appointing bishops and cardinals in the United States.

“I know that already,” the pope interrupted, according to a high-ranking Vatican official familiar with the details of the conversation, who asked that his name not be used while discussing internal Vatican deliberations. “That’s where the opposition is coming from.”

The Vatican declined to comment about the conversation.

Fans of the article said it made clear that the conservatives who ran the American church for decades were out of step with the new Catholic mainstream under Francis.

Massimo Faggioli, a professor of historical theology at Villanova University and a contributor to liberal Catholic journals, said the Civiltà Cattolica article would “be remembered in church history as one of the most important to understand the Vatican of Francis and the United States and American Catholicism.”

American Catholicism, he argued, echoing the article’s thesis, “has become different than mainstream European Catholicism and mainstream Latin American Catholicism,” and has fallen “into the hands of the religious right.”

The authors of the article argue that American evangelical and ultraconservative Catholics risk corrupting the Roman Catholic faith with an ideology intended to inject “religious influence in the political sphere.” They suggest that so-called values voters are using the banners of religious liberty and opposition to abortion to try to supplant secularism with a “theocratic type of state.”

Even before the article was published, many Catholic supporters of Mr. Trump, who won the white Catholic vote, were already wary of Francis for suggesting during the campaign that Mr. Trump was “not Christian” because of his preference for building walls rather than bridges.

Francis’ apparent openness on key issues such as granting communion to Catholics remarried outside the church has galvanized the opposition, led by the American cardinal Raymond L. Burke, an outspoken critic whom Francis has repeatedly demoted.

The essay, which critics have dismissed as woefully ignorant of religion’s deep history in American politics, has energized camps on both sides of the divide. In a Breitbart article headlined “Papal Advisers Bash American Christians in Bigoted Screed,” Thomas Williams, the site’s Rome correspondent and an associate of Mr. Bannon’s, wrote that instead of attacking Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon, “they have ended up attacking America itself.”

Benjamin Harnwell, a Catholic traditionalist in Rome, fan of Mr. Bannon and confidant of Cardinal Burke’s, said the article’s authors were doing little more than “trolling Steve Bannon.” Mr. Bannon, a former altar boy who once articulated his worldview to a Vatican conference, wrote in a brief email that the pope’s associates “lit me up.”

Bannon is a "divorced" and "remarried" (Thrice!) "Catholic" living in a perpetual state of mortal sin as well as one of perpetual denial. He is a right-fascist thug whose immortal soul is a heartbeat away from eternal damnation. Let us hope he gets his shit together before it is too late.

Catholics who really mean it should not only avoid the sickness of prod heresy ("33,000 denominations and counting!") but also the false prophets claiming to be Catholic, whether they get their false religion from Marx or chowderheads like Strauss and Howe. (See [1] Bannon believes in the apocalyptic vision that William Strauss and Neil Howe theorized in their book The Fourth Turning: What Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny. See also N. Howe, “Where did Steve Bannon get his worldview? From my book”, in The Washington Post, February 24, 2017 in my next two posts.)

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, a standard-bearer for conservatism in America, likened the Civiltà Cattolica authors in his weekly newsletter to the “useful idiots” who supported the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. He called the article “an exercise in dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues.”

If Archbishop Chaput’s own thwarted ambitions are any indication, Francis might not agree. The pope has vexed conservatives by repeatedly declining to elevate Archbishop Chaput to the rank of cardinal, a requirement for entrance into the conclave that will choose the pontiff’s successor.

“I was a little bit disappointed,” Cardinal Gerhard Müller, a German conservative appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the church’s chief doctrinal watchdog, said in a recent interview. “The appointment of the cardinals should not be a personal relation with the pope’s to these bishops,” he said, adding that he was puzzled as to why Francis passed them over. “I don’t know,” he said. “Politics.”

Personnel decisions in the Catholic hierarchy are crucial to Francis’ effort to make the church more inclusive, particularly in the United States.

American Catholic conservatives once unacquainted with being out of papal favor have stewed privately and expressed horror publicly on numerous right-wing Catholic blogs. They accuse Francis of wrecking the church and diluting its doctrine.

Liberal American Catholics, bruised by crackdowns under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are less than sympathetic to conservative complaints and have felt emboldened by Francis. They are delighted with the pope’s promotion of figures like Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, who has started a program against gun violence and opposed Republican health care proposals on the ground that they would strip coverage for the weak and poor. Francis chose him to lead the Chicago diocese in 2014, after the retirement of Cardinal Francis George, a giant of American Catholic conservatism, and elevated him to cardinal last year.

“We should speak in a way that invites people and creates a sense of unity in society,” Cardinal Cupich said in an interview at the Vatican on the day of his elevation.

Some progressive Catholics have even begun expressing a previously tacit resentment of the hard-right zeal of evangelical, Calvinist and Protestant converts to Catholicism, among them Newt Gingrich, the husband of Callista Gingrich, the new American ambassador to the Holy See.

“I am so tired of converts telling us that the pope is not Catholic,” Michael Sean Winters wrote last week in the newspaper National Catholic Reporter.

That deep suspicion of evangelical fundamentalism and the fear of politicization corroding the conservative hierarchy of the American Catholic church was laid bare by the article in La Civiltà Cattolica. The authors were the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, the journal’s editor, who is a confidant of Francis’; and Marcelo Figueroa, an Argentine Presbyterian minister who is a friend and longtime collaborator of the pope’s.

In an interview, Father Spadaro — whose critics have called him “the pope’s mouthpiece” — said the reaction to the essay had been “incredible.” He said he had received kind words but also “plenty of hate.”

Some critics, he said, had tried to distort the argument into an attack on cooperation between Catholics and Protestants, something he said he himself had promoted. That criticism, he said, often came from opponents of Francis “who are trying to downplay the role of this pontificate.”

Father Spadaro would not say whether he had received Francis’ approval, or whether he had spoken with the pope since the essay’s publication.

The main point of the article, he said, was the pope’s argument that religion in the service of politics or power is ideology, and that the manipulation of anxiety for political ends risks rendering the church a “sect of the pure.”

Father Spadaro cited, by way of example, the fringe Catholic website Church Militant, which the essay described as openly in favor of political “ultraconservatism.” (A related site responded under the headline “Evil Editor of La Civiltà Cattolica Attacks Church Militant.”)

Father Spadaro also said it was important to explore the “apocalyptic narrative which inspires” Mr. Bannon, who has digested the works of often anti-Christian right-wing writers such as Julius Evola, who contend that people had drifted away from a primordial, heroic truth.

Father Spadaro said he was alarmed by the retrofitting of a mystical apocalyptical worldview into conservative Catholicism.

“We are warning against this kind of mixture, which is dangerous,” he said.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Whaddayaknow? Eric Bolling's maiden name is Weiner.

Yet another Fake Conservative (Conservative From The Waist Up or CFTWU for short. Not to be confused with CFNM which the dirty little pervert is probably also into,) Clumpsucker from Fux News has been caught one-handed.

These douchebags are not conservatives and they aren't men. Their mantra is that of their High Priest, the Clown Prince of the House of Orange, the great protestant Mess-iah, A Cokjerk Orange: "Penis. Wallet. Stomach." They march to the tune of "Orgasm Über  Alles", and are just as fascist as their brethren on the left, but slower.

Fox News Host Eric Bolling Suspended After Lewd Photo ... - NBC News

BTW, La Bolling says he's Catholic. I'm guessing that's from the waist up as well.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.


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