April 23, 2014

Obama Defeats ‘Social Darwinists’?

Update (11/19/08) — In “Bush’s record in Africa receives well-deserved praise,” USA Today’s DeWayne Wickham gives us this:

This year, Bush signed a bill that authorized up to $48 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria — most of it to be spent in sub-Saharan Africa — from 2009 through 2013. Since 2003, the Bush administration has provided funding to increase the number of Africans receiving anti-retroviral drugs from 50,000 to about 1.4 million, Frazer said.

– End update —

Bishop Savas of Troas

Bishop Savas of Troas

Did God ordain an Obama victory? You get that impression from Sava on a Rolla, the blog of Bishop Savas of Troas. In a post titled, “This is the Day that the Lord has made!,” the chancellor of the Greek Archdiocese celebrates the victory of President-elect Barack Obama in terms that can only be described as divine:

Do I expect miracles from the President-Elect? Am I confusing the man with the Messiah? Of course not. But neither is he the Antichrist, as some of his opponents would have you believe. Americans did a good thing yesterday, an inspired thing. They didn’t voice their opinion, they shouted it. A new day has dawned, a day that the Lord has most emphatically made. Are you as delighted as I am? Send up thanks to the Lord our God! Are you for any reason unhappy? Pray to the same God for our President-Elect’s enlightenment.

I don’t know. It’s almost like reading the Genesis account of Creation. OK, the Bishop’s guy won, and he has every right to celebrate. Then he goes — to put it nicely — really over the top.

The goal of government ought not to be to protect us from one another, to teach us to treat the other as competition or nuisance or threat, but to help us to help one another.

Could the Bishop be talking about those American citizens, many of whom were Orthodox Christians, who voted for John McCain? Or other Republican candidates? Or for President George W. Bush during his two terms? He doesn’t say so, but something here leads me to believe that the Bishop is doing just that.

Actually, one of the fundamental goals of government is to protect us from those who would do us harm, whether they live down the street or in another part of the globe. Read the newspaper on any given day, and you’ll see why this is so. And let’s take it a step further. As the American Founders foresaw, with God-enlightened genius, one of the main roles of government is to protect us from bad government and bad rulers

Finally, Bishop Savas tips his hand with this parenthetical dig:

How ironic, that the people for whom Darwinism is anathema should in their politics reveal themselves to be Social Darwinists.

That’s it! The people who voted for McCain are knuckle-dragging, cross-eyed rubes waiting to storm the educational establishment with mandatory Creationism curricula. Right after they dismantle the welfare state.

Social Darwinism, which draws from Darwinian evolutionary theory, holds that social and economic competition should be based on the “survival of the fittest.” To put it another way, Nature, red in tooth and claw.

Does this sound like a description of a Social Darwinist?:

I remember coming to the West Wing one morning before the daily 7:30 senior staff meeting and seeing Mr. Bush at his desk in the Oval Office, reading a daily devotional. I remember the look of sorrow on his face as he signed letters to the families of the fallen. When he met with recovering addicts whose lives were transformed by a faith-based program, he spoke plainly of his own humiliating journey years ago with alcohol. When a Liberian refugee broke into tears after recounting her escape to freedom in America, the president went over and held and comforted her.

If memory serves, President Bush’s critics on the Right were most displeased with his Big Government conservatism. Particularly, the medicare prescription benefit that one estimate predicted would cost taxpayers some $1.2 trillion. Say this out loud: trillion. Providing coverage for 40 million or so seniors isn’t exactly survival of the fittest, is it?

And remember when Bob Geldof, of Live Aid fame, praised Bush for his work in delivering billions of dollars to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement? Anyone remember that? The president, Geldof said, “has done more than any other president so far.” More from the rocker:

This is the triumph of American policy really. It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion. What’s in it for [Bush]? Absolutely nothing.

Here’s a headline from February 17: Unpopular at home, Bush basks in African praise

DAR ES SALAAM — Unpopular at home and in much of the world during the last year of his presidency, George W. Bush is basking in rare adulation on his African tour.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete poured praise on Bush in Dar es Salaam on Sunday, the second day of his five-nation African tour, each compliment applauded warmly by members of the east African country’s cabinet.

Although around 2,000 Muslim demonstrators protested against Bush on the eve of his visit, many thousands more cheering, waving people lined his road from the airport on Saturday.

Banners across the route, decorated with Bush’s image against a backdrop of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, read: “We cherish democracy. Karibu (welcome) to President and Mrs Bush.”

Others read: “Thank you for helping fight malaria and HIV.” Dancers at the airport and at Kikwete’s state house to greet Bush on Sunday, wore skirts and shirts decorated with his face.

I can understand how Bishop Savas might have gotten a bit over exuberant when his party won. But I can’t accept the Social Darwinist canard. It’s over the top. And it simply isn’t true.

Comments

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    Fr Gregory says:

    John,

    Thank you for your post and comments on Bishop Sava’s blog.

    The election of Sen Obama as the 44th president of the United States is, I think, a mixed good. Certainly, it is noteworthy that within Mr Obama’s lifetime we have traveled as a society from the shame of Selma (a shame I should add was not limited to the South) to the election of an African-American as president. In addition to this, I think his election will have a generally positive effect on how we are viewed throughout the world, especially (though not exclusively) in Europe.

    I agree with His Grace that “The Body Politic is another body altogether” from the Church. I agree as well that the “only way the [Body Politic] can approximate the [Body of Christ] is if the goal of government were to fulfill the law of Christ, which is to ‘bear one another’s burdens’ (Gal 6:2). ‘Have you seen your neighbor?’ asks one of the Desert Fathers of the Church, and continues, ‘You have seen your God.’ Blasphemy? Reread St John’s 1st Epistle.”

    Where I disagree with him, and agree with John, is his contention that “The goal of government ought not to be to protect us from one another, to teach us to treat the other as competition or nuisance or threat, but to help us to help one another.” Here His Grace conflates a number of points in a manner that obscures rather illumines an Orthodox Christian response to government–secular or ecclesiastical.

    To dismiss out of hand the policing function of the government is simply not biblical. St Paul is clear, the government is entrusted with the sword not only to punish wrong doers but also for the common good (see Rm 13.1-7).

    Immediately after discussing the God-ordained authority of the government (a government hostile to Christians in general and Paul in particular) and the obligation of the Church to submit to that authority, the Apostle then begins to delineate in verses 8-10 the obligation of Christians to love their neighbor. Government, rightly ordered, I would argue, allow us the freedom and affluence to care for one another. While not perfect, there is no better example of this the US government.

    While governments can and do have a role in the care of especially the weak, they do this first and foremost through the establishment of an society in which its citizens are (relatively) free from the predators among us (which I why abortion cannot be legalized–it is a threat to the life of one of the weakest among us).

    This first step is admittedly a negative one–but the policing powers of the State or no less essential for being protective and preventative.

    Following on its police powers, the State much ensure the equal treatment under the law of all it citizens. This means not only passing and enforcing laws against criminal conduct, but also contract law and the somewhat more mundane concern of government for commerce, weights and measures.

    None of this of course will make us virtuous. But the American systems does not aim at cultivating virtue it the citizenry. Rather the US Constitution presuppose virtuous citizens and strives (however imperfectly at times) to provide them with the political freedoms need to exercise virtue without fear.

    Where the American experiment seems to be breaking down is our transfer of virtue from the private realm to the governmental. We have come to expect the State to be virtuous so that we don’t have to be.

    The genius, and weakness, of the American experiment it that the government presuppose strong, healthy private (as distinct from governmental) mediating structures –the family, the church, newspapers and businesses–that stand between the person and the government and serve to foster virtue it the citizenry.

    But these smaller, mediating structures, have more and more abdicated their responsibilities as corporate citizens–what does the Orthodox Church do for example to counter the range of social ills in her midst–unwed mothers, divorce and dead beat dads to name only three–that plague society as a whole?

    I agree with those who say that Pro-Life Christians are sometime narrow in our focus. But that narrowness of vision is not the exclusive property of the religious right. The religious left also seem disinclined to foster virtue as well.

    (For example, what percentage of the Orthodox Church’s resources go to care for the poor? What percentage of the GOA’s budget is given to the poor? What do we say to men who abandon their children and the mother of their children?)

    There is much in Bishop Sava’s words to reflect on. But I am worried that his post reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the American experiment and the Church’s obligation as a corporate citizen in the Republic.

    Again, thank you for your important ministry.

    In Christ,

    +Fr Gregory

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    George says:

    Ok, this really saddens me. I remained so distressed with the GOAA and the worldliness of so many of the bishops therein. I’ve always known about the incipient leftism among a great many people on the East Coast, so of course it’s going to bleed over into the hierarchy. Regardless, there is nothing wrong with liberalism per se, but Bishop Savvas’ criticisms of the Right are over the top and not based on reality (as John Couretas pointed out in several instances).

    Plus, let’s not forget, one of the unfortunate legacies of Byzantium is a knee-jerk reaction to be sycophantic. Clerics in the Byzantine church really like to “kiss up” to whoever is sitting on the throne. Very sad and completely antithetical to the mission of the Gospel. The Church is called to be prophetic, and that means speaking truth to power, not being like the court prophets of King Ahab of Israel.

    One of the things I can say for myself and many on the Right, is that we never confused Reagan or W with the messiah. We called them to task when we thought they were wrong. Maybe we didn’t do it loud enough or often enough (and that’s debatable), but whether or not we got our bishops to get invited to the White House or the UN or whatever, didn’t really matter that much to the vast majority of us. It’s about Christ, not Caesar. (Bush was roundly condemned by many of the evangelical Right for pressuring Israel to accede to the Oslo accords, whereas many Orthodox Christians on the Right castigated him for recognizing Kosovo’s independence.)

    Anyway, I can see now why people like Harry Katapodis feel more at home in the GOAA. I guess he was right, abortion isn’t really that big of a deal to the GOAA hierarchy. I apologize to him for defending them and using the “witness of the Church” to criticize his pro-abortion views. (And yes, you heard me right: pro-abortion. You can quote me on that.)

    In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter what Obama believes or accomplishes; as a Christian, I pray for the best and I hope that he is his own man. I think he can safely jettison the fools and knaves who populate the Left and do great things. (I don’t think he will but as a Christian I must put my faith in God.)

    Instead, what is important is what the Church teaches, and if the GOAA has bishops who pant after the trappings of power, going so far as to enthusiastically support the most pro-abortion candidate in history, then I feel for those who remain in its flock as they are being led astray.

    in Christ,

    Geo Michalopulos

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    Sophia says:

    “That’s it! The people who voted for McCain are knuckle-dragging, cross-eyed rubes waiting to storm the educational establishment with mandatory Creationism curricula. Right after they dismantle the welfare state.”

    You forget to add that Republicans, and most Orthodox, are racists, bigots, misandrists, xenophobes, homophobes.

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    Andrew says:

    Wow! We live in a world where a Bishop can politic on his blog but people like Fr. John Peck are punished for expressing their opinion. This tells you about the open nature of the GOA. Freedom for me but not for you!

    The bishop’s statements are the natural progression of secular thinking and fashionable fundamentalism at the GOA where Archons can support abortion on demand, Fidel Castro is an enviromentalist and statesman, and the Metropolitan of San Francisco is a fan of the TV show Desperate Housewives. Years of placing omogenia before Orthodoxy now get you bishops ready to spout off, “Yes We Can!” when we really need brave bishops to say “No We Cant!” Do Greek Orthodox bishops have any pastoral courage left or would they rather be popular inside the Beltway?

    I have a serious question for Bishop Savas of Troas and I hope has the courage to answer that question here and on his blog: When do children get human rights?

    In the meantime, the good bishop should ponder the words of Princeton Professor Robert George posted at http://www.thpublicdiscourse.com

    Barack Obama is deeply committed to the belief that members of an entire class of human beings have no rights that others must respect. Across the spectrum of pro-life concerns for the unborn, he would deny these small and vulnerable members of the human family the basic protection of the laws. . . . What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama’s America is one in which being human just isn’t enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama’s America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law.

    In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: “that question is above my pay grade.” It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator’s pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy – and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.

    Thank you Bishop Savas for helping undermine the human rights of the most vulnerable among us!

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Disgusting. Personally, I think it is the writings of an apostate mind and presents a case for his deoposition. It denies the Incarnation and all that Christ died for in favor of the mind of the world.

    No wonder Frank Shaeffer was able to write the same garbage. Its what he has been taught by his bishops.

    Everytime I see this kind of stuff and the mess in the OCA, it makes me glad we are not unified.

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    Scott Pennington says:

    I first went to an OCA parish when looking at Orthodoxy. After about a year, the new had worn off and I had serious questions about the state of Orthodoxy in the United States. I fell away for several years and then, in due time, joined the closest Orthodox parish to my home (a GOA parish).

    I returned because Orthodoxy happens to be true. I went to a GOA parish not because it was the most conservative in my area (it wasn’t) but because it was the closest one. Since then, I have made many friends and shared many special experiences.

    All I can say about the state of Orthodoxy in America is this: Although it is at an unspeakably low state of personal piety and morality, it has nonetheless preserved the faith in its official teachings. I await a true revival of traditional Orthodoxy, but now, in the interim, I (and all of us) must just be content with what is.

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    Chris Banescu says:

    I wander what bishop Savas has to say about Obama’s promised Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) which “could undo most, or even all, of the existing restrictions on abortion under a patchwork of state and federal laws. Experts say that around the country there are currently some 300 such restrictions, including parental notification laws, waiting periods, requirements of full disclosure of the physical and emotional risks inherent in abortion, and limits on partial birth abortion.” His grace seems completely silent on this issue.

    Is sanctity of life and defense of the unborn (the most innocent and most in need of protection) too low in bishop Sava’s priority list to break through his exuberant reaction to Obama’s election: “Are you as delighted as I am? Send up thanks to the Lord our God!”

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Chris,

    I think your comment is the point that many non-GOAA Orthodox Christians have been making. That is, that abortion is of little or no consequence to the majority its hierarchy, clergy, or laity.

    That’s one of the many reasons I joined an OCA parish and didn’t consider leaving even in the midst of the Syosset Stupidity (from which we have been pleasantly dellvered).

    This of course makes my earlier arguments against Harry Katapodis foolish at worst and moot at best. (I was the guy who defended Orthodoxy’s position vis a vis abortion, saying that even he could not impart moral laxity to the GOAA. Looks like I got egg on my face.)

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    I made this point before but it bears repeating. Greece has the highest abortion rate in Europe and thus the highest negative growth rate. They will end up handing their nation over to the same Muslims their forbears expelled almost a century ago. You would think that even if the leadership is dim on the morality, the pragmatic might jar them awake. Doesn’t seem to be happening.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Fr. Hans, doesn’t ideology always trump pragmatism? Those who support abortion are ideologically committed to it. They don’t care what the consequences are. The important thing is that the ‘right’ is there.

    Since the ideology of abortion is self-destructive anyway, why should it matter?

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    Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse says:

    I don’t think the silence of the GOA hierarchy on abortion implies an affinity with pro-abortion ideology. Call it more of a silent complicity. It has more to do with placating the temporal powers — Sarbannes, Snowe, etc. whose stand against the moral tradition would be a cause of great discomfort if the leadership spoke out.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Fr Hans,

    you may be right about that. But I tend to think it’s more along the line of “if the boot fits, lick it” mentality that has been ingrained in the Phanariote clerisy since the time of Mehmed II. To their credit, the ordinary Greek peasantry (from whom I’m descended) always looked upon these functionaries in a guarded (read: contemptuous) fashion. That’s why they were able to finally rise up and throw off their chains. Greece was able to declare autocephaly in 1830 and have an assertive Church. Unfortunately, Greece, like the rest of Western Europe has fallen into narcissism, the sexual revolution has done its work on the indigenous populations. (BTW, read Mark Steyn’s “America Alone”.)

    America is at this very precipice, the so-called Red-state/Blue-state divide. A lot of the self-destructive hypersexualism-at-all-costs mentality (hence abortion as a sacrament)is weaving its destructive legacy in these states. In 2008, the Dems were able to stave this off temporarily thanks to the new Hispanic super-minority which tipped the scales in Fla, Nev, New Mexico, Iowa, and Colorado.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble. At the end of the day, I’m so disappointed in the GOAA hierarchy for 2 reasons and 2 reasons only: 1) they’ve bought into the myth that the state should do it all, and 2) they really don’t care about abortion all that much.

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    matt karnes says:

    Well, that is embarrassing. I’m astounded that an Orthodox bishop would fall for the Communist line that government is supposed to help people.

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    Matt Karnes says:

    “it has more to do with placating the temporal powers — Sarbannes, Snowe, etc. ”

    I totally do not understand this. When I read the things Sarbannes and Snowe do I can only regard them as enemies of humanity, enemies of precious. What could they possibly do for the GOAA that would mitigate their support for slaughter? Get Pat. Bartholmew a Congressional Gold Medal? What does that mater when when millions of Americans are killed in the womb?

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    George Michalopulos says:

    That’s the point, Matt. It doesn’t matter at all to those who are spiritually minded. Unfortunately, many of us Orthodox are very worldly and that’s reflected in our clergy and hierarchy as well. Many of the clergy/hierarchy feel that they will only be accepted by the laity (of whom many are wealthy professionals)if they themselves affect the trappings of the world. Hence, so many pictures of GOAA bishops in “The Orthodox Disburber” chatting up this Hollywood actress, that Undersecretary of State for West Africa, etc. The apotheosis of this would be Sarbanes and Snowe and their allies moving heaven and earth to get the EP a Congregtional Gold Medal. Who cares?

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Fr. Hans, don’t you think you are splitting a non-existent hair? Is not complicity, silent or otherwise, an affinity. One cannot serve two masters.

    The temptation we all face is whom to we decide to serve, Jesus or Satan. Fortunately, God forgives, but we do have to repent.

    The GOA could be a tremendous force for spirtual renewal within this country and around the world–instead it plays to the powers that be and wallows in Greek narcisisism. It is playing Esau when it thinks itself Jacob.

    The rest of us are not far different, just not quite as obvious.

    When we approach baptism we are asked if we reject Satan and all his works? Then we are asked if we unite ourselves with Christ? We have to continue to ask those questions of ourselves everyday of our lives.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Michael, yes, it amounts to the same thing in the end. My only point is that the GOA is missing in action not because of an inherent bias towards abortion, but because taking a stand would threaten the political favors they seek.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Fr Hans,

    If that’s correct (and I believe it is), then the GOAA is feckless at best and unbelieving at worst. This makes GOAA hierarchly less resolute than the UCC, ECUSA, etc. and all other mainline Protestant denominations that have embraced immorality and neo-paganism. At least they’re resolute in their embrace of that which is evil. Let us remember what happened to the church in Laodicea.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    George, the difference between the GOA leadership and say, the UCC and others, is that the GOA, because of its preoccupation with Greekification, cedes the ground by default. They don’t attempt to “Christianize” secularism like the liberal groups do, but by replacing the Gospel with Greekification the end is the same.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Fr Hans,

    thanks for the correction. You are correct to point out this fundamental difference. A “secession from the battlefield” is different than “baptizing immorality” which is what the UCC, ECUSA, ELCA, etc. do. In the final analysis though, and as far as the present battle over the soul for what is left of Western Civilization, that might be a distinction without a difference. A neutral nation can do just as much damage to your side by its indifference as an actively hostile agent.

    Although, I must point out that because the GOA is still in truth, it can take up the battle when it gains more resolute hierarchs.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    George, yes, absolutely. Right when the Orthodox need to become more focused on the Gospel, the GOA preoccupies itself with Greekification (Hellenism and Greekification are two different things, BTW). There are historical antecedents for this turn which make the present situation easier to understand: Nationalism in Greek Orthodoxy (the Phanariot policy has been resurrected).

    The most immediate result is more turmoil in the parishes as the internal structure drifts toward authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is only possible result when the Gospel is supplanted by other interests. Met. Jonah described it clearly in his essay Episcopacy, Primacy, and the Mother Churches: A Monastic Perspective.

    (Met. Jonah’s emphasis on the centrality of the Gospel as the organizing principle of hierarchical leadership — understood here as a living relationship — bodes well for the OCA in my opinion. The OCA may well be turning a critical corner. Pray for our leaders.)

    And yes, the irresolution of the hierarchy is a critical problem.

    Is the distinction between secession and accommodation one without a difference? In terms of leaving the faithful defenseless to the secular onslaught, yes. In terms of understanding the internal dynamics, no.

    I appreciate your insights very much, BTW.

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    Harry Katopodis says:

    Bishop Savas is right and many support him including muself. The gospel preached by the OCA and Anticochians is a gospel of hate and war mongering. In fact I am leaning toward saying the OCA and Antiochians are in heresy. The heresy is that salvation depends on faith in Jesus and the Republican party. No Jesus and his Holy Church do not need the Republicans to complete our salvation. The church alone is sufficient for salvation. The New Testaments mentions the poor hundreds of times and never mentions abortion-the Republicans say too bad to the poor. It is logistically impossible to feed the poor relying only on churches. It is absurd to say it is ok for the government to intervene in the lives of women by banning abortion but the government cannot intervene in the lives of poor people by helping them. Truth be told neither party will ever outlaw abortion. Republicans use the trusting naive Christians to get votes based on abortion. Well meaning but misguided people like the OCA Metropolitan go to events like the March for Life and be used by politicians as pawns. The OCA Metropolitcan has unkowingly declared war on the working class and poor people of America by his support of right wing politicians. Fr. Jacobse talked about authoratarianism but he is guilty of that himself. He is trying to reate a tyrany of the mind where Orthodox will be told who to vote for. People are proud of their ethnic heritage and there is nothing wrong with that even in churches. Orthodox should vote for whomever they want and whatever party they want based on issues that are important to them. Far too many converts have brought the teaching of Calvin with them that make God a monster, however God is not a monster, he is a God of Love. To outlaw abortion the majority of people have to be convinced it is murder and so far that has not happened. For two thousand years Greeks, Russians, Romanians, Arabs, Bulgarians etc. have preserved Orthodoxy, recent converts who cannot swallow traditional Orthodoxy should not try to change our faith, if you can’t stomach our faith go back to the churches you came from and preach your gospel of hate.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Harry, please. I am not telling you who to vote for. I am saying that the feting by the GOA hierarchy of Orthodox politicians who promote such grievous moral crimes as the dismemberment of unborn children partially born amounts to pastoral neglect. If you want to stand against my judgment, fine. Just be aware that you stand against the Orthodox moral tradition along with it.

    You seem to think that “tyranny of the mind” applies only to those who disagree with your notions of what is right and true. Well, sorry, but we have a gospel, and a tradition that grew out of that gospel, by which our words and actions can be judged. I’m on pretty good ground that abortion is a moral evil (note too the article was originally posted on the GOA website), while you, despite all your protestations about “tyranny” have yet to indicate any reticence about the support of abortion by Orthodox politicians whatsoever — using, I should add, the silence of our leaders as justification. (Do you really think that St. John Chrysostom, or St. Basil would remain silent about such potent moral questions? I don’t.)

    I’m not telling you how to think Harry. I am telling you that abortion is wrong, and that the silence of the Greek Orthodox hierarchy is an abdication of their pastoral responsibility. It’s called free speech. I do not agree with your assumption that freedom requires the suspension of moral judgment about the value of human in the public square. This makes me more of a Hellene than you are — or the Greek Orthodox leadership who, in the name of Hellenism, are silent toward those who craft the moral evil as social policy and thereby undermine the tradition they claim to represent. (Think they will say anything about Obama’s attempt to eliminate the conscience clause? I don’t. It might offend Sen. Snowe.)

    BTW, the Fathers predate Calvin by almost a thousand years.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Well, Let me see. Archbishop Iakovos was the first Orthodox hierarch of which I am aware who participated in the March for Life. It was Greek Orthodox who started the Orthodox for Life oganization. Archbishop Demetrios gave his blessings at the opening of both Republican and Democart conventions four years ago.

    It is a shame and an outrage when we Orthodox replace or mistake any political ideology for the Gospel yet we all tend to do it. We should not allow the government to replace the Church in our minds and hearts. Submission to God and the Church have to come first. Otherwise our actions, no matter how well intentioned, will not bare Godly fruit.

    It is not your Church Harry, it is Jesus’ Church. I do not support allowing His Church to remain an ethno-centric ghetto interested only in prompting separation and elitism. I can tell you without question or pride that I would not be in the Church except for the fact that Jesus led me to her out of the wilderness. I suspect that many of those whom you slander can say the same.

    It is impossible to evangelize what you don’t love. The main problem with the Orthodox Church in this land regardless of ethnic modifier is that we have yet to really love this land. Oh, we may love the worldly perks, but there is yet to develop a heart for America so that we can really make an impact here; so that we can witness to the Gospel here, not merely rely on romanticized past glory. Like it or not, the American religious experience was formed by Protestantism. Everyone who grows up here is affected by the Protestant world view. That world view is much more amenable to identifying Christianity with a particular culture than is Orthodoxy.

    Harry, how is it that your God of Love does not care a whit for aborted babies and those babies who survive an attempted abortion only to be dumpped into dumpsters to die or are stomped to death? How is it that your God of love only loves those whom the Democrat party loves?

    Political ideologies that encourage greed cannot be supported but neither can political idelogies that encourage personal hedonism, dependency on government and kill innocent children in the womb.

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    Harry Katopodis says:

    The argument always goes back to Orthodoxy being against abortion-yes Orthodoxy is against abortion but that is not the issue.
    The issue is that we live in a secular society where everywhere we turn from TV to movies to music to magazines tell us to have sex whether we are married or not. Advertisers use sex to sell items etc. In a secular society where the majority of unmarried people are having sex we have to be realistic and recognize that many of these people think that abortion is necessary as a way out of an unwanted pregnancy. We should not force a woman to have an unwanted baby. As George Bush senior once said, “If a woman wants an abortion she will get one.” and that is true. A Russian Orthodox saint said “one has to be born before they can be reborn.” therefore all aborted babies go to heaven.
    In a secular society abortion has to be legal and unfortunatedly politicians are using this issue purely for votes and are misleading people for votes. Only when enough people think abortion should be illegal, then politicians will act accordingly because they would be afraid of losing votes. We are not even close to that now.
    The anti-abortion movement, well meaning as it is only divides people and causes bad feelings only so a few politicians can get votes. Trying to pass Christian laws in a non-Christian society is futile.
    By siding with so called pro-life politicians Orthodox are siding with anti-family, anti-worker people who take care of the rich and have a Calvinist attitude toward the poor (if you are poor God has not blessed you). That is why I said that the OCA Metropolitan has declared war on the poor and working class in America. The Metropolitan’s participation in the March for Life and support of those politicians is wrong. He is trying to help the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, the Metropolitan inadvertantly has become my enemy and the enemy of all poor and working class people in America. I know he did it because of his lack of knowledge of politics and not because he is a bad man, however this shows us why it is wrong for clergy to align themselves with political parties. I thank God and glorify the Holy Trinity that Obama won and I pray for his success as all Orthodox should as he tries to help us out of the mess George W. Bush put us in.

  26. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    The argument always goes back to abortion when we talk about the Greek Orthodox hierarchy’s feting of politicians, although I also criticized the manipulation of the Ecumenical Patriarch by the National Council of Churches during his visit to Cuba some years back (Patriarch Bartholomew’s Visit to Cuba: A Missed Opportunity for Human Rights).

    And yes, the culture is becoming more secular and sliding into deeper moral confusion. All the more reason that the hierarchy’s silence on these pressing issues reveals pastoral neglect. Don’t be fooled. If they are silent on abortion, they will be silent on other life issues as well, especially since those issues require more subtle thinking and moral courage than they seem to be able to muster.

    Culture drives politics Harry. Put another way, politics is a lagging cultural indicator. Change culture and you change politics. That’s why speaking the truth is important — a responsibility religious leaders in particular are called to fulfill. Further, this truth should not be divided by political affiliation, even though with the GOA hierarchy it clearly is. They would rather curry favor with the politician than offer their flock sorely needed moral clarity.

    I can understand why people voted for Obama, just as I can understand why people voted for McCain. But your disagreements with conservatives do not justify the hierarchy’s failure of moral leadership.

  27. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Eloit Ryan says:

    A Russian Orthodox saint said “one has to be born before they can be reborn.” therefore all aborted babies go to heaven.

    This is good news in a way. If one asks for how long God can endure immorality, abortion and all the evil, the answer is this: until the fallen angels led by Satan will be replaced by humans! That is why the demons hate mankind so
    so much. The aborted babies are replacing the fallen angels!
    The parents go to hell and the babies to heaven..

    The hierarchy’s silence proves that they embraced th secular view: the Earth is overpopulated. overpopulation
    They are not preaching the Gospel of Christ.
    What patriarch Bartholomew &all want to do is to modify the
    teaching of the Church to fit the secular view.
    What will emerge will be a “new orthodoxy” that can be safely called heresy.

  28. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George Michalopulos says:

    Harry,

    Besides the fact that you don’t know your history, or theology, you make several non-sequiters re Met Jonah being a “tool” who “sides against the workers.” How is that? because he marched in a pro-life parade? Well, then the late Archb Iakovos was also “anti-worker.” But seriously, why must you square being pro-life w/ being anti-worker? Unless you mean that working class people having babies is a financial burden? Then be honest and admit you’re a Malthusian (btw, Malthus was proven wrong, there are more people today, less starvation. Where starvation occurs it’s always because of government intervention –think Darfur.)

    Now let me make some observations about your beliefs which are neither non-sequiter nor ad-hominen: (1) it appears that you don’t like the same working-class people you supposedly champion. You definately don’t like them if they’re non-Greek-American, else you wouldn’t cry about the converts. A lot of them are working class. (2) You don’t like non-Greek-Americans period, or, you think they can join the Orthodox Church so long as they shut up and pay the bills. (3) your info regarding many of the other Orthodox jurisdictions (I won’t call them your Orthodox brothers as you don’t have brotherly feelings for them) is grossly misinformed. (4) your hatred of Republicans is both comical and sad. Comical because even Bolshevik-leaning Democrats have a more balanced view of the GOP than you do. Sad, because as a Christian, such hatred is unbecoming. I for one don’t hate anybody, even the kleptocrats who run the Obama administration. (5) you have very few logical faculties intact. Let us assume that GW Bush was evil because of the debt he saddled us with during his 8 years in office ($1.3 Trillion). Ok, fine –I concede your point. How then can you worship the Obamessiah who has generated $4 TRILLION in debt FOR STARTERS. And get this: His budgets will have a TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT FOR AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE! Does this make sense Harry. how will this help the working class? Ever heard of Weimar Germany, Harry? How those poor slobs had to schlep a wheelbarrow stuffed w/ worthless Deutschmarks to go by a loaf of bread?

    Anyway, it’s clear: you don’t like non-Greeks joining the Ark of Salvation and you really don’t like non-Greeks who are in the Orthodox Church. And you really don’t like Republicans. Sorry, but that’s the only rational take on your “philosophy.”

    p.s. Harry, I hate to point this out to you

    I could go on.

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    Alexander says:

    Harry Katopodis:

    I agree with the first half of what you say in note 25.

    I do not understand this part:

    The Metropolitan’s participation in the March for Life and support of those politicians is wrong. He is trying to help the rich become richer and the poor become poorer,

    nor how Obama will help Orthodoxy.

    The only Ortodox (still) lider in the world who seems to have great political power is Patriarch Bartholomew. He is concerned mostly with environment and economico-social issues. We see already the world-wide green campain going on.

    George Michalopulos: what are you trying to prove in note 28?

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Sorry, “Note 28″?

  31. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Michael Bauman says:

    It is interesting that many equate opposition to abortion to changing the laws regarding behavior and that is it. While such legal changes may result, that should not be the focus. Surely it is Calvinist to insist that laws governing behavior are more important than the intent and spirit involved in the behavior. Such an approach is decidedly not in accord with Holy Scripture or the Tradition of the Church.

    Protecting chilren (born and unborn) legally is important and a measure of the soul of our culture. However, that is not the sphere of activity of the Church. The Church must proclaim the truth prophetically, repent. Stop killing children! Change your heart.

    Sometimes it takes legal changes to encourage change of heart and we must not forget that either, but the law does not give life. Even if the legal changes do not occur, that does not mean the Church and her members should shut-up. Indeed, just the opposite.

    The Church should also teach the importance of essential equality of all human beings while at the same time realizing that there will not be an equal worldly outcome. Equality of outcome in this world will not occur, should not occur. The language of fairness and equality in a worldly sense is that it always leads to anger, violence and the death of joy.

    Utopianism is a heresy: chilianism. Egalitarianism is fundamentally at odds with what it means to be human beings and what it takes to participate in our salvation. Hierarchy is built into the structure of creation. Only in the Eschaton can we expect genuine equality and justice to be realized. Mercy is poured out on all, but not all want it.

    The message that we need to repent has to be delivered. The complimentary message that we can repent and be restored to our full humanity is the Gospel. To allow people to wallow in degradation and sin with the message of salvation unspoken is the greatest act of hatred for others that I can imagine; the greatest act of betrayal Christians can commit. Truly Satanic.

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      Eliot Ryan says:

      Michael:

      The message that we need to repent has to be delivered. The complimentary message that we can repent and be restored to our full humanity is the Gospel. To allow people to wallow in degradation and sin with the message of salvation unspoken is the greatest act of hatred for others that I can imagine; the greatest act of betrayal Christians can commit. Truly Satanic.

      Confessors of Christ from the Gulag: Valeriu Gafencu
      We live in a world of confusion, of loose morals, of sin. It’s considered shameful to be a believer and old-fashioned to be moral. The baptized man, in order to be saved, has to live all his life in the Holy Spirit, but we haven’t succeeded in doing this. We have believed, we have prayed, we have kept the faith, we have suffered, but in order to be united with Christ, one must purify oneself inwardly through confession and renew oneself through Holy Communion. Therefore unite yourself to Christ conscientiously and with great steadfastness, making yourself a bearer of His holiness, His power, His love, His light, His immortality. You must oppose sin mercilessly. Then you will be reborn. There is no path of compromise.

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    DStall says:

    Michael, I wasn’t giving you any spiritual “direction” only repeating what Met. Jonah expounds in his talk.

  33. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    cynthia curran says:

    What is interesting is the secular left hates the emperor Justinian I more than any other Roman or Byzantine figure The reasons are different than from why conservatives may disagree with him on things like taxation. I came across a remark from the Daily Kos, complaining about the invasion of Italy. Granted, I think Italy didn’t end up in great shape after Justinian’s reconquest war which was almost 20 years. But people on the left compared it to George W Bush’s war in Iraq. Also, Kos hates Justinian since he punish people for sodomy. In Justinian’s day, people believe that God would take his wrath against an Empire if you didn’t punish certain homosexual behavor. What Kos forgets is that Justinian passed a law that outlaw parents from selling their children into slavery after the children were return to their parents. People that are pro-life have good and bad sides just like the emperor Justinian. However, people on the left spend there time on the bad side of such people.

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    Andrew says:

    Time for a flashback from Bishop Savas. Since the mid-term election is the news of the day. How times have changed since the Bishop declared “This is the Day the Lord has Made!” upon the election of Barack Obama.

  35. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top

    Yet Bishop Savas still embraces Obama’s agenda, supports his socialist ideas, and has never criticized him on anything he has done, including Obama’s support of partial-birth abortion, federal funds in support of abortions, gay marriage, and his support of the Islamic mosque near Ground Zero.

  36. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    The days when Christian moral obligations are conflated with statist social programs are ending. The conflation occurs because the programs are promoted using the vocabulary of the Christian moral tradition and the poorly informed conclude that the programs are synonymous with the Christian moral obligation to care for the poor, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and so forth. (This too, is why some Christians can’t shake the appeal of Marxism despite the incontrovertible historical evidence that Marxism is tyranny.)

    But what Christian with any sobriety and sense would trust people like Hillary Clinton or Barbara Boxer to appoint people who will decide for us who lives and who dies, what health-care will be provided to the unborn or aged, who gets funding and who doesn’t? Why would we turn over our health-care to people who have already demonstrated the deepest moral confusion about the inherent value of human life?

    And why would we support programs that are promoted as caring for the poor but instead foster a soul-destroying dependency on the state? Before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program, over 70% of black children in Harlem lived in intact, two-parent families and the trend was increasing. Ten years later after billions of dollars were spent, the ratio was reversed.

    No one is saying we should not care for the poor. Of course we should. But liberal poverty programs don’t eliminate poverty, they only foster dependency. The ten cities in America with the greatest number of poor people have been led by liberals for over forty years (poverty is a product of liberal spending). The same is true with the failure to educate our children. The cities with the highest failures in education are also those with the highest poverty rates. The problem here is not only the billions wasted, it’s the failure of the liberal philosophy.

    Bp. Savas says that he won’t comment on abortion until the conservatives provide more money for the poor person who has to chose an abortion because of her poverty. What he refuses to see is that Planned Parenthood intentionally places abortuaries in poor neighborhoods because it is good for business. Thus, in the name of caring for the poor he unwittingly shills for the abortion industry and continues the dependencies that keeps the vicious circle spiraling ever downward.

    These cycles cannot be sustained. We simply can’t afford them. But, it’s not simply a matter of money or, as the liberals like to charge, a matter of cold-hearted cultural conservativism. Economics has a moral dimension too, and many of the polices that ostensibly cared for the poor were funded with borrowed money. China paid for the great American social experiments and now the bill is coming due. There’s nothing like austerity to wipe away the fog of arrogant self-indulgence, and if the spenders won’t come to sobriety on their own, others will force it on them. That is what the election yesterday shows.

    There is great wisdom in the biblical injunction that if a man does not work, he does not eat. Those who actually produce wealth first to feed their families and then to feed others understand this. The rest don’t.

    Our nation is in very difficult circumstances, much of our own making. Yesterday’s repudiation of Obama socialism is not an endorsement of Republican policy (we don’t really know what the Republican platform will be yet), but indicates that a deeper and necessary moral shift is underway.

    • Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
      Rob Z says:

      “No one is saying we should not care for the poor. Of course we should.”

      How would such care be administered, ideally (or practically)? I don’t see how this sort of long-term work can be handled at an individual level.

      We don’t really live in the types of close-knit communities where people know their neighbors or even their fellow church members all that well to be able to address the needs of the disabled or their caregivers on an ongoing basis. Even if they can, is there any evidence they will?

      Perhaps one time in early American history this may have been possible (and especially when the availability of medical technology was limited, anyhow).

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        Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

        Actually, communities are more close knit than you think. Look at the response to Katrina. That was almost all Christian based, BTW. We see it every time there is a hurricane in Florida. People here don’t even look to the federal government for help. The highest agencies are the state, with the the lion’s share of the work done by locals. (New Orleans, given its corruption and dependency culture, was never able to build the internal structures necessary to aid itself.)

        Keep in mind that national programs are more about social engineering than alleviating poverty. That’s why after spending trillions on Great Society programs, poverty has not decreased one percentage point, and in some areas (almost always Democratically controlled) has even increased.

        Care for the poor should be a local effort. I was involved in helping a private food bank in St. Paul, Minnesota years back (Trinity Mission) that grew into the largest private food shelf in Minnesota. Their biggest detractors were the federally funded food banks who viewed Trinity Mission as an interloper on their territory (competition affects funding). Thankfully, Republican Norm Coleman was the mayor of St. Paul at the time and put a swift end to the interference.

  37. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    George Michalopulos says:

    Fr, I now firmly believe that the so-called liberals have engineered the modern welfare state to increase dependency and despondency, not alleviate it. I see it all to frequently in my daily life in the health-care field.

  38. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Harry Coin says:

    Dependent people– drug companies are motivated by economics to produce drugs that people need to take again and again, by this doing they survive. Liberal politicians are motivated to create programs that insure those dependent upon them know “the other guy” will likely end the program and so they vote for ‘their guy’.

    At the bottom: What is the nature of the motivation required to reward people for creating drugs that cure disease instead of ‘manage it through repeated doses for a lifetime’. Is it that same motivation required to reward political support from programs whose mission is to essentially disappear: to lift people out of dependency so that ‘the program’ loses ‘a customer’?

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    cynthia curran says:

    Bringing up an old topic. i don’t think that Bush was a social darwinsts for one thing he spend about 30 billion of our tax money on Afrcia for aids instead of here. I think the worst policy that he was trying was his big legalization of hispanic immirgants which would be good for them but would drive down wages and employment for second and third generation hispanics which happen in both California and Texas after Reagan’s legalziation back in the 1980′s. Here are intersting stats that showed that sometimes both the left and right in the country have made things worst for states in terms of educational levels and income equality. 1970, the states with the best high school graduations among those already in the labor force:Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, Nevada, Alaska, California, Kansas, Iowa and Hawaii. Today, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Maine, Alaska, Minnesota, Wyoming, Hawaill, Vermont, and Iowa. Both NV and Ca are toward the bottom today along with Texas. All three states demographics have changed radically. Worst income inequality:Mississippi,Lousiana, Arkansas, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Okahoma, Miissouri, New Meixoc, and South Dakota. Today, top nine, Ny,Ct,Ms,La,Tx,Ca,Fl,Ma,Th, some are historical black states like MS and LA which always tend to be below the national average in terms of good stats. Others Like Ny and Ca and Fl are in the top four highest immirgants states in the nation in terms of percentage foreign. Some foreign born do better than the native population while others well below the national average, hispanics income average is below whites and asians and now the afro-american average. Texas, also a high native and immirgant hispanic population along with some other immirgant groups. Income inequality in 1970 had to do more if you lived in the poorer South, income inequality today also includes higher than averag number of people that are foreign born.

  40. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    cynthia curran says:

    I mean Tn

  41. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Chris says:

    No one is saying we should not care for the poor. Of course we should. But liberal poverty programs don’t eliminate poverty, they only foster dependency. The ten cities in America with the greatest number of poor people have been led by liberals for over forty years (poverty is a product of liberal spending). The same is true with the failure to educate our children. The cities with the highest failures in education are also those with the highest poverty rates. The problem here is not only the billions wasted, it’s the failure of the liberal philosophy

    It wasn’t surprising that most financially fallen areas in Ohio were blue i.e. Northeast Ohio Greater Cleveland an Youngstown, and Appalacia. And they just keep voting for those “compassionate” Democrats and their “love Government.”

    Bp. Savas says that he won’t comment on abortion until the conservatives provide more money for the poor person who has to chose an abortion because of her poverty. What he refuses to see is that Planned Parenthood intentionally places abortuaries in poor neighborhoods because it is good for business. Thus, in the name of caring for the poor he unwittingly shills for the abortion industry and continues the dependencies that keeps the vicious circle spiraling ever downward.

    Bishop Savas should know that there is a greater correlation to higher abortions not due to financial burden, but the lack of a father figure in the equation. The response of the finanical burden excuse is a result of the broken-feminist-progressive view that A.) It’s never a problem of there not being a man, because women/families don’t need men b.) That if you just throw money at any problem you will fix it.

    Since we’re talking about “social darwinism” I wonder why none of these compassionate folk ever talking about Margaret Sanger’s main intention with Planned Parenthood: To exterminate the African-American populations in America.

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      George Michalopulos says:

      Chris, you have pinpointed exactly that which incenses me about the faux compassion of “liberals” like Bishop Savas. Not only is the rationale behind it intellectually weak, but the actual implementation of it is horribly inept. Hence the increase the increase in suffering.

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        Chris says:

        I agree George. But when it comes to some of our “living Icons” supporting the current administration, the issue that seems to just sit at the back of my throat and refuses to go down is abortion.

        Does Bishop Savas support abortion? If he says no, then how does he explain supporting this President? Does he use the very ill logic of “pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion?”

        Or am I mistaken. (I often am) Is it possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion? I don’t profess to be a Biblical scholar, or Lord have mercy, a Theologian. I’m not even a good Christian! Perhaps His Grace knows something that I do not? Perhaps global warming is a bigger issue for Christians than infanticide.

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          Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

          He’s in a tough place if he indeed values the sanctity of unborn life. If he defends life, he comes into conflict with his immediate overseers who have redefined the traditional teaching about abortion to conform to the moral relativism of modern culture (see: A patriarch who ‘generally speaking, respects human life’).

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            Chris says:

            A true Libertarian doesn’t want “government in our bedrooms,” true. However, a true Libertarian doesn’t equate a particular Church with government unless it is a bonifide “national church,” which we are protected against. Well, unless you consider the post-modernist secularist movement “a Church.” :) Therefore, the EP+ can and should teach us about morality, along with our parish priests. Hopefully, they’re somewhat in tune.

            Honestly, I do not understand the EP+ Luckily he doesn’t speak for the Church as a whole. He ain’t the pope, and we ain’t got no pope! :)

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          George Michalopulos says:

          Chris, I got an even better question for Bishop Savas: since he has such a compassionate resolution towards helping the poor, then why doesn’t he tell the GOA hierarchy to support FOCUS? Or at least stop harrassing them?

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            Chris says:

            The “Orthodox Condition” that I have grown up with is alive and well. However, the situation with FOCUS is something that I was not aware of. Perhaps our needy-poor aren’t qualified for the indigenous – Orthodox alms?

            We continue to step over Lazarus while we enter our marble Cathedrals and allow our youth to be put in the furnace before they even swallow their first breath. Lord have mercy, I definitely bear some responsibility!

            On another thread, I read about a certain priest (who never stepped over Lazarus) to speak to another unfortunate orthodox condition that has just recently developed; he emplores that we all need to “press the reset button” i.e. repentent, and how the Orthodox Church provides the best possible environment for this, that is when we remember our Precepts.

            Rumore has it that this priest was defrocked for this, so peharps some have forgotten to “press reset”?

            Regardless, I think that’s an ingenius market piece that the Church could use. Chalk that up for TWO Youth ministry T-shirt ideas: “Press the Reset Button” and “Break the Equivocation” ;)

  42. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    cynthia curran says:

    Well, Ms, Tx, and so forth also have high poverty rates, most of its involves afro-americans as well as hispanics. Afro-americans and hispanics have the highest high school dropout rates and high out of wedlock rates. Not saying that they are not asian and whites that have some of these problems as well, but let’s say a County like Santa Clara Ca has a lower poverty rate than Oakland Ca since Santa Clara Ca is about 30 percent asian well Oakland is 35 percent black.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Re: 41.1.1.1.1

    The entire piece reveals sloppy moral reasoning.

    It’s true that people can disagree on how the law should respond to the question of abortion. Pro-lifers argue about this all the time. It is not true that the fact these arguments exist requires us to redefine the moral tradition in relativistic terms in order to assure pro-choicers that the Orthodox teaching is not part of the “fundamentalist right.”

    The pro-abortion crowd will never accept the pro-lifer. There is no middle ground. To accept that the unborn have inherent life delegitimizes the entire pro-abortion project and thus cannot be tolerated.

    The reasoning reads like it was written by an American seeking to appease the pro-abortion left — from the borrowed cliches, to the implicit affirmation that religious leaders have no express authority in family matters, to the veiled appeal for acceptance that the affirmation hopes to engender.

    You can almost hear the voice of an NPR or MSNBC reporter in the background: “You should listen to the Orthodox. They sure are open-minded for a religious sect.”

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      Harry Coin says:

      Fr. Hans– reading that NPR bit you quoted above brought to mind now Met. Gerasimos of the GOA’s western multi-state ‘metropolis’. Remember when he said, when about to be the bishop of the Orthodox church, ‘gays have a right to civil marriage though the church would never sanctify it.’

      Here a bishop endorses a thing to happen outside his church walls that he can’t endorse within them.

      It is a fact known in all reasoning and logical circles that once a direct contradiction is accepted as being as ‘so’ among whatever else in the basket of tenets and affirmations and findings– it becomes an easy matter for a practiced person ‘to prove’ any result desired.

      Reminds me of the canonists who when consulted by the bishop with a question begin by asking how the bishop prefers the result.


      There’s a famous demonstration of it in the mathematical world that ends with proving two different numbers equal one another. It silently makes use of a very well hidden division by 0. Look here:

      a = b
      a2 = ab
      a2 – b2 = ab-b2
      (a-b)(a+b) = b(a-b)
      a+b = b
      b+b = b
      2b = b
      2 = 1

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        Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

        Harry, yes, Bp. Gerasimos made the mistake of drawing a false distinction between “secular” and Christian morality in an early interview, but to his credit he co-authored a statement with other Orthodox Bishops affirming heterosexual marriage during the California Proposition 8 wars a year back or so.

        The mistake may have been due to unfamiliarity with dealing with the press.

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    cynthia curran says:

    I know I shouldn’t talk so much politics on this matter. I wonder if the Bishop along with other religious leaders thought of the complex situation in the US of high immirgation levels. Granted, there are some immirgants that have higher than average income and education and others that don’t New York in 1970 was 24th in those that finished high school in the labor force and went down to 37th. California was 7th in the nation in 1970 and went down all the way down to 50th. New York foreign born is around 23 percent and California 27 percent. Also, what is interesting states near California that have much lower immirgant populations like Oregon and Washington have decline as well, they tend to receive the native born and some immirgants of Ca which are getting not as good as an education as 40 years ago. A most interesting question?

  45. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    cynthia curran says:

    I mean in rankings, people today do finished high school more but these states are doing less better compared to other states. As for Focus, I believe that in places like Atlanta, and Kansas and the one in Orange County and San Diego are getting the Greek churches involved as well and some of the non-eastern like the copts.

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    George Michalopulos says:

    Cynthia, the dumbing down of American public education began in the 60s, even before forced busing. It was thanks to the nefarious theories of John L Dewey and other socialists that we have raised a generation of know-nothings and people who are indifferent to their nation’s well-being.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      George, the corruption of education in America began long before 1960. The importation of the Prussian System in the 1850′s by Horace Mann, et.al. along with its philosphy that the children’s minds belonged to the state, the regimentation and particularization of learning had a lot to do with it. Mr. Mann especially wanted to erase any influence that Christianity had over schools thanks to his experience of the iconoclastic everything-is-evil brand of so-called Christianity in his native Massachusettes. Public education has always been about thought control. The only reason it hasn’t been more sucessful is because of the many fine teachers who actually teach not only their subject but a love of learning and how to think. However, caught in a system that degrades thought, they are doomed to ultimate failure.

      Many years ago I was shown the graduation exam required of all 8th grade students in Salina Kansas in the 1870′s. I could not have passed it.

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    PO'F says:

    Two and a half points of fact:

    1) I am expert in “social programs,” previously as a paraprofessional, and currently as a “dependent,” ** and they _never_ tell “dependents” which party initiated them or protected them when threatened. Such politicking by a government employee would get him or her disciplined if not fired. “Social program” workers are keenly aware that Republicans sometimes have “bad luck” too!

    (**–specifically, a multiply-disabled person currently prevented from working by my disabilities)

    2) Given the choice between “dependency” (even dealing with the “programs’” inanities, and not infrequent incompetence among their administrators) and death, I have enthusiastically chosen the former.

    2a) I would be open to true alternatives.

    Sincerely,
    Leo Peter

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      Harry Coin says:

      We see in countries with ‘one size fits all’ ‘government ordered’ care that there is no ability to appreciate the sometimes huge value from seemingly small differences which are too small to make it into ‘the regulations’ — or if they did make it into ‘the regulations’ there are so many regulations that no actual human being making decisions around the point of ‘one size fits all’ care can know them and operate from them. Catch a cancer one month early and the patient returns to normal life at little cost. One month late and it’s huge expense and a lifetime of treatment. Two months late and it’s a cost effective hospice — effective if you are the single-payer that is…

      The result is only those fit and able enough to ‘fight the system’ will locate the obscure helpful regulation and complain ‘up the chain’ of decision makers until ‘it is recognized’ what was to have been done ‘from day 1′ and then order the remedy which calls for a ‘requisition process’ that takes another ‘fiscal cycle’ while all claim to being ‘very sorry’ at every level as if that was the same thing as ‘making changes and acting as if being very sorry meant something good happens now’.

      I marvel at the truth many politicians betray unknowingling when their party controls ‘the system’ and yet they campaign on ‘fighting (the system) for you’. Plainly they know in their hearts that ‘the system’ they grow and maintain is for itself first in your name.

      The one thing we need is for local decision makers to have latitude and discretion and the one thing political systems in one-size-fits-all care can’t have is to give unelected decision makers latitude and discretion. Various local groups arranged as hospitals and doctors alliances and whatnot all compete within their economic means to fill the cracks and make allowances to serve as best they might.

      Plainly we see risks that some over-reach and cheat and steal and so forth but one hopes the unprofitable long term nature of that will weed such out.

      Still and all– it remains that the business model values sustained relationships with customers while the best and highest medical model should aim at an un-economical one-time fix over against a lifetime of being ‘on’ this or that drug. Real health care reform ought to create big rewards for one-time fixes to what now are long term problems. Cells that are injected once to produce insulin. Drugs that applied once reduce stomach acid overproduction. Drugs that down-regulate appetite permanentl to healthy levels not ‘daily diet aids’, etc.

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    Chris says:

    I found this very interesting piece on the backdrop of the two main economic schools of thought in this century: Keynesian and Austrian. It is interesting to note that F.A. Hayek, one of the leading Classical Liberal voices and free marketeers, ran from the erroding of family values in his native country due to socialism, and believed that the two main precepts to a successful society were: Private Propety and Family. I wish some of our current libertarians would open their eyes to this reality. This is why the Libertarian movement has failed on all accounts – because “it’s free love” notion is nothing more than socialism. Yet they keep skipping through the forest touting capitalism … it’s time to take that movement back. I’m banking the the Pauls. ;)

    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/19

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    cynthia curran says:

    Well, I’am saying present immirgaton policies don’t help the situation. Think, SD, ND, Minnesota and Wisconian and Vermont do better than Ca, Tx, Ny, which states have the most low skilled immirgants and which states have the least.

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