Sunday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    San Francisco archbishop bars Pelosi from communion over abortion stance

    In a letter addressed to the US House speaker and posted on his Twitter account, ultra conservative Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone argued that Pelosi’s “position on abortion has become only more extreme over the years, especially in the last few months,” and he had decided to block her from communion after she had ignored his requests to explain her stance to him.

    Cordileone – San Francisco’s archbishop since 2012 – accused Pelosi of failing to “understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking”. He said he would need to stop her from receiving communion until she “publicly repudiates her support for abortion”.

    “Please know that I find no pleasure whatsoever in fulfilling my pastoral duty here,” Cordileone added in his letter, which he said served as a public notice of his decision to Bay Area Catholics.

    The missive hailed Pelosi for “her advocacy for the care of the poor and vulnerable”, said the move was apolitical, and called the longtime Democratic congresswoman a “sister in Christ”, but it also called for the House speaker to confess and repent.

    Christ in a cracker, do I despise the Catholic Church.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rationing: Without Congressional funding, the cash-strapped US Covid program has no recourse other than rationing vaccines, antivirals & coronavirus tests. Shortages may be a reality in the near future. Republicans are turning thumbs down on Covid funding

    — delthia ricks (@DelthiaRicks) May 22, 2022

    Pro-Life my ass.

  3. DK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was previously best known for helping to draft Prop 8, amending California’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Cordileone also raised money for that effort.

    Cordileone now insists he is not acting politically in targeting Pelosi for her opposition to forced birth. Cardileone is as dishonest as the Catholic justices on the Supreme Court. There is a deep-seated rot amongst many Catholics, always has been.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DK: I’m an ex-Catholic, and despise the church in a way that only an ex-Catholic can.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oh great: ‘Extremely active’ jumping worms that can leap a foot raise alarm in California

    An invasive worm species known for its “voracious appetite” and ability to jump a foot in the air is raising alarm in California, where scientists have expressed concerns about the threat the worms pose to forest ecosystems.

    The Amynthas agrestis, also known as the Asian jumping worm, Alabama jumper or crazy snake worm, have been spotted in California in recent months. The earthworm is native to east Asia, particularly to Japan and the Korean peninsula. However, in recent years the worms made their way to North America via various landscape plants that have been imported from the region.
    “These earthworms are extremely active, aggressive, and have voracious appetites,” California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) warned in a report. “True to their name, they jump and thrash immediately when handled, behaving more like a threatened snake than a worm, sometimes even breaking and shedding their tail when caught…..

    “They are destructive and cause severe damage to hardwood forests, especially those consisting of maple, basswood, red oak, poplar or birch species that rely on thick layers of leaf litter that serve as rooting medium,” according to the CDFA report, which notes that the “voracious feeders” can devour a cover of organic material in “two to five years”.

    “Soil is the foundation of life – and Asian jumping worms change it. In fact, earthworms can have such huge impacts that they’re able to actually reengineer the ecosystems around them,” Mac Callaham, a Forest Service researcher specializing in soils, said in a forest service blogpost.”

    Just what we need.

  6. sam says:
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nolan Zugernat

    Bill Cassidy says maternal mortality rates in Louisiana aren’t that high if you don’t count the black people. Yes he actually said this.

    Others will disagree I’m sure but I don’t get a vibe of conscious malicious intent from Sen. Cassidy. And to me that’s what so striking about his remarks, the deeply ingrained white-centering.

    Context, the article:

    Why Louisiana’s maternal mortality rates are so high

    “About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear,” Sen. Bill Cassidy said in an interview with POLITICO for the Harvard Chan School of Public Health series Public Health on the Brink. “Now, I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be. For whatever reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality.”
    “Race is a social construct, it is not a biological condition,” said Veronica Gillispie-Bell, medical director of Louisiana’s Perinatal Quality Collaborative and Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review and an obstetrician at Ochsner Health. “To say that ‘because we have a lot of Black people in Louisiana, that’s why our outcomes are bad’ is out of context.”

    Cassidy, one of four physicians serving in the Senate, acknowledged during the interview that several reported reasons for high maternal mortality rates in his state, including racial bias in care, higher rates of preeclampsia among American Black women — a serious high blood pressure condition that is the leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide — and the difficulty for women especially in rural areas to easily and quickly get to medical care.

    His proposed Connected MOM Act, S. 801 (117), co-sponsored by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), would tackle some of the access issues by requiring Medicare and Medicaid recommendations for mothers to remotely monitor their blood pressure, glucose and other health metrics. Cassidy also co-sponsored a bill named after late Rep. John Lewis, S. 320 (117), signed into law this March, to study racial health disparities.

    So maybe he just said it really badly, but I’m leaning towards Nolan’s pov about “the deeply ingrained white-centering.”

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: I wonder if he knows that in Texas, rustling is a hanging offense? //s

    FTR, Loving County is the least populous county in the country: 64 according to the 2020 census. And no, not a typo. Sixty-four individual people in the whole damned county.

    ETA: the NBC article you link says 57 people, Wikipedia says 64.


    pick and choose

  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, if you look at the history of the Catholic Church over the ages, whenever the Church gets really tangled up in politics, it’s always bad for them.

    For instance, Pope Gregory VII excommunicated Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV (not the English one). Henry had been appointing bishops himself, which was a land grab. Henry did penance by kneeling for three days in the snow, and Gregory relented. Of course, three years later, Henry deposed Gregory VII entirely.

    This time, it seems most likely to accelerate the loss of attendance and donations (the Catholics do not recognize the idea that someone would “leave” the Church). Nobody’s gonna get deposed.
    We might see a schism – which is another thing that has happened historically, and it’s what is happening with Protestants – but I doubt it. Property rights are enforced better these days.

    Christendom is now at war with itself, it isn’t pretty.

  10. Kathy says:

    I began Kara Coney’s latest, “The Good Kings,” yesterday.

    Rather unlike her previous works about Hatshepsut, “The Woman Who Would Be King,” and on female rulers in ancient Egypt, “When Women Ruled the World,” this book is more about interpreting history rather than relating it, and of drawing lessons from such interpretation to apply to the present.

    The book has aroused no small measure of controversy. An introduction and one chapter in, I’ve found she makes some observations, in more detail, that I’ve noticed myself, such as the prevalence of minority rule throughout most of history, even in several types of democracies.

  11. CSK says:

    I’ve seen people wearing “Recovering Catholic” t-shirts. I’ve never seen anyone in a “Recovering Lutheran” or “recovering Episcopalian” t-shirt.

    You’re right about no one despising the Catholic Church more than ex-Catholics. It seems to go way beyond just normal disagreement with the tenets of the faith.

  12. MarkedMan q says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m as cynical about racism as anyone on here, but do we really want to paint the worst possible motives onto someone who is actively trying to improve maternal and infant health? Shouldn’t he get kudos for that?

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m as cynical about racism as anyone on here, but do we really want to paint the worst possible motives onto someone who is actively trying to improve maternal and infant health? Shouldn’t he get kudos for that?

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I’m an ex-Catholic, served my 12 years in Catholic schools, but I’m not particularly anti-Catholic. Any large hierarchical organization is going to attract bad people into leadership roles, be it a religion or anything else. The Catholic Church has its share of baddies commensurate with its size and power base. As for politics, any large entity is a political entity whether it wants to be or not. It has power and politics is about maneuvering the levers of power towards a desired end. A large entity, merely by existing, gets drawn into politics.

    I’ve known good people who were Catholics and bad ones. Because of my schools, I’m most familiar with nuns and brothers, not so much priests. The grade school was a disaster area, with a bitter twisted woman as principle. But my high school’s Marist brothers were for the most part a good lot.

    Those of us who were educated in Catholic schools tend to focus solely on how the Religious (Priests, Nuns, Brothers) affected us. But recently I’ve been wondering what it was like to be a Brother, some guy called to faith, finding himself not in a life of quiet contemplation, but instead surrounded by a couple of thousand loud, obnoxious, horny, tough, teenage boys who, if we noticed the brothers at all, certainly didn’t think about what was going through their heads.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    made me smile

    A genius guy who has been pushed away by people due to his disability get to fulfill his dream to ride inside a Lamborghini !

    Must’ve gotten a little dusty in that car. It did here too.

  16. CSK says:

    Cassidy also pointed out that Louisiana has extended the time limit for maternal death to one year after delivery, and includes homicide as a cause of maternal death.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Shouldn’t he get kudos for that?

    And I gave him kudos by putting it directly into my comment. Does giving him kudos mean I have to ignore his “deeply ingrained white-centering”? Because I am telling you right now, pretending shit isn’t there when it so obviously is, is half the dawg damned reason we have made so little racial progress in the past 40+ years.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve known good people who were Catholics and bad ones.

    There are Catholics and then there is the Church. The former is not the same as the latter, even if the latter is made up of the former.

    For instance, I rather doubt one can find a Catholic, be they nun, priest, bishop, pope, or layman that would defend what the Church did with abusive priests and nuns, and yet there it is.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: And as the article points out, so do a lot of other states as per CDC guidance.

  20. CSK says:

    Oh, I know. It’s just that some ex-Catholics appear to be much more vociferously anti their former religion than those of other faiths or denominations.

  21. CSK says:

    And is that a good idea, given that the focus probably should be on specific health issues, such as preeclampsia?

    It’s tragic that some women are murdered when their children are infants (it’s tragic at any time), but is this really within the purview of the medical profession?

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:From Wiki

    Maternal death or maternal mortality is defined in slightly different ways by several different health organizations. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines maternal death as the death of a pregnant woman due to complications related to pregnancy, underlying conditions worsened by the pregnancy or management of these conditions. This can occur either while she is pregnant or within six weeks of resolution of the pregnancy.[1] The CDC definition of pregnancy-related deaths extends the period of consideration to include one year from the resolution of the pregnancy.[2][3] Pregnancy associated death, as defined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), are all deaths occurring within one year of a pregnancy resolution.[4]

    So is Cassidy saying that LA, which appears to be following CDC guidelines, is counting more deaths as maternal deaths than other states, and therefore that skews the numbers negatively?

    I’m struggling to understand why homicide is considered a maternal death, though.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m not sure why this is considered “white centering”. In fact, I’m reading it as the opposite. He is saying, lthe reason the numbers are so bad in LA is that we have a higher percentage of mothers that have been failed by our healthcare system. Here is some legislation I propose to help with that.”

    I don’t like Cassidy, but I think that when someone, even someone I don’t like, acknowledges a problem and proposes to do something about it they should be engaged positively in that effort.

  24. CSK says:

    I know. The focus should be on matters that can be directly affected by medical intervention. A health care practitioner can’t prevent someone’s spouse or partner from murdering her months after delivery. Nor prevent a car accident, nor a fall. Why these should be considered pregnancy-related, I don’t know.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: Any capacity I may have had for good-faith interpretations of Cassidy’s behavior ended with his ACA repeal proposal in 2017, which he went around claiming increased protections for those with preexisting conditions when it did precisely the opposite.

  26. senyordave says:

    @Kylopod: So Sen Cassidy is a lying sack of crap. IOW a typical Republican senator. Republicans in the deep south doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.

  27. Franklin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Damn you, just washed my face

  28. gVOR08 says:


    Any large hierarchical organization is going to attract bad people into leadership roles, … As for politics, any large entity is a political entity whether it wants to be or not.

    But they don’t have to jump in with both feet as, via NYT, Patriarch Kirill is doing.

    Yesterday I quoted Adam Silverman from Balloon Juice,

    One of the major problems with analyzing Putin’s re-invasion of Ukraine is that his geo, regional, and theater strategic objectives are irrational to anyone not operating within Putin’s context.

    Kirill is one of the people feeding Putin’s megalomania. He sees Moscow as destined to be the Third Rome, following Rome and Constantinople as the center of the Orthodox world. (That seems to be working out or him about as well as the war is for Putin.) That feeds Putin’s Eurasianism. And the government helped him literally erase his $30,000 watch.

    I was raised religious, and became irreligious fairly young. As you are not anti-Catholic, I’ve not been anti-religion. But it gets harder and harder to maintain that position as some religious do so much damage in the world. @CSK: There’s little point to me getting a “Reformed Lutheran” tee shirt. Lutheranism doesn’t have enough influence for anyone to care.

  29. CSK says:

    I guess that’s part of my point, that Lutheranism, like other mainstream Protestant denominations, has little clout. One doesn’t need to recover from it. How did Roman Catholicism gain such power?

    I’ve mentioned before that I was raised non-religious, so all of this is way outside my experience.

  30. Sleeping Dog says:


    How did Roman Catholicism gain such power?

    Until the Reformation it was essentially the only religion based on the teachings of Jesus.
    It was granted great authority by the Roman emperors.
    It has a hierarchical organization
    It allied itself with early royal families of Europe.

    to name a few.

  31. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Oh, I know, but seriously, it’s been quite a while since the Reformation. And particularly here, in the U.S., where we haven’t had a royal family since the eighteenth century, nor any of the other trappings of old Europe. The Protestant denominations just don’t seem to have the hold the Catholicism does, even over those who’ve renounced it. Maybe especially over those who’ve renounced it.

  32. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Until the Reformation it was essentially the only religion based on the teachings of Jesus.
    It was granted great authority by the Roman emperors.

    The Orthodox, Armenians, Monopysites, Nestorians, Ethiopians (etc) are outside, and would like a word…

  33. JohnSF says:

    A massive aspect was that Papal aka Roman Catholicism evolved in the “great absence”: the collapse of imperial power in the West.

    Neither the Carolingian, or the Ottonian/Salian/Hohenstaufen attempts at imperial revival managed to break the grip of the popes on ecclesiastical dominance, and related temporal power.

    Largely because the popes could always find secular allies to help them wreck the project of imperial re-unification: Italian cities, German prices, French kings, Norman dukes.

    (Theology had very little to do with it)

  34. Sleeping Dog says:


    Delusions, particularly of the religious variety are strong.

    Historically, the Roman church provided a community for its members on a local level. Through its convents it tended the sick and educated the young and the parish provided support for the poor amongst them. This was all organized around the ethnic community as well. As a kid growing up, the church and its schools were divided by neighborhoods, there were Irish churches, St Patrick’s, French, St Ann’s and Italian and Polish churches. That sense of community was very strong and the peer pressure to partake in the church strong.

    That’s all gone now. As the number of parishioners diminished, churches were closed, schools merged and the nuns lost their primacy in healthcare. American Catholics have gone the way of the French. Most have left the church entirely or remain Catholic in name. The remaining faithful divvy up between shrinking liberal congregations and the Catholic equivalent of Evangelicals. The ~35 year run of JPII and Benedict cemented conservative social policy and doctrinal teachings into place. The downfall of the conservative regime, was the sex abuse scandals provided the opportunity for Francis and more liberalism to emerge.

    The Roman church was/is powerful and wealthy and institutions like that take a long time to die.

  35. Sleeping Dog says:


    I considered the Orthodox, but decided they effectively were recreating Rome in Constantinople. The others fall into ethnic or national faiths.

  36. CSK says:

    Yet it’s the theology that creates the hold.

  37. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    A lot of Orthodox would content it was the other way around: that the papacy was pretending to a primacy among the patriarchates which was unwarranted, because they were attempting to attach the effectively vacated imperial powers to their own authority.
    See e.g. the forged “Donation of Constantine”

    And that Constantinople was not recreating Rome: from the eastern imperial p.o.v. it was Rome, legally.
    The westerners were in secular terms, just barbarian usurpers of imperial authority, and in ecclesiastical terms at best verging on heresy in ascribing an unwarranted ecumenical authority to papacy.

    And both Monophysites and Nestorians tended to see themselves not as national churches, but the upholders of true doctrine against both Roman and Eastern Imperial heresy.

    Schismatic theology is such fun. 🙂

  38. JohnSF says:


    Yet it’s the theology that creates the hold.

    Call me Mr Sceptical, but history indicates to me that the theologians tend to be remarkably accommodating to the interests of the temporal Powers That Be.

    Theology may be persuasive; a nice pointy spear is generally an even more convincing argument.
    See e.g. the Emperor Constantine; or Empress Theodora; or King Henry VIII
    Hence the urgency of Protestant reformers to actually align with, or better yet actually control, temporal power.

    Which is the game that both some Evangelical, and some Catholic, radicals have decided to start playing again.
    Silly people that they are.

  39. CSK says:

    Oh, I know, but I’m trying to explain something I don’t fully grasp, because I have no personal experience of it the way most people do. When I was in graduate school, a close friend asked me what religion I was. I said, “None.” She seemed surprised, because I have an Irish surname, so she assumed I’d be Roman Catholic. Then she added, “How did you miss out?” I’ve never been asked by any Protestant how I “missed out” on being a Protestant.

    I’m reminded of a time when I was in elementary school, when one of my classmates came up to me and my best friend and said, “Nyah, nyah, you’re no good; you’re not Catholic.” My friend (a non-observant Jew) and I just looked at each other and shrugged. Weird, we thought.

  40. JohnSF says:

    Growing up in England, my impression is that religion had generally considered off-limits for personal probing for quite some time; since the 1930’s or so by accumulated anecdotage.
    And in the post-war world the general English attitude became a sort of comfortable, easy-going, semi-agnostic indifference.

    Note: Northern Ireland was (as in much else) very much an exception; and one reason why “mainland” Brits came to view Irish unionists as weird.

    I went to a Church of England junior school, simply because it was the closest.
    At the time CoE primary schools were fully integrated into the state system, whereas state-recognised Catholic ones weren’t. *shrugs bemusedly*
    Thing is, nobody even tried to inculcate Anglican doctrine or observance, beyond morning prayer, and the RE lessons.
    Certainly didn’t interfere with science teaching.

    Generally speaking, growing up, nobody gave a damn one way or another about nominal religion.

  41. CSK says:

    Religion wasn’t a feature of my education in public (which has a different meaning here in the U.S., as you know) and private schools. This was individuals commenting on my lack of Catholicism. My point was that it was only Catholics who seemed hostile/curious about my failure to be a Catholic.

  42. JohnSF says:

    It wasn’t till I went to secondary school, that someone (a Irish-British kid; loads about in the Midlands) mentioned that my surname was sort-of Irish and therefore quite likely Catholic.
    Me: “Nope”
    Him: “Oh. What football team do you support.”
    Me: “Despise them all, rugby is the game.”
    Him: “You’re weird.”
    Me: “Yeah.”
    (I always was a bit of an cussed little bugger 🙂 )

  43. CSK says:

    In England, is the allegiance to football teams a matter of religion, as it is in Scotland? As in Rangers = Protestant, Celtic = Catholic?

  44. Mikey says:

    I think our own Dr. Taylor just got a book plug from Matthew Yglesias.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yes.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m not sure why this is considered “white centering”.

    Oh fer gawd’s sake, If we ignore “all the black deaths” isn’t white centering, WTF IS????

    C’mon. do you hear the words that are coming out of your keyboard?

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: The focus should be on matters that can be directly affected by medical intervention.

    Why? And you have to define medical intervention here.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: My step daughter’s Lutheran MIL had an abortion because after having 2 miscarriages, a son, 2 or 3 more miscarriages, she just couldn’t handle the heartbreak of one more.

    But some people would have forced her to.

  49. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    to name a few.

    Let us never forget that the Church was allowed to acquire enormous wealth, especially land, and generally paid no taxes on it. IIRC, Rome did in the Knights Templar because the Knights owned a third of all the productive farmland in France, and Rome wanted it. If churches were required to pay property taxes at the regular rates just on their land, Manhattan would be a church-free zone in… well, a New York minute.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Maybe especially over those who’ve renounced it.

    Speaking as one who has renounced it, I have siblings I love very deeply who can’t quite accept it. For some reason or other, my lack of religious beliefs don’t count for as much as their religious beliefs. Go figure.

  51. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Greetings, oh fellow “cussed little bugger!”
    As I’ve stated in the past, and Cracker can attest, I had the luck to be largely raised by my maternal grandmother and her bachelor brothers. Ed and Al came back from WWI with the view “we’ve both been to Hell, and we don’t believe in Heaven.” Grandma’s world view was “devoutly” secular, having contracted polio, raised 7 hellions in the 30s/40s and then stuck with me in the 50s. Growing up, I frequently heard her use “Judas Iscariot on Roller Skates” when she swore in English. This, of course, led me to an odd picture of the events immediately following The Last Supper. How her kids wound up as staunch Bible-thumpers and lay ministers was something neither of us ever understood.

  52. CSK says:

    By medical intervention I mean diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, etc. It would be nice if health care practitioners could prevent recent mothers from dying in car accidents, or prevent them from being murdered, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

    What I can envision is better and more accessible pre-natal and post-natal care for women for whom it might not be readily available, which appears to be the case for Black women in Louisiana.

  53. CSK says:

    I’m sorry about that, for your sake, and grateful to come from an irreligious family.

    I have no objection to other people’s religious beliefs. I do, however, object to people who insist on telling me what good Christians they are, meanwhile implying that I’m hellbound.

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: By medical intervention I mean diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to pregnancy,

    Problem is, what about the women who get murdered for getting pregnant?

    @CSK: I’m sorry about that,

    No big deal, I’m a little bit sensitive about that right now because at the last minute I refused to go to my niece’s wedding on Friday because of religious restrictions she put on people’s attendance (that I was ignorant of) and I am now the shit of the family. It will all blow over. Or not.

    I’m pretty sure they will all accept it.

    I hope.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    He is saying, lthe reason the numbers are so bad in LA is that we have a higher percentage of mothers that have been failed by our healthcare system. Here is some legislation I propose to help with that.”

    I’m not hearing your “because” in his statement. Perhaps I’m suffering from hardness of listening. Perhaps you’re being more generous in interpreting what he is saying because it would be lead to a good outcome. To each his own.

  56. CSK says:

    Well, it’s a tragedy beyond words when a woman gets murdered for being pregnant, but again, is this within the control of a doctor? Are we talking about the same thing? I’m talking about health care accessibility for pregnant women. I have great doctors, but if someone decides to shank me while I’m strolling down the street, not one of my docs could prevent that from happening.

    Oh, dear God. (Excuse me for the reference.) Seriously? Religious restrictions????

  57. JohnSF says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    “we’ve both been to Hell, and we don’t believe in Heaven.”

    Reminds me a bit of of my father; he was of the opinion that after what he’d seen, either there wasn’t a God, or at least there might as well not be.

    At the age of 17 he was a air raid rescue volunteer in Coventry, my family’s home town, in 1941:
    “I remember one family we found. All dead. It struck me at the time, when the mortar dust came off, they all had red hair.”
    Only spoke of that night once, to me.

    And then there were the other RAF guys he served with who didn’t make it. Or were injured, badly. On the whole, not much evidence for a God that paid much attention to the lives of humans.

    Also grandfathers: one was at the Somme. The other at Megiddo.

    As father said: “Maybe there is a caring god. But the evidence seems to be against it.”

    This seems to be a major difference between UK and Europe on the one hand, and the US on the other.
    Religiosity that expects benign intervention in this world seems to be still fairly common in America.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: “Schismatic theology is such fun.” I know! I followed the fundy/evangelical version for almost 25 years. My favorite move was when our particular sect of Baptists kicked one of our larger churches out of our fellowship for removing “Baptist” from the name of their congregation. A generation later, dozens of Baptist churches across the city were renaming themselves “XYZ Community Church.”

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: “Hence the urgency of Protestant reformers to actually align with, or better yet actually control, temporal power.”

    One of my Buddhist friends in Korea noted that there was a reason that temples and schools tend to be built at/near the tops of hills in Korea–strategically easier to defend than places on the plain.

  60. JohnSF says:


    In England, is the allegiance to football teams a matter of religion

    Short answer: no.
    Longer answer: no much, these days.

    Scottish teams a bit different due to the back and forth migrations and politics of Scotland and Ireland.
    But there were sometimes elements of it elsewhere.
    On Merseyside Liverpool were at one time regarded as “Catholic”, Everton as “Protestant”. And I have a vague recollection that Manchester United and Manchester City had a similar distinction, but which was which, God knows.
    In those areas complicated by the intersection of English vs Irish immigrant tensions, but also the fact that South Lancashire was the last bastion of English Catholicism. And that there were a lot of Welsh immigrants who didn’t necessarily get on with either English or Irish.
    But it’s faded out. I know about it largely because of a little knowledge of 19th century Lancastrian political/confessional patterns.

    There were some similarities sometimes elsewhere, but never as strong as in Scotland (even there Glasgow was exceptionally sectarian).
    Arsenal,and IIR Queens Park Rangers were vaguely “Irish”.
    Tottenham Hotspur were famously philo-semitic: nicknamed (by themselves!) “the Yids”.
    But generally, English football was, and is, “localist” rather than confessional/ethnic.

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In defense of your siblings, they may be sad at the thought that your rejection of religion means that you will not be with them in the afterlife. At least, I hope that’s what’s going through their minds. It does vary with individuals, tho.

  62. CSK says:

    I thought as much; thanks, though, for confirming it. When I lived in Edinburgh, I was totally confounded by the notion that religion had anything to do with loyalty to a football team.

  63. JohnSF says:

    edit test@Just nutha ignint cracker:
    re: “Schismatic theology is such fun.”

    …our particular sect of Baptists kicked one of our larger churches out of our fellowship for removing “Baptist” from the name of their congregation.

    Oh, this modern stuff is nothing compared to the good old days.
    I was thinking of the arguments in the Eastern Empire between e.g.:
    No to mention the distinctions between homoiousianism, homoousianism and homoianism.

    Which sometimes led to riots that left thousands dead; or caused the mutual hostilities of Arian (not aryan, LOL) Germans and Catholic Latins that arguably prevented the restoration of civil order in western Europe after the Gothic invasions; and also maybe the 7th century collapse of the Eastern Empire in the face of Persian and Islamic invasions.

    The Christian proclivity for theological disputation and damning of “the other” has had some remarkably unpleasant consequences, from time to time.

  64. JohnSF says:

    Then fast forward to the late medieval period to the 17th Century: Cathar crusades! The wars of the Reformation! Thirty Years War!
    Fun for all the family.

    Particularly “amusing”, the Jacobite Wars where the Stuarts claimed to be upholders of Catholicism, were supported by the French and for that reason, opposed by the Pope!

    William’s victory at the Boyne was greeted with enthusiasm in Rome. The Pope welcomed the victory of the “European Alliance” forces and Pontifical High Mass was celebrated in thanksgiving for the deliverance from the power of the Catholic Louis XIV and the Catholic James II.

    A historical footnote that both “Catholics” and “Protestants” tended to brush under the carpet.

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: Oh, I understand where you’re coming from. I’m just amazed about how picayune the schismatic disagreements of this age are in comparison to those of the past. The topics you mentioned are actual theological topics/heresies that people can have genuine disagreements on. By comparison, the current schisms among fundies and evangelicals wouldn’t even rate a drunken argument in a dorm room.

  66. Mister Bluster says:

    Illinois candidate for Governor in the Republican primary Richard Irvin has apparently dropped his race card tactic “I’m their worst nightmare”. His latest campaign ad looks to be aimed at the Edward Scissorhands vote.

  67. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnSF: I have a soft spot in my heart for the Donation of Constantine, namely because its debunking is the first known example of using literary analysis to prove the falsity of the document.

    (I was toying at one point with writing a book on “Great Frauds in History”, then subsumed most of the ideas as backup for a Da Vinci Code-like thriller I was working on. P.S. Dan Brown’s plots are really, really easy to untangle once you realise his villains are always the “least expected person”. It’s the literary equivalent of the jump scare in horror films and gets tedious very quickly. Yawn.)