Just Above Sunset
April 3, 2005 - Recommending Two Items

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Christopher Hitchens, the hard-drinking acerbic defender of the war(s) and reluctant apologist for George Bush (we need to show that middle-easterners a thing or two and Bush is just the right guy to do that) – who used to be of the left – here takes on the issue that is consuming so much discussion in the country. It seems he won’t go with the flow and support his friends on the right in their crusade to save the still functioning body of the woman with no brain left. Oh my.

And he tosses off some good lines – even though he says he “sincerely intended to be the only scribbler in America who stayed out of this most stupid and degrading argument.”

Sample –


One Catholic fanatic, Patrick Buchanan, argues that federal marshals ought to burst in and preserve a corpse. Another Catholic fundamentalist, William Donahue, says that this would be unwise, but only because it might set a precedent for the rescue of living people on Death Row. Presiding from a distance is a nodding, senile pope whose church may possibly want to change the subject from its indulgence of the rape and torture of real-life children.


Now that is cold.

How about this?


… the rest of us also have lives to live. And I hope and believe that we shall say, as politely and compassionately as we can, that we do not intend to pass our remaining days listening to any hysteria from the morbid and the superstitious. It is an abuse of our courts and our Constitution to have judges and congressmen and governors bullied by those who believe in resurrection but not in physical death. Which post-terminal patient could not now be employed, regardless of his or her expressed wish, to convene a midnight court or assemble a hasty nocturnal presidency? Not content with telling us that we once used to share the earth with dinosaurs and that we should grimly instruct our children in this falsehood, religious fanatics now present their cult of death as if it were a joyous celebration of the only life we have. They have gone too far, and they should be made to regret it most bitterly.


This man is not I happy. And I think he’s right. But then again, my soul was damned to hell long ago.


Easter Charade
There's no resurrecting Terri Schiavo.
Christopher Hitchens - Posted Monday, March 28, 2005, at 8:15 AM PT – SLATE.COM



And here takes on the Pope!

Oh my.  Squared!  Cubed!

Papal Power
What no one else will say about John Paul II.
Christopher Hitchens - April 1, 2005, at 2:51 PM PT SLATE.COM

Well, the opening is just nasty – as his problem is the Pope and the Church stood by Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston – and that’s hard to forgive.


The papacy is not, in theory, a man-made office at all. Its holder is chosen for life, by God himself, to hold the keys of Peter and to be the vicar of Christ on earth. This is yet another of the self-imposed tortures that faith inflicts upon itself. It means that you have to believe that the pope before last, who held on to the job for a matter of weeks before dying (or, according to some, before being murdered) was either unchosen by God in some fit of celestial pique, or left unprotected by heaven against his assassins. And it means that you have to believe that the public agony and humiliation endured by the pontiff was also part of some divine design. In the case of a presidency, or even a monarchy, provision can be made for abdication and succession when physical and mental deliquescence occur. But there could obviously not have been any graceful retirement in the case of John Paul II. The next vicar of Christ could hardly be expected to perform his sacred duties knowing that there was a still-living vicar of Christ, however decrepit, on the scene. Thus, and as with the Schiavo case, every last morsel of misery has been compulsorily extracted from the business of death. For the people who credit the idea, apparently, heaven can wait. Odd.

I leave it to the faith-based to wrestle with all this. Or rather, I would be happy to do so if they would stay out of my life. But there is one detail that sticks with me. A few years ago, it seemed quite probable that Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston would have to face trial for his appalling collusion in the child-rape racket that his diocese had been running. The man had knowingly reassigned dangerous and sadistic criminals to positions where they would be able to exploit the defenseless. He had withheld evidence and made himself an accomplice, before and after the fact, in the one offense that people of all faiths and of none have most united in condemning. (Since I have more than once criticized Maureen Dowd in this space, I should say now that I think she put it best of all. A church that has allowed no latitude in its teachings on masturbation, premarital sex, birth control, and divorce suddenly asks for understanding and "wiggle room" for the most revolting crime on the books.)


What Hitchens doesn't like?

Law fled the jurisdiction and has a sinecure at the Vatican. His job is to “supervise priestly discipline” of all things. And he is part of the discussion about whether the Church really has to follow local law – like our laws about molesting children.

The problem?


… it has been conclusively established that the Vatican itself—including his holiness—was a part of the coverup and obstruction of justice that allowed the child-rape scandal to continue for so long.

Yet everybody continues to pretend that this is no problem. We have all—haven't we?—outgrown the anti-Catholic paranoia that used to manifest itself in the Know-Nothing Party. We all agree—don't we?—that the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 was a landmark event for tolerance and inclusiveness and all that. Only a bigot would suggest that the church puts its believers into a quandary of dual loyalty.


Oh heck, count me in. Sheltering this man is unacceptable.

But I’m not Catholic. So I have no say.

In the rest Hitchens argues the Church is actually working “to thwart or bend the law in a secular democracy.”

It’s also an interesting read.  Check it out too.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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