Friday, September 25, 2015

Speaking Lies to Power

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Daniel 3: King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”

12 “…there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”

13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”


Psalm 52:3 You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.

The Pope gave a speech to a joint session of the US congress.  It is worth examining the lies of commission and the lies of omission.  I will not comment on his statements that are contrary to the NAP – or even violations to the US Constitution; this post will already be long enough without having to comment on virtually every line of the speech.  For clarification, the Pope’s words will be in italics.

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

He isn’t able to get beyond the opening sentence.  What “home of the brave”? 

The US military will drastically increase drone flights over the next four years, in a bid to boost intelligence and strike capabilities across a growing number of conflict zones, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Not very brave, murdering thousands from the comfort of an air-conditioned office.

You [congress] are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics….Legislative activity is always based on care for the people.

There was a time when this “care for the people” was the function of the Church body.  Never did Peter – the rock on whom the Church is built, and from whom the Pope derives his authority – or Paul call for the Roman government to shepherd and guide the faithful.

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation.

It was God who gave the Law, not Moses.  Moses was a messenger.  Likewise, Congress cannot give or create law.  (I need not explain that I do not expect all people live under Mosaic or God’s Law; the NAP is enough, given its broad applicability.)

On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being.

The Pope is saying flatly that, like Moses, Congress leads us directly to God.

This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”.

The “guardian of liberty”?  Tom DiLorenzo already covered this monstrosity.

Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion.

Well, that much is true.  Does he point to the US, a supposedly Christian nation, as perhaps the prime example?  No.

To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

I can offer a few hundred examples, but one should suffice:

Most of the world may be horrified at the selection of Saudi Arabia to head a key U.N. human rights panel, but the U.S. State Department most certainly is not.

Returning to the Pope:

The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States.

I can offer a few hundred examples, but one should suffice:

For most of the recent past, U.S. forces and forces armed and trained by the United States have regularly and violently intervened in the affairs of Latin American countries, establishing brutal autocracies to prevent the expansion of Communism.

You would think someone from Argentina would be familiar with this Latin American history.

Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.

In the early Church, as described in the Book of Acts, this was not a matter of “politics” as the word is understood today; it was solely the responsibility of the Body of Christ.  It was not a question for the Romans to answer by force; it was a question for a voluntary Church community.

We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.

An exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from social, political, and civic life.

Returning to the speech:

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom….Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected….Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.

How about judging the past by the criteria of Jesus’ teaching?

Next, the refugees in Europe:

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.

So far, so good.  Where is the punch line?

There is no punch line.  The Pope says nothing to the US Congress about the American fingerprints that are behind this refugee crisis.

The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

He calls, properly, for abolition of the death penalty – 1400 executions since 1976, not more than 50 per year for the last ten years. 

But does he mention abortion? 

A total of 730,322 abortions were reported to Centers for Disease Control for 2011, the most recent year numbers are available. (Reporting is voluntary and not 100%.)

No, he doesn’t.  Less than fifty demand attention, more than 700,000 not mentioned. 

“We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” (Laudato Si’, 129).

Not a word on 700,000 actual deaths per year today, but plenty of time to present his concerns for the unknowable future based on unproven (and even falsified) science.  God must have convinced him of this certainty; not all scientists are convinced:

This is a list of scientists who have made statements that conflict with the scientific consensus on global warming as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and endorsed by other scientific bodies.

The Pope moves on to the military-industrial complex:

Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.

Does he condemn directly the world’s largest exporter of “deadly weapons”?  No.

Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

Does he mention at all the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage?  No.

God bless America!

Assuming God hasn’t thrown in the towel on this one, perhaps next time He will send a better messenger.


The Pope has an international voice – his office carries weight.  He could have taken a lesson from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who offer a prime example of speaking truth to tyrannical power, regardless of consequence.  Instead, he said not one word of justly deserved condemnation (other than condemning anything associated with the free market).  Throughout his speech, he avoided speaking the truth, or avoided to speak it plainly.

King Nebuchadnezzar did not need to read between the lines to understand Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  The three of them offered a clear example of speaking truth to power, openly and directly. 

The Pope, instead, took his lessons elsewhere; he took the poor example of Peter – too afraid to speak the truth:

Mark 14:29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”

30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”  31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.

66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.  “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.  68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.

69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it.  After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”  71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

We can only pray that one day soon this Pope will also break down and weep in recognition of and repentance for the damage he is causing.


  1. Matthew 7:4
    How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?"

    American social conservatism/protestant christianity is nothing but a claptrap of baal worship, exalting american exceptionalism and the organs of military and state to the right hand of god himself.

    The Catholic mix of church and state(the state is an instrument of god's justice) is like 1500 years old. Modern social justice theory is like 150 years old and comes straight from the catholic church.

    Need to go back and the old french liberals like Bastiat. The clash was laissez faire vs catholic dirigisme.

    The pope addressing congress is like old looting/plunder fraternizing with nouveau looting...


    1. Sure
      This criticism of Christianity is fiund, and stated better, in Machiavelli
      The Enlightenment was full of this
      And modern social theory is not a product of the Catholic Church, not even of Luther, Calving or Wesely

    2. i wrote "modern social justice theory," not "modern social theory." The former is a derivative from catholicism, the latter is much too generic a term to even make a statement about derivation.


    3. Of you have read Rothbard, see his letters in Rothbard v the Philosophers, then modern social justice theory or whatever comes from such as Rousseau not the Church. He even agrees with Leo Strauss on this

  2. Interesting
    You wrote, that God, not Moses, gave the law, that Moses was His messenger
    Half right
    You wrote that Congress cannot give or make law and again Half right
    And that there's no need to follow Mosaic law as the NAP is enough
    Half right
    Moses administered the law, with further additions to the first Commandments enforced by Moses, Aarons Joshua and etc. Messengers do not necessarily administer through law

    If you mean by law the Constitution, then strictly speaking Congress, by itself cannot give or make law. However, the Constitution can be altered by the People through the Amending process or abolished by revolution, assuming God is or is not in there somewhere. He's not giving law as in the days of Moses or Jesus
    The NAP is not enough, either for God or Jesus
    There's the Commandments concerning offenses against God's namenot to worship other gods, and the Sabbath, hardly any part of the NAP, which is about relations with humans. And Christ's command to give up your life, liberty and property to follow Him, to faith in Him, is far beyond any NAP, indeed, giving the tithe owed to God is looked upon by many Christian and non Christian libertarians as theft, indeed, as they think their prosperity has little to do with God, so they owe Him nothing, well, except the occasional church visit or donation of spare change. if it weren't for that pesky book of Galations.
    Now if you want to expand the NAP to include aggression against God, OK, until the libertarian atheists and agnostics step in

  3. One last comment
    As the Commandments, be they Old Testament or New are NOT voluntary, so also is the NAP
    There is no "salvation through grace" under aby Earthly system, thus as we cannot perfectly obey the Law, as Christians we rely on Grace. But the NAP is a kind of law, and if we fail, in cases, to obey it, are we just weak sinners or monsters or are those who flaunt the NAP equal to those who try but fail to live by it??

  4. The Pope is simply giving up to Caesar what is Caesar's literally as opposed to the very ambiguous way Jesus put it
    Thats the whole problem with Chriatinality its....fluidity for example in a Tom woods podcast his guest says there was no way, in the early days,you could be a christain and in the imperial roman army but but by the time the emperor was a Christain that whole subject was simply dropped from discussion by the church fathers ( i guess cos people with golden metal hat with many jewel backed bup by large men with very sharp swords aren't open to religious discussion)

    1. Fluidity
      Interesting word or concept
      The problem with Christianity is who or what it is, Paul had to correct churches. "Who hath bewitched you. Galatians?", and the battles over the Bible, to name just two. Yes. Christianity isn't like the old days. with it being influenced by Aristotle and the Enlighten. To name just two. It's the old story of those who came later. and whether they would want to obey the original interpretation or move to something new or better.
      And fluidity as such has nothing to do with this as the new concepts are not fluid forces or non human forces but made by the greater and lesser Christians. Fluidity did not have Aquinas write.nor would we have to invent him. He stands as an innovator of the Christian tradition, if there be one. And what is Tradition. the grocery store that has on its wall "open since 1970" or what?

  5. It's funny how the media works. The Pope is not to be listened to on matters of abortion or morals, but any papal advocacy of socialism comes from God himself.

    1. The pope makes the media's job easy when he doesn't at all talk about abortion or morals, but only on aspects of socialism.

    2. I would be careful with slinging the barbs about say socialism as many of the Catholic Father's did engage in what night be looked at as socialism. Francis of Assisi, anyone? As to other aspects, well there's plenty of controversy among what is called Christianity, Luther and Calvin, anyone? to focus on one or a few gaffes of the Pope. the battles over ecumenicalism, perhaps?
      Is the Pope a careful author, or did he really miss it, or is there something else? A careful read of the Canon gives ambivalent answers to the question of an Absolute Ban of abortion as also to capital punishment, just war theory and the like as nothing is so straightforward.
      Plato once remarked that anyone who reads a literary work of art, say the Bible or the Condtitution, as if it were some low level manual, is a simpleton, and that's why the Church Father's and the Constitutional scholars do battle over the words and concepts, so we have Aquinas here and Luther there, Madison here and Spooner there, von Mises here and Strauss there. Who is more right than wrong, indeed, can both be right, I don't know, but I am not going to y he hilltop proclaiming the Truth according to Charles Taze Russell

  6. Wait? What? Americans ought to see a monarch addressing Congress as a quaint throwback to the olden days so too with the Pope addressing matters that would have made more sense 500 years ago. The Pope's a religious leader? How quaint but we modern folks don't base the foundations of society on religious dogma but on rule of law.

  7. If there was a Pope who endorsed free market capitalism and the politics of libertarianism, we would see a thousand times more blogs saying that the Pope was causing great damage.
    Let us look at the reality. The Pope is a politician. All politicians are populists. The problem is not that the Pope is endorsing socialism, but that many catholics already endorsed socialism decades before this event. Bergoglio is only saying what he would have liked to hear from the Pope sixty years ago.
    The damage is already done. Don't act as if this man was introducing any new corruption. People want corruption.

    1. Where do you read that I suggest anything he said was "new corruption"? Christian leaders ignoring the Bible - there is nothing new in that. Christian leaders making common cause with kings and presidents - nothing new in that either.

      Are you suggesting it is better to ignore what he says? That is your choice.