Monthly Archives: January 2014

Killing is Sexy

Opening shot: a cathedral. A woman in red pumps stands in front of it, her feet shoulder width apart. Only her legs and red pumps can be seen. She struts past a car decorated with “Just Married!” in a tight red dress. She pauses again in front of the church and makes the sign of the cross. Inside, she struts down the aisle. As the priest is about to pronounce the bride and groom man and wife, the mysterious woman in red shoots the bride point blank in the chest. Blood splatters the groom. The wedding crasher runs out. People shoot at her but she gets away, leaving her red high heels behind. A car chase ensues.

killerwomenabc111Let me guess: She’s not really a bad guy. She’s a devout Catholic who is part of an elite group of law enforcement agents, just doing what she has to do. That bride was a really bad person. Someone has to do the dirty work, etc. We can do everything men can do! Yay. Like, Girl Power and stuff.

Adrenaline Junkies

The story of Gabriel Brown, former decorated soldier turned Blackwater employee turned armed robber, is sad indeed. He blamed his military “service” (he killed people whom he believed posed no real threat to him because he was ordered to) on his downward spiral in life, leading to drug use, adultery, gambling, debt, an addiction to adrenaline, and a feeling of shame, of being lost and feeling suicidal.

Hillsborough County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office

Hillsborough County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office

The Tampa Florida Tribune reports: “I was ordered to kill the man even though to me it seemed as if he was just ordinary guy coming out of his house. It was a difficult moment in my career as a sniper because in my opinion he was not a threat. It is not easy to kill people, and if you have to kill someone who you suspect is innocent just because you are ordered to do so, it is even worse. I still have nightmares about the man that I killed.”

Why do Christians keep lauding this kind of “service” that does not produce the fruit of the Spirit but it’s exact opposite? If a form of service does not produce the fruit of the Spirit, how can we say that the one being served is God? Who, or what, are these soldiers really serving?

Galatians 5:13-23: “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

I am

Life, Babies, Mothers, Machine Guns

The annual March for Life is happening today in Washington D.C. Thinking about the issue of abortion and pro-life causes, these images come to mind. The first one is from a Time magazine article on breastfeeding called: “Are you mom enough?”

baby 2

baby 3

baby 1

 Pregnant Soldier moms

The only thing stranger than the conflation of militarism and Christianity is the conflation of militarism and motherhood, as if becoming a “defender” (read: taker) of life is only a natural extension of being a bearer and giver of life. We need only look at this image to see just how incongruous these two symbols really are.

mary with gun

I’m a bit at a loss for words on this one, so I’ll just include the “Mother’s Pledge to and Covenant with Every Other Mother,” which is applicable, I think, on this day when we think about the sanctity of life. I hope the pro-life movement will soon expand to embrace the protection of life both in the womb and out, both in America and outside its borders:

I will not raise my precious child to kill your precious child.
And if it is within my power, I will not hand over my beloved child
to another to kill your beloved child or to learn how to kill the one you cherish.

The “Mother’s Day Proclamation” by Julia Ward Howe was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States. Written in 1870, Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

by Julia Ward Howe

St. Anastasius XIV, Jan. 22

From Widow’s Weeds blog:

Chosroes II, King of Persia, had, in his sweep through Palestine, conquered the city of Jerusalem and, among other things, stolen the True Cross. Magundat, a soldier in the Persian army, was curious to know just what was so important about an old piece of wood that they must risk their lives to take it. Conquering a country is one thing. Looting and exacting tribute from the inhabitants is one thing, and actually rather enjoyable. But to put oneself in harm’s way for an old piece of wood? Where’s the sense in that?

His mind exercised by this problem, he did not stop until he had received enough information and instruction to cause him to convert to Christianity. He left the army, was baptized, taking his name Anastasius, and eventually became a monk in Jerusalem – the same place he and his friends had pillaged seven years before.

After seven years in the monastery, he found that it was again time for him to put himself in harm’s way for that same piece of wood. He went to Caesarea to visit the Holy Places and preach, but once there, he berated his countrymen for being such fools as to believe in magic and worship fire. This didn’t go over well. Christians were grudgingly accepted in the Persian empire (they had freedom of worship), as long as they confined themselves to their worship spaces and didn’t bring their religion into the public square. Anastasius  was arrested and put to heavy labor under horrible conditions to make him abjure his faith, and when that didn’t work, was sent back to Persia where seventy more Christians were awaiting death, and his tortures increased. This still did not make him turn, even with the added inducements of high government positions.

They even told him he could go back to the monastery and be a secret Christian, if only he would publicly renounce Christ. Not even these incentives could move Anastasius, and he was finally strangled to death and then decapitated. He died in 628.

St. Patroclus of Troyes, Jan. 21


The Martyr Patroclus lived during the third century under the emperor Aurelian (270-275). He was a native of the city of Tricassinum (now the city of Troyes in France) and led a pious Christian life: he loved to pray, to read the Holy Scriptures, to fast and to be charitable to the poor. For this the Lord bestowed upon him the gift of wonderworking.

The emperor Aurelian summoned St Patroclus to himself and commanded him to worship idols, promising for this great honors and riches. The saint disdained idol worship saying that the emperor himself was a beggar.

“How can you call me, the emperor, a beggar?” asked Aurelian. The saint answered: “You possess many earthly treasures, but you do not have heavenly treasures. Since you do not believe in Christ and in the future life, you shall not receive the blessedness of Paradise. Therefore, you are poor.”

Aurelian sentenced him to beheading by the sword. Soldiers led him to the banks of the River Sequanum (now the Seine), but suddenly their eyes were clouded, and St Patroclus at this time went across the river on the water and began to pray on a hill on the other shore. Coming to themselves, some of the soldiers were astounded at the disappearance of the martyr and they glorified God, but others attributed the miracle to magic.

A pagan woman pointed out to the soldiers that St Patroclus was on the other bank of the river. Crossing over there, the soldiers killed the martyr. His body was buried by night by the priest Eusebius and deacon Liberius.

St. Epiphanius of Pavia, Jan. 21

January 21 is the feast day of St. Epiphanius of Pavia, “the peacemaker.” Elected bishop of Pavia in 467, he rebuilt the city of Pavia after it was destroyed by Odoacer and was famed for his sanctity. He converted many by his words, he gave aid tot those stricken by the famine, and he made many missions to promote peace. He went to such varied rulers as Emperor Anthemius, Visigothic king Euric, Ostrogothic king Theodoric, and the Burgundian ruler Gondebald. His success in preventing strife won him the title of “The Peacemaker.”

Jim Douglass on MLK Assassination

“When I began to become acquainted with Dr. King’s assassination, which changed my life in many ways when it occurred, when I began to explore the details of his assassination and understood that he was killed by the United States government, then I began to ask questions, well, how does that relate to John Kennedy’s assassination or Robert Kennedy’s and then eventually Malcolm X as well, and I found the same patterns in all four of them but especially the same patterns in us, and I talk about myself personally and I’m talking about a collective reality, the way we see things in this country, and I began to realize there’s an extraordinary denial in us as a people when it come to dealing with a question of systemic evil within our system right here in much more profound ways than anybody on the Left, for example, is going to acknowledge any more than any of the rest of us are going to acknowledge. When it comes to the Central Intelligence Agency being engaged in assassinations abroad many people will acknowledge that. When it comes to them doing exactly the same thing in this country, that’s another thing. We don’t want to deal with that.” — Jim Douglass