Pages

Friday, March 2, 2012

What is persecution?

A few responses to my post about picking the Church over the world have shown that there is some confusion over what it is that the Church is claiming regarding the HHS mandate.  Three errors seem to be at the forefront.  One is that the Church is not undergoing "real" persecution because compared to other countries, the HHS mandate is a minor issue.  Two is that it isn't really persecution because the Church, blessed by God, has the ability to fight back on some fronts.  The third is that the Church is claiming the status of a victim.  We will deal with all three.

The notion that the abuse must reach a certain level before the object of abuse can claim persecution is on the face of it absurd.  If someone were to insult me or worse, assault me for my faith, this is persecution plain and simple.  I am being subject to evil for the sake of my faith, and someone is inflicting evil on me for the sake of my faith.

Now of course the insults for the sake of my faith are relatively minor compared to my brothers in the Faith who suffer in places like China and in Islamic countries.  It should be obvious to anyone that there is a level of persecution depending on the circumstances.

At the same time though this does not make the evil of persecution "not evil" or "ignorable" simply because other Christians have it worse.  Evil is evil.  And evil only begets more evil.  When we do evil or allow evil we allow it to corrupt everything else it touches.  And when we ignore it it will only grow, and we will have to make more excuses in order to continue ignoring it.

To say that it isn't "real" persecution simply because it is minor is a bit like the abusive husband saying to his wife, "Hey, at least you aren't married to Joe.  He wails on his wife.  I just slap you around a bit."

To the second that since the Church can fight back it is not persecution is just as absurd.  That the abused wife can punch the abusive husband does not mean that the husband is not abusive.  Abusiveness does not become less evil simply because the object has power.  Again, evil is evil.

Third, there seems to be this notion that since the Catholic Church is stating rightly that this HHS mandate is persecution that we are claiming the status of victim.  We are not.  We are not powerless. For the Church to claim such would be to deny the power of God, through Whom all authority derives.

But likewise this does not mean that the state does not persecute us.  The fact we can fight back means that we are being fought.  And like all tyrants the Obama administration is attempting to usurp authority that does not belong to him.  Ultimately he and those who follow him will fail.  That doesn't mean that he won't try.  And that his attempt to do so is evil.

No the Church is not a victim.  Nor are we claiming such.  We will prevail.  We will succeed.  The question is how much will we have to sacrifice.  God willing, the lawsuits currently filed will prevail and overturn this evil and unconstitutional mandate.  I'm not convinced the country will survive the persecution of the Church.

31 comments:

Joachim said...

This is a bigger conversation, but in my opinion, no, Christians in America are not subject to persecution. Christians in America are far too powerful to count as a persecuted group.

But you seem to know we're pretty powerful, and still want to say we're persecuted. That's what this post is all about, right? It's about how we're right to say we're being persecuted even though we're powerful. We can and must throw the old one-two back at Obama the Tyrant, hit him for hitting us, and most importantly win the fight. And how will we win the fight? Well, partly by claiming to be persecuted. Everybody in this country knows it's bad to persecute religious groups (and we know it's especially bad to persecute the Catholic Church), so we'll file lawsuits and claim that's what's happening, and we'll win.

In other words, claiming persecution becomes the powerful tool of a powerful group.

It seems obvious to me that this isn't a particularly Christian way of thinking about persecution. Bless those who persecute you—bless, and do not curse. And for God's sake, do not claim persecution as a way of cursing your persecutors.

Trace said...

*nodding in agreement with Joachim*

CatholicGuy said...

Joachim spends many words missing the point.

Yes we are persecuted. Is it relativly minor compared to those in Islamic countries? Sure. Turing the other check doesn't mean roll over and play dead.

We win through prayer and the witness of the saints. You are seeing this will political eyes only.

And yet you didn't offer a reason why this violation of our conscience isn't persecution.

Sure we bless our enemies. That doesn't mean we simply take it. We stand for the truth.. Christianity is not a religion of weenies. Real charity fights.

Joachim said...

In a strict sense, I agree that any time a group is forced to violate their conscience, they are persecuted. I admit I have some questions about whether the HHS mandate, especially after the compromise, is really a violation of conscience--but I don't want to start that argument here, because it's too big. And I have some questions about whether it's more broadly right to use the language of persecution when we're talking about one of the largest and most powerful voting blocs in the country.

But I didn't give reasons for those, because I didn't want to start a big conversation about them.

My problem (and it's a theological problem for me) is with using persecution as a kind of weapon, as part of a power-play against our so-called persecutors. That seems to me to be responding to persecution in a way directly opposed to the way Jesus and Paul recommend.

That doesn't mean "playing dead," or "being a weenie," I agree. But maybe you could tell me: what does turning the other cheek mean in this context? It sounds to me like it has no political meaning at all for you--"real charity fights," it doesn't turn the other cheek. Right?

CatholicGuy said...

"In a strict sense, I agree that any time a group is forced to violate their conscience, they are persecuted."

So if it is persecution why not call it that?

"But I didn't give reasons for those, because I didn't want to start a big conversation about them."

So why post the rejection at all? If you have no interest in defending your rejection why should anyone bother listening?

"My problem (and it's a theological problem for me) is with using persecution as a kind of weapon, as part of a power-play against our so-called persecutors."

If they are persecuting then they are persecutors. Plain and simple. Hiding it because it would be politically incorrect is not an answer.

"That seems to me to be responding to persecution in a way directly opposed to the way Jesus and Paul recommend."

Jesus called the authorities of the day hypocrites and whipped the money changers out of the temple. He didn't mince words. He told the truth because he is the Truth.

"But maybe you could tell me: what does turning the other cheek mean in this context?"

I submit that you misunderstand "turning the other cheek." It means we do not return evil for evil. We do not attempt to persecute them back, nor are we advocating evil in any sense.

But this doesn't mean we simply give up or go silent. We have the responsibility to speak the truth and to use moral means to influence society toward the Light. This is truly what is meant by turning the other cheek.

Joachim said...

Listen, I understand that you get attacked a lot from straightforwardly anti-religious viewpoints on this blog. And that you're trying hard to defend the truth as you see it. But you're, like, a really terrible conversation partner. I'm trying explain, as a fellow Christian, why I think there might be a problem in talking about our relation to the broader culture in terms of "fights" and "winning"; I'm trying to work through, and get you to work through, how hard some Jesus's commands are to follow in the real world. And you, in response, seem not only to see absolutely nothing of value in what I say, but you only spit back really condescending clichés. We can't just be "politically correct," we have to share the truth, we can't "simply give up or be silent." Do you really think I disagree on those things (or that anyone does)? We disagree about what those words mean.

Maybe I started too combatively. If so, I apologize. Let me state this in more impersonal terms.

I find it really frustrating when Christians ignore or deny how much power we have in this country. I don't think Christianity is about power, I don't think it's about fighting, I don't think it's about winning. I think a Christianity framed in those terms is a far cry from the spirit of Jesus. Was Jesus sharply critical of others? Absolutely. Let me be clear here: I do not think the right response is to roll over, play the political correctness game, or mince word.I disagree that Obama deserves the censure in this case, not that it's wrong to speak directly about his mistakes. But even in cases where he deserves the censure, I would argue it's not the Christian spirit to try to beat them. Christianity isn't about setting up a Christian world order, or even a Christian American order. (The Middle Ages got this wrong.) Christianity is about a life of fidelity to the way of the cross.

As to your definition of 'turn the other cheek,' I think it's too weak. If it just means don't be evil, that's something even the Gentiles do. I think 'turn the other cheek' means, in part, don't try to win the fight. Find a way to stop the fight without "winning" it, because by "winning" you only keep the fight going, you only try to lord it over the others like they're lording it over you.

CatholicGuy said...

"I'm trying explain, as a fellow Christian, why I think there might be a problem in talking about our relation to the broader culture in terms of "fights" and "winning";"

Strictly speaking, all you did was assert that I was wrong. You did not "explain" or defend anything. That's why I dismissed your initial comments.

"We can't just be "politically correct," we have to share the truth, we can't "simply give up or be silent." Do you really think I disagree on those things (or that anyone does)?"

Actually I JUST got raked over hot coals in another post (which I had to remove as it got way too personal) over this issue. That I was rocking the boat per se.

"Maybe I started too combatively. If so, I apologize. Let me state this in more impersonal terms."

Accepted. I"m not trying to be hostile. But if you want to dispute my claims you will have to attempt to justify that dispute.

"I find it really frustrating when Christians ignore or deny how much power we have in this country."

I did neither. But I do not put my trust in such power either.

"I don't think Christianity is about power, I don't think it's about fighting, I don't think it's about winning."

'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.' 2 Timothy 4:7. Clearly Paul thinks there is a fight.

"I think a Christianity framed in those terms is a far cry from the spirit of Jesus."

Jesus conquered death itself. And won us salvation on the cross.

".I disagree that Obama deserves the censure in this case"

Why?

"Christianity isn't about setting up a Christian world order, or even a Christian American order. (The Middle Ages got this wrong.)"

I dispute both your stated view of the Middle Ages AND your characterization of my view (i.e. an attempt to create a Christian world order). I want the law to conform to the Truth. Anything less is injustice.

"Christianity is about a life of fidelity to the way of the cross."

Which includes living that life in public and working toward a just society. If I understand you correctly you are setting up a false dichotomy.

"As to your definition of 'turn the other cheek,' I think it's too weak. If it just means don't be evil, that's something even the Gentiles do."

Actually they don't. Eye for an eye and all. Turn the other cheek introduced a new concept. Mercy. Even when suffering evil we do not return evil in kind.

"I think 'turn the other cheek' means, in part, don't try to win the fight."

Are you capable of defending this assertion?

"Find a way to stop the fight without "winning" it, because by "winning" you only keep the fight going, you only try to lord it over the others like they're lording it over you."

Again a false dichotomy. That resistance means that I MUST want to do what they do to me. This is not logical.

Joachim said...

You say I'm setting up false dichotomies, I say you're not making the necessary distinctions. Paul especially sometimes casts the Christian life in terms of a battle, yes. Christians have often (and legitimately) described Christ's life as a battle. But what kind of battle? Not, I submit, the kind that aims at a political system based on Catholic principles. We're not in a battle with Caesar hoping that Caesar will act more like a Christian (or that a better Christian will become the new Caesar). I think that's what you're trying to do, at least in part. It's not all you're trying to do, I recognize that, but it's part of your goal. Christianity (maybe Catholicism in particular) needs to win, so the government will come more nearly into line with (Catholic) Truth.

Re. turning the other cheek. I think this is a straightforward reading of Mt 5:38ff. You have heard it said, beat (hate) your enemy or get even with your enemy (eye for an eye); I say don't resist, let the enemy "win" (take your cloak, go the second mile, etc.). Letting your enemy "win" by doing real, concrete good in return for evil, by "blessing" your enemy, is to win in the true sense: it's to act towards evil the way God acts towards evil (sending rain on the just and unjust).

And fine, since you really want to talk about the HHS mandate: I think the compromise takes away any claim to this being religious persecution. No longer are Catholic organizations required to pay for something they believe to be immoral. Most Americans disagree with Catholics that birth control is immoral, and so Catholics (themselves respecting the freedom of other people's conscience) shouldn't try to make it impossible for their employees to get birth control easily. If it's a question of religious freedom, the Catholic bishops should be saying: don't make us do what we think is wrong, and we won't keep other people from doing what they think is right. But the bishops have instead been saying: nobody should do what we think is wrong. Which means it's less of a persecution issue at this point than it is a "Truth" issue. The substantive conversation about the good and evil of birth control is a good one to have, but it shouldn't happen under the cloak of a religious persecution issue. In that case (as I started out trying to say) religious persecution becomes a rhetorical or legal tool for achieving a different goal: not freedom of conscience, but the limited availability of birth control.

Joachim said...

Also, it's bad form to dismiss me as not making an argument--not explaining or justifying anything. Of course I am. It's really annoying when conversation partners try to pretend that they're the only one saying anything rational.

In my first comment, I say it seems to me you're using persecution as a rhetorical tool in a fight to defeat Obama politically, and that such a use of persecution seems to me to contradict the way Jesus and Paul tell us to respond to persecution.

In my second comment, I restate the first point and say I agree with you that "turning the other cheek" doesn't mean "playing dead." But I also say it that you seem like you're dodging the command completely, and I ask you to explain how you think it applies.

In my third comment, I say I don't think Christianity is about winning the political fight, and that you're treating "turn the other cheek" too lightly. I lay out in brief (no briefer than your explanation) that I think "turn the other cheek" means "don't try to beat your opponents at their own game."

In my last comment, I make several points: I say that when Paul talks about "the good fight" he does not mean a political fight (and that you, at least partly, do), I say that my understanding of "turn the other cheek" is closer to Jesus's words than yours, and I explain my basic position on why the HHS mandate does not constitute (or no longer constitutes) an offense against religious freedom.

One can sometimes win an argument by insisting that the other side never even made a point, but it's a terrible way to have a conversation.

CatholicGuy said...

"We're not in a battle with Caesar hoping that Caesar will act more like a Christian (or that a better Christian will become the new Caesar)."

Sure we are. The world does its best to force Christians to abandon the Faith. We must resist this in all its forms.

"Christianity (maybe Catholicism in particular) needs to win, so the government will come more nearly into line with (Catholic) Truth."

A society that does not conform to the Truth (at the very least in the Natural Law sense) will quickly dissolve. Why not allow murder for example? Are we not imposing our morality on the would be murderer by not allowing him to fulfill his impulses?

"You have heard it said, beat (hate) your enemy or get even with your enemy (eye for an eye); I say don't resist"

He most certainly does not say that. You are committing esegesis, the imputing of a meaning into Scripture.

" No longer are Catholic organizations required to pay for something they believe to be immoral."

This is wrong on three levels. One, several Catholic institutions self-insure. So our plans will be forced to cover immoral procedures and uses of drugs.

Second, those who do not will still have to pay premiums to cover the plans that have such procedures.

Finally the compromise has no legal status. The original mandate is now in force, pre-compromise.

" But the bishops have instead been saying: nobody should do what we think is wrong."

Baloney. We are saying "don't force us to pay for your immorality." You want to corrupt your soul? Do it on your own dime.

"Also, it's bad form to dismiss me as not making an argument"

You weren't you started out with blind assertions, and using those assertions accused me of trying to make a political power play. It was quite cynical honestly.

Yet still you assert things (like the meaning of the scripture text) without recourse to any form of textual analysis. This is not arguing. This is simply asserting. My charge is accurate.

Joachim said...

Are you kidding me with this? Let me show you an example of "simply asserting" instead of making an argument.

My summary point: We're not in a battle with Caesar hoping that Caesar will act more like a Christian (or that a better Christian will become the new Caesar).

Your full response: Sure we are. The world does its best to force Christians to abandon the Faith. We must resist this in all its forms.

Good God.

CatholicGuy said...

"My summary point: We're not in a battle with Caesar hoping that Caesar will act more like a Christian (or that a better Christian will become the new Caesar).

Your full response: Sure we are. The world does its best to force Christians to abandon the Faith. We must resist this in all its forms."

Do you disagree that the world does this?

My counter assumes that you agree with the above statement, if you do not then I apologize. But most of Christianity that I know of agrees that the world seeks to lure us away from Christ.

Your tone continues to be intemperate. I going to have to ask you to tone it down or take a hike. YOU rode in here and accused me of a political power play.

Joachim said...

Ok, leaving aside the pointless point about whether either of us are actually making points...

* Yes, I agree that "the world" works against faith. That has little to do, however, with my point: that the "battle" we're waging is not trying to make Caesar more Christian, or elevate a better Christian to Caesar's position. A brief syllogism: (1) According to Paul, Christ triumphed over the powers. (2) The cross didn't actually dethrone Caesar, or make Caesar act more like a Christian. (3) Therefore what it meant for Christ to win the "battle" with Caesar was not to dethrone Caesar or to make Caesar more Christian. (That doesn't say what it does mean to win the battle with Caesar, but it rules out 'political' victory.)

* As to the Sermon on the Mount, where exactly do you see me eisegeting anything? The only word I introduced was "beat"; the rest was almost a direct quote from Jesus. And "beat" seems to me a fair paraphrase, if obviously loose and colloquial, to describe the examples Jesus gives: don't try to "beat" your opponent in a fight, don't try to "beat" your opponent in court, etc. Instead, stop the fight in its tracks, or do something good for them. Seriously, isn't that the straightforward reading of that passage?

Joachim said...

Oops, point (1) in my syllogism is supposed to say: "According to Paul, Christ triumphed over the powers by the cross."

CatholicGuy said...

" (1) According to Paul, Christ triumphed over the powers by the cross. (2) The cross didn't actually dethrone Caesar, or make Caesar act more like a Christian. (3) Therefore what it meant for Christ to win the "battle" with Caesar was not to dethrone Caesar or to make Caesar more Christian."

Non sequitur.

"or make Caesar act more like a Christian"

This isn't true. The Roman Empire converted to Christianity under Constantine. Clearly the power of the cross conquered the persecution of the Empire (at least for a time). Afterward Christian Europe arose to fill the void by the collapse.

As stated in my post, Caesar does have legitimate authority. But that authority is limited to the temporal. Caesar, in this case Obama, is attempting to redefine morality via state force. Thus it is only right to resist him.

Does the teaching of Christ not have political ramifications? Yes or no? To resist evil politically through moral means is a legitimate calling of the Gospel. There could be no such thing as a Christian statesman otherwise.

This is the false dichotomy in your argument. By extending your principles we could argue that a Christian should have NO influence on the state. Which is absurd.

" The only word I introduced was "beat"; the rest was almost a direct quote from Jesus."

Almost the same and inserting a word changes the meaning drastically. Luther inserted "alone" in "faith alone" and fundamentally changed the meaning of the text in Romans.

The Catholic Church teaches that this saying must be understood in its legitimate context.

2261 Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: "Do not slay the innocent and the righteous."61 The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere.

2262 In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, "You shall not kill,"62 and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred, and vengeance. Going further, Christ asks his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies.63 He did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath.64

Legitimate defense

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65

Legitimate defense is not then denounced by this teaching. The teaching is that we are not allowed to hate our enemies, but that we cannot return evil for evil.

So in this instance the "turn the other cheek" doesn't even apply.

CatholicGuy said...

Source for previous citation of the CCC
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm

Joachim said...

Talk about a non sequitur... I almost completely agree with all the Catechism passages you cite.

And yes, I think the gospel has political ramifications. I think one of those ramifications is that we return good for evil (as, again, Jesus directly commands--and of course it applies, if you think Obama is an enemy), and another is that we don't use a persecution claim as a way to achieve a political victory. Our whole disagreement is about what the political ramifications of the gospel are.

Would it fix my non sequitur if I said: "(3) Therefore what Paul meant by Christ winning the "battle" with Caesar was not to dethrone Caesar or to make Caesar more Christian"? I have no idea where you think non sequitur is.

CatholicGuy said...

"and another is that we don't use a persecution claim as a way to achieve a political victory."

But he is persecuting. Persecution is wrong. He should stop it.

I don't want to ruin Obama. I want him to stop the persecution. And political means are a valid way of doing that. This is not a violation of Catholic Teaching.

"Would it fix my non sequitur if I said: "(3) Therefore what Paul meant by Christ winning the "battle" with Caesar was not to dethrone Caesar or to make Caesar more Christian"?"

On second glance it is not that it is a non sequitur (my apologies) but that the conclusion is not relevant to the discussion. You are claiming that we are not to use political influence in this matter, but that is not supported by this argument.

The point of the Catechism citation is that Jesus' words need to be understood in their proper context. Which is why I stated that you are using "turn the other cheek" in an inappropriate manner.

Joachim said...

I think we might have reached the end of the persecution conversation, because we're arguing along such different lines. I've said that I don't think the HHS mandate is a violation of conscience after the compromise; but I agree with you that violations of conscience are bad, and we should work to stop them. (Again, I'm not pursuing the matter-of-fact conversation about what the mandate really does, how much the compromise matters, etc., not because I don't think it's important or because I can't defend myself, but because it's too big, and we already have too many conversations going.) My whole argument has taken place on a different plane: even if it's a real case of persecution, it seems to me that the bishops are after a bigger goal than religious freedom, and it seems to me that it's wrong to use the persecution-claim as a way to further that goal. I've said all this, we disagree, and I don't think we'll get much further on it.

I would be interested in talking more about the meaning and importance of Matthew 5. If you have it in you for a full post on that, I'll respond in earnest.

As for my syllogism, I think it is very relevant to the discussion. One of your arguments, in response to my position that Christianity wasn't about fighting political battles and winning, was that Paul framed Christ's life and the Christian life in terms of a battle. My syllogism says: yes, a battle, but not a political one.

That said, I'll grant you that one little syllogism doesn't demonstrate the whole of my argument. (It would be kind of a pathetic argument if it did, right?) I think of it as laying the groundwork: here's what Christ's fight was not about. Maybe I'll have time to add another syllogism about what it was, or how the fight of Christians relates to the fight of Christ.

CatholicGuy said...

" I've said that I don't think the HHS mandate is a violation of conscience after the compromise"

And for the record I offered several reasons why you were incorrect, specifically about self-insuring Catholic institutions. You have yet to address those points.

"One of your arguments, in response to my position that Christianity wasn't about fighting political battles and winning, was that Paul framed Christ's life and the Christian life in terms of a battle. My syllogism says: yes, a battle, but not a political one."

Nor have I claimed that it is purely political. In fact my whole argument rests on the principle of religious freedom, ultimately a philosophical and moral issue. And that the law is attempting to take that away. This in turn should be resisted.

Our first calling as Christians is to preach the Truth in all things. To do less is to violate that calling.

This also means that we use whatever tools are at our disposal (morally speaking). "Wise as serpents and innocent as doves." St. Paul used his citizenship on numerous occasions, most prominently appealing to Caesar.

The use of current political rights to further the moral law is not in opposition to the call of Christ. They are the actual true purpose of those rights.

Joachim said...

You're still not listening to the points I'm actually making.

For one thing, I explicitly said (two or three or four times now) that I don't want to go further on the specifics of the HHS mandate, because it's too unwieldy a question for the moment. I know you offered arguments, I decided not to pursue it. I'm still not pursuing it.

For another thing, I've explicitly recognized that I understand you don't think the fight is purely political, but you think part of our calling as Christians is to establish some kind of Christian influence over the government. I disagree. The syllogism I offered was part of an argument about why I disagree: because the "battle" that defines the Christian life, the battle of Christ himself against the powers, was "won" without overtly political consequences. My only point in the last comment was that the syllogism is relevant to the discussion, which you had said it wasn't.

Let me spell out another part of my position that I've left implicit so far. I agree that we should resist encroachment on religious freedom--on anyone's religious freedom, not just our own. I think part of my responsibility as a citizen of the United States is to do my bit to protect religious freedoms, and speak up when I think my own are being violated. I think that's part of my responsibility as a Christian, too, insofar as it's my responsibility as a Christian to "seek the peace of the city where I live." But I don't think that the government has any moral obligation to listen to Christians in particular, and I don't think it's my obligation as a Christian to convince the government to be more like Christians.

Before you yell at me that I haven't "argued" but only "asserted" my position, I only say all that so you know where I'm coming from. To argue all of it would take more than a comment box.

My half-hearted effort at an argument (I really am tired of this by now) is only another form of my earlier syllogism. (1) Jesus was committed to speaking the truth. (2) Jesus was not committed to convincing Caesar to be a better Christian, or to convincing Christians to take on public office. [Constantine is not a counterpoint here; that's hundred of years away.] (3) Therefore Jesus was committed to speaking the truth without being committed to 'convert' the political establishment. (4) Therefore it is possible to be committed to speaking the truth without being committed to converting the political establishment.

I know it would take another syllogism to say that what Jesus did is relevant to our own situation, despite the political differences. But I just wanted to show that "we're committed to speaking the truth" is not on its own a confirmation of your position. You very emphatically insist on arguments from me, but then assume that proof-texts and clichés (like "Christians must preach the truth") are, without argument, proof in your favor.

Joachim said...

And I've decided for real, now, not to pursue these conversations any further. We're coming from very different places, and without the temperance and humility that comes from friendship, a bit of privacy, and a few hours at a bar, I don't think either of us is going to convince the other of anything.

Peace.

CatholicGuy said...

"My only point in the last comment was that the syllogism is relevant to the discussion, which you had said it wasn't."

Ok. But it doesn't establish your point either. And since we both recognize that there is ambiguity on that point, it IS irrelevant to establishing definitively that my actions vis a vis the protesting the HHS mandate are inappropriate. That was all I was trying to point out.

"(1) Jesus was committed to speaking the truth."

Sure.

"(2) Jesus was not committed to convincing Caesar to be a better Christian, or to convincing Christians to take on public office. [Constantine is not a counterpoint here; that's hundred of years away.]"

Not so. He would have the whole world converted to Himself.

(3) Therefore Jesus was committed to speaking the truth without being committed to 'convert' the political establishment.

He is committed to the conversion of everyone. But He warned His followers not to put their trust in human power. Not the same thing.

(4) Therefore it is possible to be committed to speaking the truth without being committed to converting the political establishment.

Even granting your conclusion this is far different from your initial comments. You definitively stated that my position was contrary to the will of Christ. Now it appears to me that you are backing off of that to mere probabilities.

Honestly I'm not sure what your objection is anymore. It seems you yourself have abandoned the central objection to my post.

My summary is this: If the HHS mandate IS forcing us to violate our conscience, which you dispute but refuse to counter my arguments, then it is persecution via your acknowledgement of violation of conscience = persecution.

If it is persecution, then it is the duty of a Christian to speak up (provided that prudence dictates it). The political fallout from that truth is, so long as again prudence dictates such, not our issue.

mcarlin said...

You idiot. He hasn't abandoned the central objection to your post. He just can't convince you of it, so he's gracefully backing off to try to find or convince you of some easier common ground.

You lord this gracious rhetorical compromise over him, as though his having the sense to moderate means you scored a bunch of points. You really are the worst.

CatholicGuy said...

If the name calling isn't enough of an indication that your comment has no content, then the fact that we have gone from "definitive" to "possible" should be.

Oddly, I have not been the one calling names, yet I'm considered "the worst."

Not exactly Christian, or even civil.

CatholicGuy said...

A better way to phrase such a comment:

"I do not think he is conceding ground, but rather attempting to pull the conversation back to more common ground."

To which I would reply:

"I did not get this sense from his comments, but that does makes sense. I would point out that since we hold the common ground it is still up to him to defend the claim that I definitively am at odds with Christ's words."

CatholicGuy said...

And as I stated "it seems" that he had abandoned the central objection. I was open to correction on the matter, which is why I couched it in such terms.

My comment reflected my confusion wrt his argument and its relevance to his main objection.

mcarlin said...

Fair enough, I can read your comments as having a neutral tone and making that observation.

CatholicGuy said...

You owe me an apology yet again, mcarlin.

mcarlin said...

I really don't.

CatholicGuy said...

Unsubstantiated accusations AND insults don't require an apology? Hrm.