Thursday, March 31, 2011

Catholicism and sanity

There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing.
Abp. Fulton J. Sheen

Last week, when I had that attack of writer’s block, my good friend Larry sent me an email reply. Here it is, in part:

… [Y]ou are attracting readership because you have strong spirit in your writing and you have passion for the subject matter. There is a lot going on in the world. “Scary wrath of God stuff”; maybe what your readers need is some comfort (perhaps a new perspective wouldn’t hurt you either). God is with us always; I am reminded of the poem “Footprints”. He carries us in our time of need. … Catholicism has been providing this confidence to parishioners for centuries. This is the one thing that sets it apart from other Christian ideals.

Larry does have a point. I did say, in reply, that there are two sides to the doctrinal coin; as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, God’s mercy is meaningless if we deny God’s justice. However, a steady diet of “scary wrath of God stuff” does tend to beat the joy out of anyone.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The presumption of sexual innocence

If you think re-translating the liturgy of the Mass is a problem, try re-translating the Bible.

Recently, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine issued a revised edition of the New American Bible (NABRE). I haven't picked it up yet; I do have a couple of copies of the NAB, though for most of my work here I use the Catholic edition of the Revised Standard Version (RSV-CE, which I usually abbreviate RSV).

Although there are plenty of minor changes—especially the much chuckled-over switch to "treasure" from "booty"—the one change that causes the most concern is the retranslation of almah in Isaiah 7:14 from "virgin" to "young woman". In this chapter, God speaks through Isaiah to Ahaz, the king of Judah, and tells him to ask for a sign. Ahaz refuses: "I will not tempt the Lord!". Then he turns to the people and says:

Listen, O house of David! It is not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the [almah] shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gender silliness and the intersexed—UPDATED

Over on, Babette Francis has a lightly ironic piece on the Australian Human Rights Commission’s discussion paper, “Protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sex and/or gender identity”. At the same time, Simcha Fisher has a rumination on boys and girls who, in this day and age of stereotype-free living, still insist on behaving like boys and girls.

The AHRC’s paper, which bemoans the poor discriminated-against transgendered and thus has plenty of recommendations for Aus to adopt, includes this definition of “gender”:

The phrase sex and/or gender identity is used in this paper as a broad term to refer to diverse sex and/or gender identities and expressions. It includes being transgender, trans, transsexual and intersex. It also includes being androgynous, agender, a cross dresser, a drag king, a drag queen, genderfluid, genderqueer, intergender, neutrois, pansexual, pan-gendered, a third gender, and a third sex. It also includes culturally specific terms, such as sistergirl and brotherboy, which are used by some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Francis quipped, “Being Indian by birth and having married an Australian of Anglo-Celtic origin, I am all for diversity, but I am not going to commit to ‘neutrois’ until someone tells me what it means.” But as a respondent, Zoe, informed us , “neutrois” is a word used to describe some who because of certain genetic conditions doesn’t completely fit into either male or female categories.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gonzaga's Catholic identity and the Monologues

Robert Swope, if you look his name up on, is doing alright.

Having served eight years as an officer in the Army Reserves—much of it active duty, and about half of that time in Iraq—he’s also worked with the State Department and with government contractors. His resume reads, “Extensive knowledge of stabilization doctrine and best practices for international development in areas ranging from humanitarian aid provision and human rights promotion, to education, infrastructure development, and ministerial capacity-building.” Very impressive.

All that, however, was in the future in 2000, when he was a senior undergraduate student at Georgetown and a columnist for The Hoya. Journalists at student newspapers don’t ordinarily get much notoriety for anything they write that gets published.

Swope, however, got his fifteen minutes of fame for something he wrote that got him fired: He dared to criticize The Vagina Monologues. The column never got published.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How teaching James Joyce ruins appreciation of liturgy

Here we go again, he sighed. The “Spirit of Vatican II” has once more spoken against the new translation.

This time, it’s in the person of Fr. Joseph S. O’Leary, graduate of that Maynooth College seminary which Abp. Timothy Dolan of New York recently recommended closing, now a professor of English at Sophia University in Japan. (In case you have any doubts, Fr. O’Leary has “Spirit of Vatican II” posted at the top of his “About” page.) I assume he is still a priest in good standing, although neither his blog nor his profile at Sophia’s website say “Rev.” or “Fr.”

The bishops of the English speaking world have disgraced themselves in their handling of the new translation of the liturgy. They have failed in their primary duty of ensuring that the faithful have access to a decent celebration of the sacraments. Their treatment of critics of the new liturgy is particularly disheartening — I refer in particular to how 300 US bishops snickered at Bp. [Donald W.] Trautman [of Erie], who had the bad grace to point out that only 5 of them had submitted any written comments on the texts they somnambulistically rubberstamped, and also to a shoot-the-messenger speech from one Bp. [Leonard P.] Blair [of Toledo].

Friday, March 25, 2011

The blessed mother of us all

Once again I post on an important day in the liturgical calendar just a little too late—ideally, I should have posted on the Annunciation two or three days ago. Ah, well ….

A person coming into Christianity from a non-Christian background, or into Catholicism from a free-church Evangelical background, might find it hard to understand why churches closer to the apostolic tradition would celebrate the Annunciation. So okay, it's exactly nine months before Christmas, but isn't Christmas the really big deal? And isn't the dating of Christmas speculative anyway?

Yeah, the dating of Christmas is—well, not exactly pulled out of a hat. Its close conjunction to the first day of winter and the slow lengthening of days in the northern hemisphere isn't an accident, although we shouldn't put too much weight on pagan antecedents. (Sorry, JWs … you can talk all you want to, but we're not celebrating the Roman Saturnalia.) If we're going to celebrate the Nativity, then December 25 is just as good as any other day to celebrate it.

But the Annunciation is important for its own reason, and not because it's the speculative date of an episode from the New Testament. Rather—and this factor may cause the Evangelical's posterior to pucker—it's important because it celebrates the fiat of the Blessed Virgin.

The Church's "sex problem"

Over at the National Catholic Distorter, Thomas C. Fox links us to an essay on the Australian website Catholica by Joe Rigert, a “veteran investigative journalist”, and sociologist and former Benedictine priest Richard Sipe. Although Fox posted the link on the “NCR Today” line on Tuesday, the original Catholica editorial apparently was posted last May.

As the first person in the combox said, “Yawn. Is this what this site has become […] mere repostings of predictable anti-Catholic articles?”

Nothing in the post itself is original; in the context of today, the authors’ accusations of Pope Benedict XVI’s “complicity” in “tolerating and covering up the crimes of the priests” merely remind us that the accusations were baseless and overwrought to begin with, and are now without current interest. In fact, it appears Fox’s only purpose in linking us to Rigert’s and Sipe’s hysterical jeremiad is to get us to the conclusion:

At the very least [Pope Benedict] could open up for discussion and study the antiquated sexual teachings on such common practices as birth control, use of condoms and sex outside of marriage. Further, he could lead the way to making celibacy optional for priests and allow women in the ministry. (Would women have taken part in, or allowed, the sex abuse scandal?) And he might call for a representative church council to consider all of these basic reforms.

Of course, nobody could have seen that coming. Especially not in what Father Z is pleased to call “the National Catholic Fishwrap” (and the good Fr. Zuhlsdorf gets a hat tip for the reference). Especially not from an article whose second paragraph tells us that the predator-priest scandals are “a symptom of an outmoded, in some cases ludicrous, teaching on sex and sexuality. In short, the pope—and his church—have a sex problem.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nothing to say today ....

Don't bother to click here ... I don't have the link active ....

Rule #2: When you run out of things to say, shut up. Sorry, folks, my mind isn't working well this week; I'm half tempted to take yesterday's post down because it wasn't my best effort. Please pray for me, that I may find some mental Metamucil.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The dissidents are losing ... no thanks to the Jesuits

“He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine ….” —St. Ignatius Loyola, Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus

Over at Mirror of Justice, Fr. Robert Araujo points us to a four-part series of colloquia with the overall title “More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church”. It’s not surprising that two of the sponsoring institutions are Union Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School. It ought to be surprising that the other two are Fordham and Fairfield Universities, both of which are “in the Jesuit tradition” and both of which still have priests for their presidents (Revs. Joseph M. McShane and Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., respectively).

Alas, the latter  fact isn’t a surprise. If anything, as soon as you read the description of the colloquia, you could easily have guessed that the Jebs would be involved.

For too long, the conversation on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in the Roman Catholic Church has been only a monologue—the sole voice being heard is that of the institutional Catholic Church. We must engage in more than a monologue by having a 21st century conversation on sexual diversity, with new and different voices heard from.

Of course, Fr. Araujo (a Jesuit himself) is correct to question the intent of the colloquia; on gay issues, normally “dialogue” means the gay lobby talks and everyone else either agrees or remains silent. And, in fact, the first sentence is a misrepresentation at best: normally, Mother Church has to shout to be heard over dissenting voices.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The limits of God?

Last year, in “What does God want?”, I wrote about the problem of two atheist arguments that depend on an equivocal understanding of God wanting or willing. On Wednesday, I got into a dog pile on Jennifer Fulweiler’s National Catholic Register blog combox over the issue of the logical problem of evil.

Briefly stated, the logical problem holds that, if God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, then: 1) He would know every way evil can come into existence; 2) He would have the power to prevent them from coming into existence; and 3) He would want to prevent them from coming into existence; therefore, He would prevent them from coming into existence. But since evil does exist, then God is either not omnipotent, or not omniscient, or not omnibenevolent … or He doesn’t exist.

The error lies in a fuzzy understanding of the term want, especially in the assumed premise that a perfectly good God would want to prevent suffering. How do we know that? We only know that, as imperfect as we are, we want to prevent suffering; however, we don’t know how omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence affects God’s decision-making. It’s just as easy to conclude that God sees some benefit to suffering that we don’t recognize because of our limitations; in fact, as I’ve pointed out before, suffering isn’t always and ever a bad thing.

But I had to leave the argument to do some stuff around the house. The atheist with whom I was arguing left some ancillary issues that I couldn’t respond to at the time. Well, here I am with nothing better to write about just now ….

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bright Maidens: what feminism should have produced but couldn't

Dear readers, for clear and luminescent examples of the new generation of Catholic women, I present to you the Three Amigas: Trista at Not a Minx a Moron or a Parasite, Elizabeth at Startling the Day and Julie at The Corner With A View. All three are young, attractive, college-educated, career-minded … and deeply committed to communion with the Holy See.

Right now, they’re presenting their second installments of “Bright Maidens”, a series where each week all three post on the same topic. No reading of cue cards, no cut-and-paste boilerplate arguments: each brings her own particular brio and flavor to the table. On the subject of contraception, Elizabeth has a brilliant fisk of the Beyaz™ commercial; Trista thoughtfully combines a quote from Humanae Vitae with reflections on the cast of Jersey Shore and a screen grab from; Julie has a great mix of quotes, stats and a video from Okervil River.

Let’s not even try any claims of false consciousness: all three women have taken a good look at the sexual life of the postmodern “liberated woman”, and found it to be a worse enslavement than traditional marriage and motherhood. By adopting the norms of the Church as their own, they’ve been able to create stable relationships on their own terms … and they’re not the last women on the relationship block, not “left over” after all the women willing to put out are taken.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Messages from Our Lady of Akita—a follow-up

On Saturday, I was looking through various news reports, still trying to make sense of what had happened in Japan on Friday, when I came across an item of interest about the Shrine of Our Lady of Akita.

In 1970, the Bishop of Niigata, Most Rev. John Shojiro Ito, erected a second-order religious institute, the Seitai Hoshikai (Institute of the Handmaids of the Holy Eucharist), with their motherhouse to be set in the northeastern hills near the Soegawa district of Akita. Among the postulants of this new order was an older lady, Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa, who had recently lost her hearing.

(By the way, I don’t know whether Japanese Catholics take on Western Christian names at the baptismal font or only when pursuing a consecrated vocation; I would be grateful for enlightenment on this point.)

In 1973, Sr. Agnes began to have a series of visions, culminating in three apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, who gave her some apocalyptic warnings and injunctions to pass on to her superiors. She also received a stigmata in her left palm, in the shape of a cross. Two years later, the statue of the Blessed Virgin in the chapel began to shed tears, as well as blood from a similar stigmata. Scientific analysis showed that the tears and blood were human. This recurred over one hundred times between 1975 and 1981; at least once, the phenomenon was viewed on national television.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Giant Evil Conspiracy and my role in it

There’s nothing so frustrating in discussion of public issues as when the person with whom you’re talking stops challenging your reasoning and starts questioning your motives. Only charity at that point stops you from throwing up your hands: “Okay, I’ll admit it—we’re part of a giant, evil conspiracy to drain all wealth, health, hope and happiness from the universe. Just give me your money, put on these chains, and start chanting ‘Arbeit macht frei,’ alright?”

I ran into that brick wall a couple of weeks ago while discussing the pro-life perspective with a friend of mine. She asked why Catholics care what people of other religions do with their bodies and their kids, and whether they have sex or use birth control. I responded, “We care because that’s what it means to love. That’s what it means to be part of a community: to care what happens to others, and to do what can be done to protect them from evil.”

That wasn’t good enough. If we really cared, we might understand that labor can do damage to a teen, or that the mother and child will likely suffer more in their lives, or that the children of poverty end up in jail or fighting our wars … and so forth and so on. There has to be more going on here than love and compassion; otherwise, we’d concentrate more on these other problems and less on giving a kind of help people don’t want.

Okay, you figured me out. I’m part of one Giant Evil Conspiracy to enslave all America, struggling against another Giant Evil Conspiracy out to destroy the country. It reminds me of how James Longstreet characterized the Civil War in Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels: a nightmare in which you pick your nightmare side, put your head down and try to win.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The loss of original justice

Half a world away, as I sit here listening to Robert Shaw and the London Philharmonic play Mozart's Requiem, uncounted thousands of Japanese people struggle and scramble to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of incomprehensible natural devastation.

The opening stanzas of the sequence "Dies Irae" are eerily appropriate: Day of wrath! O day of mourning! /See fulfilled the prophets' warning, /Heaven and earth in ashes burning! Oh, what fear man's bosom rendeth, /When from Heaven the Judge descendeth, /On Whose sentence all dependeth.

In truth, the temblor which struck just off the northeastern shore of Honshū, the main island, is but a small foretaste of the wrack which will come at the End of All Things. Even the apocalyptic warnings of Our Lady of Akita, grim and desperate as they are, leave open the possibility that the hand of the Almighty may yet be stayed; the time when the true End will come—without warning,[1] "like a thief in the night"[2]—is already fixed, and no plea or prayer will halt the descent of the axe.

Yet it's true that many people, even Christians, see no necessary connection between sin and natural disasters. The connection isn't in the fact that disasters occur; tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes and such are all consequences of living on an active, dynamic planet. Even disasters that occur from the collapse of man-made things, from the tower at Siloam[3] to the World Trade Center, aren't direct consequences of sin, though one could argue that our need for such structures is an indirect consequence.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A short burst of inconsequential information

“… [W]e came across the word ‘twitter,’ and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds.’ And that’s exactly what the product was.”—Jack Dorsey[1]

While I was getting my hair cut at Great Clips yesterday, I listened as the customer next to me regaled his stylist with the tale of a close call he had on the freeway. I’m sure other people across the nation know this one: the young person in the car in the next lane was too busy texting someone to realize her car was drifting into his lane. When he brought her into the present by leaning on his horn, she flashed him a dirty look—of course it was his fault.

Then, later that night, as I was scanning through the secular news, I came across an AP story on MSNBC: An employee of New Media Strategies in Detroit, apparently running into his own frustrations with traffic, tweeted: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive.”

It would have been much funnier if he hadn’t posted it to Chrysler Group’s official Twitter site by mistake. Now he’s unemployed and Chrysler is letting NMS go at the end of their contract. Oops.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Support your local priests!

Yesterday, Cardinal Justin Rigali placed twenty-one of the thirty-seven Philadelphia priests named by the recent grand jury report on administrative leave, pending further investigation. In this decision, he was assisted by Gina Maisto Smith, a former prosecutor who’s now a partner in the law firm Ballard Spahr, according to CNS.

Of the remaining sixteen, eight were cleared, three had already been suspended, two are members of religious orders (which puts canonical action against them out of +Rigali’s hands), and two are no longer active in ministry, their priesthoods impeded. (NB: Since +Rigali turned 75 last April, his resignation is already on the Pope’s desk, pending the nomination of the archbishop’s successor.) There seems to be one unaccounted for, so I’m wondering if there wasn’t an error in CNS reporter Marianne Medlin’s numbers.

Since the story is ongoing, it would be premature to say this en masse suspension “culminates” a month of recriminations and soul-searching for the Philly Archdiocese. Rather, this action—which a more imaginative era of journalism would have quickly dubbed the “Shrove Tuesday Massacre”—has the feeling of being a mere pit stop along a road traveled before, a road becoming distressingly familiar.

According to Rocco Palma, one unnamed bishop has complained, “What were they thinking? In this day and age, this stuff never stays hidden. And it shouldn’t.” Another anonymous priest told him, “I don’t know how your guys [who remain] get out of bed and do Ash Wednesday.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fasting and Christian asceticism

For the last week, I’ve been wracking my brain to think of a beginning-of-Lent post that wouldn’t: a) duplicate the reflection on repentance I wrote last year; and b) cover the same ground other Catholic bloggers are covering. Believe it or not, I do strive for some originality.

However, some questions and challenges continue to crop up, no matter how many times Catholic apologists respond to them. On one blog or another, you’ll come across some ex-Catholic or Evangelical type who’ll throw down a bunch of Bible “proof texts” to show that some practice is non-Scriptural. Usually the texts will bear on the question; sometimes, about half the quotations will be condemnations of the unbeliever and the sinner ... interesting but irrelevant.

The main error with the “Show me from the Bible” challenge is that you can’t show from the Bible that everything has to be in the Bible, nor can you demonstrate from Scripture that only what’s in Scripture is binding on Christian conscience. But another problem with sola scriptura arguments is the tendency to pick one or two verses which seem to support one’s position, usually out of their proper context, and ignore a whole host of other references which ought to force the person to re-evaluate the inference.

Such is the case with Lenten fasting and abstinence. Here the Evangelical is likely to whip out this line from St. Paul: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, … who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Tim 4:1, 3). Hah! Take that, you carp-crunching papist!

Monday, March 7, 2011

He's not dying, Jim.

You know you’re a Trekkie when reflecting on some social phenomenon makes you say, “Y’know, this reminds me of that episode when Kirk and Spock ….”

“The Mark of Gideon”: Instead of politely asking Capt. Kirk for a sample of his blood, the leaders of the insanely overpopulated Gideon cook up a bizarre scheme to expose a beautiful girl (was there ever any other on that show?) to a deadly disease (Vegan choriomeningitis) Our Hero carries. You see, sterilization doesn’t work, and they hold love and the creation of life sacred (so birth control isn’t an option), and they live in a germ-free environment that gives them long lives. As a result, they must reintroduce disease to their planet, so they can naturally reduce the population and shorten life spans. After Kirk grumps a bit about being used as a pawn, the beautiful girl’s life is saved … so she can return to the planet as a 23rd-century Typhoid Annie.

Third season? How did you guess?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Get over yourself

“Here I am, Lord; is it I, Lord, who was bringing up three very lovely girls?”

Up to that point, I’d been listening to the “Gather Hymnal Redux” parody with a mixture of amusement and concern. Mildly funny, okay, but didn’t this verge on blasphemy?

But until now—and I’m ashamed, ashamed! to admit it—I’d never heard the melodic similarity between “Here I Am” and the Brady Bunch theme. Now that I’d just been smacked in the face with it, I finally laughed. And when the crooner got to “We remember what you told us, that one time, And it was awesome and we should have wrote it down,” I was howling.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is my house on fire?

One sure way to bring out the trolls: Give your post a triumphalist title.

Simcha Fisher had a wonderful reflection on a recent study done by Florida State, showing that: 1) there is a causal connection between a woman’s fertility peak and men’s perception of her as attractive; and 2) men already in a romantic relationship with another woman don’t find her as attractive as do unattached men. With her impish sense of humor, Simcha titled the post “New Study: The Church Is Right About Everything”.

It wasn’t long before “Wayne” showed up with: “Yes, the catholic church is right about everything. Limbo, purgatory, paying to out of purgatory. My fave is; there is no salvation outside of the catholic church. The billions payed [sic] out in lawsuits proves that. Another fave of mine is[] that catholic priests are little Christs. Well, the billions in payouts testify to that.” And again: “When in the coffer a coin rings /out of purgatory a soul springs.”

Simcha and another commenter tried to respond; I simply said, “Please don’t feed the trolls.” Their responses got lengthy, semi-coherent jeremiads. I got: “Anthony, if your house was on fire and you were asleep, wouldn’t you was [sic] someone to beat on the door and wake you up?”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Closing the Catholic "debate" on same-sex marriage

Thomas Peters (the American Papist) grumped yesterday, “It’s extraordinary to me how, in a Catholic community which has debated endlessly the morality of LiveAction’s use of false statements in exposing Planned Parenthood …, that there has not been more effort to condemn the claim of pro-SSM Catholics that the debate over marriage is closed.”

Funny. I just wrote about gay marriage the other day. I didn’t realize I needed to mention pro-SSM Catholics. I was hoping to leave the topic alone for awhile.

Frankly, I was a little taken aback. Peters generally has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the blogosphere; he should know as well as I that there’s been quite a bit in recent weeks for everyone to chew over. It’s not like we Catholic bloggers are all tied into a central system to get our orders: “Okay, today’s topic will be Planned Parenthood!” Don’t ask me to explain the dog pile over Lila Rose yet again; if you feel like you lost, Tom, don’t worry … we’re still with you on so many other things.

This fit of high dudgeon was brought on by a guest post in the WaPo “on Faith” blog by Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministries. New Ways, if you’ll recall, is the “gay-positive ministry” that Cdl. Francis George of Chicago blasted last February for its criticism of Church teaching, saying that, “like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another gloomy analysis

The last three posts or so have been pretty depressing. So I stepped away from the word processor, did some things around the house, went to Adoration. When I came back, I was going to write a post full of sweetness and light.

Then I read Msgr. Charles Pope’s piece from Monday on Europe's inability to deal with Islamic demands for Shariah law within their enclaves. I also read Abp. Charles Chaput’s address to the Berkley Center for Peace, Religion and World Affairs at Georgetown U … reminding that think-tank that the American concept of ordered peace and justice directly depended on Christian humanism, a humanism based on a particular view of the human being and his relationship to God.

Recently, in Detroit, there were conflicts as the police arrested a couple of Christian missionaries who had gone to an Islamic festival, although they were observing city law while doing so. And now the ACLU has undertaken to represent another enclave in LA who wants to implement Shariah within their boundaries, cheerfully ignoring the fact that Shariah has some direct conflicts with women’s civil rights. (That’s what the ACLU desperately needs … A CLU.)

So much for sweetness and light.