BACK STORY, courtesy of the New York Times
|“All we know is that it was a documentary about coconuts that rather lost its way.”|
|That’s Michael Palin, one of the members of the British comedy troupe Monty Python, riffing on the origins of their cult classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”|
|The spoof of the King Arthur legend, alternately hilarious and ridiculous, is frequently on top-10 lists of the greatest comedies.|
|Mr. Palin and the four other surviving members of Monty Python regroup at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York today for a 40th anniversary screening of “Holy Grail.”|
|Another member, Terry Gilliam, said a “lack of money” saved the film from mediocrity: “We couldn’t afford real horses.”|
|The Monty Python actors, now in their 70s, rose to fame with a BBC television series, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” that ran from 1969 to 1974. Their surreal, nonconformist and irreverent humor influenced shows like “Saturday Night Live.”|
|On Saturday, they will also debut the feature-length documentary “Monty Python — The Meaning of Live,” which followed the clan on their reunion performances in London last summer.|
|Your Morning Briefing is published weekdays at 6 a.m. Eastern and updated on the web all morning.|
Originally posted on Beautiful Life with Cancer:
I want joy, not happiness. Forever, not temporary. I want joy because the wicked man speaks and I do not listen. I see the error of his ways. Oh Lord, give me joy.
When it turns to gossip, as it always does, oh Lord show me the way! I want to build up, not tear down. I don’t have to insult to build up. Oh Lord, show me your way!
Like a love letter, I delight in your words. I hold them to my chest and I can’t wipe this smile off my face. I can’t get enough, it is never enough, all I want is you. Lord, all I want is you.
Make me like a tree, planted firm along the riverbank. Give me abundant fruit, pleantiful and never ceasing. I will drink of your eternal water and my leaves will never cease. Oh Lord, make me a tree.
Can we have a comment from the Minister for Justice on this please? Is this Justice, is this equality before the law? If the Yes side were to win is this not enough to invalidate the result.
Ireland’s police force – An Garda Siochana – registering students to vote in the forthcoming referendum on marriage and at the same time handing out badges promoting a “Yes” vote to redefine marriage.
Are we not looking at the mocking of democracy here?
Last week it was Twitter and other multi-national corporations being coached by the Irish Prime Minister to encourage Ireland to get with modernity and destroy the institution of marriage. This week it is the country’s police force getting on he bandwagon.
How stupid can these people be? How stupid do they think the Irish electorate is?
Irish citizens – no matter what side they are on in the current referendum battle being engaed over the future of marriage – should be outraged by tech giant Twitter’s interference in their democracy.
At an event attended by Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Managing Director of Twitter Ireland, Stephen McIntyre claimed that a ‘No’ vote to prevent the redefinition of marriage would be bad for Ireland’s international reputation. You can be quite sure he did not say that without checking first with head office.
In response, a spokesperson for the Iona Institute, an Irish social values think-tank, Ben Conroy said “I wonder if Mr Kenny would be so keen about multinationals getting involved in Irish politics if they were endorsing particular political parties?
“I think a lot of eybrows would be raised if Twitter said ‘vote for Renua (the new rival to Kenny’s political party), it’s good for business’ and threatened that voting for another party could somehow hurt our international reputation.
“Twitter’s clear implication is that if we vote No it will be bad for business and bad for our international reputation”.
He continued: “The most powerful economy in Europe, Germany, does not have same-sex marriage so the idea that voting No would be bad for business is clearly ridiculous”.
He went on “Stephen McIntyre is clearly right that ‘individuals perform better when they feel respected and supported’. Presumably Twitter employees feel completely free to publicly support a No vote without any consequences for them? Inclusion should be a value that applies to all, not just to people who agree with Twitter about redefining marriage”.
In the past couple of days some Twitter subscribers are asking themselves whether the price the social media giant is asking to let them use its facility is not taking them beyond the pale of patriotism. The absentee landlords of the 19th century were a scourge they thought the country had escaped from. Are they now going to be replaced by the faceless corporations of Palo Alto and other West Coast enclaves of political correctness?
Cardinal George of Chicago, whom God has just brought to his eternal home, some years ago made a now famous observation about the future of the Christian community and its leaders in the modern world. In the oft- quoted form is all soundded a little dark – that he would die in his bed, that his successor would die in prison, but that the person who would follow his successor would die a martyr in the public square.
Thanks to a writer in the National Catholic Register we now have the Cardinal’s own authority for these remarks which were in danger of slipping into the realm of mythology. The authentication shows that an important nuance has been missing from the circulating account, showing that the Cardinal was in fact presenting us with a much more hopeful and truly Christian vision of the future of our society than we thought.
“Speaking a few years ago to a group of priests, entirely outside of the current political debate,” Cardinal George confirmed before his dath, “I was trying to express in overly dramatic fashion what the complete secularization of our society could bring. I was responding to a question and I never wrote down what I said, but the words were captured on somebody’s smart phone and have now gone viral on Wikipedia and elsewhere in the electronic communications world. I am (correctly) quoted as saying that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: ‘His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.’ What I said is not ‘prophetic’ but a way to force people to think outside of the usual categories that limit and sometimes poison both private and public discourse.”
How many weasels does it take to sell a people a treacherously flawed piece of legislation? We don’t know the answer yet – and hopefully we may never know.
In Ireland’s marriage redefinition referendum the country’s new Ascendancy – the metropolitan liberal establishment – is relentlessly campaigning to persuade the people of Ireland that the hallowed principles of liberty, equality and fraternity require that they make this change. Of course its proposers are denying that any fundamental change is involved. All this, according to them, is a little tweak to help the country keep up with the modern world.
That is the first bit of weasel behaviour. The weasels and the weasel words are out in force in this campaign. One after another they fall from their lips like honeyed words, feigning compassion and understanding. Deception is the hallmark of this sinister political campaign. Indeed it might be said that nothing more deceitful has confronted the Irish people under the guise of benign and noble labels since the political establishment of another age betrayed their ancestors into an impoverished backwater with the passing of the Act of Union in 1801.
The truth is that this is not about anyone’s equality, nor about compassion or tolerance for difference and diversity – their favourite weasel words. This is about an ideology of identity, a spurious identity which puts sexuality above all other human values, above logic, truth and justice. If this ideology prevails it will end up depriving people of their freedom of thought, their freedom of association, in the name of a specious concept of equality.
This is not a campaign to defend the freedom of anyone. It is not a battle for justice or a compassionate response to the suffering of a minority who identify themselves as different. Without a doubt, those are battles that have to be fought and will have to be fought as long as our race’s propensity for selfishness, egoism and enmity persists. We do need laws to help us in this. But this is not that battle. That is another battle.
The battle now being played in Ireland is part of a war raging across the developed world in which gender ideology is the driving force. This is a war in which one side is seeking to impose on the other the recognition and acceptance of an ideology which says that human nature – in all its gloriously rich diversity – is a socially determined thing, a construct, some of whose manifestations – like the sexual differences between man and woman – have passed their sell-by date and need to be re-configured in a new and flexible way.
In this new longed-for vision of human nature, the complementarity of men and women, their respective and inviolable roles in the glorious work of human reproduction is a mere side-show. The institution of marriage considered as a prerogative of this man-woman relationship – and the institution of the family which arises from it – which has evolved in human society for the greater good and happiness of parents and their children, is just an anachronism in our modern world. Sidelining marriage by draining it of its meaning and reconstituting the family into anything you want it to be will help speed its consignment to history.
The destruction of marriage by turning it into an anodyne sentimental bonding of two people of any sex is just a means to this end of affirming that human nature is there for us to do anything we like with it. What this battle is about is not just redefining marriage but redefining human nature itself.
This of course is no new agenda. It has been gestating for at least a century. The sexual revolution, of which all this is but a new phase, has a major part of its roots imbedded in the malign theories of Sigmund Freud who told us that everything we think and do arises out of our sexuality. With the acceptance of the hedonistic philosophy and the denial of human freedom emanating from Fruedian theroy, civilization now needs to be cleansed of the rules and customs of centuries. For the ideologues behind this campaign these are instruments of repression and worse. Marriage, traditionally understood, was just one of them. The “free love” philosophies fashionable in the early twentieth century made a certain amount of ground in destroying it. Not enough, however. Redefinition, which will amount to a virtual destruction, should complete the job for them.
To do this however, language has to be manipulated and weasels have to be recruited to help them do the job. “Equality” was the first victim to fall to weaselhood. Then came the noble concept of “tolerance”.
The hijacking of equality defies logic and reason when we approach it from any normal understanding of how that concept can be understood in the context of human nature as we know it. Of course, if you regard nature as your plaything to do as you wish with it, then the sky is the limit. Logic and reason will not worry you.
Taking nature as we find it in the real world we know that in some contexts we can and should be quite passionate about a very rigourous rendering to each and all in a very even-handed way. But we also know that nature’s gifts to us are not always equally distributed. We know that parents who rigourously distribute their time, attention and resources among their children in equal quantities may not be doing the best for those children. If in doing so they ignore the different needs determined by each child’s intelligence, personality and ability, they may end up doing serious and culpable injustice to some of those children.
The right of a man and a woman to come together and to bond in matrimony by mutual consent is a right based on their complementary but different sexual natures. On this basis they derive their capacity to give to each other their different but complementary sexual gifts and the greatest gift of all, the potential for creating new human life. A desired marriage arrangement, as we have understood it for centuries in law and in practice, where impotency impedes the sharing of those gifts has always been deemed not to be possible – and any contract entered into and then discovered to be affected by impotency has been deemed null and void.
So to drag in the concept of equality to argue for the right of two people of the same sex to marry is turning the word equality into a weasel word – pretending it to be something which it cannot ever be. There can be no right to equality when the exercise of that right is based on something impossible, null and void.
And what about tolerance? The demand for tolerance which is part and parcel of this campaign is not a demand for tolerance at all. It is a demand for social endorsement – which is a totally different thing. With this demand comes one of the most sinister threats to human freedom seen in the developed world since the demise of those tyrannies of the last century, national Socialism and Communism.
Do not doubt it. Those behind this campaign, if victorious, will be sending people to prison in the not too distant future for refusing to endorse forms of behaviour that they consider contrary to the best interests of individual human beings and society at large. It will not be because they do not tolerate those behaviours, it will be because they will not bake cakes to celebrate those behaviours, or refuse to turn up to take photographs of them, or even express the opinion that they disapprove of them. Such expressions of opinion are already labelled as “hate speech”, and punishable in law.
Last week, the O’Connor family in Walkerton, Indiana, was targeted with death threats and online harassment that forced them to close the doors to their Memories Pizza restaurant. The O’Connors’ story started when a local news reporter asked if they would theoretically reject service for a gay wedding ceremony. The owner, Kevin O’Connor, said that while the restaurant serves all customers, they would not be able to participate in a same-sex ceremony. Militant gay activists subsequently targeted the family with death threats, viciously negative online reviews of the restaurant, and other harassment — forcing the O’Connors to close the business they had owned for nine years.
Needless to say, many gay people were themselves outraged by the treatment of the family. Courtney Hoffman wrote in a note to the O’Connors: “As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean spirited attacks on you and your business. I know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild.”
Likewise, Buz Smith: “My partner and I have been together almost 27 years. The Democratic Leadership hi-jacked the Gay community many years ago and continue to spew the intolerance of religion as they promote the tolerances of their choices.” However, a spokesperson for the pro-same-sex marriage organization Human Rights Campaign refused to issue a public statement about the treatment of Memories Pizza by gay activists.
In two high-profile cases, military chaplains have been punished for citing their religious beliefs during private counselling sessions and other official events, sparking questions about what military chaplains are allowed to say in the name of faith. Capt. Joe Lawhorn was punished for making references to the Bible and distributing a handout that cited the Christian scriptures during a suicide prevention seminar at the University of North Georgia.
This is all before the Irish – if they vote “yes” in their referendum on May 22 next. Indeed it has already arrived in that part of their island under UK jurisdiction – with the Ashers’ bakery case in Belfast.
Tim Black, deputy editor of the libertarian online journal, http://www.Spiked.com, ruefully comments:
It is a miserable irony today that those who think of themselves as liberal are actively trashing liberal ideals. Of course, they don’t experience their illiberalism as illiberalism. Quite the opposite. As far as they’re concerned, they’re riding on the right side of history, battling bigotry and hunting down hate wherever they suspect its persistence, and leading us all into an ultra-nice rainbow-coloured future. They’re the tolerant ones. They’re the progressives. They’re the good guys.
And yet in their zeal to fight discrimination, often with the law at their heel, they have turned their professed liberalism into its opposite: an unwitting illiberalism, in which key liberal tenets, from freedom of conscience to its corollary, freedom of association, are trampled over in the headlong rush to create a society in their achingly right-on, gay-marriage-supporting, transphobia-fighting image. The road to intolerance, it seems, is paved with do-gooding intentions.
Liberal principles, he says, have been routed by identity politics. Religious freedom, the freedom to act according to one’s conscience, is now considered a problem, an omnipresent threat to the increasingly state-enforced “recognise’n’respect-me” politics which is now predominant. For too many, the idea of religious freedom merely generates a series of worrying questions. What if individuals have the wrong beliefs? What if individuals refuse to associate with those they profoundly disagree with? What if individuals – cue gasps of horror – think gay marriage is wrong? Judgement and discrimination, all part of the exercise of a free conscience, terrify those cleaving to some vague notion of non-judgemental pluralism.
There is intolerance in the world, gross intolerance. There are many people who do not accept the principles of a common humanity and a right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought. There are those who feel they have a right to coerce others rather than a right to persuade. For the most part this derives from ignorance and a lack of education. By all means let us tackle this and work together to advance our civilization. This new “tolerance” is a cure which will be worse than the disease, where the right to freedom of thought, personal judgement and the judgement of conscience, is hopelessly confused with a lack of respect for persons as human beings.
The O’Connors, the McArthur family of Ashers’ Bakery, Captain Joe Lawhorn, and many more, have shown no disrespect for people. I am sure that in other circumstances they might die defending the rights of their fellow human beings, gay or otherwise. They are Christians and this is the ethic of their faith. They should not, however, be forced by unjust laws to endorse and approve of behaviours contrary to what they know to be the law of nature written in their hearts.
Freedom of conscience and freedom of religion campaigners in Ireland were given further cause for alarm yesterday. The country’s Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, went on national radio and seemed to say that if his proposed constitutional change is passed next month then teachers in all schools will be obliged to teach children that marriage is no longer exclusively a bond between a man and a woman.
The campaigning organisation, Mothers and Fathers Matter, set up to persuade the Irish electorate to oppose the change – in the face of 100% parliamentary party support for same-sex mariage – issued a statement immediately following Kenny’s remarks calling for clarification.
Kenny said that schools – and this will include all Catholic schools – “will be expected to teach children that people in this country, in Ireland, in 2016, will have the right to get married irrespective of their sexual orientation.”
Like many of Kenny’s unprepared statements, the meaning is not entirely clear. Because it is somewhat muddled, the pro-marriage group says that the “statement needs clarification.”
It asks, “Will those schools be allowed to refuse to do this? If not, will they also be allowed to state the Catholic belief that marriage can only take place between two people of the opposite sexes? We call on Enda Kenny to issue this clarification immediately. The grave implications for freedom of religion, and not just for Catholic schools, should be obvious to all.
Speaking on behalf of Mothers and Fathers Matter organisation, Dr Tom Finegan said: “We are very concerned at what Taoiseach Enda Kenny had to say today. He needs to immediately clarify whether or not he thinks Catholic and other religious schools should be forced to teach that people have a right to marry regardless of sexual orientation, if the referendum passes, and if so, will they then be allowed to say that the teaching of the Catholic Church is that marriage is by definition the union of one man and one woman”.
He concluded: “If Mr Kenny does not show that his Government respects the right of religious schools to teach what is in accordance with their ethos, we will certainly be making an issue of this in the coming referendum campaign.”
Meanwhile, today the Iona Institute has released the findings of a poll which one the one hand should encourage those campaigning for traditional marriage while on the other it shows how out of touch the country’s parliamentarians are with the values of the majority in Ireland.
The survey, conducted by Amarach Research, has found that seventy percent of respondents agree with the statement, ‘Children have a right to be raised by their own mother and father’.
Only eight percent disagreed with the statement while the remainder said they neither agreed nor disagreed.
The Institute comments that the fact that such a clear majority of people believe that children have a right to be raised by their own mother and father is pertinent to the Children and Family Relationships Bill which takes no account of this fact.
The finding of this poll, when combined with the finding of another poll Amarach conducted on behalf of The Iona Institute in February which found that a massive ninety-one percent of respondents believe when a child is available for adoption, clearly shows that Irish people believe it is best to place the child with a mother and a father.
The new Children and Family Relationships Bill is also odds with this belief.
Commenting on the latest poll findings, Professor Patricia Casey said on behalf of The Iona Institute: “The fact that 70 percent of people believe a child has a right to be raised by their own mother and father means the Government and the opposition parties are completely out of step with public opinion. The Children and Family Relationships Bill attaches no special value at all to motherhood and fatherhood which is why it is completely indifferent as to whether or not children are raised by their own mothers and fathers, or any mother and father.
She continued: “The earlier poll finding on adoption also shows the extent to which our politicians are out of step with public opinion. The Children and Family Relationships Bill is the most radical piece of family law reform in the history of the State. It has been rushed through the Oireachtas with almost no debate. This is a terrible reflection on the state of Irish parliamentary democracy at present”.
Another, less optimistic, view on this decision from a writer with Canada’s National Post.
Loyola, a private Catholic secondary school, seems to be well pleased with the decision, which recognizes the unreasonableness, if not outright absurdity, of requiring the religious school to teach Catholicism and Catholic ethics “from a neutral perspective,” as the ERC would have done. One of the school’s lawyers, Mark Phillips, said enthusiastically of the ruling, “Every single judge is entirely behind the idea that Loyola as a Catholic school should be allowed to teach its religion and its ethical system without ceasing to be who they are….”
And he is almost correct about that. While the majority decision does not actually recognize or delineate what religious freedom Loyola might enjoy in its own right as an institution, it does make it clear that Loyola’s teachers and students are entitled to religious freedom — freedom that it deems to have been unnecessarily limited by the ERC.
What’s the problem then? Why should proponents of religious liberty, who have had much to worry about in Canada lately, not be breaking out the confetti at this bit of good news?
The reason, I’d suggest, for holding off on the party is that what the court has delivered is really a very limited bit of happy tidings. It’s nice that all the justices have allowed that forcing a Catholic school to teach Catholicism from a secular perspective is not on. But it would have been far nicer if the majority had recognized that legally imposing on a Catholic school in this way is not merely an unnecessary limit given the particular statutory goals at issue in this case, but before that a full-on defeat of the very purpose of a religious institution and thereby an explicit and eternal violation of constitutionally protected religious freedom.
He gave a clear and very accurate account of the Catholic Church’s understanding of, and teaching on, the institution of marriage – both in its natural and supernatural dimensions. He set it in the context of the choice now facing the Irish people – whether or not to radically change the definition of marriage enshrined in their republic’s constitution. He clearly indicated that such a change was against all that he had described and could not be supported by the pastors of the Catholic Church.
That was the story.
In the Q&A which followed his lecture Ireland’s liberally-biased media again became to focus of frustration – even of anger – in the audience. Archbishop Martin did not take sides on that one. He said that in his experience he had nothing to complain about. He had always been fairly treated by the media.
He had to wait only a few hours to have that trust and confidence grossly betrayed.
In his lecture on marriage, in no more than an aside, he had mentioned that some letters he had received about the current issue of the constitutional referendum on marriage – proposing to open it up to same-sex couples – people had betrayed a very unchristian attitude to homosexuals. He reproached them for it. However, there was no impression that these came from anything more than an unrepresentative handful.
No journalist with respect for the speaker, or respect for themselves, would manipulate the event to turn this remark into the story of the night.
What happened? In one media outlet the following morning – recycled in online and broadcast media – the story ran under the following headline: “Archbishop Martin hits out at ‘obnoxious jibes’ at gay community from ‘No’ camp”. This was the headline and this was the story. The truth is that it was not the story. That the reception of a handful of letters from a few unrepresentative individuals with appalling judgement and poorer taste should overshadow the serious substance of everything else the Archbishop had said was nothing short of a betrayal of the man, a disregard for his office and for the public who should have expected an honest and balanced report of what he said. What they got – something they are pretty used to getting now – was a media establishment’s dishonest trick of turning the lecture event into an instrument of its own moral agenda, undermining the message of the Archbishop and his effort to explain the teaching of his Church.
Betrayal by those whom he though were his friends came swiftly on the heels of his honest expression of trust and confidence in their integrity. Sad story.
In a superb column in today’s Daily Telegraph Charles Moore lays bare the callous and selfish motivation at play in our culture’s narcissism. Children are the victims and if the narcissism of our generation is not arrested the number of victims is going to increase exponentially.
The fallacy at the heart of the narcissists pursuit of self is rights-related, rights untethered to any reasonable anthropology, tethered only to what you feel like when you get up in the morning. This is the fruit of the new Age we live in, the Age of Feeling. In this Age compassion is all. But compassion without reason is corrupting and it is this very corruption which is now producing the intolerance, the ugliness and the unhappiness beginning to unfold in the lives of countless of our kind in the generations which will follow us.
If you follow this rights-based way of thinking, children are an afterthought. You identify your sexuality. You assert your rights. You decide that your rights include children. As with abortion, you are not encouraged to ask, “What about the child herself?” And if someone else asks that question of you, you start shaking with rage.
These strange ideas have now been around just long enough for the children raised in such a culture to be finding their voice. There is a growing online community of people brought up by gay couples who describe how difficult it was for them. In particular, they talk of their innate desire, which their situation could not satisfy, for the real parent – father or mother, known or unknown – who was not there. We shall hear a lot more of this, and we shall learn that the era of liberation was not always so good for those who never asked to be liberated.
“They f— you up, your mum and dad”, the poet Philip Larkin famously wrote. Alas, it is too often true. But as we abandon Mum and Dad’s primacy, we shall find out, too late, that every other way f—s children up a great deal more.
The unintended consequence of the selfish attitudes and acts of the ascendent establishment of this Age will be the creation of a nightmare society in the future where thousands of young people will grow into adulthood not knowing some of the most fundamental things about their identity nor about the motivations which brought them into the world.