Friday, September 5, 2014

Who’s got extra beds?


Millions of people are on the road this year, as refugees or as economic migrants.  In the USA, opponents of immigration reform often ask why they should welcome strangers, and ask me if I would open my own home and my own bedroom to violent rapist strangers?  Leaving aside from the over-heated stereotyping, I’d like to ask a different question.  Who’s got extra beds?


The global population is about 7.2 billion wonderful people.  The land available for living space – that is, “arable land,” excluding Antarctica, Mount Everest, Death Valley, and other rugged and inhospitable environments – is about 20 million square kilometers.  So, globally, population density in arable land is about 360 people per square kilometer.  Hong Kong is denser – over 130,000 per square kilometer.  Who’s got arable land to spare? 


Emphatically, this is NOT a policy recommendation.  It doesn’t make sense to schmear humans over the globe uniformly.  But just to get a sense of what’s fair, let’s ask which nations have population density blow the global average?  Not France: density = 362 pop/km2-arable, just over the global average.  Not Germany: double the world average (700 pop/km2-arable); not the UK: triple the world average (1135).


There are 46 nations with population density below world average.  If we were going to schmear population evenly across the world (arable land), we would have to move about 1.4 billion people from densely populated nations to these 46.  These are the theoretical “empty beds.”  Some are tiny, like Tuvalu; let’s not look there for extra beds.  Which nations would need tens of millions of immigrants in order to provide homes to their fair share of the world’s people – to get their population density up the global average?  (DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS!  This is just a thought experiment, to get a handle on what’s fair!)


The top ten empty-bed nations are: Brazil, Sudan, Niger, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Canada, Australia, USA, and Russia.  96% of the empty beds are in these nations; the remaining 4% are scattered among 36 nations including Tuvalu.  


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Immigrant in Hebrew

[I do not know Hebrew, and I am not a Scripture scholar.  But I know a little …]

Last night (8/18/14), I was dragged into a debate about immigration.  (Dragged?  A friend of a friend said that liberal arguments for immigration reform are empty-headed nonsense, and he enjoyed exposing them.  I found that nigh on irresistible.) The host to the brawl was Tom Furtado, a good friend from decades ago.  Tom and I were arrested and jailed together.  And when I wrote my first book about eugenics (Roots of Racism and Abortion, once again available through Amazon or Kindle) Tom got me to write it as a textbook for a one-semester class for high school students.  Tom’s a great friend, with a big gentle heart, a beautiful wife, and a million kids.

In the debate last night, I argued that current immigration restrictions are unjust, incompatible with the teaching of the Catholic Church (my opponent was a Catholic), and completely incompatible with the forceful teaching of the Bible.  And I noted that the readings this past Sunday (8/17/14) were (in part) about immigrants.

But – today’s readings (8/19/14) at Mass are also about “strangers.”  Anyone who followed the debate last night may want a little remedial Hebrew, because the reading today makes “strangers” look awful.

There are four Hebrew words that are translated into English as “stranger.”  One does not cause any confusion: TOSHAB or TOWSHAV is generally translated “sojourner,” and it usually appears alongside another word (GER).  The other three are GER (a noun – the verb  to be a GER is GUWR, and the place where a GER GUWRs is a MAGUR), NEKAR (associated adjective: NOKRI), and ZAR (associated verb: ZUWR).  These three words do not have exact English equivalents; they have their own meanings and histories and connotations.  But approximately, very roughly, just to clarify the point: GER means foreigner/stranger/guest/immigrant, NEKAR means foreigner/stranger/outsider/weirdo, and ZAR means foreigner/stranger/enemy/invader.  The words in Hebrew are clear and not confusing.  But translations into English are a mess.  The Hebrew words for “guest” and “weirdo” and “invader” are – all three – translated as “stranger” or “foreigner.”  So the English is confusing, in ways that the Hebrew is not.

The readings on Sunday were about GER – guests/immigrants/strangers.  The readings today were about ZAR – enemies/invaders/strangers.

The Biblical teaching about GER is clear and forceful.  A GER is – first and most simply – whatever the Hebrews were when they were in Egypt.  That is, a GER is someone who comes from another land and settles in your land for a time.  The Lord demands repeatedly that such strangers must be treated with protective respect.

There is zero confusion (zero honest confusion) between GER and ZAR.  The latter attacks your country, to ruin and despoil.  The fact that both exist does not justify a restrictive border policy, sorting out the wanted and the unwanted arbitrarily.  The existence of ZARs does justify (actually demands) a border policy that identifies and excludes criminals.  But re-labeling a GER as a ZAR simply because a GER enters the country without documentation is sloppy and unjust.  Dealing with a GER in such an arbitrary and inhospitable way is specifically and forcefully condemned throughout the Bible, with shocking vehemence.  The crimes that the Lord swore to avenge himself include crimes against widows and orphans and day laborers – and immigrants.

In his description of the Last Judgment, Jesus talks about care for the hungry, the thirsty, and the naked.  And he urges that we be pro-active about hospitality, visiting the sick and the imprisoned .  In this short list, with just six items, he includes welcoming strangers.  To the ear of a modern American, that sounds a little strange, as so we usually skip over that detail, or change it to helping the homeless.  But the words in the Gospel are about people from another land who come into your land – strangers or foreigners or immigrants.  Why put strangers in that short list?  It seems odd, arbitrary.  Jesus put strangers in his list partly because he was a good Jew, following Moses.  The Biblical teaching about welcoming strangers begins in Genesis, and it is extraordinarily eloquent and forceful right through; if we have overlooked it, that’s our problem.  Americans change the verse in the Gospel because our society is drifting away from the society Jesus described.  Actually, he demanded it; eternal rewards and punishments apply.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Immigrant among the Transfigured

August 6, 2014. Anniversary of Hiroshima, and the Feast of the Transfiguration

Today Christians recall the incident in which Jesus invited three friends up a mountain, where they saw him changed (Greek: metamorphosed; Latin: transfigured).  His appearance changed: specifically, his face shone and his clothes turned white.  They saw him at home among friends focused on the Law and the Prophets -- that is, in conversation with Moses and Elijah -- although the account does not specify how the Peter&James&John recognized two men they had never met in person.  Peter offered to capture the moment, by setting up tents for everyone to hang around for awhile.  Then God spoke up, and the three were scared into silence.  Jesus told them to get up (to “rise”), and they looked around (“raised their eyes”), and found things returned to apparent familiarity.  Jesus told them not to talk about what they had seen until they had a context for the event (until he “rose” from the dead).

I noticed the rise/raise matter.  I thought it was interesting that Jesus spoke of rising from fear, then of rising from the dead; and their response was not to rise from the dead (of course), nor even to stand up, but just to lift their eyes a little.  It’s only an issue in English; the Greek words are not similar.  Jesus speaks of rising twice, and the phrases are worth pondering; but the word for raise is completely different.

The Greek does have an interesting layer, though.  Peter offers to erect “skeinei”: tents, or tabernacles (if you’re Jewish with a memory of the Ark in a tent), or some kind of semi-permanent dwellings.  In his Gospel, John uses the same word, and says that the Son of God became one of us, and came to live among us -- and he erected his tent (skeinei) among us.  So Peter’s offer to erect three tents seems a little silly until you realize that it was precisely right -- just redundant -- because Jesus had already done it.

The transfiguration knocks me silent.  When I was trying to figure out what Scripture says about immigration, I learned to admire and trust and enjoy Moses, as well as Jesus.  Good company.  Still, I have next to no idea what that meeting on the mountain was all about.  But …

I am not worried about meeting Jesus.  Maybe I should be, because I’m a mess; but I’m not.  What Jesus said over and over is that when we care for people in need -- hungry, thirsty, immigrant, badly clothed, sick or jailed, in particular -- we care for him.  I don’t mean to be arrogant, but I hope that some screwed-over folks (dumpster babies, Bengali survivors, semi-shadowed Latinos) vouch for me when it matters, when I’m judged.  I’m sober, but not afraid.  Not much, anyway.

Mother Teresa said she saw the face of Jesus in the poor and dying.  People react to that as if she were some kind of plaster saint, making an investment in the future: serveth now, getteth paid later.  Crown of thorns now, pretend to like these disgusting people, and then get the crown of gold later.  I don’t think that’s it.  I think she meant what she said: she saw and recognized the face of Jesus.  So when she died, she saw it again, more clearly; and she recognized it again, with delight, familiar but amplified.

I do worry about some friends and former colleagues who have whole categories of people, over a billion of them, whom they feel called upon to despise wholeheartedly -- nothing personal, you understand, just get outta here before I blow your goddam brains out with my Second Amendment Special -- especially “illegals” (about 12 million human faces, with some admittedly nasty ones that you can focus on, laser-sharp, if you’re a bigot) and Muslims (over a billion human faces, with some admittedly nasty ones that you can focus on, laser-sharp, if you’re a bigot).  I mean, if you don’t recognize Him, you don’t recognize Him.

When we show up, passing over (or “trespassing”) into the land of the mysterious Transfiguration, we are all undocumented immigrants, in need of welcome and hospitality, hoping for amnesty.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Despair Kills Babies

Dear Jeanne,

I’m searching for my notes about Albuquerque, not to argue about the Latino vote there, but to make a point about our disagreement.  After your remarks about the vote there, I went to get all the data I could (not much), and I was convinced that the data available was inconclusive.  It did offer soft support for your conclusion, in the sense that I could follow your argument about the data; but there were significant holes, and I thought one could fit the data into a nearly opposite conclusion.  (The Latinos did not carry the day for life: true.  Also true: the vote became a partisan vote, and pro-lifers failed abysmally to reach across party lines: that was the most obvious lesson from the polls.)  I am disinclined to get near the same kind of fight about interpreting statistics about immigration and abortion in the way you propose.  I think that the data available shows that the abortion rate has been climbing rapidly all over Latin America for 30 years, that people who choose life but are hard-pressed are likely to flee, that the abortion rate for illegal immigrants in the USA is lower than the abortion rate for people stuck at home, although the abortion rate for second generation immigrants climbs.  But I do not think that there stats about ANY of those categories that are reliable enough to draw the conclusions you suggest, nor to strengthen the argument that I make.

I don’t think that the statistical comparison that you suggest is relevant in any case.  I think that you are comparing apples and oranges – or, more specifically, coercive abortion and seductive abortion.  I think that you assert that seductive abortion (a la USA) is more deadly within a community than coercive abortion (a la Guatemala).  [“More deadly”:  creates a situation in which more children die.  “Coercive”: includes economic situations that are manipulated deliberately in order to put pressure on a person to act in a specific way, as in the Chinese coercive programs.]  As I said above, I think you are wrong about the facts, but I admit that I do not have data to prove you are wrong.  But much more important: the comparison you suggest is not relevant.

I think that the ways one resists seductive abortion and the ways one resists coercive abortion are different – not totally different, but with many significant differences in details.  It seems obvious to me that a pro-lifer would want to resist both coercive abortion and seductive abortion.  I cannot imagine why you would propose that we choose between the two.  It seems to me obvious that when a woman is subjected to coercive depopulation pressure, we want to alleviate that pressure, in order to help her and the child.  Later, when (if) she shows up in the USA and is subject to seductive abortion, we want to help again, in a different way.

You know better than I that when sidewalk counselors meet a woman outside an abortion clinic and offer help, the offer has to be genuine, but it is rarely the offer that matters.  When people catch on that giving birth is possible with a little help, they can usually line up the help themselves.  I taught a student once whose grandfather had wanted to kill her.  In utero, she was diagnosed with spina bifida.  I heard about the situation, called him, talked about this and that, but also offered to line up adoptive parents for the child who, he feared, would be a severely disabled.  I asked him for 24 hours to find a couple ready to adopt.  Actually, it took me less than two hours to find and talk to a person running an adoption agency specializing in placing kids with spina bifida.  They had potential adoptive parents on a waiting list; estimate wait time, seven years.  So she was ready to place the kid overnight; grand-dad could negotiate all kinds of conditions about the adoptive parents.  I called grand-dad back.  Convinced it was possible to raise the kid, he chose to support his daughter’s decision to give birth.  Grand-dad didn’t need help; he needed hope.

Applying that: a Guatemalan mom may or may not decide to emigrate.  But what American restrictions do is to make it easier for population controllers to convince her that she is trapped if she gives birth.  She doesn’t need a ticket to America; she needs hope.  Opening the door does not mean that Guatemala will tip sideways and dump everyone north; it does mean an increase in immigration (and an end of the problems associated with illegal migration), but mostly it just means hope.  I have options.

I reject utterly the proposal that voting for a program that was deliberately designed to put pressure on her to abort is excusable – even mandatory, if I understand you – because it protects her from seductive abortion programs.  I think that the proposal, unpacked, is transparently bizarre.

Please tell me if we are in agreement about the following:

1. American immigration laws were written by eugenicists.  Stopping indiscriminate immigration was a key program of the eugenics movement.
2. The American immigration policy supported the Nazi population policy.  The link between population policies and immigration policies is not hypothetical; we can list some names of Jews who were refused entry and later died.
3. The Golden Venture incident shows several things.  First, President Johnson’s immigration reforms did not fix the problem; America’s immigration policy after the last major reform still supported depopulation policies elsewhere.  Second, the eugenics movement did not die out after World War II; it was still measurably vibrant in the 1980s, active in resisting immigration.  Third, pro-lifers one generation ago understood the links between immigration policy here and population policy elsewhere; the current marriage of pro-lifers and anti-immigration activists does not have deep roots.
4. The leaders of the Catholic Church globally, nationally, and locally (in Maryland) have taught with great force and consistency about marriage and about immigration.
5. The number of Catholics who agree with the Pope and bishops about both marriage and immigration is small – perhaps somewhere between 5% and 20% of Catholics.

Are the assertions above controversial?  Before we argue, can you please tell me where we diverge?

Threatened by a Culture

I’ve been thinking about a friend's assertion that Latino culture is a threat to American (norteamericano) culture.

I guess that immigration seems okay to me – emotionally – in part because of some specific accidental details in my history.  The first time I noticed an “inter-racial” marriage (cripes – there’s only one race – but that was what we called marriages between people of different ethnic backgrounds) was in high school.  I had a friend whose mother was Austrian, and whose father was Chinese.  Paula: she was lively, quick-witted, intelligent, funny, friendly, and head-spinningly gorgeous.  When someone called it to my attention that she was part-European, part-Asian, I thought we should establish an exchange program to make that happen a lot more.  When I was teaching at Rockville HS, there was a student who was very much like Paula.  This beautiful girl, Annie, never had a class with me, but she was in the National Honor Society, which I advised, so our paths crossed a bit.  Every time I saw her, I thought: “O dear Lord! Immigration is a great thing!”

In “I Shall Be Free,” Bob Dylan sang the same thing in 1963.
Well , my phone rang and it would not stop
It’s President Kennedy callin’ me up
He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, “My friend, John, we need Brigitte Bardot
Anita Ekberg
Sophia Loren
Country’ll grow!”

The first time I dealt specifically with Mexican culture was also a very happy event, in December 1972, when I organized a pilgrimage from Boston to the shrine at Guadalupe.  I loved it!

On the way down, we stopped at a “restaurant” that was really just a family offering hospitality in their front room; they were so open and generous – and patient with the gringos who knew a dozen words in Spanish.

We slept on the stone plaza by the basilica, among thousands and thousands of pilgrims.  We were welcomed.  We had nylon sleeping bags that stuck out; everyone else had blankets; and during the night a few people kicked us.  I thought it was an important part of the pilgrim experience: absorb the resentment, and let it go.

In the basilica (not the current one), there was scaffolding holding up various things; the church (the city) is on soft wetland, and the building was sinking and cracking.   It was part church, part construction site – and this was where Mary revealed herself.

There were balloons caught in the scaffolds and bouncing along the ceiling.  A playful culture.

We were there for high Mass on the feastday, and there was incense.  The altar boys holding the incense in the sanctuary kept the incense smoldering by waving the censer around – sometimes spinning it in full circles, over their heads.  We don’t do that up north.  It wasn’t solemn, but it wasn’t a distraction either.  It was the antics of children, welcome at the fiesta.  I loved it.

Most of the congregation stood.  But there was an Anglo group up in the sanctuary, with chairs.  We were not part of that group, but the Mexicans pushed us up there anyway – gently but firmly.  So we were up in the sanctuary – without chairs, because we were not part of the group.  So, footloose, we moved around freely behind the curtains on the sides of the altar, and we settled down right below the tilma.  Right below.  For an hour, we stood below the tilma, close enough to touch the case holding it.  we had an envelope of prayers from the community in Boston, and we placed it in a crack between the brick wall and the case holding the image.  In the picture, Mary is looking down to her right; that’s where we were during Mass on the feastday.  Because the hospitable Mexicans pushed us there.

The basilica had a small door in the back for the servants – you know, the priests and the bishops and the Cardinal and all those folks.  In front, there were majestic wooden doors 25 feet high; those doors were for the owners, the peasant women who came across the plaza on their knees.  Mary’s people.

We made this pilgrimage in December 1972, and we focused on a very odd thing.  We were praying specifically for unborn children and their mothers, because we felt called to do so.  Roe v Wade was already decided, but it hadn’t been announced, and very few people in the nation were paying attention to the issue.  So from the beginning days of my work on life issues, I have felt that we could and should and would learn from Mary, who appeared in Mexico, who by-passed Spanish culture and got to the heart of the Gospel, using symbols that made sense to millions of indigenous people.

Franklin, it seems to me that it’s still visible in Mexico: this is the culture that was converted to Christianity – not by Patrick or Boniface or Paul or some other determined guy.  No: this culture accepted the Gospel as preached by Mary.  The heart of the Church in the New World is in Mexico.

How can you find that culture threatening?  What bothers you?

Did you ever see the movie “Romero”?  There is a detail in it that moves me deeply, although it is really just a tiny moment in the background.  After paramilitary thugs working with the government had desecrated a church, shot up the tabernacle, and chased the people away, Archbishop Romero starts to say Mass on a table in the street in front of the church.  The thugs threaten him, and the people move promptly to surround him.  Solidarity.  In the movie, in this crowd scene, when the people surround him protectively, one of the peasants is a shapeless old lady with a deeply lined face.  I can’t read her face; I doubt anyone other than her own children can read her face.  But when the threat becomes clear and she shuffles forward, I understand the gesture if not her expression.  It moves me to the core of my heart.  This is my church.  These are my people.  (Yeah, yeah – it’s a movie.  The lined faces are real, and I love them.  The solidarity is real.  Mexico is home of drug dealers and thugs; the Church was outlawed.  Mexico is also home to people who hold to their faith in the face of persecution and violence.)

In my family, there is a determined patriarchal figure in the background.  John A. O’Keefe was a patriarch; his drive and determination built a family that has done great things.  He was the first in his immigrant family to go to college: Harvard, 1881, a bastion of anti-Catholic power and pride.  He had three sons, eight grandchildren, about 30 great-grandchildren, about 80 great-great-grandchildren, and the next generation will larger still.  We are all over the country, doing hundreds of interesting things.  And we are all aware of his determination that shaped us.  Recently, I was blessed to work with a young man who I believe is a new patriarchal figure.  His family is Guatemalan, poor, scrambling.  I helped him get into a six-year program at Brown.  He is the first in his family and in his neighborhood to go to college – and he is in an Ivy League college, planning to be a physician in 2020.  Of course I can’t be sure, but I think many people will remember him with awe and joy in 2120.  I think I have helped – just a smidgin – to launch a great man.  I am so proud of him, so grateful to God for letting me be a small part of this young man’s life.

Franklin, I understand that my experience and your experience are very different.  My experiences of immigration begin with prayer and majesty and splendor and beautiful girls.  You see more drug dealers and hostile guys taking your work.  Perhaps our emotional responses are already set, fixed, immovable.  But still, I can’t help but think that you should make a conscious effort to seek out people from this culture that impinges on your life more and more.  Go visit a family with beady-eyed four-year-olds, and see if you fall in love.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pro-lifers Gone Bort

A large part of the pro-life movement has been taken over by Planned Parenthood.  In ignorance, hard-working and dedicated folks are killing far more children than they save.

An intelligent pro-life friend pressed me the other day, asking for clarity about the destruction of the pro-life movement.  I had pointed out that support for immigration restrictions kills millions of children overseas, and thousands of “pro-lifers” who are saving children with one hand are killing far more children with the other hand.  They work hard in front of abortion clinics, saving thousands of children; then work hard to tighten the border, killing millions of children.  Explain, he demanded.  Why do I say that a large portion of the most pro-life movement today works for Planned Parenthood?

I think he wanted a bumper sticker.  But I want him to understand the problem, thoroughly.  If I had betrayed a movement accidentally, I’d want to understand what happened, so I could reverse some of the damage.  Here are the questions to research.  If you pursue the data yourself, you are less likely to think I’m lying and distorting.  So here’s my outline; Google the data yourself.

Six steps.

First: get an orientation.  

(Optional but highly recommended.  30-45 minutes.)

Read my “Introduction to Eugenics.”  American Life League has taken my name off it, but it’s still available on line, at  You don’t need to read the booklet, but it will make it much easier to assemble pieces sensibly in your mind.  The master race ideology – eugenics – is the source of the rabid and hateful anti-immigration movement, and is also the source of the abortion movement; they are cousins in contempt and careless death.  For decades, International Planned Parenthood Federation was housed within the offices of the Eugenics Society in London.  In particular, make sure you see and understand the links between global population control, funded by America and Europe, and its back-up policies of restrictive immigration in the funder nations.  Get a grip.

Second, understand the eugenics initiatives of the 1920s ...

... their three major legislative initiatives.  They started forced sterilization in 29 states.  They passed anti-miscegenation laws in many states.  And they pushed through the “Johnson Acts,” tinkering with laws to restrict immigration.  Our immigration laws today are a reform (under Reagan) of a reform (under Pres Johnson) of those laws.  The bland assumption that of course we can decide arbitrarily whom to admit and whom to exclude, without any accountability, is based on the 1920s eugenics campaign.  Why and how did we tighten the borders?  Get a clear picture of the American Eugenics Society, the Eugenics Record Office, and the Johnson Acts.

Third, immigration restrictions here kill people there.  

Nail that down tight in your mind.  “BS!” you retort. “Name one!”  Make sure you have a firm understanding of the impact of immigration restrictions on what happens overseas.  The anti-immigrant legislation of the 1920s was written to keep out many people, but that generation of arrogant killers had a particular animus against the “feeble-minded” Jews.  American eugenicists were proud allies of the German eugenicists.  When Hitler was preparing his Final Solution, and foresighted Jews were beginning to flee, America deliberately and firmly shut the door against them.  Our immigration policies here killed Jews in Europe.  Oh, yeah, you squawk?  Please, friend: read the story of the St Louis, which sailed from Hamburg with Jews aboard, sailed past Miami, was refused entry, and returned to Hamburg.  The Holocaust Museum has a list of the passengers who saw the lights of Miami and then sailed east to die in Nazi death camps.

Fourth, Golden Venture

Update the St Louis story a little, and get a firm grasp on the Golden Venture story.  For decades, China has killed far more babies than we do, with their one-child-only forced abortion policy.  The United States has debated whether to support the Chinese policy.  When people flee from China, to save a child, or planning to have others in the future, will we welcome these refugees?  President Reagan and Rep. Chris Smith (R, NJ), chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus for many years, fought hard to open that door a crack.  Bottom line: pro-lifers understood in the 1980s that restrictive immigration policies supported forced abortion policies.  If you don’t understand that story, you are putty in the hands of a killing machine.

Fifth, Tiananmen Square

refresh your recollection of Chinese history.  25 years ago, there was a drive for freedom, focused in Tiananmen Square.  The month before the tanks rolled into the square, Planned Parenthood’s magazine, People (not the celebrity magazine, but a British publication) focused a whole issue on how well the Chinese were handling the population explosion.  There were 17 articles praising different aspects of China’s policies.  For generations, Planned Parenthood was the link between focused depopulationist eugenicists and sloppy Western feminists.  Even now, it’s easy to discern the alliance between sincere “pro-choice” activists and advocates of forced abortion.  The deep and painful irony is that sloppy Western pro-lifers have imitated sloppy Western pro-choicers; today, forced abortion has as many allies among pro-lifers as among pro-choicers.  Read People magazine, pre-Tiananmen.

Sixth, John Tanton

Peruse the life and work of John Tanton.  He is the key figure in the American anti-immigration movement of our time.  He founded and/or supported and/or inspired the key organizations that “pro-lifers” gone over the right edge quote freely – FAIR (Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform), CIS (Center for Immigration Studies), Numbers USA, English Only, etc.  He is not the devil incarnate; but he does provide a clear snapshot of a nation-deforming transition.   Just as Margaret Sanger took an idea (eugenics) from the rightwing of imperial Britain and made it appealing to the left, so Tanton took an idea from the left (Planned Parenthood and Sierra) and made it appealing to the right – even to history-free pro-lifers.  If you understand Tanton’s goals and tools, the immigration fight gets clear.  He started in Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club and ZPG (Zero Population Growth), but was frustrated by their lack of progress toward a stable eugenic world, so he switched over to immigration work.

Bottom line is simple: inhospitality is inhospitality.  

When you read the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, it might be startling that Jesus provides a list of roads to hell, and all of them involve sins of omission.  The reason is actually pretty simple: most of the colossal damage we do, including murder, is disguised in our minds.  We don’t bomb Nagasaki’s Catholic community; we deter Japan.  We don’t kill babies; we choose to be pregnant later.  We don’t kill the poor overseas; we protect our borders.  Am I my brother’s keeper?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Straight Guilt

I am posting a draft of my book on marriage.  It's a companion piece, balancing the work I did on immigration.

I am convinced that there is a need for open and honest dialogue between the right and the left -- across the nation, but beginning within the Church.  If people of faith cannot bridge political differences, who on earth can?  On the cross, the Lord reached right, and reached left,and got himself nailed on both sides.  But he is tougher than hell, and if we hang onto him -- on the right or the left -- then we can't more than about five feet away from the people on the other side, can we?

Anyway, marriage.

I have tried hard to find ways to state clearly and honestly what I think, but to be respectful of people who think differently.  I worked hard, but had a good time.  If you don't laugh at some of this, you aren't paying attention.

I am posting seven pieces.  The appendices are not posted yet. I wrote three ideas that are part of this book, but do not fit into its format.  That is, I want to talk about immigration, eugenics, and Sodom.  But the book is written in one-bite-at-a-time pieces -- 90 vignettes, independent, 500 words apiece.

Should I tell the truth about the 500 word fetish?  Sure -- no one on FB expects me to be ultra-refined.  Some people find a little quiet, away from demands, sitting on the throne.  Some people even read there.  Perhaps -- I don't know -- maybe 500 words at a sitting.  I hope this book will find a place in your life.  500 words at a time.

But the material about immigration and eugenics and Sodom is extended.  Long-winded?  Anyway, way over 500 words.  If I can't slice it and dice it, and won't toss it, then I'll just nail it on awkwardly.  Three appendices.

Anyway, I have posted a draft.  I'm hoping for comments.  (On a phone, open page menu under HOME arrow.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Spiritual Placenta

Give me, Lord, a new spiritual placenta.

The child in utero is not inert or totally helpless.  Kids need protection, but that doesn’t mean they are stupid.  The child is in there inventing a brain and building one.  Can you grow a finger?  You forgot how!  You are post-birth senile, totally out of it!  The child is inventing and building a heart, a whole blood system, a nervous system, a spine, a knee.  And then doing what all living things do: that kid is in there dancing!

The Lord gave the child one complete cell, a warm place to live, and access to nutrition via mom.  And then the building began!

Access to nutrition: after a few days, the child develops a complex interface with mom’s uterus, a placenta.  That’s so this smart little inventor, the little bloodsucker in there, can get the sweetness out of mom’s blood, without all the red stuff.  The interface unit – the placenta – has a boundary line that is far more complex than the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay: it twists and winds and intermingles, but there is not a single cell that is confused about whether it is part of mom or part of the baby.

Sucking blood – but not like a mosquito!  Mosquitoes spit!  That’s disgusting, and rude!  (And painful.)  But a placenta just sucks quietly, taking in nutrition and sweetness, offering joy in return.

Oops.  Not a good time for mom!  She is going to evict the little bloodsucker, and skip the joy part!  This isn’t good!

But it’s not all bad.  Everyone dies, and some people die mid-dance.

Bishop Taban of southern Sudan said his people knew how to die, and they wished they could teach the rest of the Church what they had learned.  What a waste!  Torit, a town of 30,000 people, was besieged by the government of Khartoum in the 1980s during the Sudanese civil war, and only 2,000 survived.  That’s a lot of death!  They learned a lot, and wanted to share it – but we didn’t want to hear about it!

I do not know all of what they wanted to teach in Torit, but I know a little.  When you draw near to death, Jesus draws near to you.  When you are totally messed over, you can look sidewise and see the face of another totally screwed over person – who understands what you are going through, and shares the struggle.  He looks you in the eye with com-passion.  He is a com-rade, in your com-munity, in com-plete com-munion with you, and his eyes are full of intelligent com-passion.

He is not com-placent; he is not sucking blood.  Instead, he offers you his blood, and you can suck his blood, and draw life from it.  You need a new kind of placenta – a new life, a new birth, a new heart, a new spirit – and a new placenta.  He does not share your placenta; you attach your placenta to him, and suck the sweetness out of him.