The Precarious Comforts of Vichy
This photo allegory reflects my anger at coercive behavior by my fellow citizens. No American has the right to impose his private morality on any other American, yet this is precisely the agenda of some religious groups. Millions of women have become victims of attacks on their most painful, private choice of conscience: whether to have an abortion. Millions of homosexuals and lesbians have become victims of attacks on gay rights legislation, denying them fundamental rights to housing and employment, which heterosexual Americans take for granted. -- Duane Michals.
The photo and caption above were published as part of "political art" display in the editorial pages of the New York Times (6 July 1991). One notes the standard God-hatred, canalized by means of conventionally blasphemous anti-Catholicism -- in which the Times was, and is, pleased to take part. The obligatory curtsey in the direction of abortion partisans ("victims of attacks on choice") is duly made, but the artiste's own enthusiasms are pretty obvious from his choice of models.
The charge of housing and employment discrimination sounds almost quaint, so much ground has been forfeited in the years intervening. That Christians congratulated themselves on a triumph for having maintained the status quo in November's same-sex marriage referenda shows the extent to which we've all bought into the gay propaganda. Simply by staying pat we're taking up arms. Simply by not losing ground we achieve a conquest (one thinks of the 1953 Pirates, so habituated to defeat that when a game was rained-out they threw a victory party).
Yet the most damaging concession -- almost always made unconsciously -- is that of buying the lie that homosexuals as such were ever visible to the law in the first place. Sobran explains it in regard to the Supreme Court's 2003 knock-down of the Texas Sodomy statute.
In the sodomy case, Kennedy and O'Connor proved themselves virtuosos of the non sequitur. They agreed that sodomy laws "discriminate" against homosexuals as a "class" or "group." Kennedy, ever the metaphysician, added that such laws "demean their existence." But of course the law in question said nothing about classes or groups; it merely forbade specific sexual acts. You might as well say that laws against theft "discriminate" against burglars as a class (or should we say "demean the existence of the larcenous community"?).
Isn't prohibiting the action itself an infringement of one's personal choice? True, but immaterial. As Hadley Arkes teaches, the logic of any law is to replace private choice with public obligation. The deeper problem is the widespread loss of confidence that morality itself is rationally defensible -- a doubt shared by most progressive bishops. You remember that Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor could only reprove the Muslim beheading of a woman hostage by appealing to the "value of Muslim mercy" (he was mum about any purely human standards of conduct). And respecting Mr. Michal's claim above, Archbishop Pilarczyk has blown off the CDF in favor of the gay view of anti-gay discrimination.
In sum, gays hate the Church and the Times loves the gays and the tree-shakers are taught by the Times. The headquarters-approved battlecry for the counter-offensive?: pray for rain.
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Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Mar. 11, 2005 12:35 PM ET USA
I fail to understand the power, or logic, of the message, leaving aside the implied heresy of it. Per Mark Steyn, the poor fellow looks as if he's trying to say that Catholics use the crucifix to clean wax out of people's ears. And, you'll notice, the dress up cleric missed the ear. Looked at that way, its a remarkably edifying message. Just as heterodox clerics need to remove the plank from their own eye, their messages fail to clean the wax out of people's ears so that they can hear.
Posted by: sparch -
Mar. 11, 2005 10:05 AM ET USA
I find no understanding when the people who push for reproductive and sexual rights in this country express themselves from the point of "this is what I want. There is no consideration or understanding of their destructive force to others and themselves. The dimensions of hatred and destruction flow far and wide on the surface. The depth of love and understanding dig deep to many levels and catch up the hate and disperses it. Let us keep praying for out brothers and sisters who hate.
Posted by: Andy K -
Mar. 10, 2005 2:20 PM ET USA
My mistake on the previous post. Michals, not Duchals. If that post can be corrected, please do so. If not, then run this wit it.
Posted by: Andy K -
Mar. 10, 2005 2:19 PM ET USA
The image is powerful. I think Duchal makes his point with it. Unfortunately, his logical fallacy is obvious. "No American has the right to impose his private morality on any other American, yet this is precisely the agenda of some religious groups." Let me change that: "No American has the right to impose his private morality on any other American, yet this is precisely the agenda of some [photographers, like me]."
Posted by: patriot6908 -
Mar. 10, 2005 1:17 PM ET USA
The kinds of weaselly dissension that occurs among some of our bishops is a scandal that tears at the fabric of faith and morals. They undercut the teachings of the Church in so many damaging ways. To make matters worse, so many other bishops remain silent out of deference, but also contribute to the erosion of teaching and doctrine.