Thursday, February 18, 2010

LOW CHURCH. Mike Potemra's opening is a thing of beauty all by itself:
The question has been raised, Was it appropriate for a Catholic TV network to provide a platform for a torture advocate? In my view, the answer is yes.
You can stop there. But I can't! 'Cause this baby has everything. It has the Appeal to Widespread Belief:
Furthermore, if the polls are to be trusted, he speaks not only for the majority of Americans but for the majority of American Catholics.
Mirabile dictu, the cafeteria is now open! Then, the argument, popular in these precincts since Larry Craig's arrest, that hypocrisy in the defense of hypocrisy is no vice:
I think torture is a great evil, and that the resort to it in the past decade is a black spot on America’s record. But I am not in a stone-throwing mood against people like Marc, because I realize that the accusation that someone is not living to up to his or her religious creed is one of the lowest and least helpful arguments imaginable.
I should have just stayed in the Church; Catholicism seems to have gotten very easy. Now they love the sinner and the sin. It's as if Jesus followed up "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" with "Right -- carry on being taken in adultery."

But though the Church is greatly changed, some old habits of mind die hard:
Say it’s 1942, and the Nazis, having conquered England and the U.S. eastern seaboard, have developed an H-bomb and plan to use it against St. Louis to bring the rest of the U.S. into submission. American forces in St. Louis have in custody a Nazi agent with knowledge of the specifics that would enable them to foil the attack and turn the tide of the war. The Nazi agent is being uncooperative. I concede that it would be morally wrong to torture him – but I also admit that I would more than likely sacrifice that principle.
I would bet that Potemra is not unacquainted with the fantasy of criminals forcing him at peril of his family's lives to have sex with Megan Fox.

In the last ditch, Potemra goes for that hoary chestnut, the Argument From a Liberal Was Mean to Me. He describes attending a "meeting at a liberal Catholic parish here in New York" about torture, where he starts comparing it to abortion. This is met with "eye-rolling, dark mutterings, and dirty looks." "I’m not so na├»ve as to have thought there would be no pro-choicers there," says Potemra, "but I think I know now what it feels like to have someone read you out of a moral community, even when you’re acting in good faith."

Actually I should have taken holy orders. When my outraged parishioners inevitably caught me in flagrante, I could have answered that they were all being pretty judgmental for a bunch of sinners who probably cheated on their income tax.

Though I can't be sure that this sort of thing works anywhere but on rightwing websites.

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