Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Slate on the Slap-back against Hitchens

Hitchens: so right on the War on Terror (oh, excuse me. the Struggle Against Violent Extremism), so wrong on Catholicism Kevin Arnovitz of Slate compiles the Catholic response from across the Blogosphere and beyond. First of all, if you haven't read the infamous Hitchens screed, get it here. Among other foamings-at-the-mout, Mr Hitchens managed to spit up this:
It is already being insinuated, by those who want this thorny question de-thorned, that there is an element of discrimination involved. Why should this question be asked only of Catholics? Well, that's easy. The Roman Catholic Church claims the right to legislate on morals for all its members and to excommunicate them if they don't conform. The church is also a foreign state, which has diplomatic relations with Washington. In the very recent past, this church and this state gave asylum to Cardinal Bernard Law, who should have been indicted for his role in the systematic rape and torture of thousands of American children. (Not that child abuse is condemned in the Ten Commandments, any more than slavery or genocide or rape.) More recently still, the newly installed Pope Benedict XVI (who will always be Ratzinger to me) has ruled that Catholic politicians who endorse the right to abortion should be denied the sacraments: no light matter for believers of the sincerity that Judge Roberts and his wife are said to exhibit. And just last month, one of Ratzinger's closest allies, Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna, wrote an essay in which he announced that evolution was "ideology, not science."

Thus, quite apart from the scandalous obstruction of American justice in which the church took part in the matter of Cardinal Law, we have increasingly firm papal dogmas on two issues that are bound to come before the court: abortion and the teaching of Darwin in schools. So, please do not accuse me of suggesting a "dual loyalty" among American Catholics. It is their own church, and its conduct and its teachings, that raise this question.
LOL!!! Well, I certainly have my own choice words for Hitchens. First, I have to stop laughing and get back in my chair. I can't tell you how hard it is to type while kneeling on the floor and staring through jovial tears! However, first things first:
Publius regards the article as pure Catholic-bashing:

one might overlook some of Hitchens' eccentricities but his attacks on the Roman Church are pure venom that would put him in good company with Rev. Ian Paisley or the Indiana Klan of the 1920s.

There are 55 million Roman Catholics in America and their participation in public life from top to bottom as Democrats and Republicans, left and right, in the White House and the state houses, on the bench and in our legislatures is well known and ought to have long ago put to rest the old-time Protestant paranoia about hocus pocus and the Pope of Rome sending orders through Jesuits.

MarkBrown calls it bigotry:

Hitch's rant reminds me of the vile, nativist Thomas Nast cartoon where the threat of bishops, their mitres drawn to resemble alligator jaws, came crawling up on America's shores. Beware! Beware of the Papist horde. Soon he'll be telling us that nuns are killing babies in the convents, as said in a widely circulated (and believed) anti-Catholic screed of the 19th century.

Though koplaw falls short of wrapping Hitchens in the bed linens, he maintains that—even as a self-confessed Bush-hater—Roberts is no "Manchurian Conservative":

First, the whole account is third level hearsay which does not ring true based upon how close to the vest Roberts has kept his views.

Second, Roberts went to Regis, a Jesuit prep school. If you tell most conservative priests you went to a Jesuit school, they will tell you it's a shame that you never had a catholic education. Jesuit training incorporates precisely the type of outcome determinative manipulation to reach the desired result as law encompasses, in other words, he can justify any legal result even if it is inconsistent with a Papal decree…

Third, historically, catholic jurists have been no enemy of the right to abortion. Look at Brennan. Further, all over catholic europe, catholic politicians are thumbing their nose at the church by approving gay marriage, etc, etc. Nobody has been excommunicated…

St. Blog's own Jay Anderson of Pro Ecclesia has his own response:
Hardly surprising coming from a man who hated both John Paul II and Mother Teresa with such visceral intensity. But it is shocking to me that Hitchens feels so comfortable placing his anti-Catholic bigotry on full display.

I'll say this much for him: at least Hitchens doesn't try to hide his antipathy for Catholics and Catholicism behind euphemisms like the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are wont to do.
As for your own Holy Fool, I found that Hitchen's bug-a-boo is right here:
At another point, he opined that "the moral order is ordained by God. … And to say that that's the basis for the Declaration of Independence and our institutions is entirely realistic." Display of the Ten Commandments, he went on to write, affirms that "the principle of laws being ordained by God is the foundation of the laws of this state and the foundation of our legal system."

To the extent that this gibberish can be decoded at all, it is in flat contradiction to the Declaration of Independence, which is unique precisely because it locates the just powers of government in the consent of the governed, and with the Constitution, which deliberately does not mention God at any point....Speaking to the Knights of Columbus in Baton Rouge, La., in January, Scalia implored them to "have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world." Whether for "Christ" or not, Scalia is certainly a fool. He should have fewer allies and emulators on the court, not more. And perhaps secular America could one day have just one representative on that august body. Or would that be heresy?
His screed is the brutally honest, if tired, Reasonable floor-flopping to put aside all this God nonsense. The Roman Catholic Church remains, as a 2000+ year-old institution, the single greatest impediment to Hitchen's desired Secular World Order. Thus, he gnashes his teeth against her any chance he gets. Even if he has to sound like a cheap imitation of a 19th century No-Nothing or a Thomas Nast stalker. Such mania is the only Reasonable action that such a man as he could take.

To put my response to his incoherent spittle another way, I can't stop laughing!