Archive for December, 2008

31
Dec
08

Cleansed by Fire, Part 31

For the previous installment of this story, click here

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 5, Blood and Tears (continued)

future-in-vestmentsHis latest meeting with Domina xec-Academie had gone, by Gregory’s estimation, about as well as any that had come before—which wasn’t the most ringing endorsement he could provide.

Once again, he left with plenty of images and uselessness to fill his head but little to fill in the gaps of his knowledge. He had set aside two hours for the former chief steward of the late Red Pope and wanted just about every minute of that part of his life back, with the possible exception of the mental image of her greeting him in a transluscent, skin-hugging, full-body confection made of slickskein that did more to draw attention to her body than actual nudity could have ever accomplished.

She had put on a scarlet daycloak fairly promptly and apologized with an obvious lack of sincerity and pure salaciousness in her tone that the outfit was a necessary part of her new excercise regimen, helping to balance the proper levels of perspiration and heat retention.

Most of the next two hours consisted of a well-orchestrated ballet of lies, evasiveness and coquetries of her part, coupled with sarcasm, accusations and diplomatic inducements on his.

Toward the end of their meeting, Domina presented him with a small gift-tube and mentioned it was something special for Amaranth. Miko Tanabi, who had taken to standing just inside the room while the Peteris’ other guardsman, Gregor Alenko, remained outside—a change in procedure orchestrated by the Paulis herself—cleared her throat and Domina handed it to her instead. She did so with a look that on casual glance appeared to be chagrin but was something that Gregory recognized as something almost shyly predatory.

After that came a flurry of quick meetings in which Gregory was alternately harrassed, praised and ridiculed by various members of the Ecclesiastia; then a short Sacrumass to conduct in the Grand Chapel, with his sermon sounding eminently more confident than he was feeling at the moment; and finally to the central UFC security station where Gregor retrieved Domina’s “gift” for Amaranth.

After a few minutes, Gregor reappeared and handed the gift-tube over to Gregory with news that there was nothing in the parcel that was setting off any sensors or alarms with the sniffer apps. Still, he was shaking his head as he handed it over, as if he were handing his Peteris a message about the death of a close friend.

“This cannot be good,” Gregor said with what sounded like bemused solemnity. “It is sealed for the Paulis but I could have…”

“No, don’t tempt me,” Gregory said. “If it isn’t dangerous and I break the seals, Amaranth will kill me. It’s keyed for her, it’s declared safe; she’ll open it. She’d break it open in a heartbeat if our roles were reversed of course.”

“Marriage creates the uneven game field for men,” the bodyguard responded. “This is why there will not be a Madame Alenko.”

Miko sniffed indignantly but said nothing in response to her Peteris or her fellow guardsman.

Later than night, Amaranth would walk into Gregory’s privy chamber in a slumbergown, just before bedtime, and toss the gift-tube into his lap.

“The gift is really for you, Greg,” she said, “and where it landed was quite appropriate.”

The Peteris of the UFC picked up the tube from his lap, opened it, and poured the contents out into his palm. One pair of very expensive, unnecessarily skimpy and vanishly sheer briefpants. Although they appeared to be new, the aroma now drifting into his nostrils suggested that something very energetic had happened inside them earlier in the day.

“I think I’ll be having that little chat about who owns your nethers a bit sooner than expected with our guest,” Amaranth said dryly.

“She certainly has a gift for subtlety, doesn’t she?” Gregory offered blandly. “Where do you suppose she finds the energy and stamina? I’m surprised those wanderlusts of hers haven’t suffered system crashes yet.”

“At least it’s an improvement from when she couriered me the plasz-wrapped thumb of one of my spies in Davidia,” she responded. “I think. So, are you going to throw that away now? Or make love to it?”

“Must I give it up?” Gregory said innocently. “It’s so rude for us to refuse a gift that so much…effort…went into.”

Amaranth snorted in a decidedly unfeminine manner. “Greg, toss it out, disinfect your hand and come to bed soon. I won’t be doing anything that will soil your briefpants but you will want to talk with me before I fall asleep. Particularly since I did a little something passive-aggressive today, my love, in response to this whole Domina fiasco.

“I gave asylum to my very own highly placed Vatican lackey. I’ll tell you a little about it tonight, and round out your knowledge in the morning. Just like you did with me and the Domina situation.”

With that, Gregory gave up hope of tomorrow being a better day.

***

After several hours alternately walking, crawling and slithering through various degrees of destruction beneath bechan-adymJerusalem, Bechan Adym had long since lost his burning sense of purpose and replaced it with an overwhelming sense of anxiety and fear.

He had only a small survival pack that he pushed ahead of him, and the ultradense slickskein outfit that hugged his body, and neither of them was comforting him much. The skin-thin slickskein was a special polymer weave that was packed so tight on a molecular basis that it weighed as much as light field armor, while maintaining total flexibility. Its smoothness allowed him to glide through some of the tightest paths, but the weight and lack of breathability was also making him sweat miserably inside the damned thing, even though most of his body heat was being converted to energy for the small browbeam lighting his way. As a result, he was constantly sipping his own perspiration through a catchtube and liking it less with each passing minute.

The density of the slickskein ensured that he almost certainly would not be cut but it wouldn’t do a thing to protect him if a tunnel collapsed on top of him—a prospect that he was both dreading and desiring at this point. Soon, the way would become easier, or so he had been led to understand; he suspected that would mean something like getting disembowled first, then finding out later how much more pleasant it is in comparison to have a foot chopped off.

He closed his eyes and considered just turning back. Then he reminded himself, again, how much his ancestors had endured over thousands of years, and he pressed on. Fear was his regular companion now; he intended to make it his propellent instead of his braking thrusters.

***

In the small syna called Temple Ezrath, Rabbi Brifel Mann keyed up an interface with the AI that controlled the imagery on the Western Wall and also served as the main AI both for the local Jerusalem Civil Governing Authority and for Jewish priests and religious scholars across Israel.

“Good evening, Rabbi Mann,” the AI said in a voice that sounded like a young man forced to grow up too fast. “How are you?”

“Well, Kotel, very well,” the rabbi answered. “I saw some new imagery on the wall today, depicting the Holocaust with Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats. It was very striking, all the more so for the fact it was mostly black and white.”

“It is fascinating, you know. I had discovered some archival material recently—an adult illustrated novel from the Second Millennium titled Maus. It was quite inspirational. The author…”

“Kotel, sometimes, a simply thank-you suffices,” Brifel said, reminding himself once again that the AI had only been the successor of the previous Kotel for five years now. The AI was smarter than most adults, but it was still a long way from fully finding its personality. “I actually wanted to talk about Bechan Adym.”

“How is he?”

“Seven hours underneath the city. You be the judge.”

“If he can survive and if he’s using stims, I should think he can reach the Jordan River, or the Dead Sea, in another four hours, if his path was well chosen,” Kotel noted. “Or, upwards of 13 hours if he chose poorly or made any wrong turns.”

“Hmmmm. Well, then, I think that in that case, you should wait another seven hours, then contact the Vatican authorities and tell them there has been a breach of the tunnels and that a pack of scuttlers should probably be sent out to investigate.”

***

female-commanderThe admin suite was overly crowded this evening, with three field marshals reporting to her in lieu of Maree, along with Kevan, Paulo and Ather. Willem rounded out the lot, quiet as ever off to the side as everyone else gathered in a circle in their slipchairs.

“We still have the Fourth Millennial Event tomorrow, and we all need rest, so I won’t keep you long,” Lyseena xec-Juris said. “We’ve all seen the reports for today and the long string of attacks, all but one of which Secular Genesis took credit for. Does anything strike any of you?”

“They were very audacious,” said one of the field marshals.

Lyseena narrowed her eyes and stared at the woman for a full ten seconds. “I’d relieve of your duties for an inane insight like that if it weren’t for the fact your field report shows you have a functioning brain.”

“Well, we’ve already established a pattern of the attacks escalating over time,” Paulo noted. “The effort was highly coordinated and clearly had purpose beyond mere harrassment of the Catholic Union.”

“Purpose, yes. But what?” Lyseena asked, with the air of someone who already had an answer.

“Fear, one would suppose,” Kevan added. “Though they seem to have only stirred up more interest in people about tomorrow. I swear with the media reports and citizen queries on the Grid more people want to come to the city core now, hoping to be just close enough to see templars and terrorist spar without getting killed in the process. I’m sure Ather must have some colorful commentary to share.”

“Ather has been busy,” responded Ather sup-Juris. “Lyseena has had me chasing Maree most of the day, and a fine chase it was. I love hunting. So, I haven’t been thinking of your problems, Kevan. Besides, I already know what Lyseena is leading up to because she talked to me about it earlier, and if I spoil her ending she’ll shoot me on the spot.”

“Too true,” she said, noting that two of the field marshals blanched at the thought. Probably best to let them think I would do that, for now at least. “Brothers, sisters. This entire godforsaken day has been leading up to something. Working us up and wearing us out and announcing to us that more was yet to come. And it did.”

Lyseena paused, took a breath.

“But didn’t it all seem rather…anticlimactic?” she continued. “We’ve had an entire day of rough foreplay and no one has fornicated with us.”

“I’d say we got pretty well fucked,” blurted one field marshal, whom Lyseena knew had been all too close to a pair of back-to-back assaults in recent hours.

“Did we now?” Lyseena asked. “No,we haven’t been yet. All this build-up, and no conclusion. That’s my assessment.”

“I’m not disagreeing with you, Lyseena,” said Paulo, “but does that mean they had a piss-up with their finale, or…”

“…it means, Paulo, that they haven’t presented it yet,” Lyseena answered. “We’ve had an entire day of chaos to manage thanks to the Red Pope’s untimely demise. A day we weren’t expecting to have to deal with, when we have an even bigger event and more chaos to deal with tomorrow. We were already stretched thin, and we figured they would strike us today when we were least prepared to deal with it.

“Instead, we’re tired, and now we know they aren’t finished yet, and we still have to face that tomorrow. No, fellow templars, this isn’t over. We’ve been played on a line like fish. Secular Genesis plans to strike us with their real attack, or attacks, tomorrow. They always did. And whatever they are planning, I think it’s going to be about as ugly as it gets.”

(This concludes Chapter 5. To view the next installment, which begins Chapter 6, click here.)

30
Dec
08

Too Offended By the Nails

crucifixionThis past Sunday, our pastor did a “Cannon Sunday” service.

I’d never heard the term before, but apparently it refers to the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s, during which attendance is traditionally so low that you could fire a cannon over the pews and not hit anyone.

So, no formal sermon, no choir, the normal music director wasn’t the one playing the organ.

Figures that it would be a pretty heavy attendance that day.

But, that’s not my point. I’m going tangential on you. Point is that instead of a sermon, the pastor answered questions handed in from the congregation and randomly selected from the pile. Sort of a town-hall style sermon.

One of those questions wasn’t really a question, and it went something like this:

I am so offended by the image of those railroad nails being driven through Jesus’ hands and feet that I cannot get past the the pain and suffering and refuse to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

I don’t get this. The pastor, for his part, deftly honored the person’s question instead of calling him or her out as a flaming dipwad, and mentioned how it shows sensitivity and compassion to so hate the image of crucifixion and the suffering it entailed.

Now, I can get down with that point, of course. We rarely spend enough time truly understanding and appreciating how much Jesus suffered. This wasn’t some simple execution and not some simple form of torture. Crucifixion remains one of the most excruciating and prolonged methods of killing a person that there is.

That said, the person who handed in the question is still a flaming dipwad.

Sorry if that seems harsh. But it’s how I feel. Honestly.

Because, you see, before he died, Jesus told us to remember him through the Lord’s Supper. Or rather, our imitation of it. Our symbolic representation of it. He called upon us to break bread in his memory, as a remembrance of his soon-to-be-broken body, and to eat that bread as a symbol of taking him into our lives. And we were to drink wine in the same manner as a remembrance of the blood he was shedding as part of the new covenant with God.

He exhorted us to take that bread during worship. It is one of the ways we honor Jesus.

To refuse to take Communion, Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper—whatever you call it in your Christian denomination or specific church—is a kind of insult, I think. To say that you are so offended by the crucifixion of our savior that you cannot honor what amounted to his dying request…well, it is silliness at best, and ignorant at worst.

Remember that Jesus paid the price for us. He suffered for us. He told us we would often suffer in his name, but we never have to suffer as much as he did. Nothing we can go through can equal the crucifixion plus bearing all of our sins and having his own heavenly father have to turn His back and cut off the connection between them for a time.

The least we can do is eat a piece of bread without getting caught up in some overblown and, to me, somewhat insincere indignation over what he suffered.

Jesus knew what he was getting into. Let’s respect that, not put such a sharp focus on his suffering that we lose sight of what he wants us to do. And to feel. And to be.

29
Dec
08

Back to Work

I’m thinking there may be an official post later tonight, but we’ll see how everything works out. Still revving back up after the holidays, and realizing that I have some pretty significant amounts of “real” work to get done before everyone takes off again for New Year’s and I can no longer reach them by phone.

Just wanted y’all to know I haven’t forgotten you.

27
Dec
08

Holiday Mop-Up by Miz Pink

pinkhair-britney-spearsI see Deke bailed on us yesterday the lazy bum.

Not that I have much to say today either to be honest.

Except that if you made it through the holidays so far and didn’t kill any family members (or vice-versa) and you didn’t get decapitated by Santa’s sleigh sled-blade-thingies or pummeled by reindeer hoofs, don’t get cocky.

New Years Day is coming up. You know: Amateur Night. Folks who don’t drink heavy most of the year suddenly think they can pound them down all night and then drive home. Believe me I know. I did it myself a few times until I wised up and realized that staying at home and cuddling up with someone and with something bubbly to ring in the new year was much nicer. I’ll take falling asleep on the couch over a DWI or getting hit by one any day.

If you feel you just won’t survive unless you’re out on the town, just be careful. Be careful of others and be carefly of yourself.

Let’s all come home safe and start off 2009 with as few tragedies as possible…aside from the 5-pound holiday weight gain.

25
Dec
08

Cleansed by Fire, Part 30

For the previous installment of this story, click here

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 5, Blood and Tears (continued)

She was being pummeled. Her mind was screaming, “Get up! Run!” Shadowy figures were pressed around her, smelling of burned flesh and touching her with dry and mareeflaking fingers. She wanted to open her eyes. To speak. To get up.

But she was shackled. No, tethered. Mentally pinned. She strained, not knowing why she should or whether the effort was worth it.

For a moment, her eyes opened. A vague shadow in front of her, light all around it. Then she drifted again. Her eyelids dropped. Something inside her head tried to cinch those tethers again and she struggled against herself. She fought. She writhed inside her own psyche.

One by one, the restraints were slipping away. But from all directions, she still heard her own voice telling her to pull herself together and flee and fight and move. She began to grow frantic inside her thoughts, becoming more anxious the closer she got to freedom.

She didn’t know if she struggled for minutes or hours. But she started to rein in the chaos. She pushed away the flesh-seared corpses that were her recently slain family. She quieted the multitude of voices, all of them her own, until she could begin to think.

Until she began to realize that one voice wasn’t her own. “Maree,” it said. The voice was familiar. Familiar didn’t mean friendly anymore though. She panicked again.

Her eyes still wouldn’t respond properly, but she tried. A shadow in front of her gained resolution. A shape. Large. Blocking the dim light. Then her eyes betrayed her again, plunged her into darkness.

And again, she opened them. A shape. A person. There, and then gone again. Then back. Memories of white hair and hazel eyes. Familiar. Strange. Real or illusion? Now or then? Her context was slipping, and her control with it. Panic began to set in again. She didn’t precisely remember why, but there wasn’t supposed to be a person with her. All the dead people were in her head where they belonged. Who?

She opened her eyes again, not knowing how much later it was happening, and managed a few seconds of vision. No one was there, but there were items near her feet that didn’t belong. She remembered a little. She was in the rear berth of her borrowed groundcar. Someone had been there. Maree slipped again. Lost her hold. Everything went black, and she was back inside her head with the scorched dead of Astoria.

Then, all at once, she broke through the wall in her head with a huge choking sob, and she sat up, shaking. It took her nearly a minute to realize she had drawn her slug pistol, and slid it awkwardly back under her bounty coat.

Overhype, she remembered. I took overhype to escape the templars. God I hope I never have to resort to that again.

As her mind and body began to re-synch and her awareness sharpened, she realized that the items at her feet were a hot-canister and a cheap disposable flexsheet. Someone had been here, but as she looked around, past the windows of her car, she realized she was alone. There was still enough light outside to be clear on that point, and she was still back a bit in the woods, out of sight of the main road.

For a moment, she considered tossing the hot-canister out of the car until common sense reminded her that anyone with an agenda would have killed or bound her already, not left her a beverage. She pulled the thermal tab on the side of the large cup, and then sipped at the suddenly-steaming drink. It was shit-for-value caff, and she noticed now on the side of the canister the logo of a cheap travel depot she had passed many miles back. But in her current condition, anything that could shock her brain back into focus was welcome.

She picked up the flexsheet, and touched her thumb to the blinking standby avatar, watching words unfold in a script she hadn’t seen for years.

Maree,

My apologies for not staying around. I can’t know for certain what you took, but I have a good guess, and I am far too old to risk several broken bones as you come out of an overhype coma. And you bring back too many memories of your grandfather anyway, and Matthew for that matter. Consider me a coward if you must, but I’ll just spend this time while you “slumber” and say what needs to be said in the written word instead.

If the handwriting style itself hadn’t tipped her off, the tone of the letter would have. Charlyes Kemusian, one of her grandfather’s oldest friends; one of the early founders of Secular Genesis. A man she had called uncle from the time she could first speak. Maree began to read again.

Your father contacted me after the events at your Astoria cottage. He feared you might do something rash to Secular Genesis and thought I should warn someone. He vastly overrates my current level of connection to the movement, but I do reluctantly stay in the loop. I suppose I could have told him that I knew precisely what happened in Astoria and who did what to whom. Well, enough, anyway. Enough to know what you were really after.

Maree set aside the flexsheet for a moment. She hadn’t known that Uncle Charlyes had maintained any contact with Secular Genesis, but she should have expected the old fox to do so. When his beloved Matthew died, so did much of his anger toward the Vatican—why fight for something the popes had denied them when one of them was now dead—but he would never let himself be left in the dark. Her eyes fell back onto the letter.

But your father doesn’t let details like that stop him, now does he? But you already know that. I sent a spyfly over to that archaic little yacht of his. I suspected you’d be heading his way, though it slipped my mind to notify Tobin or Stavin or anyone else to expect you. I’ve gotten so absent minded in my latter years.

Maree, I know about anger. I know about revenge. Take your new identity and just run. For the love of your grandfather. For my sake. Run. And when you can find a way to do it, leave the Catholic Union. Stavin isn’t worth any of this. Neither is the Vatican. You have a chance to start anew. Take it.

Maree teared up for a moment. This man was the closest she could get to her grandfather now. Maybe the only person left who cared.

But you probably won’t. Will you? And I must accept that. I watched you face Tobin. I watched your relationship with him die in a moment. I watched you run in Houston. I watched you kill. I followed you here. You are running, but you won’t run away, will you?

“No,” Maree said in a whisper, “I won’t. I don’t think I can.”

If this were a Grid-vid…some godawful cloak and blade  holodrama…this would be the point at which I leave you an arsenal of weapons, a list of names and locations, and a decked-out slipcar. Everything you need for your trail of vengeance.

This isn’t a story, though, Maree.

I don’t have anything to give. And I wouldn’t if I did. Oh, I tapped into that linkpad of yours with that new name you’re carrying and slipped a few funds into the account. It’s not much. I’m old and unemployed and rebels don’t get retirement endowments. But it can feed you and keep you in lodgings for a few months I suppose. But I can’t give you revenge.

Does that mean I know where you could go and won’t tell you? Or that I don’t even have the knowledge you need? You can take your own guesses. An old man is entitled to some secrets, eh?

Choose your path carefully, Maree. I don’t know how many more forks in the road will be offered to you before you end up with only one path and the devil’s own momentum to carry you.

And you know where it got him.

Love, Charlyes

Maree thumbed the erase avatar. Guzzled caff until her throat couldn’t take the scorching anymore. She slipped into the forward berth and fired up the groundcar. Time to go a few miles, and then find a new way to travel.

There was still at least one person in the  world left for her to love, she realized. And who deserved it.

And she was going to disappoint him.

(To read the next installment of this story, click here.)

24
Dec
08

Christmas Heave

No, I don’t mean barfing (though, come to think of it, Little Girl Blue did actually have a little tummy problem and threw up a couple times). I’m not sick of the holiday already.

Nope. Just had to do all the wrapping last-minute and heave all those gifts downstairs, as quietly as possible while my wee one slept and Mrs. Blue slumbered, too (don’t be mad at her; she needed the rest more than I needed the help). I also had to assemble one large item on the spot, since I don’t think the little girl would be patient if I had to put it together on Christmas morning. I just wish that the second step of assembly wouldn’t have said “align screws with predrilled holes” only for me to discover that those four predrilled holes didn’t exist. Thank God the wood was soft, since it would have been hard to drill quietly. In the end, even though it took more than two hours all told, it all worked out, and I can’t wait for the morning flurry of unwrapping.

Peace.

23
Dec
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Merry Xmas by Deacon Blue

poinsettia-plantWe know, we know. It’s not even Christmas Eve yet. But neither me nor Miz Pink has much time for this week’s Two-fer Tuesday and, well, it’s close enough.

At this time of year we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus (even though it isn’t really the day he was born; I know that), I tend to find myself in remembrance of a Bible passage that recalls his sacrifice for us, which took place in the spring, rather than the manger and the magi and all that.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16

Sure, that may seem more appropriate for Easter time, but I always like to remember that God sent Jesus to us for a reason, and it wasn’t to inspire us to put presents under trees (though that’s nice, too).

Happy Holidays to all, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or something else entirely. God bless you all, even those of you who don’t believe in Him. 😉

(For my Cleansed By Fire fans…all 10 or 12 of you, 😛 I will be trying my damndest to post two more installments this week, ideally at least one, and perhaps both of them, on or before Christmas Day.)

23
Dec
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Merry Xmas by Miz Pink

pink_berrylipsI spit out my twofer Tuesday thing every week, and another post on most Saturdays, and maybe every once in a blue moon comment around here, but even though I’m not around as much as Deke, I want you to know I love and appreciate and pray for all of you. So a hearty Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Joyous New Year and everything else to all of you.

If there’s any mistletoe around you, feel free to enjoy a virtual kiss on the cheek or forehead from me. Just don’t get anything extra in mind. And don’t tell Sir Pink I gave you a little peck. If you do, he’ll want real smootchy quid pro quo on that for each and every virtual one given out, and since Deke tells me there are over 100 hits a day to this blog now, that would be alot of extra work for me.

22
Dec
08

Slippery Slopes

caution-slippery-slopeSo today’s topic…skiing? A sweaty pair of 36DD’s? Hilly streets that my piece of shit little Sentra can’t climb after a good snowstorm?

Nah, just going to talk about those proverbial slippery slopes where one thing “inevitably” leads to another.

I’ve been thinking about slippery slopes a lot because plenty of people are still talking about the passage of Proposition 8 in California, or Barack Obama’s decision to let pastor Rick Warren (who doesn’t anything nice to say about homosexual marriage) give the invocation at his inauguration. And because these things are being talked about on the blogs and elsewhere, myself and plenty of others have to address the real or perceived slippery slopes on both sides of the issue.

Mind you, I believe there are times in life where you have to draw a line, lest people walk en masse right down a treacherous slope. Don’t get me wrong. But in the end, I find the whole “slippery slope” concept to typically be questionable and often laughable. I mean, wasn’t our failed War on Drugs, which I believe Ronald Reagan initiated (and which still puts too many people in prison for too long for no good reason) founded on the idea that we needed to stop those drugs before little Timmy got a taste of pot and then went on to snort coke and then inevitably to shoot up heroin and then steal all the family’s belongings and perhaps rape his little sister Susie too? And haven’t we waged many a war on the idea that if we don’t stop [insert political system/ideology/group of your choice] here, it will spread everywhere, even to our own borders?

So, let’s talk about some of those slippery slopes that Christians get so bent out of shape about and why I’m sick to death of groups of Christians who raise up their standards and march off on an ideological war to put some grit on those slopes or, better yet, blow up the whole hill so no one slides into depravity.

Homosexual marriages. Because you know, we all know if we allow gays and lesbians to marry, next it will be the polygamists demanding their rights and then the incest-lovers, and then the pedophiles, and finally the people who are into bestiality and want to marry Fluffy. I mean, how can I argue with logic like that, right? Because people who commit incest just really want everyone to know, and there are soooo many of them. And of course, we’ll just forget about age of consent and maturity issues and abuse concerns and just let folks marry kids, right? Look, the only reasonable expectation in that list is that maybe, just maybe, polygamists will want their say. Well, let’s deal with that bridge then, eh? And let’s remember that multiple partners is a whole different issue than homosexuality with many more potential societal complications.

Abortion. Ever since Roe v. Wade, we’ve been on a Crisco-greased slide to murdering our babies, right? I mean, any day now, it will be legal to kill your full-term baby in the womb or on its way out the birth canal if you have second thoughts at the very end. In fact, we’re just around the corner from six-day “lemon laws” that will allow you to bring a baby back to the hospital to have it euthanized if you find it cramps your style too much. Give me a freakin’ break. No, I’m not a fan of abortion. And I know late-term and “partial bith” abortions are particularly gruesome thoughts for many people, myself included. But they do have a place for some people in the secular world, as much as my Christian soul doesn’t like it. Such practices are performed rarely and usually for very specific reasons, yet they are often wrapped up by zealous Christians in a package that suggests (a) the mothers are all irresponsibly doing this and loving it and (b) that somehow a viable, kicking screaming crying baby is being yanked out of a woman and hacked to pieces. To make a strong case, the truth is buried under a lot of visceral and bloody hype by many in Christian circles. And why not? It sure makes the slippery slope argument seem more logical, doesn’t it, so that you can go back and argue that any abortion should be illegal, right?

I’m not going to continue any more of that. You get my point. Slippery slopes are often overstated by Christians who wish to force their ethics into the law books for everyone else to follow.

But instead of decrying the illogic of some of the slippery slope mindsets, how about we imagine a world where Christians continue to have the kind of success they did with Proposition 8 in California, and imagine some of the slippery slopes for those successes?

OK, so we outlaw homosexual marriage. Now what? Hey, you know, let’s make it illegal not to have kids if you’re married. Or, maybe we prevent infertile people from marrying because, like gays, they can’t be fruitful and multiply. Or maybe we should allow a spouse to instantly and without recourse divorce the other spouse if that spouse is unable to provide a child. And hey, since we’re already at the bedroom door, let’s criminalize adultery. Or outlaw blowjobs and anal sex.

Or, let’s say abortion gets outlawed. Great! OK, so do we allow it in cases where the life of the mother is in danger? No? OK. Well, what if there are multiple kids in the womb and one kid is putting all the others in danger and removing that fetus, which might have minimal chance of survival anyway, will save two or more others? No? Or, maybe if a child is already dead in the womb we should remove it? No? Oh, yeah, because maybe there will be a miracle that causes it to return to life. Hey, and while we’re at it, let’s outlaw birth control methods, because aren’t they really just the same as abortion? And same for masturbation, too.

“But,” say the fellow Christians I’ve just offended, “those are ridiculous! Some of those assumptions would never happen. And we wouldn’t want them to nor would society in general!”

So, maybe you see my point now.

I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t engage in causes in which they fervently believe. What I am saying is that the temptation to justify it by being so arrogant as to say “We know where this will lead” instead of simply focusing on the act itself that repulses you, is the kind of thing we cannot afford.

Nor, by the way, can we simply say “the Bible says so, and that’s why it must be outlawed.” This isn’t a Christian nation; only a nation where Christianity is the largest religious bloc. Our laws must be based on the societal good and on secular foundations, not religious ones. To argue that something should be prohibited by law, you must be able to provide a real argument as to why your way is the better way for society.

Because as often as I’ve read the New Testament, I still haven’t found that part where Jesus, the apostles or any early church leaders said, “Yeah, it sure would be cool if we forced Christianity on everyone else at the point of a sword…or under weight of law.”

21
Dec
08

Not-to-do List

I want my brothers and sisters in Christ to make a positive difference in the world. I want them to win some souls for God by letting the light of the Holy Spirit shine forth in their demeanor and deeds. And in more temporal matters, I want to see their money, time and/or personal physical effort go into helping the poor and disenfranchised, building homes for those who need them, volunteering for shelters and other non-profit institutions, and so on.

To that end, I would respectfully ask that my brothers and sisters in Christ take some things off their agenda, in order to free up time for that other stuff. To whit, here are three things I want Christians of all sorts to stop doing. Right now:

  1. Opposing same-sex marriages performed through civil ceremonies (and attempting to deny same-sex couples the same benefits of heterosexual couples).
  2. Attempting to outlaw abortion and/or terrorizing abortion clinics and clinic-goers or doing physical harm to physicians and others involved in the practice.
  3. Advocating for the teaching of “Intelligent Design” anywhere outside a parochial school.

Thank you. Your prompt attention to this matter and cessation of all these activities immediately is greatly appreciated.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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