Comments Posted By Joseph Clarke
Displaying 1 To 26 Of 26 Comments
As a factual point, Pres. Obama goes well beyond tithing in his charitable contributions. In side-by-side comparisons of his tax returns with Romney’s (during the two years that the latter has released them), Obama has given away a distinctly higher percentage.
The general sociological observation here about charitable giving among liberals and conservatives may well be accurate, but I don’t see how you can argue that Obama isn’t doing his best to set a good example as president.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On September 9, 2012 @ 2:06 pm
George, if you’re addressing me, I have no desire to reopen old disagreements over church politics, particularly as the bishops seem to have mended their differences for the time being.
I was simply happy to see our Metropolitan making a “teachable moment” out of the Chrism preparation.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 24, 2012 @ 8:00 am
“Only the Primatial bishops — only the Patriarchs and the other Metropolitans in the same position as I am — prepare the Chrism.”
Good for Metropolitan Jonah for taking this time both to explain a less-known sacramental rite and to reaffirm our Church’s autocephaly!
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 22, 2012 @ 5:50 pm
I am no fan of the mainstream media and will not defend them, but at least when real news outlets make a mistake, they correct the record and, if necessary, fire the individuals responsible.
You, George, posted a fake photo and made-up “facts” circulated by white supremacist websites because they fit your self-described narrative of a “Religion of Eternal White Evil.” The image was exposed as counterfeit more than a week ago, but you still can’t bring yourself to admit your mistake, correct the original post, and move on.
Don’t conservatives believe in taking responsibility for what they post online?
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 9, 2012 @ 7:17 am
George, I really am sorry that you feel targeted by a “Religion of Eternal White Evil.” I have made no assumptions about the goodness or evilness of either Martin or Zimmerman, and my preference is for Zimmerman’s motives to be determined in a courtroom, where he’ll be innocent until proven guilty. First he would need to be arrested, which is the typical procedure for almost anyone who kills someone after disobeying the instructions of a 9-1-1 dispatcher.
I have made only one specific charge to you, to which, as Fr. Jacobse requests above, I provide credible backing:
The picture in your post labeled “Media Bias” depicts George Zimmerman, respectably clad in a suit and tie, next to a black kid who is supposedly Trayvon Martin. This second photo initially surfaced on a white supremacist website called Stormfront and was eagerly picked up by conservative commentators as evidence that Martin had it coming to him. As Michelle Malkin’s site put it: “The mainstream media won’t show you these two photos because they convey a message that no one else wants to take into consideration.”
Problem is, the kid in the picture is not Trayvon Martin at all; it’s someone else with the same name. The “Alternative Media” which you praise in your post settled on a narrative that fit its worldview before checking its facts — exactly what you continuously accuse liberals of doing. In fact, you authored your original post after the picture had already been exposed as incorrect by a credible news source (see link above). All I have asked is that you acknowledge the mistake and take down the image, as a number of other conservative websites have now done.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 8, 2012 @ 4:51 pm
Pardon me Fr. Jacobse, but it’s a little absurd to say you don’t want “feeling to replace facts” lest our “thinking get muddled.” This post by George Michalopulos, and the entire narrative ginned up by conservative of which it is an example, use distortions and outright falsehoods to turn the Trayvon Martin episode into an opportunity to stoke whites’ irrational, instinctive resentment of blacks.
George and others desperately want believe that Martin was a thuggish ne’er-do-well who photographed himself in “threatening poses” in order to intimidate poor George Zimmerman, and they desperately want to believe that the putatively liberal mainstream media has it out for the white guy. So they eagerly seized on this falsified photograph of Martin and related assertions that he was practically asking to be killed in order to raise the perennial–and in this case patently false–claims of “media bias.” In other words, George Michalopulos did exactly what he accuses liberals of: cherry-picking pseudo-facts to fit a narrative he had already decided “felt” correct.
Now you too are using this episode to propagate a partisan ideological narrative that corresponds more to your feelings that to the facts. The social problems of African-Americans in this country are complicated and there are no easy solutions, but hopefully well-meaning people from across the ideological spectrum can find ways to address them. Your hyperbolic statements — “Progressive ideals are not about helping the poor. They are about making Progressives feel good about themselves” — are not helping anyone.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 8, 2012 @ 1:49 am
Who is saying that Zimmerman’s side shouldn’t be heard? Like all Americans, he is innocent until proven guilty. The problem is that he hasn’t even been arrested. He shot an unarmed person, possibly without provocation and definitely after disobeying the instructions of the 911 dispatcher. He should given a fair trial so that his side can be considered and the truth can be determined. Maybe a full investigation will find that his actions were justified and he’ll go free, but we can’t know until he has his day in court.
Liberals have pointed out that if a black man had shot a white man under these circumstances, he would have been arrested immediately. Conservatives like Michalopulos have tried to make Zimmerman look better by circulating falsified photographs of a threatening “Trayvon Martin” which were manufactured in order to provoke white resentment. In fact, the law should be colorblind, and Zimmerman’s fate should be decided by a judge and jury.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 6, 2012 @ 6:06 pm
I don’t doubt it, but in that case you ought to remove the image — and the claims about “photographs of [Martin] in threatening poses” — from your post.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 6, 2012 @ 12:55 pm
I see, it’s the right wing that really cares about African Americans. Perhaps that explains its circulation of fake, offensive images of Trayvon Martin from a white supremacist website.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 6, 2012 @ 2:59 am
A Google search of the putative Mainstream Media headline which Mr Michalopulous misleadingly puts in quotation marks, “White Man Shoots Unarmed Black Teen,” turns up nothing but fictional headlines invented by conservative websites aiming to stoke white resentment.
This counterfeit citation is unfortunately characteristic of Michalopulos’s entire post. The “NarrativeFail” against which he rails is all too familiar. Virtuous Euro-American White Male finds himself an object of suspicion by Evil Multicultural Liberals bent on decimating the white race. (FYI, George, even if that had been a real headline as you imply it was, it wouldn’t be incorrect: Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race, and Hispanics are as white as you or I.)
The real ugliness of Michalopulos’s claim comes into focus in the graphic located halfway through his tirade, in which a grinning George Zimmerman in a suit and tie is juxtaposed with a blurry webcam photo of a young black man with two middle fingers hoisted high, over the motto “Media Bias.”
Just who is biased in this case? The day before Michalopulos’s posting, the NY Times had already exposed this “Trayvon” photo as a fake pedaled by a white supremacist website called Stormfront. At least the mainstream conservative bloggers who initially picked up the image from Stormfront had the decency to retract it after the fraud was made public.
Now we know the real identity of the so-called Alternative Media approvingly referenced by Michalopulos in his post. “Thanks to the Alternative Media,” he writes, “we now know that but Martin did his best to cultivate the image of an angry black thug. Numerous suspensions from school, offensive tweets, and photographs of him in threatening poses have overwhelmed the images of a cute toddler that were put out by the MSM.” Let me be clear: I have absolutely no doubt that Michalopulos’s lifting of the falsified graphic from a white supremacist website was unintentional, and I don’t judge him to be racist for doing so. The troubling question is — why didn’t he check his sources better?
The answer is not difficult to ascertain. George Michalopulos did exactly what he wrongly accuses liberals of doing: cherry-picking circumstantial evidence to fit a narrative he had already decided was correct. The white man must be the victim of liberal bias in this case, because that’s how the story always goes.
Michalopulos owes his readers an apology for posting this slime on a Christian website. While decrying “odious race-hustlers,” he himself has propagated filth from one of the most offensive sources on the Internet (spend a few minutes browsing Stormfront’s discussion boards; trust me, it’s a revealing experience). And while Michalopulos desperately wants to believe, in the total absence of evidence, that Mr Martin “beat the living daylights out of George Zimmerman,” wise readers of this website will learn from his unfortunate mistake that until the evidence is in, we should all say a prayer and keep our mouths shut.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 2, 2012 @ 5:30 pm
I read The Fountainhead while I was in architecture school and found it irritating and facile. But Rand has countless devotees on the political right. Rush Limbaugh calls her a “brilliant writer and novelist.” Clarence Thomas reportedly requires his law clerks to watch The Fountainhead, and says he tends “really to be partial to Ayn Rand.” (source)
Right now the most influential conservative advocate for Ayn Rand is Congressman Paul Ryan, who authored the current Republican budget that Mitt Romney and all but four House Republicans have endorsed. From TIME magzine: “Paul Ryan says Ayn Rand is the reason he entered politics and he requires all staff and interns to read her books. Says Ryan: ‘Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism.’”
Broadly speaking, the Republican Party’s power comes from a coalition of libertarian/supply-side economic interests, social conservatives, and foreign policy hawks. The increasing suspicion with which social conservatives view the GOP’s economic devotion to Rand as expressed in their current budget is a reminder that total faith in the unfettered free market (“the morality of individualism”), like any other political or economic ideology, is inimical to Christianity.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On April 12, 2012 @ 3:32 am
Forgive me for responding en masse to several commenters.
- Michael: “do you really believe there is such a thing as ‘objective scientific knowledge’ when it comes to any question of human behavior…?” This is a surprisingly postmodern and relativist sentiment. Yes, I do of course believe there is such a thing as objective science, of which we’re all daily beneficiaries, although I agree that it needs to be interpreted with care. For example, science cannot teach us right from wrong. While I am not a scientist or a theologian, I have tried to reflect on this topic here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/listeningorthodox/doc/241906149162570/
“Besides if you and Mr. Stankovich are to be believed that you just want to promote a more nuanced, compassionate and pastoral application of the Church’s teaching, there would be absolutely no reason for any of the imbroglio.”
My advice: If you want to know what somebody is “promoting,” read what that person has actually written. Read what’s been posted on the Facebook group, read what’s been posted here, and decide for yourself who started the imbroglio. By the way, I have no association with Mr. Stankovich nor he with the Facebook group.
- Fr. Deacon Mitchell: “The Church has often condemned sodomy from the ambo and always excluded unrepentant sodomites from communion.” If you’re referring to the scriptural definition of sodomy (Ezek 16:49), then I’m sorry to say it has long flourished in the Church. And with respect, we know that your preferred Communion policies are not generally reflective of current Orthodox practice.
- Fr. Whiteford: Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy say many things, but one thing they don’t do is “explicitly” condemn homosexual sex (certainly not in the “explicit” way Jesus condemns divorce). The passages to which you refer are difficult and their interpretation involves as-yet-unresolved philological ambiguities, scientific and metaphysical questions about human nature, and anthropological nuances of pagan temple culture. They’re essential and important passages, but they simply cannot be reduced to an easy laundry list of moral dos and don’ts. While I’m not a scholar of any of the above fields, I am prepared to rehearse the familiar arguments; but I’m not sure how useful it would be, because at the end of the day, Orthodox theology is not derived from a few “proof text” passages, but on the totality of scripture, liturgy, hymnography, iconography, etc.
- George: “Joseph, when a priest does this it’s for that person’s own good, otherwise he will drink unto damnation when he partakes of the Chalice.” Huh? Sure, it is sometimes necessary for an Orthodox Christian to be cut off from the Chalice for one reason or another, by his confessor and/or parish priest — not by politically-motivated priests from other jurisdictions who have taken it on themselves to sniff out “heresy” in the comments section of blogs.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On October 26, 2011 @ 7:43 pm
Thank you, Helga, for quoting my actual words rather than inventing a caricature of them. All I can do, I guess, is stand by what I wrote. We Orthodox believe our theology is not contained in abstract systems and “moral prohibitions,” but is enacted through our liturgical and communal life, and I still haven’t heard an argument against homosexuality founded on this basis.
Look, I have no interest in “forcing the Church to change its tradition” but I do think that our current de facto approach to homosexuality is inconsistent, hypocritical, and at times spiritually and psychologically harmful (see Iliff, Eric), and has not been adequately worked out with respect to objective scientific knowledge and the subjective experience of gay people. I certainly have my own opinion about how we could work through this, but I’m not trying to force my views on anyone, because I know I don’t have all the answers; it’s ultimately up to our bishops, pastors, and theologians to figure this out, in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and I fully accept their authority. All I can do is bring the issues and questions that weight heavily on my conscience to the attention of my brothers and sisters — that’s the extent of my so-called “agenda.”
People have strong views about this issue and I sincerely want to hear the well-reasoned arguments of others (I’ve pleaded in private messages with intelligent conservative priests to join the Facebook group and voice their skepticism). On the other hand, there are some in this conversation who really do have an agenda; they’ve already made up their minds that in order for the Church to stay “relevant,” its theology needs to be shoehorned into the contours of current hot-button political debates. I personally know several people who have been persecuted by their priests because they struggled with homosexuality, and the idea that another suffering young person might be driven out of the Church — or worse — for the sake of keeping American Orthodoxy “relevant” makes me sick. The proper way to begin thinking through this is with our liturgical experience of God and of each other, with the Bible and with Holy Tradition — not with political activism.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On October 24, 2011 @ 9:04 am
Thanks for your comments, Fr. Whiteford and Fr. Jacobse, but you’re ascribing to me intentions and beliefs which I do not hold. Whether you earnestly believe that I have a nefarious secret agenda that contradicts what I’ve written publicly, or are knowingly bearing false witness in order to rally anti-gay sentiment and feel “relevant,” is not important to me. Please leave the task of judging me to God and my priest.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On October 23, 2011 @ 11:45 pm
You’re not a neanderthal, Fr. Jacobse. Your brand of activism is a distinctly modern phenomenon, and it’s an innovation American Orthodoxy would be better off without.
I’m not going to take the bait and try to refute your string of allegations, which are completely unfounded. I will say that it’s a sad day in our Church when a priest is openly encouraging laypeople with whom he disagrees to leave Orthodoxy.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On October 23, 2011 @ 7:16 am
This post illustrates what seems to drive so much of Fr. Jacobse’s agenda: a fear of becoming “irrelevant.” The real concern comes not primarily from love for human persons (otherwise, why would a priest who believes homosexuality is uniformly evil ever countenance “an accommodation of sorts” for gay people in the Church?) but from a desire to transform American Orthodoxy into a political force. The moral landscape becomes black and white, neatly divided into pious Orthodox Christians and demonic, caricatured “activists” — i.e. anyone with the temerity to challenge publicly his moralizing, us-versus-them worldview.
The desire to be “relevant” to current political issues is ultimately a hunger for power. Needless to say, it’s hardly a sound basis for navigating the challenges of contemporary pastoral theology.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On October 22, 2011 @ 10:46 pm
If it gives you a thrill to post pettish, mocking comments about fellow Christians (“Mrs. Brown”), go right ahead. But don’t expect others to take you seriously.
You can look up my posts and comments anywhere on the Internet because I sign my name to them. There’s a serious issue here and I’ve tried to ask an on-topic question. It is not being answered, so I’m now going to shake the dust off my feet.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On September 12, 2011 @ 8:24 pm
Your professed disinclination to pry into the private confessional affairs of OCA officials gave me a good laugh. Thanks for that.
In any case, questions concerning Fr. Zacchaeus are not an internal diocesan matter for Met. Jonah. The Archimandrite is the OCA’s public representative in Moscow. He has (for whatever reason) failed to comply with his instructions to return to the U.S., and has retained private counsel. Unfortunately, this is no longer a matter that can be resolved quietly, though it appears there was an initial good-faith effort to do so.
But you still haven’t explained your above comment that other OCA bishops have “overlooked” sexual abuse allegations in the past, which now gives Met. Jonah the right to obstruct the investigation by talking directly with Mr. Berezansky in the absence of OCA lawyers.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On September 12, 2011 @ 9:50 am
the person against whom allegations are made is brought in quietly to hear the charges against him/her.
Sorry, but isn’t this exactly what the Synod attempted to do? The OCA did not use “screaming headlines” to charge Fr. Zacchaeus, as you claim. They sent him a private letter recalling him home. A week later, after he had failed to return to the U.S. as instructed — and heading into the next weekend, when they might have feared that he’d try to celebrate Liturgy at St. Catherine’s — a notice was posted online.
I have met the Archimandrite several times, like him very much, and sincerely hope he’s cleared of wrongdoing. But I cannot see how it’s in anybody’s interest, including his, for the Metropolitan (who previously agreed to recuse himself from the process) to intervene in Fr. Zacchaeus’s defense by talking directly with Berezansky.
Finally, I’m still hoping you’ll explain your comment to Matt Gates that it’s OK for the Metropolitan to shield Fr. Zacchaeus because you believe other bishops have protected abusers from investigation in the past.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On September 11, 2011 @ 9:35 pm
Mr. Michalopulos, please correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be arguing that the abuse allegations against the Archimandrite should not be investigated according to the “due process” for such matters because you believe that other bishops also circumvent that procedure. But just what are these incidents which the bishops have “overlooked” in the West and in Miami? If you have reason to think that sexual predation is occurring or people are being abused, then for the sake of the victims, I think you should come forward with it.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On September 11, 2011 @ 7:12 am
While I’m under no illusions that facts will change the minds of convinced homophobes, I feel it necessary to speak up on two points of apparent confusion:
1. The implication that homosexuality had some causal role in the RCC’s sexual abuse scandal is woefully misinformed. Indeed, for whatever it’s worth, the recent comprehensive study conducted by John Jay College found that abuse actually decreased during the periods when more gays were in the Catholic priesthood. Please see the reporting in the New York Times and the Washington Post.
2. Mark Stokoe has never, to my knowledge, taken a public position defending homosexuality, gay rights, DADT repeal, etc. If anybody can find a single statement he’s made on any social/moral issue, for that matter, I invite you to post it. The fact is that he has resolutely avoided turning his website into a forum for culture war advocacy on either side. Any suggestion that he has a “gay agenda” therefore comes across as a combination of extreme paranoia and ad hominem opportunism.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On May 28, 2011 @ 3:21 pm
So I’m a conspiracy theorist? Haha, as I said, I’m not accusing Fr. Fester of any wrongdoing here. The other commenters on this website are the ones making accusations. I’m pointing out that inconsistencies in these images make them questionable as “evidence” against Bp. Mark.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On May 11, 2011 @ 3:41 pm
Heracleides, of course the Gmail header (along with any other component of the image) could have been altered, easily, with Photoshop or similar software. Screenshots are notoriously easy to fake, which makes them inherently dubious as evidence. But I’m not accusing Fr. Fester of anything, because I have no proof.
My point is that for a screenshot to be used as evidence to accuse somebody else of something, the absolute minimum expectation should be that the image is internally consistent, which this screenshot isn’t. And without the screenshots, the “case” against Bishop Mark looks very thin indeed.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On May 11, 2011 @ 2:39 pm
Elijah, in the other screenshot posted from Fr. Fester’s computer (http://www.monomakhos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/fester-1.png) the Gmail header also reads “Apr 29″ (2 days ago) but the menu bar identifies the day as Sunday. In other words, the inconsistency here isn’t in Gmail; it’s in Fr. Fester’s menu bar clock.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On May 11, 2011 @ 2:33 pm
Take another look, Heracleides. The Gmail header reads “Apr 29 (2 days ago).” That would make the current date–the day the screenshot was taken–Sunday, May 1. But the menu bar identifies the day as Saturday.
Can you explain this inconsistency?
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On May 11, 2011 @ 1:57 pm
«« Back To Stats Page
I am reluctant to engage at all with the conspiracy theory being sketched on this website, but I would like to point out that the only piece of hard forensic “evidence” presented so far against Bishop Mark — the screenshots recently posted, ostensibly from Fr. Fester’s computer — contain a significant discrepancy. In the second image (http://www.monomakhos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/fester-2.png), note that the date in the Gmail header does not match what is shown in the menu bar clock (Saturday).
While I am not going to jump to the conclusion that Fr. Fester or somebody else faked the images, at a minimum this inconsistency should make them inadmissible as evidence, and should suggest that there’s a lot more to the story than has been revealed so far. It lends credence to Mark Stokoe’s claim that he received the e-mails prior to Friday, April 29. And it raises the distinct possibility that the alleged “hacking” and legal complaint are nothing but smokescreens, designed to distract attention from the e-mails’ content.
» Posted By Joseph Clarke On May 10, 2011 @ 4:52 pm