Isn’t Diversity Wonderful?

Last Friday a deranged black Muslim convert went all Jihad in Moore, Oklahoma and beheaded one co-worker and stabbed another one near to death. This being Oklahoma however, another employee who happened to have a gun made short work of the evil-doer.

This incident is evil on so many levels. The murderer, one Alton Nolen, deserves no mercy. I can make no excuses for him. He needs to suffer to the fullest extent that the law allows. For good measure, his family and friends should be held up to opprobrium as well.

Having said that, I take no umbrage against his religion. Surprisingly, I will not indict Islam for its murderous rampages. “It is what it is,” as someone has popularly described it. It’s what it has done throughout history, beginning with its prophet, some 1,400 years ago. And spare me the incessant indictment of Christianity; Islam’s outrages are “cooked into the book” so to speak. It commands nothing less than beheading of “unbelievers.” Even so, there have been cultural attainments and stable societies fostered by that religion over the centuries.

What happened in Oklahoma last week was not one of them.

Alton Nolen, like so many other losers in the African-American community came to Islam while in prison. The imams that preached to him taught him a religion that could accommodate his criminal impulses. Think of it this way: waging jihad means never having to say your sorry. All of the pathology that has become endemic to the underclass because of government meddling is unavoidable. Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted back in 1964 this outcome for African-Americans and Charles Murray has done so for poor whites recently as well. What Islam does however is give ne’er-do-wells like Alton Nolen an excuse for his by now, innate depravity. Where are the Diversicrats now? How are they going to spin this one?

Certainly he is to blame for his actions. But are their other culprits as well? I am sure of it. First of all, where are the black churches? What are they preaching? That it’s OK to burn down your own neighborhood whenever there’s a perceived injustice? Instead, whenever I turn on the TV, I see their pastors strutting across the stage, preening like peacocks in Armani suits. What about the mainstream churches? Where were they when the Black Muslims first reared their ugly heads fifty years ago and started preaching their unutterable blasphemies? Where was the outrage when Mohammed Ali (nee Cassius Clay, Jr) taunted his rival Joe Frazier in the ring saying “don’t you know that I am God?” (It’s fundamental precept of Nation of Islam theology that all black people are gods.)

Let us place a great burden as well on the transnational oligarchs who thanks to the late, not-so-great Ted Kennedy passed an immigration bill in 1965 which opened the borders of these United States to people from all over the world. Thanks to this questionable act, Muslims have set up shop in our country and have made it a breeding ground for global and domestic jihad. Make no mistake, serious money comes into the US from the Gulf states where they seek to undermine American institutions and sow the seeds of discord. For a dispirited and hopeless black underclass, that is all the spark that is needed.

Let us pause to reflect. Would it have not been better for all concerned if America still had restrictionist quotas and that our foreign policy was less interventionist? Wouldn’t it have been better for all concerned if we pursued policies that contained the pathologies of the Third World to the Third World? To set up a cordon sanitaire that honored the civilzational line that demarked the Orient from the West? I’m not saying take no Muslims or others from the Third World but instead being realistic about the attainments of peoples from the Third World and what they will bring to the table, economically and culturally speaking. If this is too cynical, then why not instead allow only into our country those Muslim who come from countries that allow Christians to build churches in their nations? “Freedom of religion” should go both ways.

I recently saw the movie America by Dinesh D’Souza. In it, we see a young Abraham Lincoln speaking to a gathering. In it he confidently states that the United States could never be conquered, even if the invading army were “led by a Napoleon.” He said that our nation could only fall from within. We are well on our way there. In the case of the beheading in Oklahoma, we can say that it was in large measure self-inflicted.


  1. Michael Kinsey says

    I don’t blame Adam and Eve for causing creation to fall, as I suspect every human being who ever lived would have eventually done the same thing, except Jesus Christ.. The tree of knowledge of good and evil has been tasted by all the rest of humanity, all have fallen short. That being said, I see the positive cultural accomplishments of Islam, stemming from the good part of this tree, which is quite natural to humanity. The difference between Islam and Christianity is that Islam in it’s scripture, incorporates both aspects of our falleness in a vision that lives for bread alone, and serves itself, which is justified fully by Allah in their scripture. 70 virgin sex slaves for all eternity, for killing Islams enemies, is utterly carnal,, it is why Cain killed Abel. Allah says it’s OK to do this. to obtain the goods of the earth for yourselves (self service). Historical Christianity also, obviously practiced this vision. Authentic Christianity never practiced it. seeing the Christ’s kingdom as being . not of this world.. Godless culture always lead to the eventual tempting of God, actually fighting against the Holy Trinity. The scripture where the vineyard master sends His Son, who they kill , affirms this.
    Islam only appears appealing when compared to the godless atheist cultures, which are controlled by the demonic, where only the dictator has full access to the goods of the earth with total authority over every good anyone else has.: In this vision, there are no human rights.. .
    My point is simple. Islam is false religion, which cannot lead to eternal life., which is the Command of God, His Prime Directive. Authentic Christianity sees the purpose of life, is for life to give life, to life, unto Eternal Life, which is accomplished only in Jesus Christ.
    I am going to keep focused on the Vision , until some of you at least really understand it. if you don’t already..

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      “I don’t blame Adam and Eve for causing creation to fall.”

      I don’t, either, bur Holy Scripture does.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I loved my grandmother, but she taught me some hard lessons. Like when I was ten and she asked me and my little friend, Betsy, to run into the store and buy something. They used to have $.02 mint patties, covered in chocolate, on the counter. I just loved them because they were mushy inside.

        As an aside, what ever happened to those mints? Do you guys remember them? They were small, wrapped in green and silver foil and were so GOOD!

        Anyway, my friend, Betsy, talked me into to taking $.04 out of my grandmother’s change to buy us each a mint. Frankly, I was a little apprehensive, but Betsy assured me it wouldn’t matter, as she took money out of her mother’s purse all the time. We got back to the car and my grandmother counted her change. When she found that $.04 was missing, she made us each write her a note of apology. I mean WRITE, like on white linen stationary, for taking something that didn’t belong to us. She also said, “You could have just asked and I would have bought you two.” So, that lesson stuck with me. I do not steal. I get it. I understand WHY.

        But there another lesson that I never quite understood, which relates to the guilt of Adam and Eve. Maybe someone can explain this to me.

        When I was 4 or 5, my grandmother volunteered her time at a Children’s Hospital. She had a cute little uniform (my grandmother was BEAUTIFUL, BTW, not at all like a “grandmother”) and in these huge pockets of hers were these little paper toys. She took them out and showed them to me. I initially thought they were for me and was so disappointed when she told me they were for the little children at the hospital. I REALLY wanted to play with them, but the were cut outs so if you played with them, they were unusable. I specifically remember her saying, “Gaily, these toys are not for you. Do not touch them.” She then hung her uniform on the door by my bed so those pockets, filled with the coveted toys, were in direct line of sight from where she laid me down for my nap.

        You can guess what happened. Why did she do that? Why would she tempt me like that when she knew I would succumb? My grandmother knew every thought I was thinking until the day she died at 103.

        Why did God put that tree in the Garden?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          BTW, Betsy and I remain best friends. She lives in Kansas City. Betsy’s husband, Jack, accompanied me to my very first Divine Liturgy when I was visiting, at the invitation of Father Elias Issa, because Betsy refused to go with me! She does not believe in “organized religion.”

          Betsy has 4 daughters: Averyn Taylor, Jenna Claire, Kendall Blair, and Mackenzie Lane. Averyn is an actress, Kendall is an activist, Mackenzie is in the Peace Corp. Her second daughter, Jenna, is an executive, but more importantly, she is my one and only Goddaughter. Two years ago, I got to see Jenna marry in the Orthodox Church! How marvelous God is!

        • Isa Almisry says

          “Why did God put that tree in the Garden?”
          Because He would not put puppet strings on Adam and Eve.

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

          I remember the first time I stole something. I was seven years old and loved the gum in the machines. It cost one penny at the time. One day when going to the drugstore across the street, I saw a paper bag over the gum machine. That intrigued me so I reached my hand inside to turn the handle and a piece of gum rolled out.

          My heart started beating — really beating — because here was a piece of gum I could steal. I knew it was stealing and my fear told me stealing was wrong. I stole it anyway. I remember it as clear as day.

          Why was that gum machine there? To tempt me? No. But I learned in that way that seven year old boys learn that moral freedom was so real that I could sin against God if I chose to. An innocence was lost but a wisdom gained in a way but only because God is merciful.

      • Michael Kinsey says

        What I am saying is. I will dare not to cast the first stone, not being sinless. I will not act as if I have God’s authority to judge and condemn. It is not my creation, it is His. I have had the good fortune to be a poor man, all my life, and the ease of going through the eye of the needle, is a genuine spiritual advantage; when seeking to entering the kingdom of heaven. You are correct, God judges and blames us. But it’s His call, not mine..

        • Gail Sheppard says

          God doesn’t condemn, Michael. We do. We condemn ourselves. But just like a weed that spouts up in the concrete, all we have to do is drink up the water and lean toward the sun. How hard is that?

  2. For good measure, his family and friends should be held up to opprobrium as well.

    Stop right there, George.

    Were they in any way culpable for his actions?

    I know human sinfulness is a web of connectivity, but did or do they facilitate or condone his actions?

    If not, then they are not publicly culpable.

    Let them mull over their moral failings, if any, in private.

  3. Fr. Evangelos Pepps says

    Michael, with George you hit the nail on the head reminding that the Christianity people turn from to become Muslim is flawed, of this world man-made religion that neither saves nor transfigures.

    Of course, the solution is our:
    * getting purified through repentance;
    *getting illumined by knowing our faith esp., the Scriptures along with the fathers who all taught that emphasizing a country over the Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Body of our Savior is not only heresy condemned as such by Constantinople in 1872, but doesn’t attract all that many to the true Faith; and
    * becoming like God/as He wishes by living our faith, at very minimum, tithing of t,t & t to help the needy with of course and more importantly, righteousness (that includes standing up for the stepped on), mercy (forgiving those who have harmed us) and faithfulness (that to be true, must include our accountability) -Mt.23:23.

    When we “do and teach” (Acts 1:1) these basic things, we have the best chance of attracting not only our kids but people of all backgrounds wanting a healing of the heart that Christ offers in His Body.

    Reaching lost or seeking blacks is not just for Fr. Moses Berry and a few others, lost or seeking Hispanics for Fr. Antonio Perdomo and a few others. It’s for us and our communities. Getting educated via podcasts and websites such as
    will help us make the Church what we are called to be, from theory to reality.

    With appreciation for your martyria, please pray for us

  4. Carl Kraeff says

    George–Congratulations on a fine article. I loved “waging jihad means never having to say you are sorry.”

    Michael–I would go a bit further; Islam is not merely a false religion, it is an evil religion for the reasons that you laid out. Essentially, one would be correct to conclude that Islamists area good Muslims, while the adherents of the Religion of Peace are at best lukewarm Muslims.

  5. James Denney says

    Sure, let’s ignore the role of islam in this murder, even though the perpetrator himself proclaimed islam as his motivation. While we’re at it, let’s let islam off the hook for the acts of al Qaeda, Boko Haram, ansar al Sharia, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS/ISIL, and the rest of the alphabet soup of islamist terrorists. Or perhaps we should consider the possibility that islam is inspired by satan and is demonic, and that it was created to erode and destroy the Church? And that ignoring its role in atrocities such as this is avoiding the real problem?

    • George Michalopulos says

      James, that Islam is a false religion (and probably demonically-inspired) is not the issue in this atrocity. The issues as I see them are manifold. They include 1) the criminality of the black underclass (thanks to government intervention), 2) the resultant despair of this underclass, 3) the evil doctrines that are peddled by the Nation of Islam, 4) the inability of the Churches to call them out on their blasphemies, and 5) the erasure of our borders by the evil plutocrats, many of whom are noted Christ-haters.

      This last point is particularly galling to me. Not only do they want cheap labor but they want to Balkanize our nation, so that we’ll always be at each others’ throats. Permanent violence suits them. When things get too bad they’ll simply leave to another country and let us pick up the pieces.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        George says, “Islam is a false religion, and probably demonically-inspired.”

        There is doubt on this point?

        I think 1 John 2:22-23 is clear.

      • James Denney says

        We do not disagree, except that demonic islam sees these problems as an opportunity to compete for the souls of men, and it is aggressively moving forward.

  6. Psalm 2 Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing?
    The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying
    “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”
    He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.
    Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.

    I wonder if we are not seeing some of this distress?

  7. Fr. George Washburn says

    Well friends:

    George has tempted me off the sidelines with this one: “For good measure, his family and friends should be held up to opprobrium too.” This outrageous pronouncement was preceded by the candid admission the killer was “deranged.”

    Putting the two together, I believe George has told us that a crazy man’s actions should, or at least in this case do, justify the blanket condemnation of his friends and relatives regardless of the presence or absence of any evidence that they drove him crazy or were complicit in the crime. Three responses.

    1. Theses pronouncements have no basis whatsoever in Orthodox Christianity, and in fact run counter to it.

    2. In calling for the condemnation of family and friends The Great Constitutionalist George has strayed into a territory forbidden by the constitutions of the nation and all 50 states, namely the “bill of attainder.” The short definition of such a bill is a law that punishes a family or group for the acts of one of its members. It was one of the abuses of feudal English society that rankled most to the Founding Fathers.

    3. If George is willing to heap obloquy on all friends and relatives without evidence of individual guilt, should he be leveling the shame cannons at all the friends and family of former slave owners whose centuries-long treatment of an class of human beings as chattel suitable for kidnapping and other outrages no doubt was and is part of what shaped this killer.

    4. George also pontificates that he deserves “no mercy” and should suffer to the “fullest extent” law allows. Does George mean to tell us that he is ignorant of the laws that lessen or negate the criminal liability of certain deranged people, that he does not believe such laws or just, or that the combination of newspaper accounts and his pharmacy training entitle him to do what not even the best psychiatrist in the world would attempt: to diagnose the killer’s mental state and degree of culpability without ever examining him.

    When you get to ridin’ a high horse, all kinds of things including decency and constitutions, to say nothing of reason, find themselves under hooves.


    Fr. G

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr, you are of course correct. As a strict Constitutionalist, I do not believe in bills of attainder. The word I used to describe what should happen to his friends and family was not “indicted” or “arrested” but “opprobrium.” That is a crucial distinction. The first two words are legal injunctions, the last is a societal sanction. We don’t hesitate to condemn neo-nazis or Klansmen, why should we shrink from condemning the gangsta culture that permeates huge swaths of the black community? Why don’t we assert to them that they are reinforcing invidious stereotypes which proves to others that they are inferior? (Thereby validating the paternalistic attitudes of segregationists who believed that blacks needed to be controlled by Jim Crow laws.)

      As for him being shown “no mercy,” I stand by that. He is no more deranged than the man in the moon. He knew what he was doing. To believe otherwise means he has no moral agency. Surely you don’t want to go down that track, do you? Otherwise how would you explain the hyperviolence that is found in the ghetto/gangsta subculture? Are these people likewise devoid of moral agency? If so, then they should be hospitalized rather than incarcerated.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        My point, George was that you are advocating the social and spiritual equivalent of the formerly legal, and now illegal, bills of attainder when you holler for people to despise members of an already vulnerable and weak segment of our society simply because a friend or relative does something deranged. That is bad social policy ….and even worse Orthodox Christianity.

        Piling opprobrium on people who are already, one hopes, grieved for the grave wounds directly inflicted on victims and their families, and indirectly the wounds suffered by their own family and the whole community, don’t need people of supposedly superior faith dumping on them at a time like this. If you knew anything about the sheeplike side of human nature in our easily inflamed, media-hype day and age, you would realize how thin and easily crossed the line is between mere “opprobrium” and darker reactions and deeds like dislike, fear, detesting, and finally punishment, revenge and retaliation.

        You used the word deranged, George, not me. I merely picked up on it and interpreted it in the usual sense of mental illness or impairment. If you meant it in a different sense that did not state or imply the usual meaning you should have said so. And yes, I stand by the legal standard that mental illness ought to be a major factor in assessing criminal responsibility. Where the line should be drawn in this man’s case and which side of the line and how far he stands from it on the side of sanity or insanity I would not presume to assess based on media reports, and I think it is pretty dumb of you to try, let alone take the categorical and harsh positions you have stated.

        Yes there is a horrible and corrosive gangsta culture among huge segments of Black America. I learned about it first hand in the S. Side ghetto of Chicago in summer 1970 piloting CTA buses in and out of the territories of turf of two turf-warring gangs, the Disciples and the Rangers. It is now exponentially worse, I believe. White and/or Christian America fiddles …or wastes time on tvs, computers and smart phones …while Balck America burns. You aren’t helping, George.

        And in standing harshly by your “no mercy” call without any actual knowledge of how impaired he was, you sound exactly the opposite to me of the Chrysostom liturgy and the many other services we do in which “Lord have mercy” is just about the most frequent prayer of all.


        Fr. George

        • George Michalopulos says

          I couldn’t disagree more Fr. Simply switch a few words around. Simply make Alton Nolen a white Republican, a member of the Tea Party. Make his victims illegal aliens. Have him say “Remember the Alamo!” when he knifes them to death. Have his family and friends attend an Evangelical mega-church.

          I think we could all agree that the obloquy, opprobrium and caterwauling would be non-stop.

          • I think we could all agree that the obloquy, opprobrium and caterwauling would be non-stop.

            And it would be wrong.

            And two wrongs don’t make a right, George.

            I’m with Fr George on this.

            Mob justice and guilt by association have no place in constitutional societies ruled by law.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I disagree. Read the Fathers and the OT Prophets for that matter. Or what the NT says about John the Baptist. If these men didn’t pour scorn on heretics then the term “scorn” has lost all meaning.

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                The OT prophets and John the Baptist indeed, George. Several distinctions between them and people like you and me should be apparent to al. The chief one: they were saints and you and I are not.

                Since you have appealed to John the Baptist and the OT prophets let’s look at their **actual** example, George. Elijah was know for getting in the face of Ahab and Jezebel and the prophets of Baal. The leaders, or rather misleaders, or a benighted people. Not the individual sinners who were misled and therefore committed misdeeds.

                John the Baptist was known for losing his head over the sins of Herod and his family, and for descrying the misleadership of the Pharisees. Do we have a single example of him trashing some poor sod who was a soldier in Herod’s army or a minion of the cheif priests> No!! No, a hundred times no!!

                The ministry of true prophets is to expose the falseness and follies of demonic delusions. You distinguish yourself from them, and ally yourself with the endless human tradition of lynch mobs, xenophobia and clan warfare by dumping on the individual …and his relatives and friends.

                You seem to need to publicly aim your fire at someone, and the leaders of johad …and our media obsessed secular systems of politics and social control are available for that purpose. Blaze away. But please stop making a fool of yourself and twisting our faith by trashing the individual sinner and those unfortunate enough to have been close to him until you have evidence of causation or complicity.

                I am an old but hopefully somewhat reformed Bible waver, George. Let me trump your scripture references with another far more on point: Christ writing in the dirt when the Pharisees dragged the adulterous woman before him. “Let him who is ….”


                Fr. George

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Fr, if they were saints, then why were they brutalized during their ministries? Why were they tortured and killed? Clearly they weren’t recognized as saints at the time. My point was not that I am in their class (certainly not a saint!) but merely that they knew how to turn a phrase, and piss people off. They never read Dale Carnegie and they weren’t politically correct.

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    If you are unclear as to why in God’s providence they were victimized, George, try Hebrews 11.

                    There is a huge difference between their pointed confrontations with the **leaders** of sinful religious or political institutions and your race-baiting, and your inability and refusal to acknowledge it does you very little credit.

                    Next Sunday’s epistle from Titus advises us to shun stupid controversies and quarrelsome people who turn the discussion of matters of faith into their personal soapboxes. With that in mind I intend for now to go back to my rocking chair and a cup of something hot.

                    And speedy recovery to Dr. Stankovich!

                    Fr. George

                    • Next Sunday’s epistle from Titus advises us to shun stupid controversies and quarrelsome people who turn the discussion of matters of faith into their personal soapboxes. With that in mind I intend for now to go back to my rocking chair and a cup of something hot.

                      And here I thought stupid controversies, quarrelsome people, and discussions of faith being turned into personal soapboxes were the raisons d’être of Monomakhos!

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            Sorry, George. Your reply was poor. It states in conclusory fashion that you couldn’t disagree more with me, but then fail to say WHAT I said that you disagree with, let alone any WHYs! That is poor discourse.

            What is even worse: you then go on to interact with an imaginary scenario that seems to exist …or at least be possible … in your own mind, but has nothing to do with the validity of what I posted. Let’s stay real instead.

            The fingerprints of your political sympathies are all over what you are writing, friend: references to hypothetical reactions to Tea Party members or Republicans. You should stay focused on the facts of the actual case, and the strong likelihood that some sort of mental impairment could be a factor. As usual in these situations, you rush into print and rush to judgment (a la the master Rush man himself?) and I advocate taking our time and give careful, fact-base consideration.

            I agree that Islam seems remarkably susceptible to hijacking by violent, vengeful, tribal fundamentalists.

            That susceptibility does not in the least justify what the guy did. But the cruelty and lack of justification for the misdeed does not justify overreaction in the other direction, such as jumping to the conclusion that he deserves no mercy without hearing the facts or that his friends and relatives deserve to be detested without knowing whether they caused, contributed to or approved his misdeeds.

            Steve Knowlton’s opinion that the parents deserve opprobrium *could* possibly be true, but only in the presence of what Steve completely fails to adduce: evidence the parents were bad parents and/or contributed to his evildoing. In the absence of same it is premature, reactive and speculative to jump to hasty conclusions in such a grotesque case where xenophobia tempts us to descry another race or religion’s adherents as a group, not as individuals on the basis of careful deliberation on real facts.


            Fr. George

            • steve knowlton says

              “what I fail to adduce,” “xenophobia,” listen to yourself. I’m not “tempted” by any such thing. Nor did i decry anyone’s race or religion. No, it is the ACTION that I decry. The ACTION. It is important — yes, to me and to all of us — to decry the act of cutting off someone’s head. It is a new barbarism in a land that we all know has had a lot of barbarism. The dignity we all gain by decrying this outweighs whatever virtue you might gain by being so calmly reasonable and analytical about such things.

              Parents are entitled to pride when their child achieves something great. Right? Hence if they do something horrible, it’s only right that a little shame might pass over their conscience at least for a day or so. You see the symmetrical thinking, lacking any reference to your beloved “race, religion or nationality”?

          • Tim R Mortiss says

            And don’t forget the disapprobation!

        • In this case, George M needs to man up to the error on the f&f bit, which comes off as pure racism versus just religious hatred.

          That said, George and the rest of Americans are reaching a boiling point that is the dream of ISIS.

          George has been far too kind to the American pacifism watching Iraqi Christian children slaughtered at the hands of ISIS. And our President is a pure politician, who follows the wishes of the masses. Now, not following the masses as a leader is not without its problems, but in this matter, Obama should have made Rand Paul vote no on the use of force. And we should have put a base on the Syrian border and we should have kicked some ISIS butt where they have slaughtered innocents with their garbage. It could only be done with men on the ground.

          Americans will come to hate Islam. They have toyed with us too much.

          Personally, I think we should give them all an ultimatum to stop isis or say goodbye to something they cherish.

    • Steve Knowlton says

      Yes, there should be some opprobrium for the parents, frankly. I would expect as much if my kid did something like that.

      As to Islam, we have grown too accustomed to the rapid-parrot -response: “what happened in Oklahoma was not true Islam, rather: Islam was hijacked.” But after so much violence in the name of Islam, perhaps this religion is too easily hijacked, which makes it perhaps not “guilty” but certainly dangerous, just like anything else that can be easily hijacked.

      Whether we call this Islam, or terrorism, or derangement, it seems as though a particularly brutal form of violence has spread, mystically over the cultural air waves, to our shores. That makes it a sad day.

  8. We as commentiers on this unique Orthodox/pseudo-Libertarian Political website of George’s are pretty quick to point of the significant differences between Orthodoxy and other so-called Christianities. George does it in this very article, and we see it several times in the comments. Given our own sensitivity to being lumped in with evangelicals and Roman Catholics, shouldn’t we extend to Islam the same courtesy? Causal statements based on these generalizations contain some truth, but also enough sanctimonious and simplistic bullcrappery to ensure that no one outside of your echo chamber will hear it.

    The situation is complex. There are a lot of different “Islams” as there have been from the beginning. From what I can understand, the current breed of murderous, fundamentalist insanity is largely driven by a certain kind of Sunni, particularly the Wahabi regime of Saudi Arabia, that funds and teaches that non-Sunnis, such as Christians, Jews, Shiites and others are deviant sub-humans. It certainly seem strange that it is one of few countries in the middle east that the US is not bombing. How many people are beheaded annually in Saudi Arabia? Where did those 9/11 hijackers come from again?

    “Cooked into the books” or not, the fact is that we were not seeing this level of insanity under Islamic leaders such as Mubarak, Ghadaffi and Assad. What ever happened to those guys? Oh yea, democracy.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mike, I prefer the title “post-libertarian” as a political philosophy. My problem with Libertarians (real Liberals as opposed to the cultural Marxists who deformed the Democratic Party in 1968) is that when push comes to shove, they always shift to the cultural Left, thinking all the while that their Jeffersonian economic principles will withstand the cultural acid of the Left. It won’t. That’s because Libertarianism has no effective critique of culture. Sure, it’s OK if a woman sells her body on the street, that’s her business, right? But does anybody wanting that same woman standing on the street outside your home selling her body? Or worse yet, buying the house next door setting up a brothel? No.

      Here the Conservative can step in and categorically state that no woman has the right to sell her body, period. Why? Because it’s a sin. That it has unfortunate consequences for the woman and the community (and it does) is besides the point. (Although it must be said that the secondary and tertiary consequences point to the validity of traditional morality.)

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        George, you said this, and It’s untrue: “Here the Conservative can step in and categorically state that no woman has the right to sell her body, period. Why? Because it’s a sin.”

        We all have the right to sin and it was bestowed on us by God at creation. It’s called Free Will.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Maybe I should have said “may not sell her body”? On second thought, I stand by “cannot sell her body.” If she did have that right then there could be no laws against prostitution. The ability to commit a crime (e.g. murder) does not confer the right to commit a crime.

          • You are close, George, but where you are wrong (or at least leave yourself open to valid criticisms like Vladyka’s) is that you are framing your argument in terms of “rights.” It isn’t that traditional conservative thought doesn’t hold a concept of rights, it is just that rights tend to be end-products of conservative political thought, not starting points.

            Actually, what I think an old-fashioned conservative of the Burkean sort (not an adherent of the odd pastiche that is modern “conservatism” in America) might be more likely to say is that it is morally wrong for a woman to sell her body (based on an understanding of revealed truth through the Christian religion) and/or that it is destructive to society for her to be allowed to do so with impunity (based on remnants of human conscience that survived the fall, or based on collective wisdom that human society develops through millennia of social evolution.)

            Therefore, this old-fashioned conservative would continue, laws should be established and enforced that punish those who sell their bodies as well as those who buy their services. In order for such laws (and non-legal social pressures — which in many ways are even more powerful than laws) to be effective in achieving the goal of “civilization,” human societies don’t need to justify the prejudice that prostitution is bad. In fact, they dont even need to understand why they hold such a prejudice– they just have to make the laws and enforce them. This latter concept lies at the heart of why old-fashioned conservatism in the Anglo-American world is resistant to radical change — one is trading practices that are the product of millennia of trial and error — and in exchange gets the ideas of a few men (or perhaps of only one man) who have no idea how their grand plans will actually work out.

            In my example, you will see that there is morality, justice, tradition, and an outcome that protects both the woman and society — and rights didn’t have to enter into it at all. In fact, trying to think through this scenario using the starting point of “rights” does more to confuse the issue at hand than it does to bring discussion to a fruitful end.

            A little bedtime reading for when you have time:

    • Michael Kinsey says

      Mr. Mike. You reproach some or all commentators on this site for sanctimonious simplistic bullcrappry. Are you generalizing all commentators or will you grace us with specific examples on this site of simplistic, sanctimonious bullcrappery . I require this of you or I will simply consider you ,ill mannered., which isn’t even capable of registering and echo. Your comment is insulting. I’ll take you on.

  9. Patron Saint of the Nice Guy says

    Finally!! It is so nice to hear the aforementioned commenters calling islam for what it truly is, and that is from the pit of hell, plain and simple. I am sick of hearing Fox News and other talking heads, including islam’s Defender-in-Chief Obama, saying that all of this terrorism is from “radical islam” or that it is a religion of peace. There is no such thing as “radical islam,” only islam.

    And a big KUDOS to Benjamin Netanyahu for calling out islam at his UN speech as well as Bill Maher. Like Dr. Ben Carson said, the P.C. Police is hindering us from speaking the truth. I have just received my Greek Orthodox Observer newspaper and was appalled at the Ecumenical Patriarch calling Judaism, Christianity, and islam’s god a “god of love.” Really?! Some serious denial going on, or is it cowardice?

    • Michael Bauman says

      Patron: I prefer to think of Pat. Bartholomew not as a coward but as one of the long line of Christians who feel as if they have to defend the Church. He equivocates in the hope that said equivocation will preserve the trust he has been given, his people and the Church as a whole. Many in Russia were brought low by the same thought process.

      May God have mercy on us all of the choices of convenience we all make.

      And to the Muslims I say: Al-Masih qam!

      David Bentley Hart has aptly stated: “If we turn from Christ today, we turn only towards the god of absolute will, and embrace him under either his most monstrous or his most vapid aspect.”

      Both the monstrous and vapid are on display for everyone to see. Let him who has eyes to see, see.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      “Patron Saint of the Nice Guy” whoever he or she may be, does not know much about Islam. I suggest he or she read up on it, if he or she might consider reading a book. He or she seems to think that mr. Netanyahu is an expert in the area! Start out by reading the foremost dogmatic authority of the Orthodox Church, Saint John (Mansur) of Damascus,who described Islam as a heresy Saunt John, this great Christian Saint apparently missed the part about its origin in “pit” of hell. Perhaps working as the Vizier to the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus he missed noticing that and failed to include it in hisdogmatic study of Islam. For something more contemporary, I recommend reading HEIRS TO FORGOTTEN KINGDOMS:Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East, by Gerard Russell. Basic Books. New York. 2014. It’s all about the surviving Yazidis, Copts, Zoroastrians, Druzes, Samaritans, Assyrian Orthodox, Mandeans and so on hat survived under a more tolerant Islam than the miltant fanaticism that arose in the 20th century and that betrays historic Islam that , for example preserved and protected the St. Catherine Monastery on Mt. Sinai with its ancient Scriptures and Holy Icons when the Greek Christians of Constantinople were waging a murderous and fanatical JIHAD (struggle, in English) against them.

  10. Speaking of diversity, has anyone noticed the lack of diverse choice in the various OCA dioceses that are electing bishops? As a matter of fact, scuttle-butt has it that there are 8 nominees for the Midwest Special Assembly being held Monday. But I am sure Fr. Gassios will be elected since that is the pattern that has been established by the OCA. (See the recent article on

    Does anyone know who the 8 are? Word is one must get the list from the Chancellor and is sworn to secrecy (as in confessional) so it doesn’t get out onto the internet. LOL! Ah Fr. Zdinak, you are a funny man!

    Also heard that the Assembly agenda was changed, putting the special election assembly at 7:00 a.m. instead of the later/original time. Those priests who are traveling a distance, arriving on Tuesday and who made their air reservations early cannot change them without penalty. So there is a chance they will miss the registration deadline of 7:30 a.m. AND the election assembly being held at 7:00 a.m.

    I’m puzzled by the time arrangement too. Why have the election at 7:00 but the registration deadline at 7:30? Wouldn’t you want everyone to arrive in time to vote? Oh wait. The Chancellor doesn’t want everyone to be able to vote so his favored one gets elected.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      This is what I got from the Web site of the Midwest Diocese. It does not support your allegations:

      “Immediately preceding the Assembly, a Special Diocesan Assembly will be held for the sole purpose of nominating a candidate for the vacant See of Chicago and the Midwest. The name of the nominee will be presented to the Holy Synod of Bishops for canonical election. This Special Assembly will be followed by the regular Assembly, during which the business of an annual Diocesan Assembly meeting will be addressed. [See attached letter here.]

      On Monday, October 6, the Bishop’s Council will meet at noon, while the Diocesan Council will hold a dinner meeting at 5:00 p.m. On Tuesday, October 7, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 7:00 a.m., followed immediately by the Special Assembly, as noted above.

      The day starts with the Divine Liturgy at 7:00 am, presumably ending a minimum of an hour and a half later, and only then is followed by the Special Assembly that should start not earlier than 8:30 am. So, I think you owe Fr. Zdinak a public apology.

      • Mr. Kraeff,

        Yes, I am aware of what the website says. It is on good authority that the ‘original’ agenda did not have the early time on it. It was changed without disseminating the news broadly.

        As for the ‘nominee’ (singular), I also have it on good authority that there are 8 names, not one name.

        My point being that the chancellor is not being forthcoming with the priests in his diocese. Since I have first hand experience with his ‘not being upfront’ or ‘forthcoming’ nature, but exactly the opposite, this type of behavior from him is no surprise. The diocese will be hoodwinked into a bishop of the chancellor’s and Synod’s choosing.

        Thank you for your thoughts.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          We will find out tomorrow for sure. Since you seem to be knowledgeable about it, would you please report to us exactly what happened? Thanks.

        • Can anyone say heresay?

        • DOS Member says

          Another OCA “one man” nomination/election.

          And then you have the Diocese of the West quietly going about its business to nominate/elect David Brum as the Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix and Archbishop Benjamin’s promise to Brum that he won’t be in Phoenix too long, meaning the oft-delayed nomination for a bishop of the Diocese of the South can now take place in February (surprise, surprise) because the real candidate for the South, David Brum, not Archimandrite Gerasim can be elected by the OCA Synod.

          I pray to God this doesn’t happen but there is no doubt that the OCA Bishops prefer Brum (especially Benjamin, Nathaniel, Nikon) and don’t care for Gerasim (his sin is he is perceived as a Jonahite.) It’s too bad that the faithful in the South think just the opposite, but then who are they?

          A few years ago, Gerasim was rejected by the Synod because he had no Orthodox theological education, so Gerasim went to SVS and graduated with Honors. Today, that doesn’t matter because Brum has NO ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL education. NONE. NOT ONE DAY. But that’s ok because Brum is one of the “boys” and Gerasim isn’t. 😉

          OCA Synod, listen to the people of the Diocese of the South. We were right about Maymon, we ran him out of town, now he is wreaking havoc on the faithful and clergy in Eastern Pennsylvania. We have been ready to nominate Archimandrite Gerasim for two years. Don’t try and slip in another carpetbagger like Maymon with Brum.

          But, the OCA Synod knows best! God help us.

          • And then you have the Diocese of the West quietly going about its business to nominate/elect David Brum as the Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix and Archbishop Benjamin’s promise to Brum that he won’t be in Phoenix too long, meaning the oft-delayed nomination for a bishop of the Diocese of the South can now take place in February (surprise, surprise) because the real candidate for the South, David Brum, not Archimandrite Gerasim can be elected by the OCA Synod.

            If Brum is being groomed by some on the synod to take the South, why is it necessary for him to receive the auxiliary job in Phoenix first? What is accomplished by that?

            • Carl Kraeff says

              You are right. There is no time anyway. DOS will be looking at roughly half a dozen vetted candidates in February. I cannot help but remember the letter that our Chancellor had sent out two years ago that informed everybody that Fr. Gerasim was the deans’ only choice. I pray that Father Gerasim is nominated and elected as our new bishop.

              • Fr. Marcus named Fr. Gerasim in that letter because your diocese went through this process two years ago, and Fr. Gerasim had emerged as a favorite well ahead of Bishop Mark. Your special assembly was scuttled on a pretense that Fr. Gerasim hadn’t been “vetted” properly, despite him spending the previous three years as a well known candidate for the episcopacy.

                But don’t worry, the nomination process will be respected, you will just have to do it again and again until you come up the right result. 😉

                • DOS Member says


                  You are absolutely correct in your remarks. Archbishop Nikon, the DOS locum tenens either knowingly or unknowingly mislead the diocese when he declared that Fr. Gerasim had not been properly vetted by the Synod. That simply is not true. He was interviewed by members of the Synod. He was asked the same questions that other vetted candidates were asked. Why +Nikon felt it necessary to mislead the South is only something he can answer.

                  Why Father Gerasim was still not ready to be nominated by the South at its last Assembly, or the previous occasions is not something that +Nikon felt he was able to share. He could have shared the truth whether that truth was the Synod was not ready to accept his name as a candidate or he didn’t know why Gerasim was being stalled for diocesan consideration or some other reason, but he chose to misrepresent the facts. Fr. Gerasim has not undergone any further scrutiny by the Synod this year, except if you wish to consider his continued good service to the diocese as further proof of him as an acceptable candidate. We knew this already.

                  One would hate to think that this diocese has been victimized by bishops who are punishing us because we rejected Bishop Maymon from any consideration as our bishop. We had good reasons to do this and it was not without much pain. Again we hope it is not because members of the Synod feel that “we gave you a candidate in Maymon and you didn’t want him, so now you will wait.”

                  So now, we continue to wait but it is important to remember that we have gone through the approved vetting process established by the Synod. We have been faithful to their rules. We met this past summer in Dallas and we were ready then to nominate but we were told, not yet, but February. We have heard this in the past, and to our credit we again took Archbishop at his word, not without some frustration but we were obedient.

                  So now, we will see if Archbishop Nikon and the Synod are worthy of our continued obedience. We have a man who has gained the trust of this diocese. We have vetted him to our satisfaction. It is time, high time, that we are given him as our bishop. This is not said in arrogance but a simple statement of reality.

                  February 2015 is the date and we hope his consecration so afterwards. Please!

                  • You are absolutely correct in your remarks. Archbishop Nikon, the DOS locum tenens either knowingly or unknowingly mislead the diocese when he declared that Fr. Gerasim had not been properly vetted by the Synod.

                    Article VI, section 10 of the OCA statute:

                    The election of the diocesan bishop shall proceed as follows:
                    a.The Diocesan Assembly shall nominate a candidate and submit his name to the Holy Synod;
                    b.If the Assembly falls to nominate a candidate acceptable to the Holy Synod, the Synod shall elect the bishop of the diocese;
                    c.Upon the approval of a candidate by the Holy Synod, he shall be summoned to a session of the Holy Synod for the canonical election.

                    “Vetting” (= PRE-APPROVING) candidates before the Diocesan Assembly is NOT part of the canonical process nor is it authorized by the statute.

                  • From the DOS website:

                    October 17, 2012

                    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Faithful of the DOS,

                    Christ is in our midst!

                    The Synod of the OCA did not vet any potential episcopal candidates during its meetings which concluded last week, this obviously includes Fr Gerasim. Thus we are still in a holding pattern relative to a possible DOS Special Assembly

                    It is understandable that a DOS search committee might want to “vet” candidates for nomination at the diocesan assembly; but the OCA synod should play no role in the nomination and diocesan assembly process AT ALL. The synod’s part in the process of electing a bishop is simply to accept (or reject) the nomination from the diocesan assembly.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I agree with you. Moving the goal posts yet again could have tragic consequences for the OCA’s only thriving diocese.

                • But don’t worry, the nomination process will be respected, you will just have to do it again and again until you come up the right result.

                  People of the DOS, take back the process. When the motions for nominations are being taken at the next diocesan assembly, assuming the synod’s man (Brum, or whoever) is nominated first, wouldn’t it only take two delegates to motion/second to consider the candidacy of Gerasim (or any peoples’ candidate – regardless of whether he’s been “vetted”)? If the presiding officer, +Nikon, refuses to accept the motion, you have it on the record that the process is corrupt.

                  • Based on what happened at another diocesan assembly where there was to be one nomination, you have to make sure that Gerasim is present to verbalize that he accepts being nominated. At a minimum you need something from him explicitly stated in writing to present to the chair. Otherwise they can throw the nomination out.

            • DOS Member says


              Simple. So he can be presented to the DOS, without their scrutiny for the office of bishop in the first place. Remember he has no Orthodox theological credentials, only Roman Catholic. Since he is already a bishop, approved by the OCA Holy Synod, that becomes a “non-issue” to those in the South.

              He can travel the South, serve as a bishop, with Gerasim tagging along, setting a powerful mental image to the clergy and faithful.

              Remember, the man has NO Orthodox theological education. He didn’t spend 5 minutes at any North American Orthodox seminary. Don’t you think that is important? Don’t you think we need well educated clergy with Orthodox academic credentials? Why do men go to seminary, go into debt, sacrifice, so they can get a quality Orthodox theological education only to see a Brum come along, given the “secret handshake” and a pass by the boys of club who tell him, no need to go to seminary, “we got your back” on this one.

              If Brum wants to be a monastic, good. Go to a monastery. But his ascension to the monastic ranks is only for one reason, so he can be a bishop. Keep him DOW. We don’t want him.

          • Fr. Gassios, the soon-to-be approved bishop of the Midwest. Read it and weep.

            Thank you for playing our game. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

            Excuse me, I need to get another tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes as I weep for that which is lost.

            • I don’t understand why you write in such a lofty fashion Phillipa. Pretend I am a six year old and rewrite please so this idiot can understand all the subtleties.

              Forgive me…I honestly want to understand if you feel there is gameplaying..

          • Carl Kraeff says

            DOS Member–Posts like your post of October 6, 2014 at 10:57 pm can serve a good purpose as warning shots across the bow. Or, they can backfire. I suggest to you that most bishops take to heart their oath not to bow to pressure and that some of them would even turn against a candidate who is endorsed in a confrontational manner. I must ask you if you truly support our deans in their united support of Fr. Gerasim. If you truly are, please quit antagonizing our bishops for they are the ones who will make the decision, not our deans, our parish delegations, or you and I. You may be right, my anonymous friend, but, as my father used to say, you can be dead right.

            • DOS Member says


              I believe that the clergy and faithful of the South know their diocese better than the members of the OCA Synod. The South has been considered the “red-headed stepchild” for decades. But, to his great blessing, Archbishop Dmitri shielded his flock from most of the abuse and took it upon himself.

              Like Maymon, Brum is not the best fit for the South. Archimandrite Gerasim would be the better fit. He is obedient, a man of prayer, kind and loving. He possesses an Orthodox theological education, with Honors from SVS. He could have been prideful and refused to go to seminary, but he didn’t. He could have gone to SVS for one year, as was asked of him at the time, but after his first year he realized he needed a complete theological education. He was considered a great asset to the community. He made the most of his time returning to the Diocese of the West and gained invaluable experience at Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral in Los Angeles. He is a formed monastic, not just one in title only. He came to the South, as directed by the Synod and has done the job of bringing peace to the Diocese. He has proven himself, Brum has not. It is that simple, really.

              As for “antagonizing” the members of the OCA Synod, such a statement may reveal an underlying fear you may have that they would act in a capricious and self-serving way in spite of what the needs for the DOS? That confirms my fears about them and they need to be obedient to the moving of the Holy Spirit in the South. The South has been patient as every other orphan diocese has seen a new bishop nominated, elected and or installed. Let us hope that the South won’t be put off another time in February.

              I hope I made myself clear.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                As I posted above, I fully agree with your analysis. I just wanted to point out the dangers in pushing too hard. Please be assured that we want the same thing.

              • In the past, when I had some exposure to the matter, I got the distinct feeling that many movers and shakers (those with outsized influence aren’t necessarily bishops) from the historical “heartland” of the OCA in the northeast viewed the culture of the DOS as an annoying roadblock slowing down where they wanted to take the OCA. I consider myself to be politically astute, and I to this day have never encountered anything as opaque and impenetrable as the web of intrigue surrounding this standoff.

                I have no current knowledge whatsoever, but given the attitudes I encountered, I don’t think that it is at all unreasonable to fear that there might be similar forces today that intend to “bring the DOS to heel.” Don’t worry, their distaste for your reactionary ways will not extend to a distaste for your money. They will still take their assessments from you and use the cash to finance the very apparatus that thwarts your diocese.

                But I hope that your fears turn out to be unfounded.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          5:18 pm Eastern Time zone. While we were waiting for Philippa’s account, the website of the Diocese of the Midwest has announced that the Special Assembly nominated Fr. Paul Gassios. Keeping in mind that Philippa had insisted that the Special Assembly would meet first thing today, at 7am, the site reports instead the following: “His Grace, Bishop Alexander of Toledo, Locum Tenens, opened the Assembly immediately after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.” (my emphasis)

          To make Philippa’s account believable, the Divine Liturgy must have started at 5:30 am, So, instead of drawing definitive conclusions from the official diocesan site, we must await Philippa’s post on the subject. The ball is now in her court.

          • It’s interesting that your focus, Mr. Kraeff, has been on my comment regarding the agenda rather than the shoe-in of Fr. Gassios as bishop. I’ve no interest in “playing” verbal tennis with you sir. I’m too tired and disgusted.

            Frankly, I am tired of the verbal and other games being played, especially by those in leadership of the OCA. What I wish, pray and hope for is Godly men to stop standing behind the proverbial curtain, to step out, step up and stand in the good light of day and speak the truth. Tell the faithful that they’re going to preselect diocesan bishops and stop pretending to allow clergy and laity input by vote. Just pull their britches up and act like men in charge for God’s sake and the sake of His Holy Church!!! I’d have far more respect for them even if I disagreed with them. No one likes wishy-washy men….at least I don’t. (And I don’t mean men who are abusive tyrants, before some jumps to that kind of conclusion!)

            Good day to you, Mr. Kraeff. And may God bless you and your beloved family.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Thank you Philippa. I have been harping on the agenda because you made an allegation of wrong-doing on the part of the Chancellor, Father Zdinak. If you recall, you first wrote: “I’m puzzled by the time arrangement too. Why have the election at 7:00 but the registration deadline at 7:30? Wouldn’t you want everyone to arrive in time to vote? Oh wait. The Chancellor doesn’t want everyone to be able to vote so his favored one gets elected. ” When I challenged you on it, you doubled down and wrote “My point being that the chancellor is not being forthcoming with the priests in his diocese.” The reason why I care is simply because my father was a priest and I tend to be sensitive to allegations against them. You told the readers of this blog that Father Zdinak manipulated the agenda so that the election would be a fait accompli before the delegates arrived at the site. It appears that did not happen. Now, you must acknowledge your mistake and formally apologize.

              • Carl,

                You are absolutely correct, I did believe the agenda was manipulated. I was wrong about the agenda and do offer a full and complete apology to Fr. Zdinak and you all. Please forgive me.

                Fr. Zdinak’s manipulation occurred when he didn’t openly announce the 8 potential candidates. NONE of them were named at the Assembly by Fr. Zdinak. The ONLY WAY the priests and laity knew who the 8 candidates were was if they called Fr. Zdinak prior to the Assembly and asked. He went so far as to joke about it too, saying “I’m now going to change my phone number since so many of you called!”
                * * * * *

                I guess the “lofty writing” comes from too many years of writing history papers! I will try to be less lofty and more clear in the future.

                To answer your question, Yes, I do believe there is game playing going on. Here I quote Bp. Alexander from the Assembly. “I hope this time with this candidate [Fr. Gassios] being presented you get it right.” After the vote was taken he said, “This candidate has integrity. He knows how to run a Diocese. Now you finally got it right.” He then touched Fr. Gassios’ shoulder saying, “You’re it. I’m done.”

                Game playing? Sounds like tag, you’re it to me.

                • Fr. Zdinak’s manipulation occurred when he didn’t openly announce the 8 potential candidates. NONE of them were named at the Assembly by Fr. Zdinak. The ONLY WAY the priests and laity knew who the 8 candidates were was if they called Fr. Zdinak prior to the Assembly and asked. He went so far as to joke about it too, saying “I’m now going to change my phone number since so many of you called!”

                  DOM’s nomination procedures specify: “delegates may cast their vote for any name – vetted or unvetted” … as long as he met statutory/canonical requirements. Was that procedure followed? If any delegate could have voted for any candidate, what did it matter in the end if the chancellor had some kind of list of eight “potential candidates” ? It would seem that that the delegates made their choice…

            • Norman Wood says

              Phillipa: A few years ago someone I know, who is not in the OCA, told me he thought the problem with the OCA was that it was too democratic. I am in the OCA. I replied that it wasn’t that the OCA was too democratic but that it pretended to be democratic. At least as far as elections are concerned, I stand by that assessment.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                No Church can be democratic. What the OCA Statute does is it gives some roles and functions to the lower clergy and laity. It is not democracy, but it is not absolute monarchy by the bishops either. It is conciliar. It is the way it should be. It reflects the Apostolic Church more than other modalities. Finally, it recognizes that the work of the Church,indeed the life of the Church, happens in the parishes and that a diocesan’s function is primarily to manage his deans–of course, everything else being according the the Canons and the OCA Statute. So, it is easy to see that in a conciliar church priests must be part of the decision making process, particularly in the nomination process for a new bishop; after all, they are the ones who will be most affected by whoever is elected by the Holy Synod. The laity is brought in for the obvious reason that as part of the Body of Christs and of the Royal Priesthood, they must also be consulted in a conciliar church. In addition, their presence also helps to balance the power relationship between the clergy members of the parish delegation and the diocesan bishop.

                • Monk James says

                  Carl Kraeff (October 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm says:

                  ‘No Church can be democratic.’ SNIP

                  It would be helpful to consider the parish as a family; we don’t call the priest ‘father’ for nothing.

                  And it would be helpful to think of the eparchy as a family; we don’t call the bishop ‘our father in Christ’ for nothing.

                  And it would be helpful for us to remember that The Church is a family; we don’t address God as ‘our father’ for nothing.

                  Like all families, there are adults and children, infants and people of long lives and great experience, some people wiser than others, and role models for good and not-so-good behavior in The Church at every level.

                  Years ago, a little girl of my acquaintance called the bishop ‘grandfather vladyka’. When asked why she did that, she very commonsensically replied that since the priest was ‘father’, the bishop must be ‘grandfather’.

                  So, if the ‘fathers’ in our church family need some coaching, our ‘grandfathers’ can set them back on the right path. And wiser ‘grandfathers’ can coach the less wise of their peers.

                  Of course, I write these words optimistically, with the hope that the ideal church family, the family of all humanity, will respond to our Lord’s commandments with full hearts, and that all of us children of God will love each other as He loves us.

                • No Church can be democratic. What the OCA Statute does is it gives some roles and functions to the lower clergy and laity. It is not democracy, but it is not absolute monarchy by the bishops either. It is conciliar. It is the way it should be.

                  If the synod dictates to or otherwise attempts to influence the diocese’s selection of a candidate, by specifying before the diocesan assembly who is and who is not “vetted” (pre-approved by the synod), it becomes difficult to maintain that the election is not an outright sham. If one can only nominate from among the candidates on a pre-approved list, very little scope is given to the freedom to choose. There are two levels of conciliarity at work in the selection process: at the diocesan level (nomination) and at the synodal level (actual election). They ought not be merged into one amorphous process. It’s not authorized by the statute.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I too am drawn to the story of St. Ambrose of Milan. I too am attracted to an unrestrained nomination system. At the same time, I do wish that we do the right thing also in expending the pool of candidates by including married persons (per 1 Timothy 3). Either way, I think that somebody needs to do the vetting of candidates. Let’s suppose that Trullo never happened and we continue to have married and celibate bishops. St. Paul in the above cited passage listed a number of qualifications and somebody needs to make sure that candidates are vetted to meet them, to wit a candidate must be “above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, etc.

                    Article VI, Section 9 of the OCA Statute lists a number of qualifications as well: “The candidate for the office of diocesan bishop must satisfy all the requirements of the Holy Canons pertaining to this highest of all ecclesiastical offices. In addition, it is preferable that he have completed a course of study in a Graduate School of Orthodox Theology and that he be conversant in the English language. If he is not already a bishop, he can be nominated only from among the monastic or celibate clergy or laymen; If at the moment of his nomination he is a layman or a celibate or widowed priest, he shall pronounce at least the first monastic vows (rasophoria). Diocesan bishops of the Orthodox Church in America shall not be candidates for nomination by the Diocesan Assembly of another diocese.”

                    Finally, Article II, Section 7, paragraph b gives this encompassing authority to the Holy Synod “All canonical matters pertaining to the election and consecration of bishops as provided by Article VI.”

                    I am not on our DOS Hierarchical Search Committee, but I can reliably report to you that it has contacted and interviewed a number of possible candidates both in and out of the OCA, both in and out of North America. I can also tell you that the seven vetted candidates include all who have been considered favorably. Now, it is entirely possible that at the next Special Assembly, there may be nominations from the floor and that an unvetted person may be nominated. I submit to you that it is possible that the nominated person may or may not survive the vetting process that the Holy Synod must undertake. I think it is unwise to subject the diocese to the turmoil it would cause if an unvetted person is nominated as the only candidate but does not survive the vetting process and thus is not approved by the Holy Synod.

                • Norman Wood says

                  My apologies for not being more clear. When I said that the OCA pretended to be democratic, it was the pretense, not either the presence or absence of democracy that I was criticizing. And the pretense can be as much on the part of the laity and clergy as on the part of the bishops.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I suppose that can happen. I just have not experienced that personally. I can see how one can surmise that democracy must be the opposite of top-down, monarchical rule by our bishops. But, they would be wrong; there is a middle way, conciliarity, that is very hard to attain. At the center of our troubles with conciliarity has been the roles and responsibilities of the various members of the laos. It has been relatively much easier to define those of our bishops and their deputies (priests) and assistants (deacons) than to define those of the laity.Undoubtedly the political system, circumstances and culture have all influenced this process. It may take a bit longer but I think we will find our own conciliar model here. Monk James’ post above is a useful approach that needs to be fleshed out some and we will need to reform and intensify our adult education, to include Church governance and the duties and responsibilities of the laity.

  11. According to a WaPo article, this terrorist got tattoos of Quranic verses after his conversion. He missed the memo that tattoos are forbidden in Islam, so he obviously wasn’t taking his new religion too seriously.

    There is not, and has never been, a cordon sanitaire between the West and East. It as impossible in this day and age as it was in previous eras. There is no breeding ground for jihad here – a few lone wolves here and there but their impact is miniscule compared to the number of murders in an average day in America, the number of deaths from car accidents, etc. The vast majority of Muslim Americans are law-abiding citizens and I’ve read that they actually make more than the average per capita income.

    As for black pastors strutting like peacocks in Armani suits – no difference from white TV evangelists there. Nor are the TV pastors at all representative of black culture, anymore than John Hagee represents whites.

    And you should know, George, that the Nation of Islam is a fringe group whose prime has passed. They’re a convenient scapegoat but it’s not clear to me how they influenced this guy to behead someone.

  12. Oh, and if America had kept out all those peoples categorized as uncivilized throughout its history, your forefathers just might not have made it here, Mr. Michalopulos. Nor would lots of Catholics and Jews (I would be here though – 100% WASP ancestry, Orthodox by conversion!).

    • George Michalopulos says

      Doubtless true (to some extent at least). That being said, no nation has no immigration policy. That even includes idiocracies like North Korea or xenophobic states like Japan. Every (sane) nation has the right to have policies for allowing immigrants based on parameters that they think best for their polity. Israel gives prime consideration to Jews –nothing wrong with that. France, Greece and Italy likewise confer a “right of return” to the descendants of earlier emigrants. Britain on the other hand, foolishly opened the floodgates to peoples from its former colonies, hence the dystopia that is modern Birmingham, Manchester, Rotherham, etc.

      But I will take your bait for the sake of argument. Many of your ancestors no doubt viewed my ancestors as swarthy peasants. For the most part, that was true. However the vast majority of the descendants of European immigrants are by no stretch of the imagination “uncivilized.” (Nor were their ancestors for that matter even if the WASPs perceived them to be so.) This however cannot be said for the hordes of present day immigrants from the Third World who clearly come from uncivilized environs. More, the inability of their descendants to assimilate is a proven fact. Admittedly, this is based on at most two generations but the sheer criminality and lack of cultural attainment by that second generation is self-evident.

      This becomes more evident when we take into account that the vast majority of these descendants are on some type of Welfare. During the great waves of European immigration to the US, there was NO government assistance of any kind.

      • The WASPs and others of the 1800s through the 1950s believed it was manifestly clear that the “swarthy peasants” of Eastern and Southern Europe were uncivilized and unassimilable. They were proven wrong. Your mindset is precisely the same as those earlier anti-immigration folks. So I’m not a betting man, but if I were I’d bet against your prognosis, George.

        I don’t know where you get the idea that the “vast majority” of immigrants from the Third World are on welfare or criminals. And how do you measure “cultural attainment”? Sounds like a parlor game to me since it certainly can’t be quantified. By the way, Muslim Americans tend to be the better-educated and wealthier people from their countries of origin, and own grocery stores and engage in other perfectly respectable occupations. I can say with some certainty – based on direct experience – that lots of immigrants from the former Soviet Union receive government assistance, but they’re not Third World. Your brush strokes are way too broad.

        • George Michalopulos says

          If they actually believed it, then they were being proven wrong even as they spoke those words. By the second generation, it was clear that the average immigrant population was almost completely assimialated. That’s why the WASPs started intermarrying with them right off the bat.

          Yes, most Muslim immigrants to America are in the top decile of income and/or educational attainment. They’re not the problem. It’s the vast majority of other Muslims who bring their pathologies to America. Things like honor killing, female genital mutilation, polygamy and now, honor-killing. As for the Mestizos who are content to serve as a servile class, I seriously doubt you’ll see WASPs lining up to marry them. the way they intermarried with Italians, Jews, Irish and others by the millions. (Thinking aloud here: perhaps the reason these pathologies are perpetuated in the First World might be due to the fact that we have generous Welfare policies? As squalid as the Irish ghettos of the 19th century were, the lack of Welfare meant that the average Irish had to stand on his own two feet at the end of the day. The same goes for the average Greek, Italian, Negro, Pole, German, and so on. “No workee, no eatee,” if you will forgive my pidgin paraphrase.)

          As to your charge against my assertion about the cultural attainments of those nations that comprise the Third World –I stand by them.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          I intermarried with a Croatian (at least both of her maternal grandparents were born in Croatia) in 1967. I was born in 1948 to “anglo-Presbyterian” parents; as WASP as one can be.

          I attest that there was no problem with associating with, having to dinner, being business partners with– or intermarrying with– southern or eastern “Europeans” in the 1950s; not around here anyhow.

          By the way, the roster of my old lawfirm could be a WWII movie platoon: Benedetti, Seinfeld, Bersante, Kouklis, Johnson, Pearson, Anderson, Petrich, Loo, etc.

          Indeed, it was the Kouklis who introduced me to Orthodoxy 35 years ago.

          Maybe things were different other places, but not in the Pacific Northwest.

          As a complete sidenote, I knew my wife’s Croatian grandparents very well; they were still alive for many years after we married. They always referred to their ethnicity as Yugoslav or just plain Slav, and referred to the language as Slav. The Puget Sound area was a big target for Dalmatian fishermen immigrants.

          I never heard any of these people (and I know lots and lots of them) ever refer to themselves as “Croatians”, and the word came into regular use only with the Balkans war in the ’90s. Now and then you’d hear “Dalmatia”; otherwise, Yugoslavian.

          • No offence intended Tim, but your relatives’ and their friends’ self-identification as “Yugoslavian” probably says more their politics than their ethnicity. “Croatian” as an ethnicity, or more accurately as a discrete “national” identity, goes back long before the modern Balkans war to at least to the early middle ages.

            • Isa Almisry says

              “No offence intended Tim, but your relatives’ and their friends’ self-identification as “Yugoslavian” probably says more their politics than their ethnicity. “Croatian” as an ethnicity, or more accurately as a discrete “national” identity, goes back long before the modern Balkans war to at least to the early middle ages.”
              Not quite.
              I was in Yugoslavia just before the breakup, on a train with a soldier. When I asked him his nationality, he said “Yugoslavian.” When I pressed him, he finally said “Croatian,” and then we went into a discussion of many things (including the idea of federalism, where each state makes its own laws in addition to the Federal government, which he thought was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. “Why? It’s all one country.”) At one point, he interrupted me, and said “Excuse me, but I just wanted to point out” he said with a dismissive waive of his hand, “that was the Croatian border.” Nothing would have indicated that a year’s time they would be killing each other over that belittled line.
              Ironically, the Croatians were the ones to invent Yugoslavism. The Serbs had to be pulled aboard kicking and screaming at first.

              • Ironically, the Croatians were the ones to invent Yugoslavism. The Serbs had to be pulled aboard kicking and screaming at first.

                Not quite, Isa.

                The Serbian house of Karageorgevic has just as much to do with the reality of 20th C. Yugoslavism as the Croatians.

                In any case, the Croatian intellectuals who fomented “South Slavism” in the 19th C. failed to bring their people along with them, as the subsequent history shows.

            • Tim R Mortiss says

              My point, Basil, is not that Croatia is not an old national entity, but that the large populations of “Croatians” on the West Coast, concentrated at Puget Sound, San Francisco, and Long Beach/San Pedro, effectively never referred to themselves as Croatians until recent times.

              There were no politics involved. Most came from Dalmatia, part of Croatia, of course. My wife’s maternal grandparents were born on Dalmatian islands, one on Vis, and one on Ist. Her granddad came here to avoid military service in the Austro-Hungarian army in WWI, at age 16.

              In the early years here, many of them called themselves Austrians, others Slavonians. The term Slavonian eventually became the usual term, even though there were few or no actual Slavonians among them. Slavonian Hall in Tacoma remains such to this day, as it was over a century ago.

              So you would hear “Slavs” (they were far and away the main slavs around these parts in those days), “Slavonians”, and Yugoslavs. They certainly knew they originated in Croatia, they didn’t call themselves that.

              The Balkans war changed that only in recent times; this happened because Yugoslavia was no more, and to distinguish themselves from the Serbs. On the other hand, these people historically here had no anti-Serbian prejudice, and never talked much about Serbs. They never had any interaction with them either in the old country and there never were many out here. They still don’t have anti-Serbian prejudices; all nonsense from the old country.

              For anybody who has any interest, this two-page reminiscence written a few decades back and found on the web sets forth well the “nomenclature” issue, among other things. You will find Austrian, Slavonian, and Dalmatian, but no Croatian.

              • My point, Basil, is not that Croatia is not an old national entity, but that the large populations of “Croatians” on the West Coast, concentrated at Puget Sound, San Francisco, and Long Beach/San Pedro, effectively never referred to themselves as Croatians until recent times.

                That is interesting, Tim.

                In the UK, Canada & Australia, where I have lived, Croatians – devout Catholics mostly – referred to themselves as “Hrvatski”, not Yugoslav. They regard “Yugoslavs” as Chetniks. If you know anthing about the subject, I don;t need to tell you what that means.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  Yes, I know quite a bit of the history. But the large migration of Dalmatians (mostly) to the West Coast was early 20th century.

                  Although this is a speculation, it is also quite possible that the Dalmatians (and most of the families I know trace their background to the islands) may have generally been more remote from Balkan politics, even back then; I don’t know. My wife’s grandfather, as a small example, spoke Italian pretty well (what dialect I don’t know), because he was on Italian as well as local fishing boats before he left. He came over here in about 1916.

                  So for the Croatians here (in the main, by far), 20th century Balkan history, and especially WWII Balkan history, was not part of lived history for them.

                  They had similarities with Italians, as might be expected given the Adriatic history, with a definite slav aspect. Their dishes: pasta fazul (Italian version: pasta fagioli), spaghetti, but it had spices in it that Italian spaghetti did not; her grandfather made 50 gallons of wine every year, a mix of 50% Zinfandel grapes, and 50% Muscat– again, a touch of the East.

                  And of course they were very devout Catholics.

  13. Francis Frost says

    One small point that has not been noticed in this discussion. This man’s mother and sister went on television here in OKC to express their sincere condolences to the victims of his crime. They did not attempt to justify or rationalize his crime, although they did say : ” The whole story has not yet come out.”

    BTW his mother and sister are not Muslims, He converted to Islam in prison.

    Our scriptures clearly say that each individual is responsible for his own sins not those of his relatives.

    The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

    Ezekiel 18:20

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well, gee, Francis: maybe the mothers (where was the father btw) of all murderers can go before a microphone and apologize on behalf of their sons. That should make the victim and his family real happy.

      [Snark not completely off]: maybe it’d be better if these “communities” were more intact (like, you know, having the father around the house) from the get-go, and raised up sons to, you know, not be savages in the first place? Or am I being too judgmental?

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        The envelope, please! (Rip) Yes, George is being too judgmental.

        He is also failing to read carefully. Mr. Frost’s comment did NOT say they were apologizing on behalf of the accused. Instead he reports that they expressed CONDOLENCES. There is normally a big difference between the two.

        Why can’t George read or think straight when these issues arise? He has tribal, culture-war blinders on that prevent the light of Christ shining into his eyes …. or his mind …and then out to us.

        It is absolutely established fact that the history of the United States of America, whose flag George is so tightly wrapped in he can hardly reach the computer keyboard, built much of its wealth for about two centuries on the largely stolen labor of kidnapped slaves and their descendants who were treated as less than human. When emancipated they bore the mark of a separate and unequal underclass in the pigment of their skin.

        They clumped together as the lowest caste in conditions that promoted the destruction of the nuclear family and the precarious dignity of the husband and father. Generations later those conditions have persisted and even metastasized.

        If we white Orthodox Christians loved our neighbor as ourselves like the Gospel actually demands, we would be dedicated to the regeneration of the black nuclear family instead of raving about the latest example of the ravages of sin. What do you do along those lines, George? What do I do? All of us here?


        Fr. George

        • Isa Almisry says

          “It is absolutely established fact that the history of the United States of America, whose flag George is so tightly wrapped in he can hardly reach the computer keyboard, built much of its wealth for about two centuries on the largely stolen labor of kidnapped slaves and their descendants who were treated as less than human. When emancipated they bore the mark of a separate and unequal underclass in the pigment of their skin. They clumped together as the lowest caste in conditions that promoted the destruction of the nuclear family and the precarious dignity of the husband and father. Generations later those conditions have persisted and even metastasized.”
          Rather odd, Father, that the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren of slaves have more problems from slavery than the slaves did.

          The Moynihan Report described a society that resembled American Middle class normality, something that cannot be said now. Slavery didn’t do that.

          “If we white Orthodox Christians loved our neighbor as ourselves like the Gospel actually demands, we would be dedicated to the regeneration of the black nuclear family.”
          Not being black nor married to a black, I cannot generate a black nuclear family, let alone regenarate one. Black men and women are going to have to do that.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you Isa for this rousing defense. The idea that America became wealthy only because of the labor of slaves is belied by the fact that the South was devastated by the Federal occupation during Reconstruction. Simply put, all economic gains made by slave-owners was destroyed completely, leaving the South economically prostrate until well into the 20th century. This economic devastation btw hurt the descendants of the former slaves as much as it hurt Southern whites.

            What’s unknown to most government-school educated people is that the vast majority of whites were brought to America during this same time period (1610-1750) in transatlantic voyages that were just as devastating as the ones which brought the African slaves. They were indentured servants and lived in horrible conditions. As a rule, slave-owners in the South took better care of their slaves than these indentured servants by their masters. Why? Because the slaves were purchased and thus were expensive pieces of property, whereas white indentured servants were not purchased and had to be freed after 7 years. Blacks were a long-term investment whereas white immigrants were not.

            Having said that, the black family was more intact and far less dysfunctional in 1964 (when Moynihan made his report) than it is today, fifty years later. Ironic, isn’t it? In the 1950s, a majority of blacks had at least one grandparent who was born into slavery and all had at least several great-grandparents who were born into slavery. Slavery was still within living memory of all Americans. How many blacks today have that recollection? None. And yet the black underclass is in auto-genocide mode.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Are we overlooking the fact that there are two classes of blacks? There are many blacks who are middle-class or above, own nice homes, and have families where both parents are present and their children go to college. They are not part of the black underclass that threatens to be permanent–a horrible prospect for our country.

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              George mis-stares my position by phrasing it as “America became wealthy ONLY because of the labor of slaves.” (emphasis added) It is the sneaky use of that word “only” that distorts my position.

              What did I ACTUALLY say? That for about 2 centuries (true) America built much of its wealth (not only built its wealth) on the stolen labor (true) of people treated as less than human. (true). Neither Isa nor George refutes any of that.

              Isa’s response about generating black families is too silly to respond to. Why is he being silly? Because he doesn’t dare interact with the real question I asked at the end of my post? How do dedicated adherents of the True Church respond to the injunction to love the neighbor as themselves act in the face of the devastation of the nuclear family in black America? I

              If someone is naked, we clothe? Hungry? We feed. An entire social stratum virtually devastated?
              I do not have the answer, but at least I am not rooster-crowing from “rooftops” blaming the victims (the family and friends or writing inane evasions because I am not black.

              And yes, George, I said victims. Because I mean victims. The Orthodox faith requires us to have two things firmly in mind at the same time, two things that the secular political blabbers of right and left cannot bring together because they are too busy defending themselves and trashing each other: a) the responsible moral agency of each individual and b) the way in which one’s sins victimize others.

              For one summer, 1970, I lived on the fringes of the S Side ghetto of Chicago. I worked in the ghetto much of each day. What chance do kids raised in those conditions have of making wise choices that arise from hope? Precious few.

              In 2007, I believe, I attended a forum on poverty at which Gov. Jerry Brown of CA was a speaker. He was the mayor of Oakland then.

              In a small group conversation at the end I asked him how the local Christians could be of service in the inner city and he immediately pointed to the family issue, saying that the special charter schools they had established were too late, because by the time children first went to school they had lost hope of being anything but floundering members of the welfare class.

              Are they at all to be seen in the parable of the Good Samaritan? Wounded on the roadside of life while we priests and levites pass by on the other side?

              Fr. George

              • Fr. George,

                I see you have received unanimous thumbs down. Not being much of a ‘voter’ here, I will not add or subtract to the vote count, but I do feel compelled to wade into the conversation.

                Without going too deeply into the details, suffice it to say that due to a series of events that began with my wife’s work during the crisis pregnancy of a black woman seeking an abortion, we are the Godparents of a beautiful young lady whom, along with her mother and grandmother, we have essentially adopted and assisted for many years now. The grandmother worked until her retirement. The mother also works and receives some government assistance, but they live at a subsistence level. They often require help with utilities, clothing, automobiles, etc. I say this not to boast; for although they see us as a gift to them, they are, in fact, a gift to us. I also say this to provide context for what follows, lest I be thought to among the those who talk much, blame the victim, and look the other way.

                When this young lady began to go to school and was tested, it became clear that she is highly intelligent. I won’t mention the city or school system in which they live, but it is one that has been run entirely by a black political culture since the 1950’s – a school system, by the way, that spends 25% more per student than any other system in our state. My wife was so concerned about the severely deteriorated social environment in her school that she offered to home-school her. She did so for two years – fourth and fifth grades. In order to establish a baseline from which to begin, she asked for her records from the school system. She was ranked well above her peers in the school system, and report cards were very good in most subjects. But my wife was shocked to discover how far behind her grade level curriculum she actually had been. It was downright pathetic. She didn’t know basic math, was a little better with English, but know very little of science, history, literature or anything else that a young lady of her grade level should have learned. What did she know (or think she knew)? A great deal about the heroes of black culture –all from the standpoint of victimization. She knew, for example, of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the racially motivated hardships he endured, but she knew next to nothing of the character that made him great. She knew of George Washington Carver, but she knew nothing of his true character, his actual accomplishments, or the high value he placed on education. And the list of things she ‘knew’ about black cultural heroes goes on…

                Throughout the first year of her home-schooling it was extremely difficult to engender the self discipline required for education, for she had never been required to put forth any effort, her (supposedly) good grades notwithstanding. The culture in which she had been reared had been one of ‘feel good’ entitlement. It wasn’t important who one is (in terms of character and the genuine pride that comes of real accomplishment), it was only important what you are (part of – and forever trapped within – an eternally victimized, albeit great, people). Critical thinking wasn’t even on her radar. She had been taught a specific set of assumptions that were accepted without question within that culture. She wanted to become an attorney (like you), but the ‘educational’ guidance she had received up to that point had left her with little chance of that dream being realized. She had been given no understanding whatsoever of the steps required at each stage of life in order to become what she wanted to be. It was enough to have a dream.

                Much of this has turned around after her two years with my wife. Because of her dramatic educational turn-around, she tested well enough to be enrolled in the best charter school available – one that thankfully will take her all the way through high school. She now has a sense of genuine pride in her accomplishments, having experienced the effort required to achieve them, and hopefully a foundation on which to build a future.

                So what is my point in telling this story? Like you, I do not claim to have the answers. But I do know this:

                Their culture has been victimized. There can be no doubt about that. Those who say they “earned everything they have” too easily forget the advantages afforded them by the values of the culture in which they were reared. Most middle class people grow up learning to be respectful, to be punctual, to be presentable, etc. Most have seen their parents work hard, struggle, etc. and have witnessed what is required for economic and family prosperity These are basic skills that simply are not ingrained when one is reared in an environment where there is no father, no where one needs to be, little or nothing required in order to be paid, etc. Where would each of us be had we been reared in such an environment?

                But that having been said, we do no favors when we ‘help’ victimized people by catering to their victimization of their culture. Help is needed – no question. But there are far more effective ways of helping. If we do not demand something – primarily self-discipline- of them, we leave them to victim-hood their entire lives. We implicitly ingrain in them that they are incapable of anything except victimization, and we leave them to dream of things they will never have the capacity to achieve because we chose to ‘help’ them rather than lift them up.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Brian, what you wrote is elegant! People need to know what Frederick Douglass said in 1865 when Freedmen’s Bureaus and other supposed do-gooders were saying about blacks and their supposed inabilities. How they needed to be helped and so on. He said “If the Negro can’t stand on his own two legs, let him fall!”

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    I am one of the 7 thumbs up for Brian as of this writing. There ought to be more.

                    George almost triumphantly cherry picks a quote from a century and a half old speech to further , I believe, what is an unrealistic and unfair position. Same old back and whiteism, both literal and figurative, which draws its categories, terms, beliefs and conclusions FAR more from the contemporary liberal v. conservative political brush wars than from Orthodox Christianity.

                    Was the Apostle Paul correct when In Gal. 6 he BALANCED the equation, saying on the one hand “bear ye one another’s brudens and thus fulfill the law of Christ” and on the other hand “each man shall bear his own load?” In the Greek there are two different words, with burdens signifying the heavier and load referring to something lighter and more manageable.
                    For the Christian BOTH must be true at the same time.

                    For political sniping purposes it is always convenient to choose one truth and pretend to ignore the other. Why do I say “pretend?” Because posturing aside we really know the truth, and if we don’t learn to act on it as a people and as a Church the bad effects are only going to grow worse and more unsustainable.

                    Absolute kudos to Brian for the work done and for a truly Christian, informed and experience based explanation.


                    Fr. George

                  • Nate Trost says

                    A phrase swiftly appropriated over the next century and a half by white men in the process of performing a leg sweep.

            • Isa Almisry says

              Btw, a little piece of history mostly unknown (I only remember Glenn Bleck bringing it up, before it came up in the news when someone claimed that Obama was descended from “slave 1”): slavery originated in the law in the US when a black former indentured servant refused to give his black indentured servant his freedom. The former servant turned owner, Anthony Johnson, had come with the first “slaves” the Dutch sold in America, at Jamestown. Since Common Law did not recognize baptized slaves, they were treated as indentured servants. Earlier an indentured servant who ran away before fulfilling his contract in 1640 was sentenced to life of servitude-the court legislated from the bench, and presuming that the servant wasn’t baptized. Johnson, using that precedent on property-including the completion of an indenture contract-used that argument when the servant turning slave, John Casor, sued to try to get his freedom. Instead, he was declared to be servant for life (1655). In 1662 the House of Burgess made the children of slave mothers slaves no matter the status of the father (about half of the blacks in VA at the time were married to white women, with no problems), reversing Common Law (where the father’s status is inherited) and making the blacks in effect resident aliens and not Englishmen.

              To give an idea of how convoluted the “Reparations” crowd will make things: Obama is descended from that first slave through his white mother (who is also related to Jefferson Davis and Dick Cheney).

          • Pdn. Brian Patrick Mitchell says

            The Moynihan Report described a society that resembled American Middle class normality, something that cannot be said now. Slavery didn’t do that.


        • Michael Bauman says

          Fr. George, slavery was bad, everyone get that, the legacy of slavery is bad (especially the matriarchal structure imposed upon them), everybody gets that but the black community was beginning to quietly put that behind them. However the death knell to the black nuclear family was ….wait for it… Federal government policies with the black race-hustlers aiding and abetting. It was destroyed by abortionists marketing to black neighborhoods. All of this an more. George has frequently championed ideas that would help us all re-build families and spoken out against such destructive policies.

          Father George, in respect of your priesthood, I will temper my reaction to your insulting and paternalistic comments but it is one of the most execrable posts I’ve ever seen on this blog.

    • ” The whole story has not yet come out.”


      I am waiting with bated breath to find out the “rest of the story” regarding a beheading… not.

      If he is a known paranoid schizophrenic who was off his meds (the only “rest of the story” that I can imagine having any bearing on why he beheaded someone), I think we would already know about that.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Given strong federal regs on the privacy of people’s health history, I would actually be quite surprised if illness and medication info about the accused were already grist for the mills of internet speculation and sparring. Clearly his lawyers will have to consider making change of venue motions based on pretrial publicity contaminating the jury pool, and will not want to be caught releasing such info and fanning the media flames.

  14. Timothy Wearing says

    The Russian Orthodox Church Acts As Putin’s ‘Soft Power’ In Ukraine

    OCT. 6, 2014, 6:04 AM 321

    Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill arrive for the meeting with Russian Orthodox church bishops in Moscow February 1, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Gunyeev/Ria Novosti/Kremlin/Files
    Thomson Reuters
    Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill arrive for the meeting with Russian Orthodox church bishops in Moscow.

    MOSCOW/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – After weeks of defying international pleas to free eight European officials they had captured in May, pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine released them unexpectedly in June following a public appeal by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

    The role Kirill’s resurgent church played in the release of the monitors, who were from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), sheds light on how a close cooperation between the state and the church in Russia is now playing out in Ukraine.

    What the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) presents as its humanitarian mission in east Ukraine, Western diplomats see as a pattern of cooperation in which the church is acting as a “soft power” ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    During the OSCE monitors’ captivity, Moscow gave no public indication that it was heeding calls to help their release by using its influence with the rebels fighting to split east Ukraine from Kiev.

    But what looked like a solo venture by Kirill was the culmination of a flurry of diplomatic contacts that, behind closed doors, involved the OSCE, Russian and church officials, separatist leaders and a rebel Cossack unit, according to interviews with parties to the talks.

    With questions lingering over Moscow’s role in the turmoil in east Ukraine that has killed more than 3,500 people, European diplomats say the ROC was used to strike a deal and conceal Moscow’s influence with the rebels.

    The ROC, which claims jurisdiction in most of the former Soviet world, used its leverage beyond Russia’s borders merely to mediate, it said.

    “(The church) was asked to take part. Why shouldn’t it help?” Metropolitan Merkury, Kirill’s contact man for the OSCE release, told Reuters.

    The crisis in east Ukraine, which followed Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in March, threw ties between the Kremlin and the West deep into disarray. The West responded with sanctions to what it says is Moscow arming the rebels and reinforcing them with Russian troops. Moscow denies taking part in the armed conflict in spite of growing evidence to the contrary.

    “Russia does not fully control the rebels but it does exercise influence over them,” said a Western diplomat in Moscow closely following the crisis. “The Church is put in between the two to blur that link and avoid having any direct lines between them.”

    A European diplomat in eastern Ukraine said the ROC had acted as Moscow’s “front organization” in the release of the OSCE captives, allowing the Russian state to continue denying it had any direct involvement.

    The OSCE said it was a mix of interventions that made the release possible. A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the OSCE case. The person said the ministry does not favor the ROC over other creeds it works with. The Kremlin was not available for comment.

    afp nato to sanction russia as ukraine heads into peace talks
    Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine

    The ROC says it is not the state church of Russia. But it has cooperated closely with the Kremlin under Putin, who helped it make a striking comeback from heavy oppression in the Soviet era.

    The ROC and Kirill, who once famously likened Putin’s long rule to “a miracle of God,” are active in promoting Russia’s culture abroad and strengthening ties with compatriots around the world, helping the Kremlin boost its leverage on the global stage.

    Putin and Kirill share a vision of “the Russian world” based on common ideological values, a belief driving their mutually-beneficial cooperation and crusade against a common threat they see in the West.

    The ROC has built or restored about 25,000 churches in the past quarter-century, most of them in its traditional territory of the former Soviet Union. But it has also reclaimed churches in countries from France and Italy to Cuba and North Korea. With about 200 million members worldwide, the ROC is now the second-largest single church in Christianity after Roman Catholicism.

    The ROC’s Department of External Church Relations has a working group with Russia’s Foreign Ministry that meets regularly for what Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called “active and constructive” cooperation.

    Senior officials in the ROC, still dogged by rumors of Soviet-era collaboration with the KGB secret police, are used to being asked whether they are too close to Putin.

    “To people who, in a certain manner, ask me if our relationship with the state is good today, I say: ‘Do you want it to be bad?’,” said a senior ROC spokesman, Vladimir Legoyda.

    “Do I think that the state may try to use the Church for its own purposes? Probably. Do I think we should be afraid of that? No.”

    putin chruch
    REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool
    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) walks with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (2nd R) past other church officials in Moscow’s Kremlin July 25, 2013.

    Under Putin, the ROC gets support from the state and powerful oligarchs allied to the Kremlin, while Moscow benefits from its public blessing. A recent poll showed 75 percent of Russians approve of the ROC and more than half value its close ties with the state.

    One influential financier is Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian Orthodox businessman and philanthropist whose St. Basil the Great Foundation paid for the renovation of the Moscow headquarters of the ROC’s Department of External Church Relations.

    The foundation’s board includes Igor Shchyogolev, one of Putin’s aides at the Kremlin. The fund says it offers humanitarian aid for the rebel-held east Ukraine under an agreement signed with Aleksander Borodai, formerly the top separatist leader.

    In July, Kiev opened an investigation into Malofeev, alleging that he was financing armed rebels in east Ukraine. The European Union sanctioned Malofeev soon afterwards, saying he used to employ Borodai and was destabilizing Ukraine. Malofeev did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment on that.

    He has previously dismissed Kiev’s investigation as “ridiculous,” saying he sent only humanitarian aid and had sent no funding to pro-Russian separatists.

    Another powerful figure in the Orthodox world is Vladimir Yakunin, head of Russian Railways and a long-standing ally of Putin. Yakunin, sanctioned by Washington over Ukraine, heads the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, which helped reunite Kirill’s Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, which separated from the ROC in the 1920s.

    At the 2007 Moscow ceremony marking the reunification, Putin called the merger “an event of truly nationwide, historic importance and great moral significance.” He added: “The revival of the church unity is a crucial condition for revival of lost unity of the whole ‘Russian world’, which has always had the Orthodox faith as one of its foundations.”

    russia chruch
    REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
    A member of the Band of the Moscow Suvorov Military Music College from Russia performs during the dress rehearsal of the International Military Music Festival “Spasskaya Tower” in front of the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow, August 29, 2014.

    The ROC’s close ties to the state were on display early in the Ukraine crisis when Kirill and the Russian Foreign Ministry issued nearly identical statements, warning against a confrontation and speaking of the larger Russia’s “brotherly” Ukraine.

    When Russia sent its troops to Crimea, one of the justifications it used was an alleged threat to parishes there linked to Kirill’s Moscow Patriarchate. Kirill’s full title is “Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus,” a reference to a medieval state in Kiev to which modern Russia traces its roots.

    In Ukraine, Kirill oversees the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. It competes against a smaller church of the Kiev Patriarchate that split from Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Winning applause from those Ukrainians who seek Western integration and scorn Moscow’s efforts to undermine it, the Kiev Patriarchate has strongly backed Ukraine’s national cause in the current conflict. Its head, Patriarch Filaret, blamed Putin squarely for the violence and said he was possessed by Satan.

    The conflict in Ukraine has put strains on the ties between the ROC and the state in Russia; and Kirill, wary of alienating worshippers in Ukraine by being too closely associated with the Kremlin, has increasingly hedged his bets.

    He was conspicuously absent from a March ceremony where Putin sealed the annexation of Crimea, and he has not taken over two dioceses from the Ukrainian church in the peninsula even though they sit on territory now controlled by Russia.

    Late last month, Kirill told a meeting with Orthodox media that it was “fundamentally wrong” to view the ROC as a vehicle of Russian state policy. But to many in Ukraine that sounded unconvincing, and controversy over the ROC’s role in the OSCE monitors’ case adds to that scepticism.

    Back in May, the OSCE, through the Russian Foreign Ministry, got in touch with Russian lawmaker and senior Cossack leader, Viktor Vodolatsky, according to his account.

    Vodolatsky, a member of Putin’s ruling United Russia parliamentary faction, said he contacted the head of Cossack forces in east Ukraine, Nikolay Kozitsyn. He said ROC’s Metropolitan Merkury also talked to Kozitsyn.

    “He (Merkury) knows every ataman (Cossack leader) among us,” Vodolatsky told Reuters. “It was no problem for him to take his phone, call Kozitsyn and solve all the problems with him.”

    Merkury declined to specify his or the church’s role in the OSCE case.

    Kirill’s appeal for the monitor’s release was the clincher, said Vodolatsky, whom the EU sanctioned over the Cossacks fighting on the rebel side in east Ukraine.

    “For any Cossack the Orthodox faith is predominant. The Patriarch is our spiritual leader,” he said. “After the Patriarch statement everyone stood at attention and did everything that the Patriarch ordered.”

    (Editing By Simon Robinson and Richard Woods)

    Read more:

    • George Michalopulos says

      So? Didn’t American mega-churches support our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

      • Timothy Wearing says


        In Russia, the ROC is directly under Putin and he uses it as an arm of govt. In the U.S., no religious organ. has any authority in Wash., D.C. and certainly Obama does not use any religious organ. for control and/or manipulation; not even the Jews. If right-wing religious nuts in mega-churches want to support killing people, that’s their issue not Obama’s.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Timothy, I don’t see how the article you’ve posted, even slanted as it is, supports your claim that “the ROC is directly under Putin.” Do you have any other evidence?

          Also, the article both reports and assumes the perspective of unnamed “Western diplomats.” Do you know how many of these “Western diplomats” are —

          (a) gay
          (b) feminist
          (c) Marxist
          (d) atheist

          In my experience, virtually all Western diplomats are at least two of the four, which explains their alarm that the ROC would have any influence anywhere.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Western diplomats at work:

        • Timmy?? you sound like a P**** Riot fan

  15. Francis Frost says


    Once again you just don’t get it. As Father George has explained, our criminal code considers only guilt of the perpetrator of a crime. His family cannot be blamed. As I pointed out, our scriptures also declare that each individual is answerable to God for his own sins.

    You, on the other hand want to heap opprobrium on Nolan’s family, community, religion and race. (Notice your own title “Isn’t diversity nice?) By so doing, you are diffusing the responsibility for his horrific crime. Ironically, this is the same argument that a liberal commentator or a defense attorney would make to mitigate Nolan’s responsibility for his barbaric acts. That is simply wrong.

    What is more, while you decry this single horrific crime, you have routinely dismissed the horrors inflicted on tens of thousands of innocent civilians by your neo-Imperialist heroes in the Kremlin. If one barbaric murder is horrible, how is it that you can dismiss tens of thousands of barbaric murders with your casual comment: “Bad things happen ion war.”

    If Nolan deserves death for his single murder, what do your heroes in “resurgent Russia” deserve ???

    For example, you can review the eyewitness accounts of the massacres and tortures inflicted on innocent Orthodox Christians by the Russian military and its Muslim proxies in occupied Georgia. Even today, there are similar atrocities occurring in occupied Ukraine, despite the so called truce.

    Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazeti:

    Left: Georgian survivors of the war are studying photographs of corpses, hoping to discover (the fate of) a loved-one.
    In spring 1992, especially in June-July, acts of armed aggression and attacks got systematic character on highways and railways of Georgia. These attacks caused serious economic damages to the country. Criminal bands robbed trains and seized Georgian and other countries’ goods. Georgian government had no choice but to defend the highways and railways by the national army in order to secure safe travel of goods. As Autonomous Republic of Abkhazeti was the main area of the criminal bands action, on August 1992 Georgian central leadership decided to bring additional troops into Abkhazeti. This decision had been preliminarily submitted to the region leaders’ approval. It was personally coordinated with Chairman of Supreme Council Vladislav Ardzinba. The movement of the Georgian Army within the Georgian territory became a reason for starting the conflict. Here is what was written on this subject by Chervonaya Svetlana – Ph.D., leading specialist of Institute of Technology and Anthropology of Academy of Sciences of Russia (see the bibliography):

    “Shevardnadze did not start this war. By noon of the 14th of August 1992, «the Georgian party» had not fired a shot, none Georgian soldier had been brought into Sokhumi yet, and nothing was threatening the peace in Abkhazian towns and villages. Vladislav Ardzinba declared this war on Georgia in his radio speech. He drew the Abkhazian people into the heinous crime. Vladislav Ardzinba announced total, forced «general mobilization» (every man from 18 to 45). He provided the soldiers with arms seized or stolen from Russian arsenal, and promoted unlawful actions of the Abkhazian armed troops in Abkhazian towns, villages, and roads (the “enemy” had not even reached this territory). The Abkhazian separatists searched for everything they considered worthy, terrorized and killed Georgian peaceful inhabitants. Abkhazian snipers opened fire to people being in Sokhumi sanatorium. They shot scores of Russian holidaymakers on the beach of the air defense forces’ and other sanatoriums. These were the crimes that had to be stopped. The criminals must answer for these deeds. The political purposes of the organizers of these crimes are known: division of Georgia, drawing Russia into a war, Soviet-communist revenge and restoring the Soviet Union.”
    That is how the war broke out.

    “…When they [Abkhaz] entered Gagra, I saw Shamyl Basaev’s battalion. I have never seen such a horror. They were raping and killing everyone who was captured and dragged from their homes. The Abkhaz commander Arshba raped a 14 year old girl and later gave an order to execute her. For the whole day I only could hear the screams and cries of the people who were brutally tortured. On the next day, I witnessed the mass execution of people on the stadium. They installed machine guns and mortars on the top and placed people right on the field. It took a couple of hours to kill everybody…”

    Georgian government repeatedly appealed to the UN, CSCE, and other international organizations to intervene, while at the same time refusing offers of Russian military assistance. Several UN Security Council resolutions and decisions failed to lead to a de-escalation of the conflict. On July 27, 1993, a Russian-brokered trilateral agreement on a cease-fire and principles for the solution of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict was signed. Complete demilitarization of the region, supervised by Russia, was to follow the separation of the military forces of the two sides. However, the UN failed to implement its long-sought decision to send a large group of military observers to Abkhazeti. Furthermore, the Russian military observers insisted that Georgians did not participate in the supervision of the withdrawal of heavy weaponry.

    “…When the Abkhaz entered my house, they took me and my seven year old son outside. After forcing us to kneel, they took my son and shot him right in front of me. After they grabbed me by hair and took me to the nearby well. An Abkhaz soldier forced me to look down that well; there I saw three younger men and couple of elderly women who were standing soaked in water. They were screaming and crying while the Abkhaz were dumping dead corpses on them. Afterwards, they threw a grenade there and placed more people inside. I was forced again to kneel in front of the dead corpses. One of the soldiers took his knife and took the eye out from one of the dead near me. Then he started to rub my lips and face with that decapitated eye. I could not take it any longer and fainted. They left me there in a pile of corpses…”

    At the end of August 1993, S. Shoigu, chairman of the Russian Emergency State Committee, declared on Russian television that demilitarization had reached a stage at which resumption of the war would be impossible. Large numbers of hopeful refugees returned to their ruined homes and began rebuilding. Then on September 17, a surprise attack by Abkhazian tanks and artillery, supported by their Russian North Caucasian and Cossack allies, forced the remaining disarmed Georgian troops, together with tens of thousands of civilians, to flee in panic. Many of these victims later starved or froze to death in the Svaneti mountains. Shevardnadze himself, who was besieged along with the defenders of Sokhumi, had a narrow escape. The sudden clandestine Abkhazian rearmament remains a mystery only for the extremely naive.

    “…The Abkhaz separatists killed people of other nationalities as well, including those who tried to protect Georgians. After the city was seized, the streets were covered with bodies. Separatists destroyed the Baramidze, Chkhetia, Baramia, Gvazava, Dzidziguri, Absandze, Shonia, and Kutsia families, as well as many others…”

    The war ended in late September 1993 with Abkhazeti’s virtual secession from Georgia through a radical ethnic cleansing of its multi-ethnic population and the destruction of its cities, including Sokhumi.Just at the beginning of the war adherents of Vladislav Ardzinba started killing, tormenting, raping, and robbing the inhabitants of Georgian nationality. At first Georgians of the following towns and villages experienced the sadism of the separatists: Gagra and Gudauta, Akhaladze, Bzipi, Ipnari, Otkhara, Akhali Sopeli, Eshera, Kochara, Ketevani, Labra, Kvitouli, Kindgi, etc. Ugrekhelidze, an inhabitant of the village Eshera, was forced to dig a hole of his own height, then he was pulled out his teeth and nails, and buried alive. They left his hand above the ground (the symbol of the Abkhazian banner.) Another Georgian was captured, cut his veins. Then the Abkhazian separatists poured his blood into glasses and drank it. After this they let him go to Sokhumi to tell everybody how Abkhazians drank Georgian blood. The Abkhazian butchers captured sisters – Eka Jvania (17 years old) and Marina Jvania (14 years old), Leila Samushia and others in village Pshadi. They undressed them in front of their parents and neighbors, and raped them. After this the Abkhazian butchers executed all of them by shooting. The Abkhazian “liberators” did not spare workers of education system. They execute by shooting 78 teachers and lecturers. For instance, a teacher Bichiko Ekimiani, Armenian, was executed by shooting together with his family in his own house; a teacher of a secondary school at village Kochaki, Bajiko Vekua firstly raped, then tormented and killed; Bichiko Baramia – an assistant professor of Abkhazian University, diseased and disabled man was executed by shooting together with his wife; Shota Jgabadze – professor was executed by shooting when he was operating a wounded patient. It’s just a drop in the ocean of separatists violence. 30000 innocent people were killed in Abkhazian War in 1992-1993.

    “…They captured a young girl. She was hiding in the bushes near the house where they killed her parents. She was raped several times. One of the soldiers killed her and mutilated her. She was cut in half. Near her body they left a message: as this corpse will never be as one piece, Abkhazia and Georgia will never be united either…”

    The war was over in September 1993, by actual separation of Abkhazeti From Georgia, by genocide of Georgian population, by destroying towns. As a result of the war 200000 people were forced to leave their own places of residence. The refugees moved to various regions of Georgia.In spite of Russian repeated recognition of Georgian territorial integrity, since the beginning of militant actions representatives of Russian Federation officials, several ministries, and departments, various political parties and organizations have been supported the separatists with political, military, economical, financial and moral aid. Even before the conflict, on March 1992, Autonomous Republic of Abkhazeti without submission of Georgian government approval began making economic agreements with Russian Federation. In early March V. Ardzinba applied to B. Eltsin for economical aid. On March 19, 1992 B.Eltsin ordered Krasnodar and Stavropol Administration leaders to make direct trade-economic agreements with Abkhazeti. The orders were fulfilled during the next three months.


    • George Michalopulos says

      I never said his family/fellows/friends should be “charged”or even “blamed.” Instead, I shouted from the rooftops that ordinary people (and our leaders) should heap obloquy on the degeneracy that is found in the black underclass. You liberals have absolutely no problem making fun of rednecks.

  16. Fr. George Washburn says

    Of course many members of the black underclass are “degenerate,” George.

    But please explain to us where in the Orthodox Church’s spiritual tradition we are taught to heap shame on that underclass, the good, bad and indifferent lumped together as one, from rooftops? Vituperation and raillery exacerbates by obscuring, inflaming, distracting, and hurting; it never heals, which is the one thing needed, the only thing that will work.

    We can easily imagine the very different outcome of a wellside encounter between you and a certain “degenerate” woman member of the Samaritan underclass, St. Photini. I believe that is because at times like this you are sadly more a follower of Rush than Christ.

    • Of course many members of the black underclass are “degenerate,” George.

      Of course, many members of the Orthodox church are “degenerate,” and the good people at Monomakhos are always willing to point out moral shortcomings, especially if committed by clergy.