Shooting the Prisoners in Indiana

Weding-Cake-590CI1In case anybody had any misconceptions, the Culture Wars are now over. The Brownshirts have won in an overwhelming manner. As Rod Dreher has recently pointed out, Gay, Inc. is now the reigning orthodoxy of the American Republic. All that is left now are a few mopping-up operations and shooting the prisoners.

Orthodox believers of the various faith traditions are now left with few options. Those of the Christian variety who are not pollyannish and/or devotees of the Welfare State now see the contours of a fascist, totalitarian and anti-Christian regime clearly forming. In this contest between Caesar and Christ, Christ must lose according to the new paradigm. That means of course that persecution must needs come. Soft at first: the loss of a church’s tax-exempt status will be the first step, but then harsher means will inevitably follow, especially if those remaining, recalcitrant Christians do not get with the program.

This was of course predicted several years ago by the authors of The Manhattan Declaration. One of its first Orthodox signatories was the newly-elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. As Your’s Truly had noted back then, when Metropolitan Jonah signed it, he was effectively signing his own death warrant. I had no interior knowledge as to why this was other than a gut feeling, and the experience of the many Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Evangelical pastors and laymen I had come to know over the years. As the late Richard John Neuhaus put it, when orthodoxy becomes optional in a denomination, it quickly becomes unnecessary.

I certainly had no sub-rosa inclinations of a gay cabal within the OCA or how deep and entrenched it was. Nor did I know that its tendrils extended in some of the other jurisdictions and it had certain hierarchs –particularly Metropolitan Philip Saliba–in its cross-hairs. Rather than rehash that entire imbroglio here, we can now cut to the chase and see not only has the Syosset Apparat won but that since it was clearly in lock-step with the globalist agenda that there was no way that it could lose.

Of course some of the few, remaining moderates would interject at this point: what of it? After all, isn’t the OCA –at least on the East Coast–in its death-throws? Aren’t there other, more vibrant Orthodox jurisdictions in America to choose from? And anyway, isn’t the putative Great and Holy Council of 2016 going to settle the anomalous North American situation once and for all? Syosset and its championship of the views of the Aridas, Sprechers and Jillions of the world is marked for extinction anyway.

So why get upset?

Well, first of all, the Selma Envy that animates the whole Sexual Minorities meme (as articulated by Fr John Jillions, the Chancellor of the OCA) is on the ascendant in some of the other jurisdictions –notably the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. I have it on good authority that one GOA bishop has openly said in a public forum that the Orthodox Church needs to reexamine its traditional understanding of marriage. This was said not only because this particular bishop’s sexuality is an open secret but because he really believes it. Some of course believe that the championship of gay marriage will make it easier to live openly what is now a furtive existence. Under such a regime, Constantinople would no longer have to worry about a metropolitan assigned oversees having to leave furtively because he ran afoul of the law.

Moreover, this scandalous thinking is widespread in the GOA. After all, last year Metropolitan Savvas Zembillas conjured up the spirit of Selma when he condemned those Christians who use the First Amendment to uphold the normal and permanent teachings of the Christian Church.

Worse, recent news out of Chambesy, Switzerland indicates the most recent meeting ended in acrimony because its chairman (Metropolitan John Zizioulis of Pergamum) has adopted the Jillionist language. This seems to be the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well; after all, is it hard to see Zizioulis opening up this can of worms unless he had the permission of the Phanar.

We thus see the formation of a potential schism in Orthodoxy –between the more secularist-minded Phanariotes and those Greek-speaking churches aligned with them, and the more traditionalist-minded ones aligned with Moscow.

The lines will not be as neat as many would imagine. Although the OCA is the canary in this coal mine presently, schisms will be precipitated in other jurisdictions. ROCOR of course will largely be spared as will Antioch (thanks to the revulsion against sodomy that was displayed by the Saliba). It is my considered opinion that the Athonite monasteries and those GOA parishes sympathetic to them will align themselves with Moscow while the more secularist ones will follow the path of the more -how shall we say it?–worldly metropolitans recently installed here in America.

Of course the road that the traditionalists will have to travel will be made even harder given that the Patriarchate of Moscow is protected by the Hitler du jour, Vladimir Putin. That this is a ridiculous caricature created by inbred Neocons and foolishly lapped up by unquestioning Christian Zionists is immaterial. If our Oligarchs want to spend the blood and treasure of Red-State Americans in a hopeless war against Russia, then any narrative that can be used, will be used –no matter how ridiculous. In fact, must be used.

Orthodox Christians who will decry the new sodomist orthodoxy will have additional obloquy poured upon them in that they will be reminded who their ostensible patron is. The entertainment media will chime in and of course Orthodox academics will write more ridiculous papers condemning the “Orthodox jihadism” of those Wascally Wussians. Nor should we forget those bishops who will step into the fore and give the “compassionate” view of Orthodoxy. Never underestimate those hirelings who crave the greetings of the marketplace. Such adulation salves many a conscience; failing that it ameliorates the shame of knowing that one is a hireling in the first place.

Yes, dark days loom.

I however am not discouraged. The fascistic tactics used by the modern Brownshirts will inevitably backfire. If nothing else, they will (and have) appalled many normal people who really believe in tolerance. As Andrew Sullivan said of the Brownshirts who defenestrated Brendan Eich of Mozilla: “Careful gays, your fascism is showing.”

Moreover, I can’t see how civilization can sustain the concept of gay “marriage.” Not only is it ontologically an absurdity, the vast majority of homosexuals and lesbians have no desire to partake of its supposed fruits. A priest friend of mine predicted that the entire gay marriage imbroglio will peter out in five years or so. I didn’t believe him at first but now I think he’s on to something.

We’ll see. In the meantime, we can look at the full fury of the secularist thugocracy as it mobilized to close a pizza parlor in Indiana. Expect that such tactics will be coming to an orthodox congregation in the near future. And expect as well to see Christian leaders dither.


  1. Christopher says

    My priest reminded us this morning about the “at least several hundred” who followed our Lord into Jerusalem 2000 years ago, only to have all of them (excepting His Mother and St. John I suppose) disappear within a week. That is the sad thing in all this to my mind, just how easily taken in supposedly Faithful patriarchs, bishops, clergy, and laypeople are by the “thugocracy” and the New Anthropology.

    It is my honest hope, and sincere prayer, that no deceptive “progress” at all is made in the coming “great council” as far as the “uncanonical” situation in the diaspora. I will take “uncanonical” over apostasy all day every day, and it is clear that apostasy is where (at least part of) the OCA and GOA, possibly others, are headed. They simply will not be able to resist the twin seductions of modernism and acceptance by the elite on the one hand, and the real persecution all traditional believers are going to endure (especially in the workplace – Corporate America is fully on board with the New Anthropology). It will be too much, for who wants to be hated? It is far too easy to go along and get along, and easier still to actually buy into the belief that Christianity has been wrong about our God given morality and anthropology all this time.

    Things are moving very fast now, the persecution is almost upon us. We will have to think about setting up “underground railroad” sort of networks to support each other in the near future…

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      The OCA is very convert-heavy, meaning lots of people who have fled other Christian professions which have become apostate on sexuality and marriage issues. Surely the OCA synod recognizes this and will not risk their faithful moving on again. Even if there is a gay mafia in the OCA, it’s irrelevant. Their hands are tied. If the OCA apostasies, Moscow might even concede to Constantinople the issue of autocephaly and reassert control of the Metropolia.

      It’s the Greeks that are concerning. More about ethnicity and less about the faith, they are more susceptible to succumbing to the influences of modern secularism.

  2. I would like to say that you are wrong about all of the above, George, but I don’t think you are. I was discussing gay marriage with an evangelical Christian and a Catholic at work recently, both of whom were disturbed by the advance of gay marriage. I outlined my concerns, which are quite simply that the history of the left tells us that we will not be left alone, that our tax exempt status will be pulled as a starter, and that it will go downhill from there. As Ross Douthat put it recently, the war is over, and all that is currently happening is a negotiation of the terms of surrender — and given the treatment given to the pizza parlor owners, it is not looking good for those terms to be particularly tolerant and merciful for those of us whose religions teach that homosexual activity is sinful. I heard a TV anchor say the other day about businesses that don’t want to participate in same sex marriage activities — “well, they should have thought about that before they went into business.” Get that? The guy was basically saying that if you are morally opposed to same-sex marriage and refuse to participate in those ceremonies, you shouldn’t be allowed to be a florist, a cake-decorator, a wedding planner, or a photographer — at all. There will soon be entire professions from which orthodox Christians are banned — unless they are willing to endanger their souls by eating food sacrificed to idols, metaphorically speaking.

    As I have stated before, my concern is not over whether same-sex marriage is legal. My concern is that with every generation of young people who hear no clear guidance from Orthodox hierarchs in this country, it becomes inevitable that we will see major schisms in all of our jurisdictions — and I worry that the larger part of some jurisdictions will be on the side of accommodation to the government’s demands and that we will be seeing same-sex “marriages” performed in “Orthodox” churches within 20 years.

    We will see entire churches that formerly were firm in their teachings cave on the issue under the financial pressures of losing tax-exempt status. We should be prepared to accept these small martyrdoms — which are only about minor things like money and status — but I fear that nothing is being done to prepare the faithful for what is coming. Those who are still focusing on “protection of marriage” in the US are in denial about the fact that this battle has long been over, and they are completely missing the far more serious trial that is coming for the Church.

    • Engaged Observer says

      “My concern is that with every generation of young people who hear no clear guidance from Orthodox hierarchs in this country, it becomes inevitable that we will see major schisms in all of our jurisdictions — and I worry that the larger part of some jurisdictions will be on the side of accommodation to the government’s demands and that we will be seeing same-sex “marriages” performed in “Orthodox” churches within 20 years.”

      I wonder about this as well, particularly the part about Orthodox parishes being “forced” to perform same-sex “marriages.” Granted, most of the time secular society is happy just to ignore Orthodox Christianity, but the more firm we are in our belief, the less we will be ignored.

      The way I envision this probably playing out is most likely from a “jilted” ethnically Orthodox Christian who may have fallen into the death trap of a homosexual lifestyle. He wants to “marry” and, bolstered by the vocal progressive fascists we see in the media, gets the idea of “suing” his ethnic Orthodox parish to make them “marry” him and his boyfriend.

      For the Orthodox priests among us and even the lawyers, a few questions:

      –What if a former parishioner “demands” a “right” to Holy Communion or to marriage, completely disregarding confession, the teachings of the church, etc.? What if the state backs him up?

      –If the progressive fascists enact laws that churches cannot “discriminate,” thereby theoretically requiring a church to commune someone who completely disregards Orthodox faith, what would the churches do? How would we deal with this?

      I’d like to think that these situations are outside the realm of possibility, but I don’t think they are any longer. In the former communist lands under aggressive church persecution, were the churches largely ignored, or were they faced with being forced to commune unfaithful members, or doing marriages for people who blatantly denounce Christ and His Church?

      • Christopher says

        Engaged Observer,

        As far as your questions, in the end you are asking how the Faithful (here I am including Bishops, clergy, and lay) should “act” or “respond” to a persecution. Taking our guidance from past persecutions (you mention the communist persecution, or you can look at the Ottomans or the original Roman governments persecution of the church) there is actually a range of “reactions” and “stances” one has to take, up to and including martyrdom. One does not necessarily seek out martyrdom (though some of the martyrs did exactly this) but one realizes that one could be called to it.

        In our case, we will go through an ostracization/punishment stage first. This will include the revoking of our tax exempt status, court decisions that attempt to force our clergy to “marry” a homosexualist couple, forcing our schools to hire the non-faithful and openly hostile, etc. In too many cases, our clergy and bishops will give in (this is simply a realistic assessment of our own weak flesh – I do not exempt myself from this assessment). Many (too many) will fall away at this stage (too many have fallen away already). The hard part for most of the faithful will be when they realize that their economic lives, tied as they are (for the majority at least) to Corporate America, are in real jeopardy. When asked to completely “go into the Christian closet” at work or be guilty of “hate speech”, what are you going to do? You have a family and children to provide for. These will be very very difficult circumstances, and there are many (in academia particularly) who have chosen to live in the closet for a long time and are now reporting their experiences.

        If you have not had a chance, check out Rod Dreher’s blog for the past 10 or 11 days, particularly the lengthy post where he interviews the anonymous ivy league law professor who has not small experience living in “the Christian closet”.

        As a member of my little mission church’s council, I have brought these questions up in our church. It has been a mixed bag of a response. Many members have their eyes open and realize what is coming, and want to seriously start discussing and thinking about our response both as a church and as individuals. Others are not convinced of the danger and/or are more willing to wait for the wolf to start baying at their door more directly. I was pleasantly surprised that the number of those who either agree with the New Anthropology and the New Intolerance or simply want to bury their heads in the sand was lower than I had anticipated. But, we are just beginning to think about an outline of a response. I would encourage everyone to begin sooner rather than later. I am looking for men like Dreher to write his “the Benedict Option” book. I am also looking for faithful clergy (like Fr. Lawrence Farley of the OCA and Fr. John Whiteford of ROCOR – who just had his Facebook account closed) to give us guidance. I wish I could be looking at some NA bishops to lead, but I am not honestly – perhaps one or more of them will surprise me…

      • Engaged Observer writes, “I wonder about this as well, particularly the part about Orthodox parishes being ‘forced’ to perform same-sex ‘marriages.'”

        Actually, the comment you’re replying to didn’t say the Orthodox would be forced to perform such ceremonies. Some putatively Orthodox clergy may willingly perform same-sex ‘marriages’.

      • At least right now, there is no such thing as a homosexual marriage service, so to even attempt such an act is impossible. Only a Holy Synod could put such a service into effect with any semblance of legitimacy, and the OCA is the only church that does not have (official) foreign oversight of its affairs. Even the fabulous Greeks could not overcome the denunciations of the Athonite Fathers to do such a thing.

        It would certainly take some creative interpretation to put together such a service. I suspect 1 Corinthians 6 would not be designated as the Epistle lection.

        If there is a church-sanctioned attempt to compose such a service, that would be the spark that ignites schism across the Church. No God-fearing, sane bishop could possibly put his name to such a thing.

        The slow-moving Byzantine machinations of the Church are good for one thing, at least: keeping the crazies at bay.

        • Ages, I regret to tell you that there have been at least two homosexual ‘crownings’ for Orthodox, which were conducted by our so-called friends in the Episcopal Church.

          These are just still photos, so I do not know how they cannibalized the text of our service to reflect what they were attempting to join together.

          Maria McDowell and Elizabeth Schroeder

          Daniel Kostakis and Andrew

          • I need to correct the above comment. The second travesty was conducted by a Lutheran (ELCA) minister, and the names of the two men involved are Daniel Storrs and Andrew Kostakis.

            So TEC and ELCA have both been parties to a heinous abuse of sacred Orthodox rites, and yet Orthodox churches continue having ecumenical relations with these people through the World Council of Churches. What a disgrace!

          • And here she is again in all her “Eminent Theologian” glory!

            Our old friend Maria Gwyn McDowell. author of The Newness of the Spirit: the ordination of men and women (The WORD magazine, Volume 48, No. 5, May 2004), fully exposed as the fraud that all those…well, you know…ignorant, closed-minded, hardhearted, spirit-quenching, sorely lacking in a deep understanding of the Fathers, uncreative, inflexible, fearful of change, ‘Fundamentalist’ Orthodox of the “new and alien” variety in the Antiochian Archdiocese intuitively knew her to be even then.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Actually, this is how it’s (homosexual couplings) are going to happen in an Orthodox Church. Incrementally.

        First, some moribund, ethnic parish –most likely, Greek–will be targeted. It’ll be in a “transtional” area of town where all the Greeks used to live but now has only a few widows living nearby. To make ends meet, this parish (which is more or less centrally located) rents out its hall for baptisms, marriages, etc., mainly to Greeks but also to other Orthodox since these other churches have little or no facilities themselves.

        This GOA parish will be asked to rent its hall by some marginal member for an “event.” Since we’re talking about a GOA parish hall so let’s call the renter “Manoli” and his Yiayia and Thea Fifi will be glad that he’s wanting to reestablish his ties with “the Church.” (If we’re talking about a Carp parish in the Mon Valley, we call this fellow Barbrara Stan.)

        Cash will be provided right up front and the requisite contracts will be signed (they renters will clean up, etc.).

        At this event nothing untoward will happen. A good time will be had and the word will get out that everything went OK. The parish dodged another financial bullet and it was able to use the money to make it another month.

        Then another party will be held there. Then another. Within a year, that same hall will be known as the place to gather for certain parties. The priest will be praised for his “tolerance.”

        Then the hammer will fall. By the sixth or seventh renting, an Orthodox man will let it be known that his “commitment ceremony” will be held on such and such date at St Spiro’s parish hall. Not the church mind you –just the hall. There will be no Orthodox priest serving, just some ELCA minister who mimics the sacrament of crowning.

        At that point, the PC and priest have an unenviable decision to make: a) allow the rental to proceed (and hope nobody hears about it) or b) risk the wrath of a well-financed homosexual lobby which will bring a suit against them for “discrimination.”

        There is another complication if the PC follows “b”: and that is that enough of the congregation will like the money coming in. Then there’s the added wrinkle that another segment of the congregation sees nothing wrong with homosexuality in the first place. And then the priest/PC will have to contend with the relatives of one of the “betrothed.”

        Given that the GOA as a rule is the least resolute of the Orthodox jurisdictions in these matters, I would bet money against the priest in question doing the right thing.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          George, nobody can accuse you of optimism about anything.

          Your scenario won’t be happening at my GOA church.

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      Hi friends:

      Edward tells us that he can openly discuss his traditional position on gay rights at work, and if he is telling the truth on that we can assume he doesn’t participate here anonymously because he’s afraid he’ll lose his job.

      He expresses worry that denominational leaders won’t have the courage to stand up to the public pressure of those who are prepared to “punish” traditional views, but here, on a site where people are friendly to his position, he doesn’t stand up for what he believes under his true name.

      He criticizes those who take cautious, accommodating positions in order to keep tax-exempt status, and tells everyone we should be prepared to accept “small martyrdoms.” But not the martyrdom of using his true name.


      Fr. George

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

        Fr. George,

        Give it a rest. I don’t know most of the people whose posts I read. It makes no difference. If the posts are responsibly written why should it?

        Secondly, Edward is under no obligation to submit to your scoldings. George sets the rules for this blog and Edward is in complete compliance with them. Your issue is with George, not with those who follow the rules George makes.

        Fr. Hans

        • Daniel E Fall says

          You know the reality of pseudonyms is the opposite of humility. An outspoken person, willing to speak too much I may be, but the check on my words is that you know who I am.

          I defended anonymity in the past, but I no longer appreciate it after seeing horribles from john foe.

          Fr. Washburn is a good teacher, listen to his message.

          Do you think Christ would want us to listen to the Wizard of Oz?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr Hans, thank you for your response to Fr George.

          Fr George: if I may, the very real threat that some people feel because of exposure is all too real. We are talking about gainfully employed people who are responsible citizens and not wastrels, public charges or otherwise malingerers who inhabit their mothers’ basements playing World of Warcraft.

          These are the type of people who won’t show up on your doorstep pestering you for a few greenbacks. All they ask is that they be left alone.

          I think that by looking at the recent events in Indiana that we can disabuse ourselves of the notion that we live in a “free” country where every man is able to freely express his opinion (or worship as he chooses). So please give the whole “anonymous posting” schtick a rest.

          Kali Anastasi.

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            To George M, who does not moderate hardly anyone or anything as far as I can tell:

            This little sidebar came about from a rather personal exchange between Mike Myers, whom I assume, without knowing, to be using his real name, and Edward, who is obviously using a false one or too little of the real to be of any value as an identifier.

            Look back at Eddie’s post that told the readership about the victories of the gay agenda being won because opponents were unwilling to pay the modest costs of standing up and being counted. How can you as the supposed moderator of a site that pretends to evenhandedness criticize me for pointing out that Edward’s personal practice does not appear to measure up tot he standards to which he seems willing to hold others?

            The answer, I fear, is that despite the claims to the contrary, on George’s Farm although all animals are equal, some animals are more equal than others.

            tough love,

            Fr. G

            • Aaron Little says

              Do you chant any other mantra or is bemoaning the use of names by posters on this blog the sole focus of your existence?

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Dear Fr. Hans:

          Please allow me to respectfully – no tongue in cheek here – wonder out loud if maybe my issue is partly with you. But a test question first because I do not want to waste your time, other people’s or my own.

          Please tell us if you believe people behave better when a) they believe they are being watched and can be help personally accountable or b) they believe they are not being watched and will not be held personally accountable, and on what basis you so believe.

          Thanks for participating in a disagreement between two people with real names …and no flames!


          Fr. G

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            Wading through the tendentiousness…

            It depends on how you define “behave” and who does the “watching.”

            The young girl of the pizza shop owners in Indiana met your criteria and the Progressives shut down the store. Samizdat relied on pseudonyms exclusively.

            Further, is “behavior” even germane on a blog like Monomakhos? What constitutes proper “behavior?” Is a commentator who posts a well reasoned reply or reveals facts that should not remain hidden ‘misbehaving’ because he uses a pseudonym?

            On the other hand, plenty of commentators who use their real names have posted less than edifying posts. They exhibit ‘good behavior’ but where is the value?

            As for your criticism of others for not embracing ‘small martyrdoms’ in a post upstream, neither you nor anyone else has the authority to make that judgment for them.

            The real problem with your scoldings is that they are never properly contextualized. The tendentiousness in other words drives toward a bland conformity; the teacher scolds the boys for not sitting in a straight line.

            OK, so the line isn’t straight. But so what?

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              I was going to wait until Holy Week had concluded to come back and post, but this is very disturbing. Its not just disturbing because of what the President said, which is disturbing enought, but towards the end of the video you see very clearly Archbishop Demetrios of the GOAA standing and applauding what the President just said in regards to “less than loving views” on this issue of what Christians believe about Homosexuality being a sin.

              See it for yourself and tell me if I am wrong:

              As a faithful member of the GOAA I have no illusions on where the majority of the GOAA faithful and even the majority of clergy stand on this issue, which is full support of the LGBT Agenda, but I also know that there are many GOAA members, like myself, and clergy who do not agree with the GOAA’s future support of Gay Rights and SSM.

              I really do not know what the future holds but it seems to me that the GOAA will not stand firm on this issue.

              I would love if the GOAA members that are on this board could discuss this issue on George’s blog because it’s well past time to do so. GOAA bishops and Metropolitans should also sound off on this issue being that so many of them are actually on this blog and have commented in the past on various issues. I know of at least one Bishop, and I am sure there are others along with many GOAA clergy. So let’s start talking.

              Thank you and May All Have a Blessed Holy Week and Pascha.

              Peter A. Papoutsis

              • Mike Myers says

                Are you a big Fox News fan, Peter? Since President Obama didn’t say a word about “the sin of homosexuality” nor did he so much as hint at anything whatsoever related to it, either pro or con or indifferent, I’m here totally wondering what you’re smoking. I fervently hope that Fox News and its notorious bimbos and their vile M.O. of passive-aggressive, utterly baseless, laughable innuendos are not a significant source of the info fleshing out your mental model of the world, seeing that you’re a professing Christian. Surely that isn’t possible.

                I also hope that you and yours have a blessed and illuminating remainder of Holy Week and Pascha, Peter. God bless you, please.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Mike, your obeisance to the New Anthropology is so paramount that you now go about casting aspersions against people where none are necessary. Fox news? Really? It’s chief anchor, Shepard Smith is a known homosexual. Geraldo Rivera, one of its most famous journalists is a renowned adulterer (by his own admission, several hundred notches on his bedpost). And so on.

                  Then you castigate His Holiness Kirill of Russia because of the ROC’s stance on tobacco. Really? And the ROC because it had the Bolshevik jackboot on its throat for 70 years.

                  You really need to lay off the Red Bull and sit back and realize that the gay brownshirts here in America have won the battle, and I mean decisively. There’s only a few mopping-up operations left, the Orthodox Church being one of them. And as I’ve said, that probable won’t be all that hard given the character of some of the men in the episcopate. In this regard, revered protopresbyters such as Robert Arida are leading the way, providing intellectual cover for when the final falling away comes. I imagine him to be Generation Gay’s Fr Hopko.

                  There’s only one glitch in this whole operation: I am wondering what the fallout of the “March for Marriage” will be. It seems like Metropolitan Joseph of the AOCNA is pushing for this whole-hog. We will see what the other jurisdictions will do. I imagine that this will be a flashpoint in that we will see what the other jurisdictions do in anticipation of it.

                  Kali Anastasi.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Well Mike It looks like you’re the only one that couldn’t figure out who the President was attacking. Everybody else did.

                    Critics: Obama’s Words, Actions Show Anti-Christian Bias

                    Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 10:03 AM

                    By Melanie Batley

                    President Barack Obama’s comment at this week’s Easter Prayer Breakfast that some Christians are acting “less-than-loving” is the latest in a string of remarks and actions that some say suggest he has an anti-Christian bias.

                    “On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that, as a Christian, I am supposed to love, and I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned, but that’s a topic for another day,” Obama said in his address on Tuesday.

                    In February he got himself in hot water at the National Prayer Breakfast after comparing Islamic terrorism to the Crusades.

                    “Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama had said.

                    And critics have said the president has failed to bring attention to Christian persecution around the world, most recently in Iraq where Christians have been beheaded at the hands of the Islamic State.

                    The president’s words and actions have not gone unnoticed.

                    Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said that it appeared the president was more critical of Christians than Muslims.

                    “The fact is that all human beings fall short. We are all sinners,” O’Reilly said on Wednesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”

                    “But in the political arena, it seems like President Obama is more skeptical of Christians than he is of Muslims. That may not be true, but that’s what it feels like.”

                    On Tuesday, Fox News host Megyn Kelly said the president’s most recent comments could have a chilling effect on those who want to speak out against ongoing persecution of Christians.

                    “I mean, the question is whether those comments do real damage not just to morale among Christians about what their own president thinks of them, but… that they feel he won’t stand up for Christians who are under threat,” Kelly said on “The Kelly File.”

                    Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, said that the president’s comments at the Easter breakfast showed that “he has a very strange definition of freedom of religion.” “He believes in freedom of religion as long as you agree with him, but if you disagree with him on gay marriage, for instance, then he wants to weaponize the government against you,” Land told J.D. Hayworth on Newsmax TV’s “America’s Forum.”

                    Persecution of Christians in the Middle East will get worse and spread within America because the president is “very sympathetic to Islam,” said evangelical pastor Franklin Graham.

                    “The storm of Islam” is coming, he said, according to CNS News.

                    He attributed the president’s views to having spent time in Indonesia growing up under the influence of his father and stepfather, both of whom were Muslim.

                    “So, growing up, his frame of reference and his influence as a young man was Islam,” Graham said. “It wasn’t Christianity, it was Islam.”

                    Others have also cast doubt on the nature of Obama’s Christian faith.

                    Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, says Obama has no religious faith — and believes in absolutely nothing.

                    “I know the secular-minded people. He’s certainly one of them,” Donohue told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV following the president’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast.

                    “I don’t believe he’s a Christian and I don’t believe he’s a Muslim … He believes in nothing, stands for nothing and he’s good for nothing.”

                    “God knows Christians have done some ugly things in history and so has every group. Why is it that every time the Muslims are being discussed about savagery, somehow it always gets back to Catholics?” Donohue said.

                    Read Latest Breaking News from
                    Urgent: Rate Obama on His Job Performance. Vote Here Now!

                  • Mike Myers says

                    Scattershot non sequiturs fail to approach the standards of rational dialogue, George.

                    Kali Anastasi to you and yours.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Although I am not a supporter of so-called conversion therapy because I think it does more harm than good, I still believe that this needs to come from the scientific community and that therapy may be helpful in the future if properly developed by therapists based on their experience, finding and peer review.

                    However, this decision is IMHO taken out of their hands by politicians.


                    What if the outlawed “Therapy” becomes the Orthodox aesthetic life? What if Orthodox aestheticism is found harmful by the government in the future towards Gays? As we have seen recently this can very easily become a slippery slope.


                    PS This is President Obama moving and supporting this, but we still don’t know what he meant at the Prayer Breakfast? Here’s a hint: He was attacking orthodox Christians (Small “o”).

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              Your answer fails to answer my question with such skill and determination I have nothing further to say to you at this time, Fr. Hans.

            • Mike Myers says

              I realize and I’d bet Fr. George realizes that some have defensible reasons for anonymity on the internet, while corresponding substantively and with minimal deceitfulness nevertheless. The big problem is those whose reasons are very bad and totally indefensible. Obviously. This would include more than a few here.

              Take one particularly egregious example, “Heracleides,” to whom I have never heard you offer so much as a word of rebuke — quite the contrary. (If I’ve missed one, show me proof of it. I actually hope I’m wrong about this.) He tells us he communes in your own church, the AOCANA. I believe him. What I don’t believe is that it would no longer be problematic for him to do so if he had the courage of his “convictions” and put his name where his big & filthy mouth is. I think doing that might complicate his good standing in church life immensely. Or should do, at any rate. . . This is one very clear-cut case.

              There are other cases here. You speak somewhat disingenuously of tendentiousness, but, and this is typical of you, the targeting of your own scoldings is noticeably selective. I.e, due to tendentiousness. Obviously.

              I’m all ears wrt to any objections you might have to my “contextualizing” in the particular case of the pseudonymous Exhibit A. I’m very interested to hear whether you think “Heracleides” “behaves” properly, and whether you’re “watching” this communicant in your own jurisdiction. Based on the correspondence I’ve read here, I’m thinking that the answer to both questions can only be Yes. If I’m mistaken, Father, please offer substantive correction, with relevant evidence.

  3. Hyperbole says

    How exactly has Syosset supported Mr. Sprecher? As an acquaintance of his, I can tell you that they are not getting any kind of support from Syosset, secret or otherwise. I believe they no longer even attend an OCA parish, after being made to feel unwelcome and being denied communion. He was suspended immediately after word of the marriage came out, and was deposed as quickly as the bureaucracy allowed for.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Hyperbole, if what you say is the case, that is appropriate, proper and as it should be. I would hope that if they come to their senses and repent that the unwelcome part would no longer apply.

  4. pegleggreg says

    What is the problem? Cite a specific, the entire pizza story was hypothetical, what if.. Name an Orthodox Christian who was affected.

    • The question that was the impetus for the story was hypothetical, but the ramifications for the business were very real.

      It tells you how insane the gay jihad really is: no one was denied service at all, and an innocent business owner was still torn apart.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Ages, not hypothetical at all. The owner of the pizza place committed a thought crime.

  5. Hey-look what a friend just sent me and guess where they got it? The DC St. Nicholas Cathedral OCA sent it out . . . .

    -just take a look at the board-

    Editorial Board

    Joseph Clarke
    Michael Berrigan Clark
    John Congdon
    Inga Leonova
    Rebecca Magaziner Matovic
    Advisory Board

    Archpriest Robert M. Arida
    Sergei Chapnin
    Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun
    Archpriest Andrew Louth”

    • NYC OCA Alum says

      That editorial, mercy. Ghosted by Fr Arida no doubt, as it’s laced with his signature embrace-the-moment jargon and impenetrable prosody.

    • > Michael Berrigan Clark
      > Archpriest Robert M. Arida

      I only recognize these names, but they are all I need to know.

    • Mike Myers says

      Colette, thanks so much for turning me on to this magnificent publication! First I’d heard of it. Have you read it?

      I hope many correspondents here will encounter these articles. I think it’s safe to say that would be a real eye-opener, and I look forward to participating in such as discussion! Big time.

      • Mike Myers says

        I was still editing but somehow the word salad above got posted, instead of what I finally sent or could have sworn I sent. Strange glitch. George, your preview function hasn’t worked for months. Did you know that?

        What I meant:

        Colette, thanks so much for turning me on to this magnificent publication! First I’d heard of it. Have you read it?

        I hope lots of correspondents accept the challenge to encounter these articles and that a discussion follows. I bet that chat would be a real eye-opener! I look forward to the prospect.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Is this the same Archpriest Andrew Louth who is a protégé of Met. Kalistos?

      • Christopher says

        The answer is probably yes. Fr. Louth finds himself in poor company far too often, and that simply reveals the problematic nature of the Kalistos/Oxford/Paris project. I keep waiting for someone to convince me that these folks are simply being naive in lending their names to these sorts of things, but it keeps happening and they seem to be very bright and capable people – no, they are supporting these things, almost like a proxy war, but keeping just enough distance to appear above the fray…

        • Mike Myers says

          Fascinating. Mob theology: a burgeoning new field in cultural anthropology, maybe. Only in America.

  6. Very recently, I read an eye opening book about the lightening speed advance of the gay agenda. It is excellent and disturbing. It’s called Making Gay Okay by Robert Reilly, published by Ignatius Press. It’s not clear to me if Reilly is Catholic, he may well be, given the publisher, but no matter. The book is American, and uses strictly American information, which is why I mention it. I am Canadian, but I know many are in the States.

    This book is so good, it ought to be required reading for clergy. The book is respectful of LGBT people, but is very direct about sodomy being wrong, and a whole lot of other unpleasant truths that are needful.

    I expect the day is coming and may not be far off where books like this are considered ” hate speech” because someone is uncomfortable with the content, and therefore become illegal to read, circulate, possess etc.

    May Christ Our Lord strengthen us and have mercy!

  7. M. Stankovich says

    As I considered the “litmus test” proposed by Mr. Panos, I decided to consult the Gospel readings appointed for Holy Week – paying particular attention to the specific words of our Lord as he approached His voluntary Passion – and was struck (as I am each year) by His most harsh and direct admonitions of what behaviours trouble Him the most. Surprisingly, in His dramatic accusation of the Scribes & Pharisees, he does not mention any sin related to sexuality – let alone homosexuality – even once. Beginning with Matt. 13:22 ff he brutally, directly, and specifically condemns these “hypocrites” for their self-service, their pride, their robbing of the widows, their vainglory, their lack of mercy, their sense of entitlement, and for “converting” others into “devils” worse than themselves. “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?” (v.33). So great is the Lord troubled that He cries out, “Behold, your house is left to you desolate!” (v.38)

    Now, why anyone who listens to this passage which the Church has appointed for the middle of Holy Week could imagine that homosexuality, in and of itself, will be the downfall of the Church in America is quite amazing to me. This whole “gay cabal,” “brownshirts,” and the jingoistic addition of “jillionism” is spicy reading, indeed, but it does not account for its absence from the scathing admonitions of the Lord. It does, however, speak to the spiritual state of the Church in America: indifferent, “live-and-let-live,” secularist, and “religious.” Issues related to sexuality, morality, and so on are derived from a position of pure indifference. As I have noted before, Fr. Alexander Schmemann once said, if armed people burst into this room and demanded, “Deny Christ or die, a good number would die, but not many would be martyrs.” I read this post by Mr. Michalopulos and the responses to date, and I feel sad and ashamed of the concessions already made.

    • I believe that Mr. Stankovich nailed it.

      Monomakhos = Where anything goes in the Orthodox Church except for homosexuality.

    • The Lord doesn’t mention homosexuality because it was not a problem in 1st century Palestine. Surely you know that argument from silence is a fallacy.

      • Ages:

        The Lord doesn’t mention homosexuality because it was not a problem in 1st century Palestine.


      • M. Stankovich says


        Will you make the same argument for adultery & fornication? The Lord spoke of these sexual sins frequently. You miss my point.

        If I am not mistaken, the first Gospel of the Matins of Holy Friday clearly explains that we are chosen for martyrdom for our faith, not our opposition to an issue such as same-sex marriage. In this light, I maintain that we are surrounded by a community that continuously demonstrates itself as indifferent, secularist, and having no voice of moral authority. On the internet people declare, “Over my dead body,” blah, blah, blah, but the history of the unconstitutionality of CA Prop. 8 and the DOMA before the Supreme Court (just like the issue of abortion) says otherwise: the Orthodox in America are indifferent.

        If you honestly believe the Lord purposely did not mention sexual sins because they were not important, I suggest you return to Matthew 13 and consider what might be more likely to rob you of the kingdom.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Actually the Our Lord and Savior did mention it. Jesus is Fully God. Who do you think was talking to Moses on Mt. Sinai giving him the Law? Who gave Moses the prohibition against Homosexuality in Leviticus? That’s basic Orthodox Theology 101. Don’t play their game Ages. Give them the truth and let them deal with it. Don’t play defense. Always be ready to hit back with the truth when they hit you with lies.

        Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

        Gospel According to St. John 8:58

        “I and the Father are one.”

        Gospel According to St. John 10:31


        • Christopher says

          Actually the Our Lord and Savior did mention it. Jesus is Fully God. Who do you think was talking to Moses on Mt. Sinai giving him the Law? Who gave Moses the prohibition against Homosexuality in Leviticus? That’s basic Orthodox Theology 101. Don’t play their game Ages.

          Excellent point.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Is that why you don’t eat pork or shellfish, Christopher? Jusy asking.

            • Christopher says

              Time to move on from adolescence posturing. You don’t even have a serious point…

              • Mike Myers says

                Adolescent posturing! That’s rich, coming from you. His Grace has a very serious point. Of the 616 laws analyzed out of the Tenach, many are impossible to obey literally now. That would include all the ceremonial statutes (hukkim/chuqqah) governing Jewish liturgical worship in the stone Temple, since it doesn’t exist. At the moment. Y’all’s wretchedly poor example as the Living one may yet induce Orthodox Jews to rebuild it and resume something. Which none of us ought to want to occur. Trust me on this.

                To grossly generalize, the related ceremonial statutes governing diet are mostly obsolete now for Christians (on the authority of Paul and the Jerusalem Council). The mishpatim, or “moral laws” are arguably still in force for all Judaeo-Christian believers, although the Jerusalem council simplified all that, Acts 15:28-29. (The Seven Noachide laws are probably the basis for this compromise agreed between St. Paul and St. James.) The Decalogue is still in force, of course, since a) the Lord emphasized them repeatedly and b) you’ll soon regret despising and breaking any of them, if you’re still human. Or if you’re close enough.

                Then you have the book of Hebrews to confront, summarized in chapter 8:

                Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
                Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

                For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said :

                “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

                By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

                None of this is meant to suggest that Christians don’t have a lot to learn from well-informed meditation on the Old Covenant and its laws, together with all of the teachings in the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings (2Timothy 3:16). Pretty sure this is the position of all modern Orthodox churches. I know it is the position of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

                And what’s up with all the incessant grunting here about “homosexuality”? The Holiness Code in Leviticus very specifically proscribed you-know-what — the text’s euphemism signified something pretty clinical. And that’s all there is to that.

                99.999999999999% of the Good Book deals with other stuff. Maybe you should take a hint and try to do likewise. A suggested good summary, to focus your zeal on. Should keep you busy and out of trouble.

                • Christopher says

                  That’s allot of irrelevant verbiage for more adolescent posturing – it’s not a debate (which you are losing anyways), it’s about the truth. And this:

                  ” Who gave Moses the prohibition against Homosexuality in Leviticus? That’s basic Orthodox Theology 101. Don’t play their game Ages.”

                  Is the Truth…

                  • Mike Myers says

                    “Christopher”: in Hebrew, the two verses in Leviticus prohibit anal intercourse. Ask just about any rabbi. That’s the Truth.

                    If you think that “Homosexuality” can be reduced to this, and that you’ve neatly disposed of the whole issue and of all gay persons by reductively citing that verse, then you’re a stupid, ridiculous bigot on the subject. So you just lost that debate, if what’s true and false means anything at all to you. No doubt, like so many on this site, you’re simply too pig-headed to understand that. Which changes nothing about the facts, however.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Our Lord, in his earthly ministry, didn’t seem to go about searching out sins by category in order to comment upon them for later compilation of lists. He dealt with the sinners and the sins he encountered, including those brought before him by others.

          Why would anybody have expected him to preach about homosexuality if he had no occasion to? He taught about marriage when the Sadducees sought to pose him riddles (and in essence answered this question then, as well). He spoke about adultery on more than one occasion, including when the woman taken in it was brought before him. So it was in other cases as well.

        • That is fair. Good point, and taken.

          My point is just that it’s a fallacious argument. Jesus never recited the Nicene Creed either.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            CHRIST IS RISEN!

            True and also a good point. However He is the Nicene Creed.

            Because the God-haters cannot even fathom Jesus’ full divinity, if they even acknowledge him as a real person, they make these heretical comments not even talking in the full theological ramifications of what they are saying.

            Actually, this tells you so much more about them as to how shallow their thinking is which shows the shallowness of their faith. The so-called cultural Christians who actually accept this nonsense.


            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Don’t blaspheme, Peter Papoutsis. The Nicene Creed was composed by the Fathers, Christ is forever. He is much more than any creed OF MEN. That Creed is ABOUT GOD: IT IS NOT GOD. Shame on you for hyperbolizing in order to try and gain an advantage in men’s disputes!

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                As Former President Clinton once said, It depends on what your Definition of IS is.

                BTW Christ is Risen! Enjoy Bright Week.


              • Christopher says

                That is a typo you are raging against…just a little over the top for a typo…

            • Mike Myers says

              Peter, I’m totally stumped here. Help me out. What “heretical comments” are you referring to? Who are these “God-haters” you’re making charges against? Someone here, or what? What “theological ramifications” do you mean? What is any of this based on?

        • Peter:

          Actually the Our Lord and Savior did mention it. Jesus is Fully God. Who do you think was talking to Moses on Mt. Sinai giving him the Law? Who gave Moses the prohibition against Homosexuality in Leviticus?

          Peter must be the type of Orthodox Christian who KEEPS KOSHER!

          • “Peter must be the type of Orthodox Christian who KEEPS KOSHER!”

            No, HE’S THE KIND of Orthodox Christian who REMEMBERS the things retained from Mosaic law at the Council of Jerusalem IN THE BOOK of Acts, one OF WHICH WAS abstaining from sexual immorality. I AM UNAWARE of anything regarding sexual immorality in Mosaic law that was not RETAINED IN the Christian canons — and that of course includes the abomination (the WORD Moses used) in question…!!!

            • Christopher says

              Of course. Such arguments (i.e. “mosaic law is no more!”) are either distractions from those who simply want to disrupt, or come from real ignorance…

            • Mike Myers says

              A word, to’evah (תועבה), that the Prophet Ezekiel also used to qualify ADULTERY and spiritual modes of adultery dozens of times in his excellent book, a text which some here may recall is not without a certain importance in the Holy Tradition, if not so much in that other one.

              AFAIK, in the Hebrew scriptures this word is always (100%) used with either an explicit, direct denotation of idolatry, or is used of acts or states of mind having an explicit association with — viz., in such usages, with connotations of — idolatry. Idolatry is the Ur-, the arch-transgression, from which all sin and evil follows. Furthermore, it is always used, AFAIK, in a relative sense, that is to say, comparatively, with cultural anthropological associations. The ancient Hebrews were pioneers in cultural anthropology.

              The Lord expanded upon, and he made a point of explicitly and without any ambiguity whatsoever opting not to contract, His definition of adultery. Just to be clear. And His emphasis, in the extant texts, was very pointedly on men who committed adultery, and on men who were complicit, via frivolous divorces, in their exes’ adultery, which seems only fair given the relative injustices, vis-à-vis men vs. women, that were rampant in 1st century, Roman-occupied Palestine. FYI. Things are rather different these days, though, in much of Christendom, both East and West. I think it’s important to keep this sociological fact in mind.

              I’ll say it again: the abuses of heterosexuality are vastly more significant in terms of their sequelae in social pathology than the comparatively far rarer abuses of homoeroticism. The utility of the latter in scapegoating, however, is nearly infinite, evidently. If any of you imagine that God approves of such hypocrisy and sorcery, I beg to differ. But what do I know.

              • I am probably just not bright enough to follow the subtleties of your line of reasoning. The last time I tried to answer with brevity, I got something frightfully wrong, so this will be lengthy. I will make some statements of what I believe in response to what you wrote above.

                1. I agree that abuses of heterosexuality have profound “sequelae in social pathology.” I disagree that one can classify which sins are more profound in their sequelae than others.

                2. I agree that Jesus Christ expanded the definition of adultery, and didn’t offer and “outs” (although the Church — beginning with St. Paul — did make certain concessions to human weakness that returned somewhat (but not entirely) to Mosaic standards).

                3. I agree that throughout the Old Testament, the language of adultery is applied to idolatry. Presumably people knew about the social and personal destructive consequences of marital unfaithfulness all too well, and it made for an apt and powerful metaphor/analogy for conveying the soul-destroying seriousness of spiritual unfaithfulness in dallying with other gods.

                I am less clear about how you are able to state categorically that homoeroticism is “rarely’ abused. You have called upon Scripture, both OT and NT, in your examples — which presumably means that you consider them to have some level of authority (or maybe you don’t, and you are just trying to use our sources of authority against us). Both OT and NT indicate that all homoeroticism is an abuse — certainly acting on it is an abuse, and if we are to make a logical extrapolation from Christ’s words about “committing adultery in the heart” to other sexual sins, then committing homosexual acts in one’s heart is just as much as sin as is acting on it. Would we not agree that if a man looks upon a young boy with lust in his heart — maybe “enjoys” some child pornography –, that this is a sin that requires repentance, even though Christ didn’t talk about pedophilia (in fact, I don’t remember even Moses talking about it — I’ve always presumed that it was something so obviously perverted that there was no need to spell it out)?

                Now I would like to ask some straightforward questions of you:

                1. Are you an Orthodox Christian? (You have given your first and last name, but that doesn’t enlighten me about many things that actually provide the useful context of your statements that your openness supposedly gives)

                I will answer for myself — yes I am an Orthodox Christian who regularly confesses, communes, prays the prayers of the Church and does his best to live the teachings of the Church as I have received and understand them.

                2. Do you accept or reject the teaching of the Orthodox Church that same-sex sexual activity is always a sin, in every context and setting?

                I will answer for myself — I accept this teaching fully and without reservation.

                3. How is it hypocrisy for Orthodox Christians to teach that all sexual activity other than that between a man and a woman who are married to each other is a sin?

                I will answer for myself — I do not think it is hypocrisy. It is hypocrisy to teach that heterosexual extramarital sex is not a sin while homosexual extramarital sex (i.e. all of it) is a sin. Or rather it would be if you could find anything in Church teaching, canons, or tradition, that state this, or find any priests or bishops who make such claims. The most that can be said is that in certain discrete situations, it is possible for a heterosexual couple to “regularize” their status if they are engaging in premarital sex and then marry (and I have never encountered a priest who would not expect such a couple to repent of their premarital sex in confession prior to marriage). In this sense, there is a church sanctioned “outlet” for most heteroeroticism (although we are also encouraged by the Church to temper ourselves — such as refraining from sexual activity on fasting days and seasons or on the night prior to receiving Holy Communion). There is not such a church sanctioned outlet for homoeroticism. But then there is not a church-sponsored outlet for other erotic desires, either: incestual desires, pedophilic desires, bestiality desires, adulterous desires, or (in the Christian era) polygamous desires. Homosexuals are not singled out for being unable to act on the desires that come unbidden to them — they share that burden and frustration with many others who would like to act on their desires without moral guilt.

                4. “Sorcery?” You will have to explain.

                5. I believe that there are very good non-religious, social, reasons not to have same sex marriage. I also understand that this particular battle has been lost in North America and Western Europe — I also understand that North America and Western Europe will cram their new morality down the throats of 3rd world and other countries that will resist it — ironic, since many of those countries had their current morality also crammed down their throat by Western Europe and North America (such as the many African countries forced to give up their polygamous practices, and other countries which formerly allowed consanguineous marriages)

                I also believe that there are very good non-religious, social reasons to have human rights protections for homosexuals — I do not think, and have never thought, that gays should be discriminated against in the workplace, abused, imprisoned, or killed. My stance at one time — in the conservative religious world — was considered to be that of a flaming liberal, since it basically boiled down to feeling sorry for them. They had enough problems as it was, I thought. I have, however, gone (without having changed my positions) from being a flaming liberal on this issue to being a troglodyte whose views place him on “the wrong side of history” (whatever that is supposed to mean).

                It is a good thing that I have no political or social ambitions, since stating what I have stated above would render me outside polite society. As I have stated before on this forum, I was struck, when I became Orthodox, with the absolute lack of fear and malice directed at homosexuals — at least here in America, both in more “liberal” and in very “conservative” jurisdictions. I rather encountered Orthodoxy as a place where there were firm teachings on what was right and wrong, but equally firm teaching that a homosexual who struggles with fighting same-sex attraction is exactly the same in God’s eyes as a heterosexual who struggles with fighting desires for extramarital sex — one’s closeness to God and salvation depends on the success of that struggle and the willingness to repent and change when we fall. One temptation isn’t more sinful than another.

                But it seems clear to me that, under societal pressures, this eminently reasonable and Christian standpoint is no longer acceptable to many. If it changes, it will be a moral sea change that would be every bit as destructive to souls as having the Church redefine sexual morality to include the formal acceptance of adultery, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, or any other thing that the Church says is forbidden sexually. Christ through his Church gives these restrictions on us not to be mean to one class of people (although who hasn’t felt a bit petulant in a moment of weakness at being denied a pleasure of the flesh that we would prefer to enjoy, guilt-free?), but rather, they are proscribed because committing these sins are destructive to our soul and body and put up roadblocks to our salvation. They are destructive whether or not we can discern or articulate specific reasons for why they are destructive.

                You have made some challenges to me, and I will get to them little by little, but I think that my own challenges to you are eminently reasonable. You have great fun poking at those you apparently consider to be ignoramuses because of their views on homosexuality. But if someone were to go back and study your comments on this board, a curious phenomenon would be noted. If acceptance of homosexual activity, “marriages,” etc. triumph in what is outwardly considered to be Orthodoxy, you will be on record as having been one of the “good guys” who skewers the troglodytes with your rapier-like wit and intelligence.

                But at no point have you come right out and said anything that explicitly contradicts Church teaching or states that you believe it should change — you content yourself to nibble around the edges with circumlocutions and clever allusions. Why is that? Those you criticize have been very straightforward in their statements of what they understand the Church always to have taught on this subject — and very clear and straightforward in their open declarations of full acceptance of those teachings. I see no harm in your being equally forthright about what you actually believe.

                As I have said before, I really don’t care which of the hundreds of Mike Myers around the world you are (nor do I particularly see how it would be helpful to know) — but I am very interested in learning what your religious and moral beliefs are on this particular subject — a subject that you have chosen to engage with here on Monomakhos with a certain gusto and with a self-proclaimed mission (poorly defined as that mission is).

                Such straightforward statements would be the kind of genuine openness and forthrightness and bluntness that you want to engage in — and that makes for real dialogue. Feel free, of course, to expound on what you think my real questions should be — but it would be appreciated if you would directly address my questions, just as I tried to directly address the points that you made. If I failed to do so, please point out my failures and I will attempt to be as clear and forthright as I can.

                You have previously stated that here in America, there is no reason to have any fears about such disclosures (I disagree with you on that, but I am working from your assumptions.) So let’s hear it, in nice clear language?

                • Excellent post.

                • NYC OCA Alum says

                  Outstanding. Winsome, civil, firm.

                • Mike Myers says

                  I’ve answered almost all of these questions before here, one of them ad nauseam. But I’ll be a good sport once more. In this post I’ll reply to what comes before your five interrogations. In the next one, I’ll get to those.

                  1. I agree that abuses of heterosexuality have profound “sequelae in social pathology.” I disagree that one can classify which sins are more profound in their sequelae than others.

                  You appear to disagree with something I didn’t actually say:

                  “I’ll say it again: the abuses of heterosexuality are vastly more significant in terms of their sequelae in social pathology than the comparatively far rarer abuses of homoeroticism. The utility of the latter in scapegoating, however, is nearly infinite, evidently. {Emphasis added}

                  You distorted my meaning. It’s basically a numbers thing. Some of the common social pathologies directly and/or indirectly associated with the abuse of heterosexuality: adultery, divorce, spousal abuse and neglect, the psychological, physical and sexual abuse of children, and the consequences of neglect & grossly inadequate rearing of children. Also, the psychological and spiritual consequences in women who abort their pregnancies, for whatever reason they do so, is a source of profound pathology in them directly and for society indirectly. Not to mention the consequences for a fetus with the potential to become a human being, whose life chances are over. The consequences of fornication in women, especially, due to their more sensitive natures wrt these matters, generally speaking, and the far more serious consequences for them than for irresponsible men if they become pregnant, is another source of social and interpersonal malaise. I could go on.

                  These problems are rampant in the US for sure and probably just about everywhere else in contemporary human civilizations. (I’ve lived only in the US & Sweden, and briefly visited England and Denmark, so my experiential frame of reference is limited.)

                  The difference between the incident count and the related psychic and spiritual effects of all the items above vs. the incident count and related psychic and spiritual effects associated with the abuse of homoeroticism is huge, obviously. Far more significant, socially. We can take a close look at that if you wish, although I don’t think this blog is an appropriate venue. In summary, see what I wrote before, referenced above. Don’t see how this could be controversial or something to debate. To me, this is just rock solid fact.

                  If you should wish to argue that the sexual sins of the 5-10% of the “gay,” predominantly same-sex attracted population — defined, let’s say, by a rating of 4, 5 or 6 on the Kinsey scale — add up, in density of consequent social pathology, to anything remotely near that of those listed above, all of which are associated with the other 90-95% further down the Kinsey scale, and all consequences of male-female sexual intercourse — well, that’s a case I think it would be quite interesting to read. Good luck with that.

                  If, on the other hand, you are distinguishing “social pathology” from “sin,” and wish to focus more on the upshot of the abuse of sexuality in individual souls, compare and contrast, then I’d suggest that would be a very difficult matter to hash out on Monomakhos. And in any case, I think that would be more God’s business than yours or mine.

                  You wrote:

                  I am less clear about how you are able to state categorically that homoeroticism is “rarely’ abused. You have called upon Scripture, both OT and NT, in your examples — which presumably means that you consider them to have some level of authority (or maybe you don’t, and you are just trying to use our sources of authority against us). Both OT and NT indicate that all homoeroticism is an abuse — certainly acting on it is an abuse . . .{all emphasis added}

                  I wrote, “comparatively far rarer.” I’m not interested in debating the obvious again with you. I went way beyond the second mile in our prior tête-à-tête. A length to which I’m pretty sure I’ve never gone with anyone else here, aside from George. (Our thing is sorta weird though.) And Fr. Jacobse, a few rounds. I was confident that you would eventually get it so I persevered. (In George I long ago lost any analogous confidence. In fact, I’ve utterly abandoned all hope there. Fr. Jacobse is too much the right-wing ideologue for my taste. That gets old fast.) My tendency in general is to avoid such interlocutors, once it has become clear to me that they’re either uninterested in or incapable of honest, rational discussion. I had no such impression of you.

                  Part of the problem here, I think, is that you appear to conflate homoeroticism, a vast and complex continent of the human psyche in just about everyone, apparently, and same-sex sexual activities as such, of all kinds. That’s a rookie error, psychologically speaking.
                  But this subject brings out the worst in some people, and they can become quite irrational, blatantly dishonest, and, frankly, rather creepy. So I tend to avoid such discussions. For now, I’ll leave it at that, simply pointing out that homoeroticism on one hand and same-sex sexual desire and acts on the other are two completely different categories, conceptually. The latter is analyzable, too, of course, but let’s not go there at the moment.

                  I consider the Scriptures as having the utmost authority in matters psychic and spiritual, to respond to your somewhat offensive innuendo, above.
                  In the italicized phrase, you explicitly propound a “you” and “us” dichotomy. It is as if my Christian bona fides were something I needed to demonstrate to you, as the representative of “us.” I reject that in principle, just so we’re clear. It’s true that you’re on your own turf here on Monomakhos, apparently. That is to say, of vociferously and belligerently “traditionalist,” right-wing Christians, Christian Right types. I definitely don’t fit into that category, it’s true. I honor Holy Tradition, but I would dispute any contention that all “traditionalist” “Orthodox” have much of a clue at all about that, judging from what one reads on Orthodox blogs and hears in conversations, from many such persons. So unless the dichotomy you concoct has to do with Christian Rightists vs. more middle-of-the-road types like myself, which I can go along with, drop that line of discourse, please. You’re just going to piss me off and cause me to view you as another justifiable target of righteous ire.

                  We have a fundamental disagreement, evidently, on the nature of homoeroticism, judging from what you’ve had to say so far. I worry a little that your thinking on this subject is crude, blinkered and poorly informed. There may be other issues in the background here, too. We’ll see.

                  Would we not agree that if a man looks upon a young boy with lust in his heart — maybe “enjoys” some child pornography –, that this is a sin that requires repentance, even though Christ didn’t talk about pedophilia (in fact, I don’t remember even Moses talking about it — I’ve always presumed that it was something so obviously perverted that there was no need to spell it out)?

                  Hypothetical examples like that one brought up in a general dialogue on the theme of “homosexuality” always constitute a bright red flag for me. They strongly tempt me to write off completely and for good the person who resorts to them right off the bat, as you’ve done. So be very careful, please, if you want to continue chatting with me. My instinct is to give only one warning about this, even to someone like you, relatively competent to think and write clearly.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Mike, everything you write is true. Unfortunately, you are unwittingly strenghthenning the case against the case for more liberalism. The “sequelae” you describe have to do with unrestrained licentiousness. That is why all civilizations have strived over the years to restrain human sexuality.

                Our Founding Fathers were no different in this regard: divorce, promiscuity, bastardy, and of course homosexuality, were all viewed as regrettable phenomena that were to be guarded against.

            • Edward:

              No, HE’S THE KIND of Orthodox Christian who REMEMBERS the things retained from Mosaic law at the Council of Jerusalem IN THE BOOK of Acts, one OF WHICH WAS abstaining from sexual immorality.

              Here’s the list from Acts of things to be refrained from: “food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” Evidently the Jerusalem Council found the dietary laws more important, and sexual immorality least important, as it is place last in the list of proscribed behaviors! By the way, the dietary laws were abandoned.

              I AM UNAWARE

              Edward admits his ignorance…

              of anything regarding sexual immorality in Mosaic law that was not RETAINED IN the Christian canons — and that of course includes the abomination (the WORD Moses used) in question…!!!

              Edward seems to believe that the modern church actually follows all the canons regarding sexual behavior. If it did, we’d have kneeling penances, exclusion from communion for (heterosexual) adulterers, and there’d be no patriarchs shamelessly carrying on affairs with women. They would be deposed; or rather, it would be recognized that they have deposed themselves.


              Our Founding Fathers were no different in this regard: divorce, promiscuity, bastardy, and of course homosexuality, were all viewed as regrettable phenomena

              How do patriarchs guard against bastardy, do you think? Birth control, abortion, or all of the above?

              • Fr. John Whiteford says

                It is simply not the case that the dietary restrictions found in Acts 15 have been abandoned… at least not by the Orthodox. See: And the idea that there is a hierarchy of sins to refrain from in that passage, and so sexual immorality is less serious than dietary restrictions is without any basis.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  OOM, that’s tendentious reasoning. Any list of sins, parade of horribles or bill of particulars (what have you), has to begin with one thing and go to the next. That doesn’t mean that the first-named thing is superior to the next-named thing. It’s just the nature of language and our brains being able to process information. Nothing more.

                  Our Bill of Rights is an excellent example. The First Amendment is no more important than the Second, or the Third and so on down the line. S

                  • Michalopolus:

                    OOM, that’s tendentious reasoning. Any list of sins, parade of horribles or bill of particulars (what have you), has to begin with one thing and go to the next.

                    If you are right, then you must admit that eating blood (that’s kiszka to us East Europeans) is morally equivalent to sexual immorality (porneias in Acts). Do you condemn kiszka-eaters, too, and to the same degree that you condemn homosexuals?

                    • Fr. John Whiteford says

                      There is no reason at all to assume that they are all of equal seriousness, but the prohibitions are all to be observed.

                • From Fr. John’s blog:

                  And Canon 67 of the Quinisext Council states:

                  “Divine Scripture has commanded us to “abstain from blood, and strangled flesh, and fornication” (Gen. 9:3-4; Lev. ch. 17 and 18:13; Acts 15: 28-29). We therefore suitably penance those who on account of their dainty stomach eat the blood of any animal after they have rendered it eatable by some art. If, therefore, anyone from now on should attempt to eat the blood of any animal, in any way whatsoever, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman let him be excommunicated.”

                  This is not referring to the juice that may come from a piece of meat when it is cooked, but rather to the blood which is normally drained from an animal at the time it is butchered. And so such foods as “Blood Sausage,” and “Black pudding,” and some wines that have blood added to them should not be consumed by an Orthodox Christian.

                  A fine example of how the Orthodox Church has moved on from outdated canons. If the canon were actually applied, half of Eastern Europe would be excommunicated/deposed! Y’all are missing the point. One can find all kinds of behaviors condemned in the canons, and warrant for excommunication/penances/deposition of the transgressors. The church doesn’t do that anymore. Death to akribeia! Viva oikonomia! A live and let live situation obtains now. Why single out the gays?

                  • Because marriage is a sacrament and gay marriage within the church would be blasphemy.

                    The only approved outlet for sexual activity is within marriage. We don’t ask homosexuals to do anything that all unmarried people are obliged to do. It’s really not that big a deal.

                  • Fr. John Whiteford says

                    What you say makes no sense. The Church has not moved on at all. The half of eastern europe you refer to would be mostly the Roman Catholic and atheist half.

                    And if you are a Christian, why do you feel the need to defend sodomy?

                    • Daniel E Fall says

                      I think you walked away from oom’s point with a blatant misstatement. Call it a red herring if you like…the church seems to be very accommodating. I had never heard of this canon in my life and prefer steaks medium rare. In fact, where I grew up in church, had a priest suggested this as an Orthodox norm-probably he would have been asked to leave. Excommuniate that rare steak eater! ?

                      The problem then becomes integrity. And balance. Or does it?

                      I think the better answer would be that eating my steak medium rare, sticking with the herring just for fun, will not change my life drastically. Rather than suggest oom is defending something disgusting, why don’t you answer him soundly. Most gays don’t have families and that should be the wish of the church it seems. The difference is quite vast.

                      I don’t think oom’s example is apples to apples, but I find your response high schoolish with a smidgeon of more correctness. A high school boy would have said, “oom likes fags” and carried on from there. You were close and keep in mind, I don’t agree with oom here.

                      My attitudes on the subject are the church should promote family, conventional family preferred. A mom and dad. And that the church should not be a source of bullshit, which is what you made it seem like defending that canon.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Why is that whenever tough and pointed questions arise that would impact a majority of Orthodox, you right-wing demagogues always rush to change the subject and start screaming SODOMY?

                      Since you usually do that, I have another tough question for you: What’s sodomy, father? Do ROCOR and MP have a party line on this question? Let’s hear it. Another tough one: what’s adultery? Closely related question: What’s spiritual adultery?

                      What you say makes no sense, if true and false still have any meaning. It’s blatantly false to assert that the Orthodox Churches enforce the canons today, which is what you seem to be suggesting by this typical and disingenuous ploy of changing the subject to SODOMY™. But she certainly does NOT do that, this assertion is fraudulent, and you know it — if this is what you are claiming. You want a list of unenforced and evidently forgotten-about canons? Can do — and it’s a long one. If this is not what you mean, please spell out for us clearly and unambiguously what you do mean.

                      Your selectivity and obsessions are deeply suspect. Just who are you playing to, and why? You needn’t bother to answer. We know who, and why, because ecclesiastical scapegoating’s an old story.

                      A book recommendation for you. Marked urgent.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, the only reason we’re “screaming sodomy” is because your side has been smearing our faces in it for a good decade or so. We know what sin is and we known what our sins are. We also know that we aren’t attempting to reconfigure our churches and culture on the procrustean bed in order to please the Gaystapo.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      George, failing to come up with ANY answers to Mike Myers’s questions, excused himself like this:

                      Mike, the only reason we’re “screaming sodomy” is because your side has been smearing our faces in it for a good decade or so.”

                      I’m sure someone can formulate a reasonable response to Mike? Labels like “Gaystapo” stimulate some otherwise impotent folk, but they remind me of that imbecile, senator Cotton who clearly warned us that” Iran has ALREADY taken over Tehran!!!”

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Mike, two book recommendation for you:

                      The Bible.

                      The Bible and Homosexual Practice

                      So, you got nothing substantive to say — exactly what I expected. Your tactic is to emit irrationalistic, 90% emotive & incendiary gruntings, whose variant meanings crouch in the unregenerate eye-ids of the beholders. Human communication, of course, is the last thing intended by such tactics — we get that. Coming from, and to, the sort of mindset laid out so crisply in Klaus Theweleit’s “Männerphantasien,” that monograph on the fascist Untergeist. What’s rationally communicable, or even so much as loosely definable within any consensus on word meanings, is just not germane in the least – what matters is that resonance with eerie mobspeak aliteracy, typified on certain Dark Enlightenment websites, for example. Unholy stuff. When called out to be accountable for such low-info static, to explain yourself and what you mean – well, you dodge and evade like a sleazy pol rather than a man of God.

                      Nevertheless, I’ll ask you one last time, Father Whiteford:

                      What’s SODOMY? The party line, please.

                      A closely related question:

                      Surely, MP/ROCOR guidance for y’all on the propriety of (or, perhaps more accurately, proprietary . . . ) use of bombthrowers’ lingo such as this must exist, no? Does amorphous, slithering rhetoric line up with the recommended protocols these days? Which is to ask: Has Moscow spoken, Father?


                      WRT your first recommendation: I’m 100% certain that I’m a whole lot better acquainted than you are with that one.


                      RE: the second, by the Ayatollah Robert A. J. Gagnon, Dept. of Invidious Special Pleading & Arbitrary Neo-Puritan Hermeneutics, Pittsburgh TS. . . .

                      About his book: its arbitrary, quite creepy hermeneutics — and the sensibility he displays, at work on the textual data — have been thoroughly debunked not to say mocked by so many scholars in so many disparate yet relevant fields over the past decade — especially lately, now that it has the bemused attention* of fine Middle Eastern linguists, cultural anthropologists and Orientalists of the period in question, i.e., of the world’s most learned specialists in the most difficult and rigorous of all academic fields, Near East Studies — well, you can’t be serious. It bespeaks a grave void of good taste to mention it in the same breath as the Holy Scriptures. You should be ashamed.

                      Incidentally, something tells me that the brand new president of his PC(USA) seminary — a denomination whose theology is, of all Protestant sects, the second-most-closely aligned* with the baneful, idolatrous delusions of that dark prince of modern arch-Hereticks — might be giving high priority to a careful scrutiny of the fine print in Gagnon’s tenure contract. The process of how such defenestrations play out is usually protracted, genteel, and hypocritical, but if I were Ay. Gagnon, I’d start sending out feelers for another position ASAP (hint: PCA or SBC). And I wish him all good luck with that, sincerely. I’d miss him if he were silenced, bereft of some publish-or-perish post, as his writings (and his website!) are always good for a howl, and all of this would be much marred minus even the dubious gravitas lent him by 3rd-rate Calvinist academia.

                      Now, about that face . . . it’s as if a certain German professor foreknew him when he wrote:

                      What distinguishes us scholars from the pious {more at moralistic & pietist} and the {Protestant}believers is not the quality but the quantity of belief and piety; we are contented with less. But if the former should challenge us: Then be contented and appear to be contented! – we might easily reply: ‘We are, indeed, not among the least contented. You, however, if your belief makes you blessed, then appear to be blessed! Your faces have always been more injurious to your belief than our objections have! If these glad tidings of your Bible were written on your faces, you would not need to insist so obstinately on the authority of that book… As things are, however, all your apologies for Christianity have their roots in your lack of Christianity; with your defence plea you inscribe your own bill of indictment.

                      Much of the rich nuance here is lost in translation. Touché, Fritzchen.

                      * Attention that I forecast will only grow. Bad news for the Assoc. Prof. and his career prospects among reputable scholars.
                      **I think Southern Baptists collectively probably take a First.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, don’t the mental gymnastics get tiresome? I’m a sinner. You are too. We all are. The Bible states clearly what sins (sexual and otherwise) there are. Any further evasiveness is nothing but Talmudic special pleading.

                      Believe it or not, I’ve read rabbinical exegeses which went out of their way to exonerate King David for his adultery with Bathsheba. They bored me to tears and made me realize that there was no inherent wisdom there.

                    • Fr. John Whiteford says

                      Mike, I am 100% sure you are not familiar at all with the Bible. It clearly has had no impact on your beliefs.

                      As for Robert Gagnon’s book, some of the most highly regarded Protestant Biblical Scholars alive today have praised it as the definitive work on the subject. See:

                      So you don’t know what you are talking about.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      I’ve been acquainted with Father John’s opinions and teachings for quite a while. I find this latest utterance to be utterly foreign to all witnees to date:

                      “As for Robert Gagnon’s book, some of the most highly regarded Protestant Biblical Scholars alive today have praised it as the definitive work on the subject”

                      One question out of many: “highly regarded” by WHOM”

                    • Fr. John Whiteford says

                      Highly regarded by heavy hitters in the academic field of Biblical scholarship. The criticism was that the book in question did measure up, and that it would hurt Robert Gagnon’s academic career, since it was such a universally panned book. The fact is, if the likes of Brevard Childs and Bruce Metzger praise the book (which they both do), the book obviously is highly regarded in its field.

                      I have not changed my opinions about the flaws of Protestant Biblical scholarship, but this book is pretty good. If the author were Orthodox, he would have covered most of the ground that he did, but spent a lot more time on the views of the Fathers than he did. But his conclusions are pretty consistent with the teachings of the Church on this issue.

              • George Michalopulos says

                They “guard against” bastardy by preaching restraint. You know, freewill and all that. It’s not a bad thing. You oughtta try it.

                • Michalopulos:

                  They “guard against” bastardy by preaching restraint. You know, freewill and all that. It’s not a bad thing. You oughtta try it.

                  My question concerned how the patriarchs avoid bastardy in their own personal lives, not what they preach. I know what they preach.

              • Sigh. OOM, we all know that Orthodox Christians sin in every way possible, just like all humans. They will have to answer for those sins. The point at issue, as has been made clear repeatedly, is that there are those who seem to want to change the position of the Orthodox Church to join liberal Protestant churches in saying that one particular sexual sin is not actually a sin, and should even be celebrated, which would mean formally rejecting the decrees of the Council of Jerusalem, held by the very disciples of Christ. No smalll thing, that.

                When confronted, these proponents evade directly answering whether that is their goal, and evade saying whether they do or do not accept and embrace the church’s teaching that all homosexual acts are sinful.

                • NYC OCA Alum says

                  Yes, if there’s a common denominator to this kind of Arida-inflected posturing it’s this patent unwillingness to
                  cleanly declare oneself.

                  • Yes, for all of the proclaimed desire for frank dialogue, for all of the implications of some sort of intellectual superiority, those who act as the provocateurs against us old-fashioned sorts on this forum show a remarkable unwillingness (or, more likely, inability) to state clearly and exactly what their stance is. We old-fashioned sorts have been very explicit about what we understand the Church always to have taught, and have been crystal clear about our belief that the Church should continue to uphold those teachings. The provocateurs have not responded in kind.

                    Those of us who had some exposure to the liberal Protestant takeovers of the mainline denominations and to post-Vat II Catholicism know the drill all too well. Real dialogue can only take place when one has clearly stated what one’s position is — anything else just resembles calculated quasi-political maneuvering aimed at demoralizing their old-fashioned opponents and wearing down our will to resist.

                    • Daniel E Fall says

                      Actually, very wrong Edward.

                      We just don’t five a ham about every secular decision that isn ‘t church.

                      Noone, save perhaps Arida, has suggested dialogue for change.

                    • Daniel Fall wrote: “Noone, save perhaps Arida, has suggested dialogue for change.”

                      No they havent, not directly (although OOM’s proposed celebration of economia aplied to gay marriage seemed pretty direct). But neither has Church teaching been affirmed. I would be more inclined to believe what you say if the provocateurs here simply stated that they accept the Church’s moral teachings on these points and that they do not think the Church should change those teachings. Whatever valuable lessons you think we old-fashioned sorts need to learn from them would have a much better chance of getting through if we didn’t feel that Church teaching was next in the crosshairs..

                      When I have a beef with someone’s slant or with what I think is a misplaced emphasis, I make sure I clarify the points on which I agree with them, so there is no room for misinterpreting my meaning or position. Seems like common sense to me. If common sense isn’t followed, it is reasonable to assume that there is an unspoken agenda… or that the person is just being a troll and intentionally provoking people for the fun of it.

                    • Any dialogue about the issue (within the Church) is dialogue for change by nature. The Church’s teachings are clear on this, what is there to discuss if there is no desire for change?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      In my opinion, the opportunity for “dialog” – at least by me – has been extended to a number of the members of this new group (some of whom I have known since my adolescence), without success. As I have said previously, I do not believe one has the right to posit vagueness, self-appointed & indirect “theologumena” – albeit designated as “Notes to Myself” – or that which might suggest an interpretation contrary to what “joins with Holy Fathers before us,” Any insinuation that “Living Tradition” is a revelation to an elect group of anointed intellectuals is the epitome of vainglory. Revelations regarding the nature of our created humanity – be they regarding our sexuality, our genetics, our biology, our psychology – will undoubtedly increase. But our created anthropology, our created nature, was given once and for all time in the image & likeness of our Creator. All the wishful thinking & intellectual articles in the world will not affect our created nature, for as the Psalmist wrote, “How manifold are Your works. In wisdom You have made them all!”

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Let’s be clear. “Dialogue for change” can be a euphemism the size of a Trojan horse.

                      Clear thinking requires the clear explication of the “change” we are in “dialogue” about.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      I, for one, have attempted to engage in a “dialog” with several of the individuals named in this newly identified group – some known to me from my adolescence – in a spirit of love and concern, to no useful end. I have stated several times that I am adamantly of the opinion that no one has the right to posit within the Church that which is vague – purposely or otherwise – personal “theologumena,” even if clothed as “Notes to Myself,” or possibly misconstrued as not “joining with those Fathers before us.” Likewise, to suggest that “living Tradition” is a revelation to certain anointed scholars and withheld from the “unenlightened” who are holding back the progress of the Church is the epitome of vainglory.

                      While details of the aspects of our earthly humanity – including our sexuality, our genetics, our biology, and our psychology – will continue to be revealed to us, our anthropology – our nature at the very Hand of our Creature, in Whose image and likeness we were created – was once and for all time. No dialog, no new revelation, no revized theology, nor thesis/article/essay/exposition nor insightful and moving scholarly paper will ever change the simple phrase uttered by the Fathers referring to the Creation, “as it was in the beginning.” This does not, however, absolve us from our responsibility to love, to shepherd, to promote Christ the Physician, and to beg the Master’s mercy as in the parable of the relentless widow (Lk. 18:1-8), but it does not change the reality of Him who created everything in wisdom. (Ps. 103)

  8. Fr. John Whiteford says

    I wish Christians and conservatives were not so quick to raise the white flag. We gain nothing by surrendering. And it ain’t over, till God says it’s over:

    • Christopher says

      Fr. John,

      I would be most interested in your perspective as I have often appreciated your blog and postings in many areas. You say “it ain’t over” which is of course true in the most important sense (God’s), but how would you characterize the recent events, and the current trend (say, of the last 30 years) when it comes to the New Anthropology/New Intolerance, and religious freedom here in NA (i.e. religious freedom that held in America for most of our existence, which is from the Classical Liberal tradition)? I suppose what I am saying is that clearly, the grounding of religious freedom (i.e. the way in which our culture and legal system interprets it) is undergoing a very radical shift, and it is going to lead to a persecution (we are already in a “soft” persecution – excepting of course folks like the photographer in my state who was financially ruined by our states “human rights commission” – it is a “hard” persecution for him).

      Perhaps also you can speak about what has happened to you personally in the face of the New Intolerance that Facebook has wholeheartedly embraced.

      • Fr. John Whiteford says

        For one thing, until you give up, you are not licked. The left never accepts defeat, and their agenda continues to advance despite set backs because of that.

        Also, trends do not remain constant. After Roe vs. Wade, it looked bleak for the pro-life movement, but recent trends show young people are increasingly pro-life.

        You also have conflicting trends: 1) the advance of the gay agenda, and 2) the advance of radical islam — both trends cannot continue at the same pace forever. And a century ago the trend was the advancement of Christianity in the world, which did not remain constant, and likely will shift more than a few times before Christ returns.

        We win nothing by giving up, because if we let up on this issue, they will just move on to the next one any way. Might as well stand our ground and fight them on this one.

        • Christopher says

          Might as well stand our ground and fight them on this one.

          Very true. Your point about Islam is also very important (shorter term for Europe, longer for us in NA). Can you imagine this vacuous self-aborting modernism surviving a single cultural second against a robust non-modern religion such as Islam?!? As France is showing us (soon to be properly named “Francostan”) Islam knocks it out in less than 20 seconds in the first round….I actually think this is probably the lessor of two evils…

    • Mike Myers says

      Though I am not God, I will venture to say that it sure looks pretty close to over to me. I refer to the authority of your “post-Soviet” church, the credibility of its leadership among the thinking faithful — its ecclesiastical charade, in general, among sentient, well-informed Christians. I’m hearing a crescendo of catcalls and booing. Not least in Mother Russia.

      Two months ago, your boss, the Moscow Patriarch, approved a document drafted by the Hierarchical Consultation of the ROC, a body which he himself had convened. (You cited and linked to it a couple of weeks ago on your blog.) In it, we read this:

      . . . The Church encourages those Christians who suffer from the harmful habit of smoking tobacco to abandon this habit. Those, however, who do not yet have the strength to do so must abstain from smoking from midnight, and, if possible from the evening before Communion.

      One might point to many, many problematic issues haunting your Despota, but the one presented by the black comedy factor is formidable indeed — perhaps even to those who may have no great big beef with a Patriarch, allegedly of Christ’s Church, more or less blessing a violent & internationally outlawed Anschluss vs. his sovereign neighbors. Or with his hair-raising panegyric to its architect:

      “. . . What were the 2000s then? Through a miracle of God, with the active participation of the country’s leadership, we managed to exit this horrible, systemic crisis,” Kirill told a meeting at the ancient St. Daniel’s monastery.

      “I should say it openly as a patriarch who must only tell the truth, not paying attention to the political situation or propaganda, you personally [V.V. Putin. Ed.] played a massive role in correcting this crooked twist of our history,” Kirill said.

      Fr. Whiteford, would you happen to know if the Marlboro Patriarch signed this document with a straight face? I confess to wondering if un-Photoshopped pictures of this ceremony at Cathedral of Christ the Savior are available (my interest in this is not prurient, or scoffing, as you may be thinking. More as a question of cultural anthropology.) Anyway, maybe you could look into that and then get back to us. I’m still waiting for a cogent explanation of just how it came to pass that your hierarchs selected this man to be their Primate. Something tells me that is quite the fascinating if as yet untold story. Don’t you think?

      • Mike Myers says

        . . . Then you castigate His Holiness Kirill of Russia because of the ROC’s stance on tobacco. Really? And the ROC because it had the Bolshevik jackboot on its throat for 70 years.

        A bizarre take on the content of my post to Fr. Whiteford, just above. Is this the best you can do? I could certainly say lots more on this subject. Maybe I should do that. But I’ll wait to hear from Fr. John.

        A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

        • George Michalopulos says

          Using the same logic as the homosexualists, Jesus never mentioned tobacco because it wasn’t known to the Old World.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Mike, I don’t approve and never have of the moniker “Black Bart” for the EP or “Fire Worshiper” for the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and I don’t approve and never will of the moniker the “Marlboro Patriarch.”

        Please show some respect.

        Peter A. Papoutsis

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Thanks, Peter, for repeating those labels in case anyone didn’t know of them! Christ is risen!
          By theway, it would be nigh impossible to list the wonderful Orthodox epethets for a roman pontiff. First I heard of any “Marlboro Patriarch,” though. Is he the same as “The Rolex Patriarch?”

      • Fr. John Whiteford says

        It’s interesting that during Holy Week you would try to divert a topic to smear a bishop. Did you attend any services that week?

        On the Tobacco charge, I refer you to Nathaniel Davis, who provides a balanced treatment of the actual facts. see

        • Mike Myers says

          Smear? Don’t I wish that to direct attention to the facts about the ROC hierarchy and its apparent trajectory were to “smear a bishop.” Alas, not how matters look to me. Trust me when I say that I hope and pray that the state of your Church and communion becomes better than it is: utterly appalling. God help us all.

          What better time than Holy Week, when most believing members of the Holy Church of Christ can be at their most spiritually sensitive and least susceptible to delusion, to encourage taking a close and discerning look at the signs of our times? Best time there is to smell grave apostasy and sorcery, seems to me. Would you disagree?

          I attended a few Holy Week services, including the Paschal Resurrection Divine Liturgy, as a matter of fact, to respond to your interrogation. I did so here behind the Orange Curtain and not with Los Angeles, always my strong preference.

          But you should know that more and more of my time in the flesh is spent in the conscious, and grateful, presence of God. Not necessary to be in a church building for that. Men and women of good will all over the Earth, those in Christ and those not yet, are my Church, mainly. Our Church.

          Tell you what: when y’all get your act together and have begun deposing the hypocrites, liars, thieves and murderers in high places, together with their unrepentant accomplices, be sure to let us know, OK? We won’t be holding our breath in the meantime.

          Thanks for the article, hadn’t seen that one.

          • Fr. John Whiteford says

            Holy Week should be a time spent in prayer and worship at Church, and focusing on your own sins, rather than making unproven assertions of sin on the part of others.

    • Michael Bauman says

      I for one am not raising the white flag at all merely noting that any hope for a political victory is probably a false hope. The fight now, will come from within the Church and within our own hearts.

    • Father Whiteford, I have to say that your words are good ones for me to hear. I have been guilty of assuming that the worst is going to happen in the Church, eventually. And I have been guilty of assuming that we are incapable of stopping it. That represents a terrible lack of faith on my part, and I for one have been reminded that there is no substitute for prayer — and that miracles do happen.

  9. Daniel E Fall says

    The Indiana law has a serious deficit.

    If someone decides their religion considers women to be subservient, for example, they could deny service to women. Oh, wait, we have that. Yup, the religious law would allow Muslim business owners to say no to women.

    Or, another religion could say no to military servicemen.

    I don’t understand why the pizza shop can’t just say we don’t want to do gay weddings, but do it begrudgingly. That way the gay folk can decide they would rather have a happy caterer!

    Writing religious protections into law is NOT what the founders envisioned. They wanted government to not be run by the church.

    The laws will fail any SCOTUS challenges.

    All that said, the business owners definitely need the right to say we’d rather not do gay weddings. That is free speech and can’t be unlawful. Then if the gay wedding still chooses them; it is more vindictive than anything.

  10. Fr. George Washburn says

    Hi friends:

    Please pardon me for not sticking to the point of the Indiana editorial that started this thread, but we seem to have been “timed out” over on the Finland thread by the “one month rule” just as a little worthwhile discussion was resurfacing there.

    Yesterday “Edward” made some statements to justify his anonymity that do not bear up under any sort of careful logical analysis. The first is his appeal to authority: “if iI am behaving within the forum’s rules then my conduct is above criticism.”

    In the shallowest sense that is somewhat true, but what does it assume? That the rules are infallible or beyond criticism. To the extent that he is helping us focus more on this “convention” the site operates by than on his own conduct, well and good. It is the wholesale use of noms de guerre by people who SO often misuse the privilege that drags sites like this down to a level rather far below what they and their participants imagine. Yes, *imagine.*

    Now if we were talking about something truly Sinaitic, the appeal to authority would have some merit. But where it is just George M’s choice, the privilege is so often misused to the detriment of serious discussion, and where the entire history of human discourse and jurisprudence tells us that more truth and grace come out when people are forced to confront accusers “in person” than when they are allowed to dissemble and masquerade, then you gots a rule worth critiquing.


    Fr. G

    • In old Stalinist days such “open books” would get the knock on the door same evening. Nowadays its all over social media and what have you, your “religion” and “politics” and you can’t erase/change it. You maybe can have “reputation” dot com try to do something. In Scripture there is the passage about being “meek as doves and wise as serpents.”

    • Christopher says

      In my previous career as a computer professional, I personally witnessed human resource staff perusing blog and social media postings of potential hires, and then deciding not to consider candidates simply because they did not like their politics (nothing as deep as is often discussed here – we are talking “he likes Bush” sort of reactions). I was assured by upper management it “would be taken care of” – it was not. I am certain of all this because as the network administrator I had the ability to see all internet traffic.

      Folks have to be careful in the wild wild west that is the internet, obviously. While you could find pictures of my children on the internet, it is very very limited (they are on our parish web site for example). I reluctantly allow what little information is out there out there. My wife recently deleted her Facebook account.

      Now, the coming persecution may very well force a change in my current policy, but for now I have good reasons to not pen my last name to these posts for example.

      Fr. George, your simply off-base in your criticism and I stand with Fr. Hans: give it a rest and try to find some perspective…

    • Fr. George, I was content to let you vent on this subject, but I feel I should respond to this, where you claim that I say: “if iI am behaving within the forum’s rules then my conduct is above criticism.”

      I said no such thing. What I clearly conveyed was my belief that when someone chooses not to put personally identifying information out on the open internet, that should not be a source of criticism in and of itself, if the rules of the forum allow for anonymity. I’m not sure what selection criteria you use for periodically slapping down a specific poster over the issue of anonymity, but perhaps you could share them with us.

      In fact, I specifically invited you to critique the substance or style of anything I have written — something you didn’t do. If I have written an untruth, or been cruel, engaged in ad hominem’s, been arrogant or disdainful of others, twisted the words of others, engaged in dishonest forms of argumentation, or whatever… I not only view being called out on those sorts of things to be within legitimate bounds of criticism, I view them as necessary in a forum like this.

      I have, during my time on this forum, retracted overstatements, acknowledged corrections of fact, and apologized for things that I felt were beyond the bounds of civil behavior on my part — and not just when someone has called me on those things, but also when I, upon reflection, have identified them and regretted them. I have said it before, and will say it again — my personal rule is not to write things here that I wouldn’t be willing to say to someone’s face, something that I strongly suspect isn’t even remotely true of some who use their “real names.” I’ve been around long enough to have had the experience of having someone who raged at me online or in an email be all meek and apologetic when we unexpectedly make each other’s acquaintance face to face.

      Again, if you can’t think of logical and good reasons why someone would choose to participate in a forum like this one without fully identifying himself, then I can’t help you. There are all different levels at which communication takes place. When I’m chatting over coffee, I don’t sign a printed transcript of what I said. When I write for publication, on the other hand, not only is my name there, but plenty of other identifying information as well that allows any reader to quickly “hunt me down” if they want to (we don’t see any of that here, even among those who use their “real names,” do we?) Of course, I’m also being paid for that. Now if George wants to hire me as a regular Monomakhos columnist, I might reconsider…

      So just realize that this is just an internet chat forum — and relax accordingly. You are free to start your own Orthodox blog-forum, in which every commenter is required to use full name, location, parish name, jurisdictional affiliation, etc. (accuracy to be verified by the moderator). Who knows? It might be a resounding success, and you might even see me there ohne my “nom de guerre.”

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Edward tells us that because he uses anonymity well the policy of wholesale anonymity is beyond question or criticism and it is some sort of offensive venting on my part to remind the readership once in a while that the collective experience of mankind is that people behave honestly far more often when they are accountable by name. I.found the exchange with MIke rather a waste, but of little consequence in and of itself. Sorry if my mention of this made what Edward wrote seem more important or objectionable than it was. I have not paid careful attention to what he writes to have any generalized criticism of him.

        I do NOT. Think he is being realistic when he says this is just a bumptious little backwater of bloggers which should simply be ignored or competed with if I fail to like its conventions. Would that its proprietor and it’s more energetic participants were so modest about what Mono conveys and stands for. The absolute vanguard of the most faithful of the true faith, the defenders of Gods work against its enemies, is the message I get between the lines, and to fulfill THAT mission instead of trading gossip or mortar fire, people should be accountable by name, especially when hurling accusations and promoting speculatinon and pessimism.

        • Mike Myers says

          . . . I do NOT think he is being realistic when he [Edward] says this is just a bumptious little backwater of bloggers which should simply be ignored or competed with if I fail to like its conventions. Would that its proprietor and it’s more energetic participants were so modest about what Mono conveys and stands for. The absolute vanguard of the most faithful of the true faith, the defenders of Gods work against its enemies . . .

          The words in bold don’t really resemble anything I’ve read Edward to be saying on this blog, Father. I’m pretty sure that to achieve the goal of constructive dialogue with someone like him, who’s proved himself capable of it, you’d be well-advised to avoid putting words in his mouth.
          Words that happen to more closely represent my own view of Monomakhos as a cyber-phenomenon in the “Orthosphere.” I try to distinguish the lamentable phenomenon itself from the souls participating in it, although that gets more and more difficult, mainly due to the herd effect operative. Or maybe pack is more accurate. I should try harder, I guess, because I think the sum is much less than the potential of its parts, here.

          And yet . . . what I find fascinating is this: the phenomenon certainly appears to be not without a certain weird clout and effect in the real world. What that means is unclear to me, but it ain’t good. I know that much. So I do what I can as an antidote. I’d like to see it ascend as a whole all the way up to the level of mediocrity, something more than a pandemonium of parrots squawking hollow cliches and disinfo.

      • Mike Myers says

        . . . my personal rule is not to write things here that I wouldn’t be willing to say to someone’s face, something that I strongly suspect isn’t even remotely true of some who use their “real names.” . . .

        Edward, to me this is a golden rule. I’d extend its force to everything we choose to say or write, ever: ace to face, in print, online under pseudonyms or not, and most of all when talking or writing about someone not present. It may horrify you to learn that I’m perfectly capable of saying to the respective faces of the named names* anything and everything I’ve written under my own name. You should know I’m quite notorious that way — some might even say appalling. But my candor includes the good things, and all of it comes mostly from love, affection and respect for human potential in Christ. Or so I like to think. That it is not always so received is a misfortune I’ve learned to live with. As I said before, practiced politesse is a game I played into my early thirties, when I got terminally bored.

        *To be perfectly frank, one dude does give me pause there, but that fact is itself all the more reason, in my theoria. Much easier said than done sometimes, I admit. Anyway, on my tombstone I’d like it noted that I was candid, please. At least that.

      • Mike Myers says

        I’m not sure what selection criteria you use for periodically slapping down a specific poster over the issue of anonymity, but perhaps you could share them with us.

        Father George is certainly capable of speaking for himself. The overall impression I get, “contextually” — and I think this fact, my own impression, gives me warrant to comment — is that he may well have sufficient respect for you and the quality of your thoughts to be suggesting you seriously consider joining the club of those willing to pay the potential price.

        It can be steep these days. I’m ridiculously fortunate and privileged; I refer mainly to others who can lose a lot. For one good example, those in Russia, where dissidents can lose their freedom and in more than a few cases their lives. Here, it’s only likely that you lose your freedom by losing, or experiencing credible threat to suffer the loss of, your livelihood. So for now, at least, we should thank God we live in the West. For this and many other reasons. Freedom of speech, rule of law and religious liberty are precious privileges that Westerners conquered. They weren’t granted. I worry that many today evince a troubling tendency to forget that little fact — and that it was an expensive, long-drawn-out conquest. These things are non-negotiable. And to cut to the chase, I’m beginning to worry about something else: that too many Orthodox in the West are simply not with the program. I assure y’all that I’m not the only one who doesn’t experience God as like some Oriental tyrant. A word to the wise.

        • Mike Myers says

          I assure y’all that I’m not the only one who doesn’t experience God as like some Oriental tyrant.

          Addendum: or vice versa

        • Mike Myers says

          Edward, I hope you hear what I’m saying in the three posts above. If not I’ll clarify.

          • Mike, I think I follow you. In theory, I too am privileged to the point of being untouchable by most people’s standards. And yet I have felt the small bites of the new intolerance and prefer to choose carefully the settings in which I open myself up to it.

            You have doubtless already noted that Fr. Washburn did not single me out because of his respect for me — but I appreciate the sentiment on your part. Allow me to respond in kind by assuring you that I did not have you in mind when thinking of those who would not say in person what they sign their names to online.

            • Mike Myers says

              I don’t think Fr. has singled you out. He seldom engages anonymous posters. I’ve observed him making very infrequent exceptions to his rule, but in these cases, I hypothesize, something exemplary about the poster, in one way or another, appeared to warrant an override of his principle. In your case, I presumed it might have been your generally exemplary intelligence and fair-mindedness that accounted for it — without intending to flatter you. (But all that was before I learned you hunted mountain lions.)


              The doublespeak in your 2nd sentence is chez vous, here on Monomakhos, but you and others should ask yourselves more honestly than you seem to do why that’s not the case in more and more social settings. Why any emphasis on the object of this particular focused malice is more and more an underground affair.

              Take a glance around the world. You’ll note that this species of moralistic bigotry is similarly at home these days in almost all of the most savage, backward and cruel places, where no one sane would choose to live given the choice, and pretty close to only in such places. Places ravaged by poverty, ignorance, real depravity, injustices and inequalities of all kinds. Think well on that. Think about it honestly. For once. Get real. I’m saying this not to break a truce but because I’d like you to crawl out of this blind spot. No one is requiring you to approve of butt f******, much less privilege soul-destroying lust.

              A majority of people are already irritated by the false consciousness so obvious in bogus formulas like “the new intolerance” and related doublespeak lingo and memes. Yeah, it’s new that a majority of people in the West are growing a conscience with respect to the cruelties and grave injustices typically suffered by most LGBT persons in the past, and as a result the pendulum has been swinging in the other, juster and more humane direction. But the identity of the intolerant ones is clearer and clearer to all rational, decent people. So nice try with this cute semantic inversion. Such language just makes you sound like dishonest fools, though. FYI. I think many here are probably not fools, but it mystifies me why they’d insist on talking in this little clique, and presumably in their private ones, like dishonest, irrational and malicious fools.

  11. Michael Bauman says

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Muslim congregations. I suspect they will be left alone. Does anyone know anything about the Islamic marriage practice? Is there even a rite of marriage? Clearly the Islamic understanding of marriage is quite a bit different than either Christians or Jews.

    If they do not have a specific rite, then they will not be touched. Even if they do, fear will prevent any action.

    • Funny you should ask about Muslims. His one about Hitler and the gay wedding cake is pretty funny too — although it would have been funnier if I didn’t speak German… I do realize that I’m not directly answering your question about Muslim wedding ceremonies, I don’t know the answer to that one. But it does address the question of whether they will just be left alone.

  12. Michael Bauman says

    Mr. Panos, I have to follow up your advice with the observation that the Antiochian Archdiocese and ROCOR are the only places where one is pretty assured of finding such a priest. With the Bishops we have in the Anitochian Archdiocese that is likely to remain so for us for a long time.

    Hmmmmm, it was not that long ago that we Antiochians were routinely criticized for being too worldly.

    It is a fact of life with which we are all assaulted. It is not just the hierarchs and the priests BTW. I have to guard my own heart against all sorts of accommodations to and rationalizations for the modern project. Am I faithful in the little things?

    “I behold the Bridal chamber, but I have no wedding garment….”

    • Michael Bauman, unfortunately, the Antiochian Archdiocese is not free of heterodox priests, per this article by Fr. John Guy Winfrey.

      The pronoun “this” refers to sexual heterodoxy:

      As Antiochians we are not in as bad a state, but we’re not free of this either. One priest, whom I count as a friend, supports this in his parish in Cambridge, Mass. I have been told that another friend, the Economos of our Archdiocese believes the same. A parish in South Carolina has a priest whose daughter is lesbian and while he does not support homosexual behavior, he will nonetheless not speak out against it in fear of damaging his relationship with his daughter.

  13. Mark E. Fisus says

    The Finland post appears to be closed for comments, so I’ll write here. Related topic anyway.

    The Church of Finland uses the New Calendar for Pascha. The thought just occurred to me that the Old Calendarists are shaking their fingers saying “I told you so.” Move to the New Calendar, and boom, apostasy. All kidding aside, their refusal to celebrate Pascha the same day as the rest of the Church is symptomatic of a more general refusal to respect tradition and authority.

    • Michael Woerl says

      The Church of Finland has used the New Paschalion since it became autonomous under the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the 1920’s … that is, with the full assent of the EP … Metropolitan Germanos of the EP stated that Finland should follow the new calendar “totally” because “Finland had never been on the Old Calendar.” I do not know what the arrangement was for the civil calendar in Finland when it was part of the Russian Empire, but the Orthodox there always followed the Old Calendar, as they were part of the Russian Church. There were, of course, many who refused to accept the new calendar and new paschalion, most notably monks of Old Valaam (within Finnish borders until 1940-the Winter War), and with the heavy handedness as usual with the EP, these monks (and other resisters) were sorely persecuted.

  14. I’m not quite ready to roll over and give up yet—that’s what the left wants.

    Over my dead body.

    Are we Christians such easily disheartened wimps?

    Our society is being played. This is an organized attack upon values that the majority of Americans hold. By means of technology, we are being given the incorrect impression that a vast army of our fellow citizens oppose us when, in fact, 65% share our opinion.

    The advance of technology has made it all too easy to manipulate “public opinion”. At a moment’s notice, for example, the left can generate thousands of fake automated social media messages in response to an issue, creating inflammatory and dangerous situations and giving politicians, ministers and advertisers the vapors. Most of these groups are funded by George Soros.

    We can’t allow ourselves to be fooled by this fascist nonsense. It’s not time to collapse; it’s time to resist—while we still have the ability to.

    Orthodox Jew Daniel Greenfield has written an excellent article on the subject the subject of resistance that deserves the widest possible distribution: The Culture War We’re In

    I advise you to read it.

    • Excellent article. Thank you for sharing it.

      Another good article

    • Christopher says

      One, thanks I will read your recommend article.

      I wanted to respond to “This is an organized attack upon values that the majority of Americans hold.” Perhaps T. Mattingly will comment himself, but I understand his work (and other surveys) reveal that this is not even true among regular Orthodox communicants. I understand that for about half of those standing next to you in church (your own parish will vary of course – could be more could be less) over the age of 35, half of them believe in the New Anthropology. For those under 35, the number approaches is somewhere between 80 and 90%. So, even among regular attendees among the Orthodox in NA, what you say about the “majority” is not true.

      Obviously, the culture is to be granted a large measure of respect in its ability to convert the mind to its point of view. On the other hand, it has to be admitted that this situation is also a huge failure on the part of the churches to catechize the Faithful in a proper way…

      • I don’t know about studies or polling, but what I have observed is a great tolerance for what goes on outside the Orthodox Church, in all age groups, but no evidence that there is a desire to change our own Church’s teachings on homosexuality.

        Does a support for (or at least tacit acceptance of) same sex marriage rights in civil society mean that a “new anthropology” has been embraced by our younger generation? I would argue that the one does not necessarily follow the other. It may be true, but I would need to see studies backing it up before I believe it.

        I personally think there are good reasons for a civil society not to have same sex marriage that have nothing to do with religion, and that what we lacked in this debate were an adequate number of talented civil leaders, intellectual or political, willing to make such arguments. The great failure of religious leaders may end up being that too many of them failed to see that their main task needed to be the preservation of orthodoxy amongst their own members, and that while they were trying to fight a political battle on a secular battlefield, they may have failed to notice what was going on in their own back yards due to their neglect.

        • Christopher says

          Edward says:

          “I don’t know about studies or polling, but what I have observed is a great tolerance for what goes on outside the Orthodox Church, in all age groups, but no evidence that there is a desire to change our own Church’s teachings on homosexuality.”

          This is not what these surveys are saying. These people are not making a distinction between “outside” and “inside”, or between “civil unions” and “Orthodox marriage”. In other words, they accept the New Anthropology and they believe the normative moral Tradition of the Church to be wrong. This means they do not have an Orthodox understanding or mind when it comes to anthropology.

          I used to have all this bookmarked but somehow deleted it. Perhaps T. Matt or someone will chime in.

          Based on my recent discussions in my small mission church, I would say that about 25% of our congregants accept the New Anthropology, or at least are confusing it with Orthodox teaching. This number is a pleasant surprise to me. However, we are predominantly made up of those older than 50 and families with young children. If we had more younger adults and teenagers I suspect we would be at the 50% mark.

          My priest has told me that the number one reason inquirers leave is because they eventually figure out (this can take a while – I have seen them linger for a year or more) the Church does not accept the New Anthropology. He admits that the issue is often obscured because they couch anthropology in political categories/terms, but to me this simply reveals they are not philosophers and are victims of too much modern media and the government schools.

          p.s. You confuse me when you say “no evidence that there is a desire to change our own Church’s teachings on homosexuality”…what exactly is the phenomenon of Fr. Robert Arida and his supporters (many who post here) if not that very thing?

          • I am saying that the Orthodox young people I know tend to be either in favor of or agnostic toward civil recognition of same sex marriage, but understand and agree that that’s not how we roll in the Orthodox Church. Unless you’ve seen polling to the contrary, that is what I think is still the position of the vast majority of regularly participating young Orthodox. It is absolutely going to affect conversion rates, especially if our leaders continue to switch-hit and punt (to mix sports metaphors) on the issue. The worst position to be in is to be loudly mean and intolerant, fitting the stereotype. But the next worst is to soft-pedal, prevaricate, and dance around the issue. And I think that’s the pattern being set right now. It will be a death spiral, since who will be attracted to a wishy washy faith?

            • Daniel E Fall says

              Your anonymity is a position of strength?

              Just sayin….

              • I didn’t use the term “position of strength,” you did. In any event, my anonymity is irrelevant to any of the points I made in that post. But I think you already know that. I am starting to realize that fixating on anonymity is a subtle “shouting down” tactic used by those who either don’t have anything substantive to say, or who don’t really want to have a substantive discussion. If you think that anonymity, by definition, means that a poster’s ideas aren’t worthy of consideration, then there is a simple solution — don’t respond to anonymous posters.

                BTW, there are four Daniel E. Fall’s in Minnesota alone. You are just as anonymous to me as I am to you.

                Just sayin…

      • I don’t think I have seen polling on these issues that is Orthodox specific. Of course, you also HAVE to ask how much the person poll takes part in the sacramental life of his/her parish.

        In Catholic settings, I have long argued that they need to look at four levels of Catholic.

        * Ex-Catholics.

        * Cultural Catholics who go once or twice a year.

        * Normal Sunday a.m. Catholics.

        * Goes to confession Catholics.

        What are the parallel divisions in Orthodoxy? Or, are they they same? I have had Greeks tell me that, in their context, these divisions are identical.

    • Michael Bauman says

      one: the end of the article is important:

      Our family is our army. Our religion and our convictions are our organization. Our mind is our weapon. Our battle is keeping these alive. Every battle we win organizes us, radicalizes us and builds us into a movement, a resistance of conviction and an organization of principle.

      We are a human movement. Our resistance to the system defines us. Our victory will be a human victory. We will defeat the system by staying human, by keeping our families and our faith.

      We will destroy the system by refusing to be controlled by it. We are not planning a revolution. Our lives are the revolution.

      Although many don’t realize it the homosexualists are de-humanizing everything, especially homosexuals. They are creating counterfeit institutions with counterfeit people.

      • Christopher says

        Although many don’t realize it the homosexualists are de-humanizing everything, especially homosexuals. They are creating counterfeit institutions with counterfeit people.

        I just wanted to repeat what Michael says here because it really does cut to the core of the problem. When a person, or a culture, or a church gets the answer to the question “what is man” wrong, one can only describe such answers as “counterfeit”.

    • Mike Myers says

      That eerie manifesto you’re touting is a nauseating joke, little more than hollow blathering and clinical paranoia. I’ll explain why tomorrow, in detail. I genuinely worry about some of you.

      • Mike Myers says

        Remind me not to forget to get around to keeping that promise. I apologize for the delay. It will be a labor of love, so I want to devote to it the attention it deserves.

  15. Why is Inga and Fr Robert continuing to be allow to speak? Who is Inga anyways? What credentials does she even have to be flapping her gums?

  16. Gail Sheppard says

    When does the Church cease being the Chruch? Are we getting close to that line?

    • Michael Bauman says

      The Church never ceases being the Church. Whether you or I or others are in the Church is the question. The suggestion was made elsewhere to find a bishop and cleave to him as he cleaves to Christ. I am blessed, I have one. I am even more greatly blessed by the fact that I can talk to him pretty much anytime I want, often in person. He is kind enough to listen.

      He is an integral part of our parish family but deferring to the Dean in all matters of parish governance.

      He allows the priest to pastor us–he pastor’s the priests and has their backs when necessary. Even absent disputes, he is always building up his priests in the eyes of their congregations.

      Nevertheless, when I thank him he simply replies, the people of his diocese make it easy. He clearly models both obedience and humility in love. It is from that point that his authority flows.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I am so very happy for you, Michael.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Seriously? Two people are “unhappy” that Michael understands the Church?

          You are ignoramuses.

          Michael is one of those people who DOES understand the Church and he LOVES it. He is a constant encouragement.

          • Heracleides says

            Indeed. This is what he has previously said of the “corrupt” (his words, not mine) bishop to whom he so tightly clings:

            “True shepards? If we had any, Met. Philip would have been removed long ago. Everyone of the current hierarchs, clergy, trustees, and faithful who knew of these outrages and allowed them to go on and on and on is complicit.

            If the so-called local synod does not request the resignation of both Met. Philip and +Antoun and launch an audit as soon as possible, they are just as corrupt.”

            #6 Michael Bauman on 2009-07-22 18:57

            Source: Here

            • Michael Bauman says

              Herc, you’ll be glad to know that I have stopped beating my wife. I’ve also begun to realize that I am not a bishop for which everyone should be grateful. Plus words spoken in the heat of passion are not my best. I had allowed myself to be stirred up and said many things I should not have. Met Philip got retired by a higher authority. No matter how much I fume and fuss their will be no audit.

              Bishop Basil is my bishop. While I respect the others I can only say they are likely much stronger than a comparable group in either the OCA or GOA. I always am open to correction. My ultimate faith is in Jesus Christ. I pray that Bp Basil not go astray , but if he fell to temptation, I would still
              Seek Jesus’ grace and my own salvation within the Church.

              But Herc you might do well if you did not keep so many sin bags around.

              • Heracleides says

                I’m sure your wife appreciates it… 😛

                Agree with *everything* you just wrote. My only point was that perhaps a little perspective was in order considering the decidedly triumphalist chest-thumping on behalf of our archdiocese you’ve engaged in lately.

                As for ‘sin bags’ – what can I say except that (for good or ill) my memory reaches back farther than six months. Pax.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  I love, trust and admire my bishop. Given the doleful picture of the Church often on display here s little positive now and then is a bad thing?

              • Michael Bauman says

                Metropolitan Silouan of Argentina as the representative of the Patriarch to oversee the election of a new Metropolitan upon Met. Philip’s repose made it quite clear that as far as the Holy Synod was concerned there was no need of an audit. The finances were reviewed and found to be appropriate and well managed. That is it. Question closed.

                It is not something about which I have any say or knowledge. It is pure distraction for me to be concerned about it. Then and now.

                It might be prudent for Met. Joseph to initiate an audit of some type and he may do that but a public audit just ain’t gonna happen–but as I said, I am not a bishop and, in fact, I am canonically disqualified from being one as I have married twice. Glory to God.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  The “audit” thing put me in mind of the situation of my old Presbyterian church, the only church I ever belonged from baptism in 1948 until I became an Orthodox catechumen about 18 months or so ago.

                  We had a long-time beloved pastor, who served that church from the late 1930s until he died in 1972. This church was what I would call the “establishment” Presby church of my city, in the glory days of the postwar “Mainline” churches; there was a Methodist and Episcopal equivalent, of course. The pastor was a great preacher, and very active in good causes in the community, in the best tradition of the old mainline churches. A very well-respected clergyman, and deserving of it.

                  Well, when he died, he had all sorts of funds in various bank accounts, that were for the church, but that were entirely under his control. These were the results of contributions to the work of the church from many people, and were apart from regular donations and pledges. They amounted to a couple of hundred thousand bucks; this in 1972, mind you; because, as I said, it was the “establishment” church and had many very successful people as members. He, of course, had been absolutely scrupulous with these monies, living a very modest life. So the funds had to be figured out, gathered up, and put into a foundation established for the purpose. There never was an “audit”, nor did there need to be one. There just needed to be a newer management of these funds.

                  Sounds like a similar situation, doubtless on a much smaller scale. Of course, that being a single congregation, after that, the books on the foundation were always open. That foundation, with much growth, has helped keep that congregation alive since. That, of course, poses other questions…..

            • Another trip down memory lane and this one came true too….

              Must we REPEAT that Bp Joseph is priming himself for future Met. of America! The Old Country knows it and WE know it. Godson of Pat. Ignatius IV, a fellow Damascene? Others will not have a chance. He has been two faced since he came (unelected) to us. 26 days in Damascus and represented Met. Philip. Face the facts, God help us?!

              #7.1 Anonymous on 2009-07-22 19:39

            • Met. Philip’s singular moral clarity on the issue of homosexuality has insulated the AOCANA from this mess. For all his issues, he got this right, and Met. Joseph has stepped up to make his views clear as well. Thank God.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Thank you Gail. Blessed Pascha

  17. I believe Orthodox Church needs to in our times focus on being as independent from Civil authorities as much as possible. “Tax-exempt” status? Give unto “Caesar what is Caesars and the Lord’s unto the Lord.” Or, if I take a discount on my Income Tax for giving to my Church, well then they may say well we want you to do us a favor also, “gay marriages,” all kinds of “ecumenism,” and then further down the road “transgenderism” and all that. No Thanks. Keep the receipt.

  18. Michael Bauman says

    Cyril, your idea seems reasonable, but the power of government to tax is the power to destroy if it is not done in a reasonable and equitable manner. Even the best governments don’t remain reasonable and equitable for long. Lust of power insures that.

    There is every likelihood that if the government starts to withdraw the traditional tax exempt status from religious institutions, the next step could well be confiscatory taxes.

    Tax exemption was given to churches so that they would not be under such control at all. Caesar had no authority or right.

    Two things happened, Protestants and others due to bad theology started abusing the principal. (Million dollar planes, luxury cars and worse for the “ministry” of the pastor paid for by tax deductible contributions). The IRS started exceeding its genuine authority by regulating speech and ‘political activity’ not just economic activity. The outcome has been as long as a pastor or a church does not offend the party in power, they are OK even if they are rapacious in their gathering of ‘tithes’ and donations.

    Here is a little case study: about 15 years ago I brought up to my priest the possibility that the government might at some point take our tax exempt status away. He scoffed at the idea saying that religious freedom was too much a part of our culture for that to happen. Recently after he preached a sermon on the perils of homosexualism we had a conversation along the same lines and he acknowledged that his sermon could be treated in such a way as to allow the government to remove tax exempt status. Not only that, but one of the reasons for the endowment our parish is working to build up is to meet that possibility should it occur.

    If we expect the government to treat us with respect and protect our ‘rights’ we will be wrong. Even if the worst case scenario’s do not occur your are absolutely correct that we need to distance ourselves from civil authorities. The idea of synergy whatever virtue it ever had is dead in this age and time. Personally I think it is the biggest mistake the Church every made. Caesar should always have been at arms length. For the Church and her leaders to be part of the power structure is antithetical to the mission of the Church. The Church and her people are called to be prophets and martyrs, not apologists. Those who lust for power and exercise it understand this more than many in the Church. They will always attempt to corrupt us and our leaders. Failing that try to discredit us and eventually kill us.

    Jesus said “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” not Be Caesar. They are of this world, we are not supposed to be.

    • Ok, now when you speak of taking away “tax-exempt status” are we talking about the IRS 501(c) status or just status in general. In general, a church need not be under 501(c) to be “tax-exempt” it is automatically under the Constitution. Now as for the people who donate, and then “write-off” their donation, they also, can without the 501(c) tax code however when the 501(c) was instituted by Lyndon Johnson back in the 50’s or late 40’s it was done to “register” churches and really only to add assurances that when people donate, its “official” and to avoid audits/questions as to the donations. With 501(c) you complete whole entire questionnaires telling gov who you are and what you believe and your practices, if or if not you allow women in the altar (thats tongue in cheek, though you don’t know later down the line) and so forth. Also, lets remember, Income Tax historically is only 100 years old, like the Fed which had its centennial celebration back in 2013, not a single news story on that one, and it is not anything that has always been around though to most people it probably feels that way. There are some Protestant churches I have read that are grappling with this whole 501(c) thing and they “want out” because they are seeing the “trade-offs” and they don’t want or wish those compromises, they want to be free to their religious beliefs and values and to espouse them.

      • Two separate issues are involved. 1. Regarding taxation of churches, leaving aside property tax exemptions (which is a local issue), churches do not operate as profit-making enterprises. No profits, no corporate taxes. The IRS DOES NOT require churches have 501c3 status. 2. In case someone is audited, it MAY help the individual to document his or her donations and deduct them if the church DOES apply for and receive 501c3 statues. If the church has 501c3 status, the IRS will accept the church’s receipt of its donations.

        • Actually, any parishioner wishing to write-off their donation to a church can do so regardless of whether the church is 501(c) or not. Donation in any case though would need to be documented. However it is a misconception that a church need be under 501(c) for parishioners to be able to write-off their donation(s).
          So when you hear people saying that they can “lose tax exempt-status” like the 501(c) that actually is not the case if you fall under the ordinary guidelines of being a church and not some kind of profit or non-profit organization doing some kind of organizational work that is not primarily that of a religious nature and the function of a church. However, that a church can have its 501(c) status withdrawn by the government, that likely can be the case if they themselves are the ones granting it in the first place, and then that can have consequences of various sorts likely though not on tax-exempt status which is protected by the US Constitution and does not require the IRS 501(c).

  19. Also, if we are willing to so easily release the claims of our faith to the will of an evil state while it is within our power to resist, can it even be said that we are Christians? —We aren’t, we deceive ourselves.— Every prayer, every claim to venerate the saints has been in vain, and we are most to be pitied.

    St Catherine, St. Polycarp, St Ignatius, pray for us!

    ps: Leave it to the Orthodox to let a discussion about an existential threat to the church devolve into a debate about trivialities. We really have to raise our game.

  20. I have covered the property wars in ECUSA/TEC for several decades and know the laws there pretty well.

    If the DOS is pushed into a position of revolt, can anyone tell me the role that recognition from Moscow might play in battles over church properties? Or is it certain that the OCA would, by American courts, be seen as the only relevant hierarchy in this legal dispute? Would a move, say, from OCA to ROCOR be seen as “leaving” the church?

  21. Is the problem that I ask too many factual questions?


  22. Terry, I think I was told at one point by an attorney friend of mine who had done some consulting for an OCA diocese that all parish properties belong to the diocese, and that they are held in the name of the diocesan bishop.

    • Right. That is the norm, as I said mentioning ECUSA/TEC.

      However, Orthodoxy has GLOBAL structures as well as national and our global structures have more clout. That was why I was asking about Moscow/Phanar doing something that actually changed THE STATUS of the OCA in North America, how that might affect things.

      • The MP and EP could have huge practical effects on the OCA were they to get together (ha!) and publicly declare it to be in heresy, since a critical mass of people would leave. But it would have no effect vis a vis civil law, as far as I know. Unless the DOS diocesan bishop himself takes the DOS to the ROCOR, the property doesn’t go. And the DOS diocesan bishop right now is the OCA metropolitan. Before him, the DOS bishop was Arida’s bishop. They seem to be in no hurry to change that situation.

      • Christopher says

        With the coming “great council”, I wonder if either Moscow or Istanbul would pull the trigger on such a move, even in a more extreme scenario where, I don’t know, Met Tikhon pens a letter coming out for “gay marriage” (it would be couched in sufficiently vague language as to allow the wiggle room for plausible deniability) or a priest comes out of the closet and his bishop does nothing to remove him. I think the OCA could leave the DOS without a bishop for the next 100 years and Moscow and Istanbul would likely not step in.

        Also, I am not a lawyer, but I don’t believe the “global” ecclesiastical facts of Orthodoxy would have too much sway in an American church property fight – could be wrong however…

  23. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    Because the State of Illinois, through its legislature and governor’s office, have now re-defined marriage, marriage licenses issued by Illinois will no longer be required (or signed) for weddings here at All Saints in Chicago.

    I am going to act as a representative of Illinois.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      I am going to act as a representative of Illinois.

      Obviously that sentence is missing a negative modifier!

      • PHR:

        I am going to act as a representative of Illinois. Obviously that sentence is missing a negative modifier!

        Patrick, check with a lawyer/the statutes of your state. You may be breaking the law. Couples “married” by you will also need to have their licenses signed, presumably in a court house wedding, if they want to file income taxes together, deal with estates and inheritance, receive benefits, and do all the other LITTLE THINGS appertaining to legally recognized marriage. In other words, they will have to ACCEPT the state’s definition of marriage.

  24. Gail Sheppard says

    When I was just a little girl, maybe 3 or 4, my father had me up at 6:00 am doing exercises with the Marines on TV. Afterwards, I would fix him breakfast. I had to stand on a chair to do it. If I flinched when the bacon grease splattered on me, he would chastise me and tell me to take it like a “man.”

    I loved my father. He KNEW I would have to be tough to survive.

    I shouldn’t HAVE to “walk like a man.” Where have all the men gone? Seriously. Where ARE you???

    • George Michalopulos says

      You sound like a remarkable woman, Gail. A blessed Easter!

    • Christopher says

      Where have all the men gone? Seriously. Where ARE you???

      The feminization of western man has been a subject I have wondered about for many years. I often listen to the recordings of the nuns at:

      They sing hymns of the Church where they ask for ‘manly courage’, and I think they do have more manly courage than too many Orthodox…

  25. Magical Thinking in the Orthodox Church
    December 09, 2014 Length: 6:51
    Is Orthodoxy really somehow immune to the liberalism and worldiness that afflicts everyone else in North America? Fr. Lawrence Farley argues, “No!”

  26. Magical Thinking in the Orthodox Church
    December 09, 2014 Length: 6:51
    Is Orthodoxy really somehow immune to the liberalism and worldiness that afflicts everyone else in North America? Fr. Lawrence Farley argues, “No!”

  27. Rymlianin says

    Finland possesses a number of parishes adhering to the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate, for those who see decomposition on the horizon for the Finnish Church.
    For those interested in the Finnish situation from a mainstream Orthodox perspective, may I recommend:
    A fine article from on Fr. Bob Arrida’s position:

  28. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    What if, Mr Panos, your Patriarch and ALL his archbishops metropolitans and bishops publicly condemn gay marriages outside the Orthodox Church where such marriages do not occur, but keep their mouths tightly shut when it comes to condemning abortion or saying the Orthodox Church condemns abortion? Formulaic and crowd-pleasing affirmations of life DO NO CUT IT. NO, such clergy say this is too complicated and private a matter to make declarations about, or as the current EP said when still a leading Metropolitan of the Sacred Synod of Constantinople: “The Church STAYS OUT OF THE BEDROOM.” {A California reporter had asked him if the Orthodox Church had the same teaching against abortion as the Catholic Church}
    Apparently these divines would rather slash their wrists than to declarem with the canons, that abortion is murder!

    Meanwhile you want to have a litmus test requiring YOUR Bishop to condemn marriages OUTSIDE the Orthodox Church!!!! Or have I missed some ORTHODOX same-sex weddings?

  29. Primuspilus says

    I love the selective Modalism of the pro-gay “marriage” Christians.

    They: “Jesus never denounced homosexuality!”
    Me: Oh? Is Jesus God?
    They: Yes, of course!
    Me: Then you got some reading to do. Start around Genesis.
    They: “Ummm, wait…..”

  30. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Relative to such matters, one of the most vigorous Alaskan opponents of Bishop Nikolai (Soraich), also a bosom buddy of Bishop Nikolai’s immediate predecessor in Alaska, has got his just deserts:
    BEREZKIN, V. Rev. George, who was Suspended, is Deposed from all sacred functions
    of the Holy Priesthood and his name is removed from the ranks of clergy of the Orthodox
    Church in America, by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America,
    effective March 19, 2015.

  31. Homosexuality is about cultural and spiritual alchemy, the transformation of consciousness. Modern practitioners of Crowley’s “magick” believe acts of transgression and inversion have spiritual power that are consciousness altering, opening one up to “spiritual realities.” While the average liberal gay American may have nothing to do with sex magic and secret societies, they are the movement’s useful idiots that serve to usher in Crowley’s Age of Horus by acting as soldiers in the war to mainstream homosexuality and make it normative. Notice that transgenderism is big now as well. There is an important place for the androgyne — Adam Kadmon — in that source for much of modern occultism, the Kabbala — and in esoterica / Gnosticism as well: it represents the overcoming of dualities, a fusion of difference into a higher state of being or consciousness; it is a movement beyond boundaries and constraints. Ironically, even among pagan systems involving tantra, homosexuality is considered a danger due to the possibility of “reverse kundalini” — a reversal of certain energies in what amounts to an evil direction. The themes of inversion and transgression have often occupied an important place in “gay” art and the work of its intelligentsia — Robert Mapplethorpe’s disturbing photographs are perhaps more widely known instances of this and William S. Burroughs was an admirer of Crowley. As such, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that the so-called “gay agenda” isn’t a cover for a more sinister initiative to achieve the age old dream of occultists throughout history: the ascendency of dead matter (technology, machines, social management and control) over organic, living matter (agrarianism, families, decentralization). I’m guessing that’s the subtext of the recent movie about Alan Turning and his machines — “The Imitation Game.” The normalization of homosexuality is the last step in the break with our dependency on natural necessity. Then, it’s a race to the Gnostic vision of a “New Age.” That, I would argue, is what all of this is really about. As the True Church, you bet Orthodoxy is targeted for infiltration —

    • Gregory Manning says

      As one who has previously identified himself as a repentant homosexual, may I suggest that your opening sentence be re-written to read “The promotion of homosexuality is about cultural and spiritual alchemy,……”. Homosexuality is actually about dis-ordered affection and loneliness. aggravated by sex.
      Pray for them because the very cynical people who are enabling them in the delusion that the “lifestyle” can be made to work are only interested in using them and will throw them under the bus when they are no longer needed. As Chesterton correctly observed the devil is more dangerous to his friends (those who wittingly or unwittingly put their trust in him and believe his lies) than to his enemies.

      • Gregory,

        You’re absolutely right — and I in no way meant to imply this is what homosexuality is “about.” Several years ago, I was asked to write a paper for an Orthodox publication on the history of modern revolutionary movements. It wasn’t too long before I found myself traveling down a number of rabbit holes. Without going into all the details, it became clear to me that there is a connection between the occult, secret societies, free-love movements, attacks on the family, and revolutionary politics. James Billington’ book, “Fire in the Minds of Men,” is a so-called mainstream book that gives a decent idea (though imcomjplete) of these connections. One need only consider groups like the True Levellers, the Swedenborgians, the Cathars, etc, to understand what’s involved. Another element in all of this is what is referred to as “sex magic” the ritualization of sexual acts in order to engage in theurgy and hightended or transformative states of consciousness. Most Americans don’t realize that one of President Lincoln’s close associates, Paschal Beverly Randolph, was a practitioner of sex magic. In the 20th century, Crowley became the philosophical and cultural force behind the promotion of occultism and sex magic. In any case, in the “modern” era — from roughly John Dee (Queen Elizabeth’s court astrologer) to Crowley, one sees sexual liberation and a promotion of homosexuality as part of an attempt to “transform consciousness.” That is what I was primarily calling attention to — not the average person struggling with homosexuality. At the higher levels of political power, it seems very likely that it is the alchemical nature of homosexuality that is being harnassed.

        • Just a follow-up, since I didn’t have time to mention a few other things. If one wants to understand how we got to where we are in regard to the normalization of homosexuality, one should first do a bit of research on who Alfred Kinsey was and how skewed and distorted his “science” was when he wrote his influential book, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.” We now know that Kinsey used sex offenders and pedophiles as part of his research sampling to demarcate “normal sexual male behavior.” He himself was a proponent of wife swapping, masturbation, and made pornographic movies using his fellow researchers at the University of Indiana. He was bisexual and had an interest in Crowley, visiting the latter’s “Abbey of Thelema” in Italy and given a tour of it by no less a satanist and Crowleyite than Kenneth Anger. Kinsey’s pseudo science was used to promote a liberalization of sexual attitudes, embraced by one Hugh Hefner, who admitted that he saw himself as putting into practice the theories of Kinsey.

          In Kinsey’s wake, pornography would become legal as obscenity laws were challenged or ignored. In the 70’s, under the influence of the Kinsey disciple led SIECUS — the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States — sex education would be promoted throughout schools, preaching the Kinsey gospel. This even led to calls from certain Kinsey-inspired psychologists to lower the age of consent.

          Secondly, one should do a bit of research on Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, authors of the now all but buried play book for normalizing homosexuality, “After the Ball: How America will Conquer Its Fear of Gays in the 90s.” Interestingly, Kirk was a neuroscientist and Madsen was a Harvard grad with a PhD in Political Science. He went on to work on Madison Avenue in advertising. The book itself, “After the Ball,” is a detailed plan for changing attitudes about homosexuality. Kirk essentially provided a synopsis of the book in his article, “Strategies of the Homosexual Movement.” Interestingly enough, one of the strategies involves using favorable portrayals of gays in movies and on television. In essence, one might argue, “After the Ball” is a carefully thought out psy-op, a manual for propaganda and psychological warfare developed by a neuroscientist and advertising professional.

          One interesting note about Hollywood. It seems to be common knowledge that more than a few famous actors are involved in Scientology. What may be less well known is that Scientology’s founder, L Ron Hubbard, was initiated into Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) by Jack Parsons, the founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Parsons and Hubbard engaged in sex magic rituals (which it’s best not to go into) that involved the “Babalon working,” the attempt to birth an “elemental” or goddess / force which would lead to what amounts to an anti-Christ. In recent years, academics and academic presses have started to publish materials related to these matters, what would once have been dismissed as tin foil hat conspiracy theory. A year or so ago, no less than Oxford University Press has published a collection of essays on Crowley.

          These connections and strands that run throughout aspects of the culture might explain why Gnostic / esoteric movies like “The Matrix,” “Pleasantville,” “Blade Runner,” “Prometheus”, etc, are made and promoted. In fact, perhaps two of the biggest graphic novelists that have had a number of movies based on their work — Alan Moore and Grant Morrison — are avowed followers of Crowley. Movies such as “V for Vendetta,” “The Watchmen,” “From Hell,” “The X-Men,” “The Invisibles”, and others have been directly or indirectly based on work by Moore or Morrison. Occult and / or esoteric themes appear throughout these works.

          In essence, what’s going on here is something deeper than arguments about “the culture war.” Sex — sexual liberation and homosexuality — are being used for a “magical working,” for lack of a better description, to initiate a New Age. We are witnessing not just social transformation but a spiritual transformation that is androgynous in nature: an overcoming of opposites and dualities to, presumably, lead us into a higher spiritual mode of being that is no longer trapped or limited by duality. Thus spoke Nietzsche in his book, “Beyond Good and Evil.”

          • Gregory Manning says
          • Mike Myers says

            Oh, dear. I mention the Kinsey scale, for convenience, and quote poor Fritzchen on the hideous faces of “Christians” possessed by malice and envy and a hundred petty ressentiments, and our anonymite “Stephen” wastes no time weaving these figures into his magic carpet of lurid alarums. This and his prior resonate with an eerie vibrato of paranoia, complete with terrible warnings of devils lurking beneath pop cinema, science and technology, literature and, I bet, just about any hint of critical intellect, solid scholarship and genuine culture, for that matter. He’s cagey there, though. All in all, a clever combo of anecdote and ultra-loose association that any experienced shrink’s heard probably hundreds of times on the psych ward of an upscale clinic.

            An auspicious debut, “Stephen.” I foresee a thrilling ride for you in the most fevered sectors of Dominionist circles and the “Christian” far-Right. Need some contact info and phone numbers?

            Parsons and Hubbard engaged in sex magic rituals (which it’s best not to go into**) that involved the “Babalon working,” the attempt to birth an “elemental” or goddess / force which would lead to what amounts to an anti-Christ.

            So that’s where Fox got Ann Coulter!! Much speculation about this, and theories have been all over the map. But your revelation supplies the key. Thanks!

            **Yep, you’re a natural. I think you’ll go far, son.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Mike, just because you don’t believe that there are spiritual forces at work in the world doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. If I err, and you do believe that there are spiritual forces, then why would you think that fornication, sorcery, murder and other blasphemies don’t contribute to the net increase in demonic energies?

              Unless of course you don’t believe that philanthropy, love, and other acts of kindness don’t unleash their own special energies.

              I fully believe the latter. Therefore I cannot disbelieve the former proposition.

              • This sort of reminds me of this scene from The Two Towers:

                Tazadaqyah Wormtongue and Saruman don’t like the light of day —

            • Right wing — I guess if you believe there’s really a difference between the left and the right, that might provide one with some sort of solace or refuge, allowing one to think it’s all driven by blind ideology. We’re past all that, I’m afraid. But whatever helps you sleep — by all means, continue believing it —

              Here’s a reading list to consider if you think this is nonsense —

              On the topic of esoterica, sex magic, and graphic novels — “Mutants and Mystics,” Jeffrey Kripal, University of Chicago press. Prof. Kripal is the Department Chair of Religious Studies at Rice University.

              On the topic of Parsons, Hubbard, Sex Magic — “The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion,” Princeton University Press. By Hugh Urban, Professor of Religious Studies, Ohio State University.

              On the topic of Kinsey, Crowley, et al, “Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences,” Institute for Media Education.

              On the topic of Kabbalah, esoterica, kundalini, sex magic, etc: “Hasidism: Between Ecstasy and Magic.” SUNY Press, by Moshe Idel, Max Cooper Professor of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

              Also, see Hugh Urban’s book, “Magia, Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Esotericism,” University of California Press.

              On Gnosticism and Cinema, see “Secret Cinema,” Bloomsbury Academic, by Eric Wilson, Professor of English at Wake Forest University.

              For the occult in culture, see, “The Secret Life of Puppets,” Harvard University Press. By Victoria Nelson.

              For the influence of the occult on 19th century / 20th century art and culture, see “The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern,” University of Chicago Press, by Alex Owen, Professor of history and gender studies at Northwestern University. Did you catch that? Professor of history and GENDER STUDIES — must be a right winger.

              Then there’s any of the books by Gershom Scholem, Professor of Jewish Mysticism at Hebrew University.

              Last, but not least, there’s “The Changing Images of Man,” a study funded by the Kettering Institute, undertaken by the Stanford Research Institute. It was published in book format and is now available online for free. The original study involved a large body of scholars, including the likes of Margret Mead, Joseph Campbell, BF Skinner, Ervin Laszlo, and others.

              There’s a large book list — we could do this all day. I suppose Harvard, Princeton, Hebrew University, Rice University, University of Chicago, Stanford and any number of other prestigious academic institutions and the professors that teach in them are “conspiracy theorists” and “right wingers.” Perhaps news reports of Nancy Reagan consulting her astrologer, Joan Quigley, before allowing her husband, Ronald Reagan, to do anything were all false? No, there’s no occultism in Washington DC or Hollywood —

              • Mike Myers says

                Look, “Stephen.” The thing is it’s so easy to come up with plenty of just as out-there points of view in every faction of extremists who lock onto any controversy these days. Fringe camps are dependably rich mines of choice quotes, dark and questionable activities and deeply sinister associations, all over the ideological map.

                This kind of stuff is laughable paranoia-mongering. Like I said, you should get in touch with the Dominionists, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Traditional Values Coalition, etc. These folks are ever on the lookout for fresh fundraising and brainwashing talent. Any one of them would be perfectly delighted to help launch your career — I can see 6 zeros worth of speaking fees, easy. Fr. Jacobse could write door-opening letters of intro. His Rolodex is surely worth its weight in gold.

                • stephen says

                  A person who participates in this forum anonymously is no different than you sitting behind your keyboard in the comfort of your home saying things to others you wouldn’t have the courage to say to their face. You’re so brave, “Mike.” Your behavior here is an argument in itself for “anonymity,” “Mike.” But more to the point, what’s “fringe” about it? The scholars that have authored these books are, with the exception of Moshe Idel and Scholem, quite “liberal” in their politics. What’s your point? We’ve heard the paranoid fringe of the homosexual lobby rant for years about how there is a cabal of right-winger Christians targeting them, taking steps to deny them their rights and the pursuit of their freedom and happiness. You sound just them, “Mike” — perhaps you are the one that is paranoid?

                  On a separate note, which do you prefer, Latke or Hammantash?

                • Fr. John Whiteford says

                  The use of the word “Dominists” and connecting that term to the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the Traditional Values Coalition shows what a hard leftist pro-homosexual activist Mike is. See:

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              Mentioning Kinsey even for “convenience” is a serious error. Kinsey promoted the sexual abuse of children for his research (some as young as two months old), and was a sexual pervert in his private life. Judith Reisner calls him a sexual psychopath.

              Sex Abused: Kinsey’s Lies Shaped American Law, So Now What?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Kinsey’s methods were criminal pure and simple. His methodology was bogus on its own merits. For sociologists and anthropologists to even reference him would be as valid as medical schools talking about Galen’s Humoral Theory.

              • Mike Myers says

                OK, this is way over the line and offensive.

                I note how no one has touched a single substantive point I made, all of which are centered on the objectively factual reality of a hugely disproportionate emphasis, by right-wing ideologues, on relatively rare abuses of sexuality with relatively minor social impact compared to the vast damage inflicted by the abuses of heterosexuality. Your resort is to smear those of us who object to the obvious injustices and scapegoating you’re responsible for and for which there is no real defense — aside from transparent attempts to change the subject with smear tactics. Typical gross dishonesty. Ad hominem distractions are going to work for only so long. You’re losing — and you will give account for that.

                Much of your rhetoric is simply inexcusable. It’s counter-productive and extremist. The clear implications of the fact that so many priests and bishops chose to sit out the March this year, largely because of the stupidly incendiary rhetoric last time around, seems not to have sunk in. You’re isolating yourselves from those in the churches who want the focus to remain where it should be, on compassionate pastoral tactics, on occupying the middle ground here. You extremists are the other side of the counterfeit coin, very much of a piece with your opponents; how can you not see that you summon forth the wackos on the other side? The net effect of this discourse is to obstruct a sane, balanced approach to fostering a pastoral environment in churches where healing can occur and people can be freed from soul-damaging passions of all kinds, including those that are far more common and that would be so perilous for you to decry. There’s no excuse for your selective scapegoating and unjustly divisive language, and you know it. So you smear and lie and caricature. You’re blind leaders of the blind, and you’ll end up in the ditch of increasing irrelevance and impotence. In fact, you’re already there whether you see it or not. I think you do.

                The Kinsey scale is a useful shorthand for the purpose intended in my post. Object to that purpose and my points if you can. Good luck with that.

                • [Crickets chirping]

                • In all seriousness, you haven’t made substantive points. You draw a self-serving distinction between homosexuality and homoeroticism, conjure the Kinsey scale, claim there is greater damage due to abuses of heterosexuality, etc. I suppose one could make the same claims your making for homoeroticism about bestiality. So what. The abuses of heterosexuality are far bigger than those of bestiality. Does that mean you want to make bestiality normative? Like it or not, homosexuality isn’t normative. You seem like a well-read person — though reading what you’ve written here is a bit like reading Artaud. If you can provide an argument showing why a man placing his penis in another man’s anus is constitutive of the purposefulness / functionality of either, then let’s hear it. That’s what really bothers you — that people reject the idea that homosexuality is okay.

                  And your mention of the Noachide laws above is interesting to say the least. Are we in Darchei Shalom now, so we don’t have to reveal what the Noachide laws are really about? Clever. It would be nice to let others know that, according to the Noachide laws, he who believes in Messiah Yahushua is guilty of idolatry and subject to decapitation — interesting how that has been working out of late. So, when Darchei Shalom is unnecessary, the Noachide laws show their teeth. Have you been digging into the Misha and Gemara of the Uncensored Babylonian Talmud? Or maybe the Toledot Jesu? Sandhedrin 54b speaks volumes, no?

                  • Mike Myers says

                    In all seriousness, you haven’t made substantive points. You draw a self-serving distinction between homosexuality and homoeroticism, . . .

                    “Self-serving”? What does that mean in this context?

                    I take it you deny that a profoundly important and quite meaningful distinction exists here, between homoeroticism and same-sex activities? An example of genuinely self-serving rhetoric to me anyway is demagoguery featuring vague assertions about “sodomy,” “homosexuality,” and “sodomites,” while careful to evade at all costs any discussion of what these vague words even mean. This is because such demagogues are essentially irrationalists playing to mob mentalities, and these guys have no real interest in charitable, rational discourse in dialogue. Figures like Jacobse and Whiteford, et al. clearly get a great big kick out of throwing red meat to their mobs. It’s fascinating to note, incidentally, the similarity here to their public demagoguery more than a decade ago, around the time of the invasion of Iraq. The syndrome of being mainly all in when it comes to warfare and support for the war racket in general and for gay-baiting is of growing interest to many of us, clinically speaking.

                    Demagogues and right-wing Christianist bombthrower types seldom show any interest at all in adult discussion of complex issues, being confirmed soliloquists, fond of the stage and of applause. For one of a dozen examples, their aversion to a close look at the two verses in the book of Leviticus they always cite. This book lays out the holiness code, designed to distinguish the Israelites from “the nations” surrounding them in Canaan. The redactors, in both Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13, use a euphemism to proscribe anal sex, and, very interestingly, designate the two individuals condemned by different nouns: ish and zachar, “man” and “male.” This euphemism and the different signifiers is found in both verses. Lev. 20 is a chapter focused on the penalty phase of the book’s legislation re: holiness — the penalty in it is mostly death. The same penalty, for both adultery and anal intercourse involving “a male” and “a man.”

                    . . . conjure the Kinsey scale, . . .

                    Note the wannabe(?) demagogue’s use of the verb “conjure” here. A nice touch. “Stephen” wishes, apparently, to encourage his reader/hearer to associate me with witches, warlocks and wizards, u.s.w., who, it is widely known, “conjure.” As noted, this “Stephen” has what it takes to go far, far. See below, where the real conjuring that’s going on here is made quite obvious.

                    Googled “Kinsey scale” and got 139,000 hits. Most of those in the first pages were cases of academic or public info use. I don’t know much about Kinsey and was unaware of his rep as an infamous miscreant, a rep George and Hans were quick to point out and endorse — with almost perfect irrelevance to any point I was making. These two gentlemen have less than impeccable credibility to me, but assuming their harsh judgment of the man’s correct, what would any of that have to do with the utility of the scale itself as a measure of subjective and objective sexual orientation and experience? Not a thing, I’d submit — 100% demagoguery, 0% rational discourse. Just playin’ to the dumb mob again, obviously.

                    . . . claim there is greater damage due to abuses of heterosexuality, etc. . . .

                    Do you deny the objective facticity and truth of my claim? You asserted at the outset that I made no substantive points. I’m here wondering which of them you’d deny as having substance or facticity, and why. And I’m curious too why you aren’t ashamed of such silly, hollow rhetoric as this. Is it because more than a few of the priests who hang out here are guilty of that sort of thing themselves, constantly, so you feel justified to follow their example? Is that it?

                    . . . I suppose one could make the same claims your making for homoeroticism about bestiality. So what. The abuses of heterosexuality are far bigger than those of bestiality. Does that mean you want to make bestiality normative?

                    A question bristling with a practically numinous irrationality — an ass of a query, on which at least 4 species of fallacious reasoning and appeal to mobspeak go for a ride.

                    Like it or not, homosexuality isn’t normative.

                    Classic instance of the red herring. Perfectly fallacious in this context, if meant as somehow of some relevance to anything I’m claiming, and off-topic to boot. Causing me to wonder if “Stephen” even knows what ‘normative’ means.

                    . . . though reading what you’ve written here is a bit like reading Artaud.

                    No clue what this is supposed to mean. But then meaning as such is seldom the point with these guys. Loose association and sleazoid innuendo rule.

                    If you can provide an argument showing why a man placing his penis in another man’s anus is constitutive of the purposefulness / functionality of either, then let’s hear it.

                    Note this typical trope so often deployed from the camp of Christianist demagogues, the nearly universal conflation of 1) one specific act, defined, as nothing else ever is, with clinical precision, and 2) the infamously vague abstraction, “homosexuality.” Nearly universal, that is, among aficionados of mobspeak when touching on this issue, with the evident intent to arouse the horned beast that’s ever conjurable from any audience comprising mainly hypocrites, ignorant bigots, and faux-conservatives. And note too the attempt to put on the defensive anyone who would dare point out the gross, shameless hypocrisy of almost all Christian Right demagogues on the subject of sexual ethics. Pointing that out is to “defend” or even “promote” “homosexuality” — an almost indefinable slur, by nature — and, therefore, it is only fitting, in the etiquette of irrationalistic mobspeak, to make the tacit assumption that those of us who point to the abject and risible nakedness of the Christian RIght’s rhetorical Emperor — sexual ethics based on the Old Testament and applicable to Christians and modern societies — should both own, and then be called upon to defend, butt-*******. I realize how pointless it is to say this, here on Monomakhos — but your request that I make this case is a rank non sequitur.


                    At some point I’ll get to the paranoid thing below. It clarified very nicely where “Stephen” comes from, and I’m actually quite grateful for his forthrightness. I think Hans, in particular, but also John might well take a lesson from our anonymous correspondent, wrt this admirable candor.

                    And your mention of the Noachide laws above is interesting to say the least. Are we in Darchei Shalom now, so we don’t have to reveal what the Noachide laws are really about? Clever. It would be nice to let others know that, according to the Noachide laws, he who believes in Messiah Yahushua is guilty of idolatry and subject to decapitation — interesting how that has been working out of late. So, when Darchei Shalom is unnecessary, the Noachide laws show their teeth. Have you been digging into the Misha and Gemara of the Uncensored Babylonian Talmud? Or maybe the Toledot Jesu? Sandhedrin 54b speaks volumes, no?

                    • The Leviticus verses in the Greek LXX — which is authoritative for us Orthodox and from which St. Paul quotes directly — is not a clinical description of a particular sex act. It refers to a man “lying with” a man. And adds in, for good measure, “as with a woman.” It thus covers the whole spectrum of male-male sexual activity, and calls it an abomination. Not terribly complicated, and the Orthodox Church has never treated it as anything complicated.

                      I am beginning to suspect that your real objection to us old-fashioned sorts is fundamentally political and not religious. I suspect that if I told you that I voted for Obama and hate Fox News and Rush, I would gain considerable credibility with you without advancing a single substantive argument. If I am right, it would be disingenuous of you to continue to write as though your concerns are religious ones.

                      If what Fr. Alexander says is true, that you have elsewhere admitted you are not Orthodox, I have to say that your credibility and self proclaimed forthrightness has taken a hit in my eyes, since by throwing around words like phronema and talking about internal Orthodox pastoral concerns, you certainly seemed to me to be representing yourself as Orthodox.

                    • stephen says

                      The problem here, “Misha,” in the words of Johnson, you’ve set out to milk the cow only to end up milking the bull. Your panache of pseudo-scientific claims seems to be little more than the fruits of Freud, Lacan, maybe some Foucault, etc, etc. Yawn. Really? This is your triumphal overturning of the Church? If I thought it might do some good, I’d bother to delve into this but you know what you’re doing here. You can’t address the normative nature because if you reject the idea of a telos in nature, you’ve stepped outside of Orthodox doctrine and the idea that God created humankind with a purpose (and purposes) in mind. So, which is it? Are you going to choose Paley or Darwin? Careful, Misha, whatever one you select will commit you to a metaphysics that may betray you.

                      The Noachide laws — the point, “Misha,” is that they’re Talmudic, the invention of rabbis — the Amoraim or Tannaim, I can’t remember. As such, your claim regarding Paul and James is anachronistic to say the least: Paul and James weren’t Orthodox Jews. Make a distinction between Torah She-bictav and Torah She-be’el Peh — doesn’t matter. It’s ridiculous to claim these Talmudic rabbinic inventions is what they would have been informed by.

                    • Edward:

                      It thus covers the whole spectrum of male-male sexual activity, and calls it an abomination. Not terribly complicated, and the Orthodox Church has never treated it as anything complicated.

                      AND it was a punishment sent by God for icon veneration – see Romans. Not complicated. Got it?

                    • Mr. Myers,

                      Your dissection and belittling of the comments made by various posters here has shown you to be intelligent, reasonably well educated, and one who does not suffer fools. But other than these, they reveal very little of your own view of the overall subject matter being discussed. You have criticized, but you have not communicated. Could you, perhaps, for a moment lay aside your distaste for some of the arguments made here, as well as the temptation to dissect and criticize the manner in which this question is posed and answer clearly?

                      Do you share the Orthodox Christian understanding that sexual activity of any kind outside the context of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful – that is to say, a missing of the mark, a falling away from being, a behavior that debases one’s humanity and distorts the image of God in a human person?

                      I ask out of a sincere desire to know what it is that motivates you to comment as you do. For while thoughtful analysis and genuine criticism is always appreciated, the mere demonstration of superior intellect, however real it may be, doesn’t by itself make for worthy reading.

                    • “Misha,” is this what we’ve come to? More damage due to heterosexuality? Is that like saying there is more harm to the environment and health due to car drivers than motorcyclists? Could it have something to do with, oh, I don’t know — that there are fewer motorcycles on the road than there are cars? Now, I know you’ve mastered your Frege and Quine so logic is no problem here. Are you next going to argue that, well, no, there’s this cycle-erotercism thing, you know, that complex of desires for things two-wheeled but not necessarily expressed in motorcycle specific behavior. And, well, most of us — if not all, according to Dr. Cycfreud — have cycle-erotic desires. So, car drivers who insist that motorcycle riders are “wrong” are bigots because they often conflate cycle-eroticism (which all have to some degree) with acting on this desire, that is, motorbike riding. So, those who oppose motorcycles and promote car driving are missing the point that it is their mode of transportation that is causing most of the harm while trying to blame it on motorcyclists when we all have cycle-eroticism. Profound. Isis unveiled.

                      Can I make a suggestion? Aren’t we past Freud and Lacan by now? Can we “forget Foucault?” Can you please update your critical theory with some Deleuze? I’m still trying to figure out how capitalism and schizophrenia work together with the idea of “ribosomes.”

                • I suppose the truth would appear to be “extremist” and “unjust” to those who exchange the truth for a lie and worship the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, amen.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Meyers,

                  Point of information: as one frequently conducting behavioural research regarding HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, Kinsey’s scale has long been retired for purposes of identifying sexual orientation & behaviour. Secondly, I will accept the findings of an any researcher, regardless of his/her personal life or personal morality, if their data is irrefutable. Fr. Hans justifiably refers to Dr. Judith Reisner for an accurate personal critique of Alfred Kinsey, but more importantly, his data was wildly incorrect, knowingly skewed, “volunteer-biased” (and brought to his attention by none other than Abraham Maslow), and he was cold, heartless, collaborator with one or more pedophiles in gathering “data” on nearly a 1,000 acts of child sexual abuse on children as young as 10-months. Nevertheless, Kinsey has dictated the “normalcy” of all sexual behaviour (many believe it was primary intention to begin), and the “10%” rule for prevalence of homosexuality in the US since the 1950’s (and a note to Fr. Hans: along with the field of epidemiology, you may always trust G.J. Yates for the most realistic projections of prevalence).

                  The point, Mr. Meyers: I agree with most of your argument, that “headwinds” frequently blow Right, but they frequently respond to “keywords.” Ergo Kinsey. Ah, the return of that lovely Pacific breeze across my patio…

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I really don’t know what you mean by counter-productive and extremist. Read below:

                  From the Assembly of Bishops

                  To our Orthodox Faithful

                  1. We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, representing millions of Orthodox Christians in the United States of America, Canada and Central America, express our deep concern over recent actions on the part of our respective governments and certain societal trends concerning the status of marriage in our countries, in particular the legalization of same-sex unions.

                  2. The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, two millennia of Church Tradition, and Canon Law, holds that the sacrament of marriage consists in the union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage reflects the sacred unity that exists between Christ and His Bride, the Church.

                  3. Persons with homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed on all of humanity by our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, the Church is a spiritual hospital, where we all are called to find the healing of our fallen humanity through Jesus Christ, who assumed human nature in order to restore it. All of us struggle with various passions, and it is only within the Church that we find the means of overcoming these passions with the assistance of God’s grace. Acting upon any sexual attraction outside of sacramental marriage, whether the attraction is heterosexual or homosexual, alienates us from God.

                  4. We exhort the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church to bear witness to the timeless teachings of Christ by striving for purity and holiness in their own lives, by instructing their families and communities in the precepts of the Holy Gospel, and by placing their trust in our Lord, who “has overcome the world.” (John 16.33)

                  5. Finally, we encourage our faithful to approach their parish priest or spiritual father with any questions or concerns about this statement and its practical repercussions in their daily lives.

                  Again is this statement from all the canonical Orthodox Bishops in America counter-productive and extremist? I think not.


                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  More from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Website:

                  What is “The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness,” and who is it addressed to?

                  It is an open letter signed by religious leaders of different faith communities throughout the United States. It expresses a shared commitment to promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The letter is addressed to those in positions of public service. By the breadth of its signers, the letter shows that protecting marriage is important to a significant number of people and an issue of justice for all.

                  Why is the letter being released now?

                  The letter is being released now in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s deliberation on the right of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, with oral arguments set for April 28, 2015 and a decision expected by the end of the Court’s term in June. Marriage, the union of one man and one woman, is a unique and irreplaceable institution, essential to the common good and a matter of justice for children. This letter serves as an invitation and encouragement to promote and protect the true definition of marriage. In addition, marriage and religious freedom are closely bound together. There have been grossly inaccurate comparisons of religious beliefs and moral convictions about marriage to racism, bigotry, or hate. People who hold to the unique meaning of marriage have seen their basic freedoms curtailed. The letter encourages more civil discourse on this topic.

                  Isn’t redefining marriage to include two persons of the same sex a question of civil rights?

                  No. Understanding this point is essential to understanding how civil discourse can move forward on this topic. People already have the right to marry; this is recognized as a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution and is also a right under the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. The real question is what marriage is, and such a debate has often been suppressed or avoided. For example, this nation’s previous laws against marriage based on skin color, which are frequently cited in arguments today, had nothing to do with the actual capability of the two persons involved to become a married couple. In other words, those laws existed to prevent unjustly what everyone knew could happen: interracial marriage between one man and one woman. Marriage is “color blind,” but it is not “gender blind.” The question of civil rights begs the question of the meaning of marriage itself.

                  What is marriage then?

                  Marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman together and any children that come from their union. But proposals to legally redefine marriage to include other types of relationships are using the term “marriage” to mean a more or less intense form of companionship and emotional bond between any two consenting adults. This difference is decisive. Marriage does not change according to adult desires, and even if childbearing opportunities inherent in marital union are sometimes unrealized, this does nothing to undermine the immense societal value of a law recognizing the unique status of such unions. No one has a right to eliminate from marriage’s fundamental core the sexual difference and complementarity of man and woman. When marriage is properly understood, then it is possible to see why it needs to be recognized and protected as such by the State, not deconstructed and redefined.

                  Whose rights are at stake?

                  The civil rights that are actually at stake are those of children. Children have a basic human right to know and be raised by both their mother and father, whenever possible. The proposal to redefine marriage not only encourages and privileges fatherless and motherless environments, but it also teaches that fathers and mothers are interchangeable or dispensable. The State has the responsibility to protect basic human rights, not invent special “rights” that conflict with the intrinsic dignity of every human person.

                  There are also significant concerns about the natural and civil right of religious freedom: See below.

                  What is religious freedom?

                  Religious freedom is the freedom to think, act, and shape one’s life according to one’s faith or religious beliefs without fear of sanction or pressure from government authority. It is a fundamental human right, derived from the inviolable dignity of the human person and also guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state laws. Religious freedom includes, but is much more than, the freedom to worship. It is a mistake to reduce religious freedom to something private or lived out only within a worshipping community one day a week. Religious freedom is to be enjoyed by all persons, and the government has the responsibility for ensuring that the religious freedom for all is protected and sustained.

                  Why does the redefinition of marriage pose a serious threat to religious freedom?

                  The legal redefinition of marriage threatens religious liberty by forcing persons that adhere to the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to provide same-sex sexual relationships the same special treatment legally due to marriages. When people of faith resist, they may face civil and even criminal sanctions, including court orders compelling actions against conscience, financial penalties, and general marginalization in public life. And because the legal redefinition changes not one law but hundreds at once, the full range of consequences for religious liberty will be widespread and difficult—if not impossible—to anticipate. For a country that espouses freedom and tolerance of diversity, the intolerance that has been shown for people who stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman and who are motivated by sincere and respectful religious beliefs and moral convictions is striking.

                  But what about persons who experience same-sex attraction?

                  Every human person has inviolable dignity, having been created in the image of God, and must be accepted with respect, compassion, and love. Unjust discrimination against any person is wrong and must not be tolerated. Pastoral outreach to persons who experience same-sex attraction and their families is vitally important, as is encouragement and support for every person to embrace chastity as a necessary part of a holy and happy life.

                  Isn’t the redefinition of marriage inevitable?

                  No. Even if it happens in law, the truth of marriage is unchangeable; no law, no matter the force behind it, can erase it. Hence, attempts to do so instead create only systemic conflict between law and conscience. Especially at a time when marriages, families, wives, husbands, and children have suffered much hardship and brokenness, leaders in this country have a responsibility to work to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.

                  Why care?

                  Everybody comes from a family and has a family legacy. Everybody has a mother and a father, grandparents, and great-grandparents, regardless of whether they are still living. The truth about marriage and the family and what it means to be a man or a woman concerns everyone. The religious leaders who signed the open letter recognize that they have been charged by God to serve and witness to this truth. Regardless of what might happen concerning the legal definition of marriage, the letter reaffirms a commitment to witness to the unique meaning of marriage and calls for those in public service to do the same. Marriage and religious freedom are tied to the fundamental health and well-being of any society. Government leaders, entrusted with caring for the common good, should be concerned with all matters that bear essentially upon the well-being of society. The truth of marriage should matter to all people, and the witness of people of good will to this beautiful truth will endure despite attempts to silence or dismiss it.
                  So according to Mike’s reasoning the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, by this statement and the previous statements that it has made on this issue, is counter-productive and extremist? Well, that’s going to come as a shock to some people on this blog.


                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Wait Mike here is more counter-productive and extremist reasoning for you:

                  On Same-Sex Unions
                  Epistle of the ROCOR W. Diocese Clergy (2004)

                  What is most important for us,
                  what is most precious,
                  what is the greatest?
                  It is holiness.
                  —St. John of San Francisco

                  It is with profound sorrow and great concern for the future that we, the clergy of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, with our Archpastor, the Most Reverend Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, view the flagrant disregard for the laws of God and the state with the granting of what are purported to be licenses for marriage to persons of the same gender, and the performing of ceremonies which claim to establish a union that is marriage for these persons. We cannot condone or ignore the defiance of the law in San Francisco, or in municipalities in Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, and New Mexico; nor remain silent, and thereby give implicit consent to this practice.

                  It is the duty of the Church to direct Her children to obedience to the laws of the state when these do not conflict with the law of God. When the law of the state deviates from the way of righteousness appointed by God, the Church must call attention to the dangers such a departure presents. We are compelled to address our flocks concerning the nature of Holy Matrimony, otherwise known as marriage. “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

                  Holy Matrimony consists of the union of two persons into one, through the union of their souls and bodies, through mutual submission and obedience, and, most importantly, through the action of God’s grace. It is a holy mystery, a sacrament, an avenue of the Grace of God given to us not for the indulgence of our passions, but for the working out of our salvation. For this reason, it cannot be merely a social or civil contract entered into by two persons. Marriage is the God-ordained union of a man and a woman, for the purpose of creating a home, a “little Church,” in which the couple, and the children which are their progeny (being the product of the physical affection for one another), are able to work out their salvation. Marriage is a sacrament that is not created by the husband and wife out of their love for one another, or by their pledge of loyalty and mutual submission to one another; marriage is a mystery bestowed by God through the action of the Church upon those who are made one thereby. The estate of marriage cannot be established by human action alone: it must be bestowed by God alone. Nor can this (or any) grace be bestowed by the state, for it is the gift of God given within the confines of, and subject to the discipline of, the Holy Mother Church. Although the state chooses to recognize this union as beneficial to the stability of society, and so bestows certain benefits under law through licensure of this action, marriage is not now, nor has it ever been, an action of the state. The sacrament of Marriage is a divine action subject only to the grace and will of God, which is expressed in the unbroken and pure tradition of the Orthodox Church.

                  In addition to the salvation of the souls of the husband and wife and of their children, the sacrament of marriage also serves as a guardian and standard of moral behavior. Any lustful activity outside of the bounds of sacramental marriage is damaging to the soul and creates a barrier between man and God. The sacrament defines the limits of physical and emotional intimacy between two persons. These limits include (but are not limited to) the fact, that marital relations are only possible between a man and a woman, that the conception, bearing and raising of children is the natural and desired product of marital relations, and that such relations are only permitted within the sanctified bounds of marriage. Any type of intimacy outside of these boundaries is considered to be sinful and constitutes a barrier to the spiritual life and communion with God.

                  Man is created for the purpose of communion with God. To that end, we are endowed with the image and likeness of God, and any barrier to the fulfillment of that image and likeness runs counter to our created purpose. When we do not act in accordance with God’s will, engaging in behavior which is sinful—that is, behavior which prevents the realization of God’s image and likeness in us—then we suffer the eternal consequences of those actions.

                  In the modern culture, much emphasis has been placed on the “culture of the flesh” and the eternal and spiritual nature of man has been minimized. Self- indulgence has become the primary value and is protected by our modern society under the pretext of individual “civil rights.” Personal gratification and fulfillment in this world has supplanted the spiritual striving for purity and holiness, which is the true source of joy. The love of God has been replaced by love of self. The desire of eternal bliss has been replaced by the desire for worldly bliss. The fear of eternal punishment has been replaced by the fear of worldly discomfort and condemnation. Man has supplanted God as the measure of all things.

                  It is said by some that there is no difference between the ban that once made interracial marriages illegal, and the prohibition now in law against allowing same-sex marriages. We do not accept that this is an issue of civil rights, or the protection of a minority. The decision by a state to extend the provisions of law covering civil marriage to include same-sex unions is irrelevant in God’s eyes. Within the Church, the mystery of Holy Matrimony is not a right; it is a calling, intended by God for a specific purpose, and not merely the fulfilling of earthly lusts, or the comfort of a life shared together. The argument that same-sex unions is “natural,” while apparently a powerful argument, ignores the truth that our human nature is fallen and corrupted by death, and driven to the satisfaction of the desires of the flesh. The expression of sexual desires without the blessing of the Grace of God is not directed to a life that is natural, but is an extension of a death-directed existence. Only by striving to live the life of Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, can we begin to understand and achieve a life which is truly “natural.”

                  We, the clergy of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, having concluded our conference with the celebration of the Presanctified Divine Liturgy of the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which we pray for the “purification of souls and bodies, and for the restraint of the passions,” reject and decry this erosion of eternal and spiritual values and truths. We affirm that the sacrament of marriage is only obtained from God and within the confines of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We affirm that this marriage is limited to the union of one man and one woman and that the conception, bearing and rearing of children is a normal and desired part of the marital union. We affirm that any other “marital” relationship, even though it may bear the sanction of the state or the society at large, cannot be considered marriage and that it is sinful and creates a barrier between God and man and frustrates the purpose of man to enter into union with God.

                  “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thes. 2:15)

                  February 28/March 12, 2004
                  San Francisco

                  Those darn Russian, well at least the OCA is not counter-productive and extremist right? Oh wait…

                  May 17, 2004
                  OCA Reaffirms SCOBA Statement in Wake of Massachusetts Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

                  SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications]

                  On Monday, May 17, 2004, in light of the recent decision of the US Supreme Court not to intervene in the legalization of same-sex marriages in the state of Massachusetts, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, reaffirmed the statement issued by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA].

                  The statement, “On the Moral Crisis in our Nation,” clearly states and affirms the position of the Orthodox Church with regard to same-sex unions. It was initially issued by the SCOBA hierarchs on August 27, 2003.

                  The complete text of the statement reads as follows.

                  August 27, 2003

                  As members of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), representing more than 5 million Orthodox Christians in the United States, Canada and Mexico, we are deeply concerned about recent developments regarding “same sex unions.”

                  The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions such a union between persons of the same sex.

                  Holy Scripture attests that God creates man and woman in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27-31), that those called to do so might enjoy a conjugal union that ideally leads to procreation. While not every marriage is blessed with the birth of children, every such union exists to create of a man and a woman a new reality of “one flesh.” This can only involve a relationship based on gender complementarity. “God made them male and female… So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:6-8).

                  The union between a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Marriage reflects the union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:21-33). As such, marriage is necessarily monogamous and heterosexual. Within this union, sexual relations between a husband and wife are to be cherished and protected as a sacred expression of their love that has been blessed by God. Such was God’s plan for His human creatures from the very beginning. Today, however, this divine purpose is increasingly questioned, challenged or denied, even within some faith communities, as social and political pressures work to normalize, legalize and even sanctify same-sex unions.

                  The Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions. Whereas marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred institution ordained by God, homosexual union is not. Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are condemned by Scripture (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:10). This being said, however, we must stress that persons with a homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity. All persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.

                  As heads of the Orthodox Churches in America and members of SCOBA, we speak with one voice in expressing our deep concern over recent developments. And we pray fervently that the traditional form of marriage, as an enduring and committed union only between a man and a woman, will be honored.

                  +Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman of SCOBA
                  Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

                  +Metropolitan HERMAN
                  Orthodox Church in America

                  +Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
                  Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

                  +Archbishop NICOLAE
                  Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada

                  +Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
                  Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada

                  +Metropolitan JOSEPH
                  Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church

                  +Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos,
                  American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA

                  +Metropolitan CONSTANTINE
                  Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA

                  +Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
                  Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America

                  Man! Just when I thought at least the OCA was going to be on Mike’s side. I guess according to Mike all us Orthodox are counter-productive and extremist. I guess that’s a good thing. The one thing Mike and Arida haven’t figured out is that we are not Protestant, and we will not so easily cave like they did. Arida and Co., may try, but its not going to go anywhere in the Orthodox Church.

                  Bye Mike. Say hi to Arida for us ok.


                  • Mike Myers says

                    For at least the third time, I’ll state yet again that I’m not in favor of any frivolous redefining of marriage. I have no problem whatsoever with any religious body maintaining its faithful witness to two millennia of Christian or three of Jewish orthodoxy on holy matrimony, and I fully support their right and even their felt duty to exhort governments to carefully consider this heritage before codifying changes in the law. I worry that this has not occurred anywhere, to a degree adequate to a social change of such magnitude. I worry about that for lots of reasons, including the potential backlash against minorities oppressed by the consequences of centuries of stupid and bigoted misinterpretations of religious texts who have recently been shown some social mercy. I know very well how suddenly things can change.

                    I strongly support civil unions and domestic partnerships, but I think that for any government — city, county, state or federal — to make laws that would coerce any religious body to recognize any marriages, contrary to those institutions’ religious opinions, would constitute a blatant violation of the First Amendment. I’m not particularly worried about this happening in the US in our lifetimes.

                    Along with tens of millions of others I indignantly object to malicious abuses of the narrative in Genesis 18, and the related abuses of terminology such as “sodomy” and especially the dehumanizing term “sodomites,” by demonically deranged and malevolent persons, especially those who use such degrading terminology, in God’s name, while hiding behind a collar and thereby setting an example for others. I think such persons are among those most complicit in acts of violence and other crimes perpetrated against LGBT persons, including children. In almost all cases I think use of these words by those who should know better is defamatory, sometimes consciously so, and in some cases and contexts I think this comes close to falling under the spirit of laws against hate speech, if not the letter, yet.

                    I don’t see any abuses such as these in any of your excerpts, Peter. Incidentally, I find it almost incredible that you could actually make a living as an attorney, if in fact you do. This amazes me.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, I take you at your word that you have no intention on intruding into traditional religions’ definition of marriage. However you are one man (an honest one I might add who actually believes in tolerance).

                      The Gaystapo unfortunately has no intention of adhering to your principled positions. As Lenin is reported to have said: “You may not be interested in the war but the war is interested in you.”

                      Like you, I took a principled, libertarian position regarding civil unions only to see the totalitarian sensibilities of the Brownshirts. The scales have been removed from mine eyes.

  32. Stephen’s analysis here will likely seem far-fetched to some, but on the level of spiritual warfare he is absolutely correct. We do well to ponder the implications of the Satanic cult’s ‘motto’.

    “Violate nature, and she will reveal her secrets.”

  33. Mike Myers says

    Mike, I am 100% sure you are not familiar at all with the Bible. It clearly has had no impact on your beliefs.

    As for Robert Gagnon’s book, some of the most highly regarded Protestant Biblical Scholars alive today have praised it as the definitive work on the subject. See:

    So you don’t know what you are talking about.


    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      LOL what? Look at the scholars who have endorsed his book: Bruce Metzger, being one of many. If you have read the book, which is probably not the case, you only object to it because you are devoted to promoting homosexuality.

      • Mike Myers says

        I’m laughing at a priest who claims to image Christ and represent His Church while publicly breaking one of the 10 Commandments. I’m laughing at the glaring hypocrisy of a priest addicted to libelous false accusation while oblivious to the gravity of his glitch.

        Mike, I am 100% sure you are not familiar at all with the Bible. It clearly has had no impact on your beliefs.

        . . . If you have read the book, which is probably not the case, you only object to it because you are devoted to promoting homosexuality.

        Four blatant and shameless lies about me, here, together with two additional falsehoods that I would characterize as probably due more to misunderstanding and poor thinking than malice.

        Be careful, Father Whiteford. The list of those offended by your spite and deceitfulness is growing.

        • Fr. John Whiteford says

          I so far have not seen a great deal of evidence that you have a great deal of external knowledge of the Bible, but when you choose to ignore what it teaches, it is clear that “ye have not his word abiding in you” (John 5:38).

          Do you consider yourself Orthodox? If you do, how can you ignore what the Scriptures say, what the Fathers say about what the Scriptures say, and what the Church continues to say on this subject?

          And the only way liberals know how to argue anymore is to feign offense, and I choose not to be manipulated by that. And were you Mr. Congeniality, you would probably not have made the assertion: “I’m 100% certain that I’m a whole lot better acquainted than you are with [the Bible].” But if you are going to make those kinds of jabs, you need to have thicker skin yourself.

          • Christopher says

            Do you consider yourself Orthodox?

            That’s the thing about the New Anthropologists who want to claim they are Orthodox or Faithful – they always say “yes” and then they:

            And the only way liberals know how to argue anymore is to feign offense

            feign offense at anyone and everyone who points out they do not in fact hold to Orthodox/Faithful understandings on man/sexuality. What else can they do but claim they in fact do (do they really truly believe themselves? who knows) and then “be offended” when the plain facts are pointed out for them. They really are in a pickle…

            • Mike Myers says

              What’s this “New Anthropology” thingy some of you keep bringing up? I can’t come up with a single source on it. Please explain.

            • Daniel E Fall says

              Or they recognize the entire world is not Orthodox.

          • Mike Myers says

            Indicate where and how I’ve ignored the Holy Orthodox phronema. What are you talking about? Be specific.

            • Fr. John Whiteford says

              Mike, your consistent defense of homosexuality and your harsh criticism of anyone who opposes it show that you haven’t had an Orthodox thought in a very long time, if you have ever had one.

              • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                Fr. John, Mr. Myers has already admitted on this blog that he is not an Orthodox Christian, so there is no point in jousting with him over anything pertaining to Orthodox Tradition, including the Bible.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              You defend Homosexuality and you don’t know how you do NOT have an Orthodox φρόνημα? Wow! Fr. John leave Mike alone and just pray for him. Prayer is what he needs more than anything else.


              • Mike Myers says

                Peter, repetition of a slur doesn’t make it true, even when the slur was hurled by a priest. I object to priests’ using “sodomy” and “sodomites” to caricature and dehumanize self-identified gay persons. If you and Fr. Whiteford can’t see the difference, then chats with you aren’t worth my time.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  You are not worth or worthy of my time to chat as well, but you are worth and worthy of my prayers.


                • Are you saying a large swath of homosexuals don’t commit sodomy, and therefore it is not a fair generalization?

                  Or are you saying it’s mean to comment on deranged sexual fetishes, because “feelings?”

                  Don’t play the “dehumanization” card. Homosexuals themselves are the ones who join their fetish to their own self-identity. They have dehumanized themselves by making themselves the sum of their sexual urges.

                • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Sodomy: Unnatural sex acts such as those characteristic of the inhabitants of ancient Sodom.

                  Sodomites: Persons who revel in sodomy, justify sodomy, angrily insist that everyone approve of sodomy, and back the use of force to destroy those who do not approve of sodomy.

                  Nothing caricaturish about these definitions, and sodomites dehumanize themselves.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Dear Mike–I have no idea why you would say: ” I object to priests’ using “sodomy” and “sodomites” to caricature and dehumanize self-identified gay persons.” Do you know what the terms mean? Are you not aware that the words “sodomites” and catamites” indeed appear in the Bible among sexual and other sinners? Are you suggesting that priests (and lay folks) disregard the Bible when it comes to homosexual activity? If so, please inform us of your reasoning. Thanks.

                  PS: After I wrote this, I did read an earlier reply of yours (May 2nd reply to Stephen) that seems to indicate that you know very well what the terms mean. Are you saying that there are teachings in the Bible that cancel out those passages that label homosexual activities as sins? If so, what criteria are you using? May be your position is that the Bible does not classify homosexual activity as sin; if so, are you saying that this is a result of bad translation?

                  • Mike Myers says

                    The words “catamites” and “sodomites” don’t appear in the Greek text: they are some translators’ choices for malakoi and arsenokoitai. That first one is a very common, and vague, Greek word, for which no clear meaning stands out. The second one doesn’t appear in Greek literature before Paul, and less than a 100 times after him, most of these in direct quotations of Paul. He probably coined it. No one can say for certain what it meant to him, but it’s probably derived from the LXX translation of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13, part of the holiness code, sentences that proscribed the anal penetration of an Israelite man (ish) by the penis of a “male” (zachar). The Hebrew word qadeshim is notoriously vague and problematic to translate. English translations of this word have been all over the map since the 16th century.

                    I wrote this about a year and a half ago. Read that and you should get a better understanding of why it’s only the ignorant who “know” what “sodomy” and “sodomite” mean. The meaning of “catamite” is much more clear-cut, but only because it’s so well attested in randy Latin literature, so we have lots of context. I explained what the Hebrew text of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 means (to rabbis and Hebrew scholars) in a post to “Edward.” It should show up about the same time as this one.

                    Here’s the post I mentioned:


                    Misha asserted:

                    “Sodomy” and “sodomite” are merely descriptive terms concerning the activities of those who engage in homosexual acts (though technically it does encompass some acts between heterosexuals). Perhaps not palatable, but accurate.

                    “Merely” descriptive? Accurate? If “sodomy” were a term used to signify homosexual gang rape or more accurately, a violent and lustful mob’s “going after” “other flesh” (in this case, angelic), as Jude put it, with the intent to perpetrate a gang rape, then they would be “descriptive and accurate.” And I think it’s safe to say that there wouid be little objection to the words thus used. But that’s not how they’re used. What is so hard for some of you to understand here? This story represents the epitome of inhospitality to strangers: gang rape (cf. the closely parallel incident at Gibeah narrated in Judges 19, which wasn’t merely attempted but carried out — ending in murder.). Perpetrated by the evil residents of a city infamous for cruelty to the poor and to strangers, for unbridled adulteries and fornications of all varieties, “sinners against the Lord exceedingly,” guilty of gross social injustices, whose manifold wickedness had long cried out to the heavens for vengeance. To reduce all this to “homosexuality” is a lie, and all competently educated priests and theologians know it. Or they should know it.

                    Misha: It’s very telling that some object to the term “sodomy/sodomite”. That the term is offensive is really a frank admission that the activity is repulsive.

                    This comment is little more than a confession of confusion. That a particular sex act obsesses many of you and that you find it so repulsive is one perfectly evident thing (setting aside the fact that these words have meant many very different things over the centuries, up to this very day in this country***). That gay men in particular and to a lesser extent gay women are consciously, maliciously and falsely associated by these words with a legend about a pair of evil cities and their many crimes and grave social injustices is another very different and quite dubious one. Two very different things. For this reason, an intent of malicious defamation is self-evident when you use these words — and that’s why they’re offensive. Very simple.

                    It’s bogus and weak to plead the precedent of biased interpreters who’ve reductively misread this story out of context for centuries — very much including some Greek fathers who were misled by Philo — and suppose that you are thereby relieved of any duty to be honest about this yourself. In itself, that’s an illustrative example of mob psychology, incidentally. Grotesque anti-Jewish ranting and false scientific assertions are other instances of errors and worse that many feel justified in wallowing in to this day because “it’s in the fathers” and the “tradition.”

                    A minute’s thought ought to make the facts of the case clear here, if rationality and simple justice really mattered. Imagine that the two angels in the story had taken the form of women, but the story otherwise played out exactly the same: all the men of Sodom collected themselves at Lot’s house to rape the two female angels, and God then destroyed the city. Would anyone conclude that this story was a blanket condemnation of heterosexuality, or would we all conclude (correctly) that the (multiply evinced) wickedness of Sodom was epitomized by their desire to gang rape two strangers visiting their city? On top of all the other crimes and social injustices the city was infamous for, alluded to in numerous places throughout the Prophets (most explicitly in Ezekiel 16:49).

                    It’s perfectly clear to us that many of you use the words in conscious bad faith and that you merely pretend not to understand why their use is so objectionable to so many people. Or perhaps, more charitably, you’re merely ignorant bigots who hold the conclusions of science and competent scholarship in contempt, preferring malicious defamation of those who at worst, in most cases, are handicapped by a developmental disorder, which is in most cases the worst that can justly be said about the homosexual erotic inclination and acting out. Meaning that many of you are cruel and heartless creeps about this.

                    That many Christians are so indignant about gay people, in a world overrun with monstrous crimes and horrors and injustices, strikes fair-minded people as utterly deranged. How can you not see that? It’s also clear to rational and well-informed people that most social pathologies are directly or indirectly a result of the abuse of heterosexuality — and that you are blatantly scapegoating gay people.

                    — If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table. —

                    Counselor [“Misha] may recognize the adage. You appear oblivious to another fact: you lost this argument a long time ago. On the facts. The facts have always been against you and as a result the law has at last begun to change to reflect it, everywhere civilized anyway. This is happening because it’s no longer possible for cant and hypocrisy to conceal the facts from most reasonable people (except in ever-retarded Russia. And Uganda, the world capital of cannibalism and …. wait for it …. heterosexual ***gang rape*** — probably just a coincidence . . .). Nothing remains for you now but to make a lot of incoherent and mean-spirited noise. We concede that you excel at this.

                    ***The etymological history of both words reveals great changes in their meanings, depending on time and place, and on who you ask. The definitions of “sodomy” have ranged over the centuries from bestiality, masturbation, and oral sex to that act between two males which so obsesses the indignant imaginations of many present here. The Uniform Code of Military Justice defines “sodomy” as any act of oral or anal sex; the sex of the charged is immaterial, including at one time the fact that they were married to each other. In some US states, laws still on the books define oral sex as “sodomy,” again, even when performed by a married husband and wife. In modern German and Polish the word refers exclusively to bestiality.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        BRUCE METZGER!!!!!!!! ?
        Who was it that wrote that the RSV was written by men who didn’t realize they were atheists? Was it Eliot?

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          The RSV as well as the King James should always be corrected according to the Septuagint and the Church’s Official Greek New Testament. The Church Officially uses these texts and translations from these texts, and no others.

          Even though I personally believe that were should include a much broader OT and NT scriptural bases that is NOT for me to decide, but for the Church as a whole. Unless and until that day comes whatever English Bible we use they must always conform to the Septuagint and the Church’s Greek New Testament text, AND interpreted within the Church and with the Mind of the Church.

          Otherwise, those who use the KJV will start to believe in the Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement, the Total Depravity of Man, Original Sin from a purely Augustinian point of view and probably most the full range of Calvinism.

          So although Bishop Fitzgerald’s criticisms of the RSV are not necessarily unfounded, as no English Translation is perfect, the KJV should not be lionized as actually has more errors than most people would like to admit.

          However, whichever English translation we use it must conform to Orthodox Teachings and not start to change them. I would highly recommend the following You Tube video by Dr Jeannie Constantinou:

          Peter A. Papoutsis

          • Vladyka’s criticisms of Metzger and the whole process of textual revisions arising from a functionally agnostic scholarly community that began to be introduced to the masses in earnest with the RSV are quite valid. While the KJV NT (the OT is a different matter) isn’t perfect, it used the Byzantine text type and was translated in a time with an atmosphere of deep belief (and hardly hard-core Calvinist), serious scholarship, and an unparalleled feel for beauty in the English language. Nothing has yet rivaled it, and Orthodox churches would do well to use it, doing the minimal updating of truly antiquated words that have changed in meaning and correcting the few well known errors and theological distortions in light of the standard Orthodox Greek and Slavonic texts. It is sad that Peter Gilquist’s close ties to a certain publishing company saddled much of the American Orthodox world with the highly unsatisfactory NKJV — hope what they paid him was worth it to him.

            But the fact that Metzger was an advocate for a school of thought about NT textual criticism that is incompatible with Orthodox understandings of God’s preservation of Holy Scripture doesn’t mean he wasn’t a heavy hitter in the world of Biblical scholarship. He was.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Hi Edwards. I agree with almost all you stated. However, I would say that the KJV does support, or better to say “Lends” itself to support, Calvinist beliefs more than the RSV IMHO. In any event whether its the KJV or RSV both of these English Bibles should conform to the Septuagint (OT) and the Official Greek New Testament of our Church, as well as to the Teachings of our Church.

              Here are some great links to get authentic Orthodox Bibles in the Original Greek:


              BTW I had the opportunity this past weekend to be in a bookstore that had a wonderful English Bible section and I had the chance to look at and review some of the most popular English Bible translations on the market.

              Suffice it to say that all English translations that I reviewed, and I was there waiting on some business to be completed for almost 2 hours, were IMHO garbage outside of the KJV, NKJV and the RSV.

              I thought I would like the ESV, but I did not and I never liked the NRSV, or any of the others. Not even the Catholic NAB was that good. It was terrible in the Psalms. Maybe I would give the Jerusalem Bible a pass, but in many places it just was not accurate enough for my taste.

              To walk out of there with only three (3) good English translations that I could recommend for any Christian to use, let alone English-Speaking Orthodox Christians, in several rows of English Bible translations was troublesome to say the least.

              Fr. John Whiteford has an excellent article on English Bible translations that I highly recommend you read, and that you read several times as Fr. John is always updating this article.

              Anyway, have a great day and enjoy.


          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Nothing’s perfect. The RSV accomplished what it set out to do– to make a modern translation purposefully in the Tyndale-King James tradition. Fortunately, it was done just a short generation or so before cultural/political issues injected themselves into the whole biblical translation process.

            It’s far and away my favorite. Of course, being born in 1948 and raised in the mainline Presbyterian Church, I was brought up on it– can’t ignore that….I was gratified to find it in wide use among American Orthodox when I first became acquainted with same.

            It’s too bad the Catholics never adopted it for liturgical use right out of Vat II; it would have helped arrest the decline of their liturgical language on many fronts.

            As for Metzger; a great scholar and an interesting writer. As has been said, one hardly needs to agree with him on many points. Which is true of great scholars in every field.

        • Fr. John Whiteford says

          Recognizing that Bruce Metzger was a reputable biblical scholar is not the same thing as saying that you agree with all of his conclusions. I certainly don’t agree with all Metzger’s views or interpretations. Rudolph Bultmann was also a reputable biblical scholar, though there are very things that he wrote that I would agree with.

  34. Mike Myers says

    Highly regarded by heavy hitters in the academic field of Biblical scholarship. The criticism was that the book in question did measure up, and that it would hurt Robert Gagnon’s academic career, since it was such a universally panned book. The fact is, if the likes of Brevard Childs and Bruce Metzger praise the book (which they both do), the book obviously is highly regarded in its field.

    It’s true that the two you note were heavy hitters (both of them died soon after writing their reviews). It’s not true that the list of review excerpts you cite is representative of this book’s reception by scholars and specialists outside of “conservative” Christian seminaries and university general religion departments. (And it’s from Gagnon’s webpage.)

    I’ll assemble and post a list of review excerpts, too.

    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      Those two names are very big names, but a few more that jump out at your are J. I. Packer, Gordon J. Wenham, and James D. G. Dunn. And so what if its from Gagnon’s webpage, unless you wish to argue that he fabricated the quotes?

    • Fr. Whiteford acknowledges that the book was “universally panned” — presumably by scholars outside of the conservative religious world — so what will your citing of negative review quotations accomplish? We all know that any reviewer worth his salt can trash a book because he doesn’t like its conclusions, and yet do so under the guise of scholarly critiques. I know nothing of the book in question, but do know that the phenomenon which Fr. Whiteford describes is not at all uncommon.

      I would further point out that highly regarded books are not necessarily ones that other scholars agree with — they may be ones that are researched and written well enough that they can’t be ignored, and those who don’t like them have no option but to respond to them, sometimes savagely.

      • Mike Myers says

        He didn’t “acknowledge that the book was universally panned” — nor did I say it was. It’s tiresome to need to constantly ask posters here to read competently. But “Edward” has some excuse in that Fr. W.’s remark was so poorly composed, in addition to being an inexcusable and probably conscious distortion of my point, twisting what I actually wrote for a cheap rhetorical effect. That’s frequently his M.O.

        He asserted:

        . . . The criticism was that the book in question did[n’t] measure up, and that it would hurt Robert Gagnon’s academic career, since it was such a universally panned book.

        I have to assume he omitted the negative. Problem is, I never said it was “a universally panned book.” The book was panned by some, lionized by some others, while most of the reviews I’ve read took more nuanced positions on its scholarship, arguments and methods, seeing strengths and weaknesses. And I never claimed anything different. What I did claim was that experts in Semitic linguistics and the cultural anthropology of the period wrote harsh critique of the sections of his book where he ignorantly trespassed upon their turf.

        Which problem touches on the core failing of his global approach: homoerotic relationships, of all kinds, just aren’t about sex acts only or even mainly, usually. The pretense that they are is at the root of the impasse here, where in the worst cases hopelessly stupid and filthy-minded bigots square off against NAMBLA, Jeffrey Dahmer’s posthumous fan club and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and their groupies. Only stupid bigots emote and grunt in these modes, but such people are being ignored more and more, and rightfully so. Gagnon, for all his odd, tortured argumentation and the comically pedantic fireworks of pseudo-erudition on display in his book, is at root little more than a verbosely stupid bigot on the issue. An evidently unteachable one, too, which is usually true in such cases. Some things it seem just can’t be fixed.

        The key granting access to his hermeneutical prison camp is the, to me, ludicrously pig-headed and reductive notion of “structural identity,” which notion marches him off, in handcuffs, to making a quite dazzling claim: that, according to the implications of the Scriptural witness, as read by Ayatollah Gagnon, homosexual relationships are more gravely pathological and more worthy of condemnation than mother-son incest. He actually “argues” that. This is the final destination of his sophistic method and the crude sensibility driving him.

        I’m content to leave judgments about the value of that assertion to decent human beings, with no further comment. But I have one question: Does Fr. Gagnon agree with this reductio ad absurdum, seeing that he recommends the book alongside the Bible?

        • Mike Myers says

          “Does Fr. Whiteford agree with this . . .”

          Now the editing function has disappeared, along with no longer being able to preview a post before submitting it. Along with the option to actually see and read at a glance poster’s prior comments, by clicking “View all comments.” Along with being unable to delete a post without its returning days later. Along with some other program failures, too.

        • Fr. John Whiteford says

          I did not put the book on par with the Bible, but those are two books it would do you good to read, and actually engage what they say on this subject.

          The vitriol in your criticisms of the book show that it must have hit close to home.

          If it was at all as bad as you suggest, you would not have had one the most highly respected Old Testament scholars of the past 50 years (Brevard Childs, who by the way was hardly a conservative) and one of the most highly regarded New Testament scholars of the past 50 years (Bruce Metzger) both praising the book.

          The problem is t hat liberals have politicized everything, including Biblical scholarship. And since Gagnon’s book does not reach the politically correct conclusions, liberals hate it.

  35. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Thanks, Mike. I assumed all those program failures were due to my age and sinfulness, not to mention arthritic finger joints! I am totally discombobulated, however, with Father John Whitford’s associations with the NCC-RSV modernist faction of Bible commentators!
    The father John I used to think I knew would have, my mistake, given us copious excerpts from the patristic Orthodox commentaries which we are obliged and expected to use as our authorities…

    Perhaps the Fathers who produced those commentaries were in the dark about condemning such (sodomites) as Plato and Socrates so they must be dumped in favor of the American CHRISTIAN (but not Orthodox) biblical ministers, like (egad!) Bruce Metzger, NCC Star.

    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      We I having a conversation with someone who was approaching this issue from an Orthodox perspective, I would be focused on what the Fathers and the Canons had to say, along with the Scriptures that they cited on this question. Mike, if he is Orthodox at all, is not approaching the question in an Orthodox way.

      Gagnon’s book does a good job of demonstrating that the texts in Scripture about homosexuality cannot be dismissed as not really addressing homosexuality, as homosexual advocates so often wish to pretend.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        1. I recognize the psychology of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” in Father John’s imprimatur and economuium for Gagnon and his book.
        2. I recognize that “homosexuality” does not exist as a concept or moral category in Holl Scriptures, although a couple behaviors peculiar to SOME homosexuals and heteeosexuals are condemned as sinful, sodomy or unclean..
        3 I find much of the polemic against what we call homosexuality to fall into the collloquial category of “reaching, reaching,” and thus weak in the eyes of the younger generation, who are always on the alert against being fooled

  36. Mike Myers says

    The Leviticus verses in the Greek LXX — which is authoritative for us Orthodox and from which St. Paul quotes directly — is not a clinical description of a particular sex act.

    In your poorly informed and quite unfounded opinion. But who are you? Evidently just some anonymous chatterer on a blog, one who repeatedly demonstrates reading comprehension problems . . . in English. I seriously doubt that your exegetical skills in an ancient Near Eastern language are likely to be any better. It seems you subscribe to a post-modern philosophy of translation that, aside from yourself and perhaps Peter Patoutsis, Esq., is unknown to anyone actually competent in the field. The meaning intended by a text’s author(s)/redactors matters to them, if not so much to you. Your assertion is silly.

    The consensus reading among rabbis since the first century has consistently maintained that the Hebrew text in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 prohibits anal intercourse between a man and male. This act is in the category of detestable practices for Israelite men, and those guilty of it are subject to the death penalty. The wording in 18:22 specifically forbids a man to “lie {the} lyings of {a} woman with {a} male (zachar).” (The plural mishkeve, “lyings,” is interesting, incidentally, and has been a catalyst for much debate. It’s used in the context of incest prohibitions in the Hebrew Tanach.) The Hebrew text’s specificity is actually striking: to be anally penetrated by a “male” is toevah.

    On top of the testimony of rabbinic commentary over the ages, to contemporary luminaries of Hebrew scholarship such as David Stewart (Rabbi, Chairman, Religious Studies, CSULB) and Jacob Milgrom (Rabbi, Professor (Emeritus), Chairman, Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley) and Richard Elliott Friedman (Rabbi, Ann and Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies, Univ. of Georgia) and many others, the meaning here is specific and sharply delineated by the grammar and syntax of the laconic text.

    It refers to a man “lying with” a man. And adds in, for good measure, “as with a woman.” It thus covers the whole spectrum of male-male sexual activity, and calls it an abomination. Not terribly complicated, and the Orthodox Church has never treated it as anything complicated.

    I don’t know what your day job is, but I think you should definitely stick with that, “Edward.”

  37. Mike Myers says

    The problem here, “Misha,”


    . . . in the words of Johnson, you’ve set out to milk the cow only to end up milking the bull. Your panache of pseudo-scientific claims seems to be little more than the fruits of Freud, Lacan, maybe some Foucault, etc, etc. Yawn. Really? This is your triumphal overturning of the Church?

    You’re on a roll, aren’t you. Not trying to overturn the Church, bozo. Just sharing the results of scholarship with the ignorant and paranoid. You’re welcome.

    . . . If I thought it might do some good, I’d bother to delve into this but you know what you’re doing here. You can’t address the normative nature


    because if you reject the idea of a telos in nature, you’ve stepped outside of Orthodox doctrine and the idea that God created humankind with a purpose (and purposes) in mind. So, which is it? Are you going to choose Paley or Darwin? Careful, Misha, whatever one you select will commit you to a metaphysics that may betray you.

    I don’t reject the idea of telos in Christian anthropology. Finding it in fallen “nature,” however, is a bit more problematic. Not that it couldn’t be done, eventually, scientifically. But at this point you’re talking philosophy, not science.

    I believe, for example, that the Uncreated Energies of God are driving the transfiguration of fallen nature, through us now in Christ — if that’s what you’re getting at. And are you one of these convert fundamentalists who want to overturn the findings of molecular biology, thinking you can read science out of the book of Genesis? A young-earther? Your associations are a little too loose to follow, sorry.

    The Noachide laws — the point, “Misha,” is that they’re Talmudic, the invention of rabbis — the Amoraim or Tannaim, I can’t remember. As such, your claim regarding Paul and James is anachronistic to say the least: Paul and James weren’t Orthodox Jews. Make a distinction between Torah She-bictav and Torah She-be’el Peh — doesn’t matter. It’s ridiculous to claim these Talmudic rabbinic inventions is what they would have been informed by.

    The “Seven Laws of Noah”: Five come straight out of the Decalogue, one is found in Acts 15, and then there’s the command to establish courts of justice. Very interested in entertaining your beef with any of them from an Orthodox Christian point of view. What’s with the paranoia? You a modern-day Marcionite or something?