Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

Whether it’s nickering, sighing, groaning, blowing, snorting, or neighing, the following tweet says it all.

I suppose that even the American Establishment knows that its existence is built upon a tissue of lies.  Eventually, the truth will out.  It always does. 

So, to all of you out there who hate on Putin because he “invaded” Ukraine, may we have an apology now? 

At the very least, I must ask where all the Russophobes were when we invaded Iraq.  Or is it “one rule for the American Deep State, another for the Russian”?




  1. George Michalopulos says

    Not apropos of this post, but Dr Steve Turley has a perceptive analysis on the rise of the future “national-civilizational states”:

  2. You have to pair it with Biden’s bragging about the greatest organization for voter fraud ever assembled and you get a clear picture of the Uniparty.

  3. Μωλον Λαβε says

    So delicioso ! when the brain trips over the tongue and the truth is blurted out !

  4. George Michalopulos says

    Addendum: so do I regret voting for W back in 2000?

    No, I don’t. For one thing, there is no doubt that had Al Gore won, he would have taken us into The Sandbox as well. It’s blindingly obvious by now that the Democrats are not anti-war: Obama took W’s two wars and trebled them to seven. Just the other day, every last Democrat in the Congress –both chambers!–voted for more war. A never-ending war if they have there way.

    Having said that, W did some positive things from a conservative point of view: stopped stem-cell research, appointed some solid judges, upheld gun rights, and cut taxes.

    That’s all good. Unfortunately he turned out to be a war criminal.

    So if I had to do it all over again, would I have voted for Bush? Yes, because in the present presidential system, we have only two choices. Trump was a blessed aberration. With Bush, at least we got Sam Alito as a justice. Had Gore one, we would have had some neo-bolshevik like Merrick Garland and we still would have had war.

    And none of the other conservative accomplishments that W could take credit for.

    Do you begin to see how royally screwed we are as a nation? And how devoted so many of us are to Trump?

  5. What Victory Will Look Like in Ukraine

    There will be no return to normalcy or status quo ante.
    By Eliot A. Cohen

    ‘ … The battlefield facts, as far as we can know them,
    are that Ukraine is winning the war. … ‘

    The capacity for self-delusion of these people seems boundless…

  6. George Michalopulos says

    Rather than waste time on an idiot neocon, let us remember a true genius: Vangelis Odysseus Papathanassiou, died yester in Paris, France:

    • George Michalopulos says

      Here is, hands down, my favorite musical score by Vangelis:

      Believe me, it was so very hard to find one “favorite” piece.

      • As a Scot, I have to go for…

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          As a Scots-American (my father was born in Peterhead in 1918), Brendan, I share your enthusiasm for “Chariots of Fire,” both the score and the film itself. Similarly, the inspired musical score for “Braveheart” by James Horner always touches my soul with a wee bit of ethnic pride:

          But the one film soundtrack that always elicits in me a tear of joy mixed with sorrow is Ennio Morricone’s hauntingly beautiful score for “The Mission,” especially the prominent role of the oboe:

          The soundtrack for the final scene in that film, where pro-slavery Portuguese military forces confront the humble Spanish Jesuit missionaries and their primitive Guarani converts in a Paraguayan jungle in South America in the 18th century, is a testament to the profound effect music can have in cinema.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Love your choices.

            My favorite: “The Impossible Dream”
            (originally by Richard Kiley)

            To dream the impossible dream
            To fight the unbeatable foe
            To bear with unbearable sorrow
            To run where the brave dare not go

            To right the unrightable wrong
            To love pure and chaste from afar
            To try when your arms are too weary
            To reach the unreachable star

            This is my quest
            To follow that star
            No matter how hopeless
            No matter how far

            To fight for the right
            Without question or pause
            To be willing to march into hell
            For a heavenly cause

            And I know if I’ll only be true
            To this glorious quest
            That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
            When I’m laid to my rest

            And the world will be better for this
            That one man, scorned and covered with scars
            Still strove with his last ounce of courage
            To reach the unreachable star”

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

              Gail, your suggestion prompts me to reveal that my first date with my wife of almost 50 years included a matinee performance of “Man of La Mancha” on Broadway on June 20, 1970. That was, of course, the musical that introduced “The Impossible Dream” to the world.

              Along with your excellent selection from that show, I would add “Dulcinea,” a beautiful love song that helps Don Quixote transform Aldonza, the “gutter snipe,” into a woman of virtue:


              • Fr Alexander, everything is linked. 🙂

                The Mission was partly based on R B Cunningham[e] Graham:
                A Vanished Arcadia,
                Being Some Account of the Jesuits in Paraguay, 1607 to 1767

                …and Graham himself was a true Don Quixote whose life consisted of tilts at one windmill after another. Though both rightful King of Scots and Earl of Menteith, he never bothered claiming either title. Instead, despite being an aristocrat, he was elected to Parliament by the miners of North Lanarkshire who trusted him to look after their interests.

                At various times in his long life, he was a cowboy on the pampas (having a hair-raising escape from capture by Indians), horse rancher in Texas (stock run-off by Apaches), fencing master in Mexico City, horse rancher in Texas again (stock run off by Apaches – again ), gold prospector in Hither Lusitania (seeking a gold mine described by Pliny – which he found but it was worked out long before he got there) and traveller – seeking the forbidden city of Tarudant in Morocco he was arrested and the government of the day had to send the Royal Navy to get him out.
                While in Texas he became a friend of Buffalo Bill.

                He was a supporter of Home Rule for both Scotland and Ireland – in furtherance of which, according to Shaw, he “single-handedly assaulted the assembled military and constabulary might of the greatest empire in world history” in Trafalgar Square on Bloody Sunday, 1887 while ‘freely using his fists’.

                He was also the first President of the Scottish Labour Party (1888)
                and the first President of the National Party of Scotland (1928).

                To a society lady who told him: “You should be Prime Minster”,
                he replied: “If I had my rights, I should be King of this country.
                And what a three weeks that would be!”

                GK Chesterton observed that that while Cunninghame Graham would never be allowed to be Prime Minister, he had instead “achieved the adventure of being Cunninghame Graham”, which Shaw described as “an achievement so fantastic that it would never be believed in a romance.”

                For the last forty years or so of his life he wrote about a book a year. Famously he never bother to check the proofs, so Joseph Conrad (who Graham had kept writing when he wanted to give it up and go back to sea) offered to do it for him for free.

                On the quality of his writing, Frank Harris said he was an amateur,
                but an amateur of genius; to which Shaw replied: “Thank God for that!
                If he ever turned professional he’d wipe the floor with the lot of us!”

                As well as all this, Graham looked like a true Don Quixote;
                so much so that Strang used him as a model for his etchings.

                Here is a Strang picture of Graham as himself:

                and here is one of Graham as the Knight of La Mancha:

                As for transforming someone ‘into a woman of virtue’, he married Gabrielle de la Balmondiere (a supposedly half-Chilean, half-French poet); who was really Caroline Horsfall, daughter of a Yorkshire doctor who had repeatedly run away to the stage.
                Graham’s mother invented the exotic backstory so she would be more acceptable in ‘polite’ society, but he always called her ‘Carrie’ anyway.

                Sadly they had no children; and when she died in 1906, he dug her grave with his own hands in the old Priory of Inchmahome in the Lake of Menteith.

                Thirty years later, he was laid beside her. He had died in Buenos Aires on a visit to the birthplace of his friend WH Hudson. His body lay in state for a month before being returned to Scotland for interment. Here is a newsreel from the funeral:

                The leftist firebrand poet Hugh MacDiarmid said:
                “I value Cunninghame Graham above rubies.
                He is one of your d*mned aristos,
                but he is the greatest Scotsman of the day.”

                Of all the characters in long centuries of Scottish History,
                he is the one I would most like to sit and have a beer with.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  OK, I’m Welsh (I can make incredible Cornish pasties and everything) so some of this Scotsman stuff I can claim, too!

                  • Christie Christison, is a story of redemption;
                    not just of the woman but of the man as well.
                    Is it true? Or did Graham make it up?
                    Who knows, but it is beautiful, and here it is:

                    An as it’s the tale o’ a Peterheid man
                    I’m shair Faither Sandy Wabster wad like it tae…

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      Thank you, Brendan, for that recommended short story. I intend to read it tomorrow (now that the university semester has concluded), and I expect that I shall “like it tae,” as you suggest.

                  • Halliwell, James Orchard (1861). Rambles in Western Cornwall by the Footsteps of the Giants. London: John Russell Smith. pp. 40–41.
                    “In fact so universal are the contents of Cornish pasties, a local proverb states that the devil will not venture into Cornwall, for if the inhabitants caught him, they would be sure to put him into a pie”

                  • In Cornwall, pasties are called ‘oggies
                    Oggy‘ is the Anglicisation of the Cornish ‘hoggan‘.
                    Mostly they were meals for the tin miners.

                    An ‘oggie man” was a seller of pasties.
                    One used to sell oggies outside Devonport Dockyard.
                    But in WWII, the Americans came selling hot dogs.
                    They were new and they were different
                    and the oggie man lost his trade.

                    The great Cyril Tawney wrote this song:

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Yes, one of our clan was a miner named Tom, I believe. He had a wife and 5 children and decided to go to the States and mine for gold. I don’t think his wife saw him for 5 years. Finally, she got tired of waiting for him and she and the kids packed up and made the transatlantic crossing. She went all the way to AZ, I believe, found him, right where he said he was going to be all those years ago, after no contact with him whatsoever. (Talk about a “brave heart!” She was fearless.) He was delighted to see them and they lived happily ever after. – So have her pasties.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Speaking of all things Celtic (with an Orthodox twist), might I suggest this site for Orthodox/Celtic memorabilia (run by one of my godsons):


                    • A lovely story.
                      All the better for being true… 🙂

                    • Here is a story which may be true
                      and links Cornwall to early Christianity:
                      Maddy Prior: Joseph Was A Tin Man

                      [Video – 04:24]

                      Historical Background: Cornwall’s tin mines were known
                      to Carthaginians and Greeks, before the Romans came.
                      Joseph of Arimathea traditionally ended his days in Britain.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Interesting. Thank you!

            • George Michalopulos says

              Yes indeed!

            • Christine says

              One of my favorites. And don’t forget “When You Walk Through A Storm” and “Climb Every Mountain”, also from that same era of inspiring musicals.

  7. George Michalopulos says

    OK, I can’t help myself:

  8. I grew up in one of those southern evangelical families that defended Bush no matter what. The religious media we consumed considered it a sin to criticize him. It may be hard to imagine if you weren’t in that subculture, but the support for the Iraq war was dogmatic. Bush was our prophet.

    Evangelicalism has never made a reckoning of its total devotion to Bush. It’s just been quietly forgotten. They bemoaning failing church attendance and the stigmatization of the “religious right” and “moral majority”, but they have no humility. They can’t even admit they were wrong about this one issue. Instead they pretend it didn’t happen and move on to the next thing.

    Frankly I don’t care about abortion. I nominally support its end, but really its just another dumb crusade for evangelicals to feel good about themselves. It’s the confusion of ideology for morality.

    I think a lot of it was rooted in American exceptionalism and patriotism. It was too painful to admit that we were the bad guys on the world stage, so instead we loudly justified evil and condemned the world for rejecting us. It’s disgusting, and I spit on evangelicalism.

    I’m not condoning Franky Schaefer, but I understand.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Austin, thanks for sharing. Yes, the “Pro-Life” political movement has often struck me also, as a “crusade for [American] evangelicals to feel [morally] good about themselves”.

      Since most “evangelicals” would never consider having an abortion anyways, the “Pro-Life” movement easily provides moral affirmation for them, as well as the psychological support of a large political body.

      It is this political body of “Pro-Life evangelicals” that largely supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They typically justified the invasion, because it was authorized by a “Pro-Life” president. The grave irony of this logic was completely lost on them. Apparently it also didn’t matter that Iraq was a country with abortion already illegal.

      That the “Pro-Life” movement became an ideological enabler of the U.S. invasion of Iraq just shows how easily it becomes a tool wielded by politicians for their own agendas.

  9. ‘That the “Pro-Life” movement became an ideological enabler
    of the U.S. invasion of Iraq just shows how easily it becomes
    a tool wielded by politicians for their own agendas.’

    Nevertheless, “Pro-Life” is Christian (and Muslim etc).
    “Pro-Choice”, in the context of abortion, is not.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’ve made the same argument for years. I am “pro-choice” and my choice is “pro-life.”

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Brendan, in the U.S. the “Pro-Life” movement has essentially become a battle of state’s rights versus federal rights. Indeed, some states want to whistle Dixie, but there’s nothing specifically Christian about this. For example, if there was a predominantly Muslim state in the U.S., should it be allowed to enforce Sharia law?

      • Joseph, stop trying to change the subject.
        My point was that Christians (and Muslims etc…)
        do not agree with the killing of unborn babies.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Brendan, abortion policy always takes precedent over other news in the U.S. Changing the subject is exactly what the “Pro-Life” movement does. An invasion of Iraq? Let’s change the subject to what’s actually important, the real war at hand in America of “Pro-Life” vs. “Pro-Choice”. A war in Ukraine? That’s getting kind of tired. Back again to what’s important, the real war in America of “Pro-Life” vs “Pro-Choice”.

          It seems that no matter how questionable the U.S. involvement in overseas wars, our government can always count on the public to be distracted by their obsession over abortion legislation.

          • Mr. Lipper, it is not the pro-life movement that changed the subject here. The supreme court was about to render an opinion that would overturn the spurious federal license for abortion, but an activist hidden within the court spilled the beans. It was that individual’s action that changed the subject.

            The subject of the war in Ukraine is still very much alive, despite the distraction. However, the invalidation of Roe v. Wade for the United States is, in the end, more momentous than any movement in the war in Ukraine. Why? The combatants in Ukraine are adults who have the freedom within reason to take sides and risk their lives for their choice. In contrast to that, unborn children in the womb do not have that freedom under Woe v. Wade. They’re left gasping for air at the mercy of their parents.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Mr. Wheeler, yes, I agree it was most likely some “Pro-choice” activist that leaked it. I assume the “Pro-choicer’s” are as equally obsessed as the “Pro-Lifer’s”. Both are engaged in this.

              What are we being distracted from though? Probably many things that our government is doing wrong, and that’s probably why it was leaked.

              • ‘ I assume the “Pro-choicer’s” are as
                equally obsessed as the “Pro-Lifer’s”. ‘

                Your choice of words suggests you think
                one group is as bad as the other;
                ie: you don’t think it really matters…

              • As far as the leaker is concerned, this was not a distraction, in my opinion. I may be way out in left field, but I’m going to venture a guess and say that it was most likely a young, energetic female intern for one of the liberal justices who leaked the draft opinion. That seems to me to be the most plausible characterization of the perpetrator. There could be nothing more destructive to a militant, secularist society than the overturning of Roe v. Wade to her passionately-considered worldview. The retreat of the court on this one decision, hallowed as it has become by a half century of stare decisis, is a monstrous betrayal, in her mind.

                And, of course, there’s the consideration that she herself is desperate to hold onto her sexual freedom to go against nature and pursue a libidinous lifestyle without the curse of pregnancy and the duty to carry a baby to term.

                Oh, boy! I may be way off base, and the interns will have to forgive me if I’m wrong, but this explanation makes the most sense to me. In any case, the matter of the legalization of abortion in all 50 states has always been the most compelling of moral issues for the last 50 years. The murder of God-created human beings in the womb will never hold second place to any other political consideration. If World War III breaks out, I may have to revise my view, however.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I see where you’re coming from. You’re probably correct.

                  Others, of a more conspiratorial nature have opined that the leak was a DS operation intended to (1) energize the Dem base for the midterms, and/or (2) to provide a domestic “off-ramp” for their mishandling of the Ukrainian proxy war. FWIW, The New York Times, which is the flagship publication of the American Establishment has advised St Zelensky to throw in the towel and yesterday at Davos (at the WEF), Henry Kissinger baldly stated so in no uncertain terms.

                  Off-ramps are being created. The question is whether the Establishment can alter its unalterable momentum.

                  Sorry for the tangent Chip, but –whoo-boy!–will there be a lot of hoopin’ and hollerin’ when the decision comes down. Grab the popcorn!

                  • I’ve seen the theory that Roe Vs. Wade was to be dropped to cover up that there will be a massive drop in abortion requests, due to many people becoming infertile due to the COVID vaccines. An interesting take that has a lot to be said for it.

                  • George, you may be right. At this point I wouldn’t put anything past the scoundrels in the bowels of power. I’ve felt like a deer caught in the headlights for the past two years. It’s all that I can do to try to keep up with the Machiavellian manipulations. Never in my 68 years have I been so consistently distraught by the developments in world politics. I no longer trust the authorities to which I should owe obedience. The stress has been overwhelming at times, and the anger can eat at one from the inside out. Thank God for the mystery of confession and absolution. Last night, I took rare comfort in Psalm 37, which I quote in its entirety:

                    37 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

                    2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

                    3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

                    4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

                    5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

                    6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

                    7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

                    8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

                    9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

                    10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

                    11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

                    12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

                    13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

                    14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

                    15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

                    16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

                    17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.

                    18 The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

                    19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

                    20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

                    21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

                    22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

                    23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

                    24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

                    25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

                    26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

                    27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

                    28 For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

                    29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

                    30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

                    31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

                    32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

                    33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

                    34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

                    35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

                    36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

                    37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

                    38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

                    39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

                    40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

                    • That’s from the KJV.
                      From the LXX it’s Psalm 36.
                      Whatever, it’s beautiful…

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            RE “always count on the public to be distracted by their obsession over abortion legislation.”

            Mr. Lipper, what you dismiss cavalierly as an “obsession” is, to the contrary, a fundamental, universal moral revelation in Orthodox tradition from the first patristic documents to condemn the practice (Epistle to Diognetus and Epistle of Barnabas ) in the first third of the second century AD to the present day. Pro-life Orthodox Christians–and there cannot be non-pro-life Orthodox Christians in good conscience–are not “obsessed” with the abortion abomination inflicted upon our American society by radical leftists almost fifty years ago, but rather determined to end the atrocities of abortion at least at the national or federal level.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Father Alexander, the “Pro-life” movement, as we all know, is a fairly recent political movement that didn’t exist before the ruling of Roe vs Wade. As a political movement, being “Pro-life” is associated with seeking to change federal and/or state laws by the usual political means of public protests, government lobbying, the election of government officials, and the interpretation of constitutional law. This is not what the early Christians were doing.

              We can see from the sources you provide that the early Christians did not practice abortion, and they also considered it to be a sin. I believe the same holds for true Christians today. Yet I would adamantly disagree that the early Christians were “Pro-life”.

              Though the early Christians didn’t practice abortion, and considered it a sin, they weren’t as a whole trying to implement government legislation as the “Pro-life” movement does today. If anything, I believe the Epistle to the pagan Diognetus argues that Christians pose no political threat to a pagan culture and government. The author of that epistle writes about Christians that, “They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet they endure all things as if foreigners.” I believe the author is saying here that the early Christians mostly didn’t have political agendas.

              • Orthodox Christians do not murder,
                or procure the murder of, babies in the womb;
                whatever the government of the day may say…

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Brendan, yes, even though elective abortion may be legal, it is not the way of Christianity. Government laws, or the absence of them, certainly don’t define Christian practice.

                  While other “Abrahamic faiths” may tend towards an obsession with law, such as with Rabbinic law and Sharia law, I would hope that Christianity has a different incarnational approach to abortion, fulfilling the prophecy, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

                  Saint Paul writes about this:

                  “Now if the ministry of death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at the face of Moses because of its fleeting glory, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry of righteousness!” (2 Corinthians 3:7-9)

                  Here St. Paul makes the distinction between the lesser “ministry of condemnation”, often associated with the other “Abrahamic faiths”, and the greater “ministry of righteousness” that Christians are called to. Indeed, St. Paul tells us that Christians have a higher calling, “as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)

                  In regards to abortion in the early church, Christians had this “ministry of righteousness” and without any apparent interest in a “ministry of condemnation” that would entail politically changing their government’s laws.

              • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                RE “Yet I would adamantly disagree that the early Christians were ‘Pro-life.’”

                Mr. Lipper, you are playing word games that are beneath the intelligence of the community. Why are you trying to “strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:24).

                My point, which I suspect you understand fully, is simply that every extant patristic document in Orthodox tradition that addresses the abomination of abortion has, without exception and without equivocation, denounced the abomination of abortion and forbidden Orthodox Christians to have anything to do with it. The Church has been unrelentingly anti-abortion and therefore “pro-preborn child.” In America and around the world today that means “pro-life” in our own lives and, to the best of our public moral witness, our societies as well.

                It is clear to me that you are giving yourself permission here to support–for a reason or reasons that I cannot fathom–various and sundry legal and political actions by those whose agenda is diametrically opposed to Holy Orthodox Tradition. In the United States of America you are, of course, free to do so as a citizen. But I would caution that you are not at liberty to proclaim yourself a faithful Orthodox Christian and, at the same time, act in any way contrary to our Orthodox moral theology that affirms the God-given right of every conceived innocent human being to proper nurture and protection through the entire period of gestation and after birth until, at least, the age of accountability.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Father Alexander, it’s interesting that you affirm a theology of human rights:

                  “the God-given right of every conceived innocent human being to proper nurture and protection through the entire period of gestation and after birth until, at least, the age of accountability.”

                  I know our government and civic religion has a “Bill of Rights”, but where do you get this “theology” of human rights? More pointedly, how would you reconcile this “right” with the words of our Lord?:

                  “woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.” (Mark 14:21)

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    It’s not the “theology of human rights”, Joseph. It’s the theology of the Church.

                    If you look at Scripture, you’ll see it’s filled with references to children, from beginning to end, and ties them to a life in Christ.

                    Psalm 127:3-5
                    3 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

                    Ephesians 6:1-4
                    1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

                    “Woe” means to “feel sorry for.” We feel sorry for those who spend eternity in a place without God. Look at how the rich man, in the story about Lazarus, described it. He said, “it was agony.” Where it says, “good were it for that man if he had never been born,” it is talking about what it feels like to be in hell.

                    And finally, who is “that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed?” It’s the man who does not follow the teachings of the Church and Scripture.

                    The Church teaches life begins at conception. Scripture teaches murder is a sin.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, the only God-given human right is Christ’s love, and hence Christ’s command given to the Church to “love thy neighbor as thyself” and “even for the least of these” of mankind. This is the law of love. Yet apart from this, what is the basis of any human rights? There isn’t any other basis, but we still endure the constant legal battle of “Pro-choice” and “Pro-life” over human “rights”. Indeed, the notion of human rights is typically a legal designation, such as with civil and political rights, “the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and speech/expression, equality before the law”, etc. However, I would hope that as Christians, we are able to bypass this mire of legal “human rights”, and instead give testimony to the only real right which cannot be adequately legislated anyways, that is the love of Christ.

                      Christ’s words, “good were it for that man if he had never been born” suggests to me that being born is not a human right, even in Christ’s love. Perhaps the state of those not born is sometimes better than the state of human wickedness that is born into the earth.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Joseph, what you’re doing is jumbling things together and calling it the “law of love.” This is your imagination. Christ & the Church do not teach a “law of love.” The love of Christ is about responsibility and fidelity to the teachings of the Church.

                      You keep talking about “human” rights.

                      When fertilization occurs, God creates a unique set of DNA, a signature that never existed before and will never exist again. God made that person with His signature! The creation of life is not a “human right.” You can’t go down to a court of law and file a complaint because your human rights were violated when you did or didn’t have a baby!

                      You are trying to sell something. You’re trying to change my mind. You’re working hard at it, too. You and those who think like you cannot bear to hear the truth: You are not faithful to the teachings of Christ and the Church. It’s like you want to be in the club, thinking we are the obstacles, and if you can change our minds, you’ll be “in.” But it’s not our club, Joseph! We don’t make up the rules.

                      You say, “Perhaps the state of those not born is somehow better than the state of human wickedness that is born into the earth.”

                      First of all, human wickedness isn’t born; it’s chosen. We have free will. Secondly, you have no idea which of the not yet born are going to choose wickedness. Thirdly, you don’t know what God can do!


                      Before I was Orthodox, in the mid-1980s, my housekeeper’s 16-year-old daughter got pregnant by a 28-year-old, abusive man. Her mother, a Catholic, was beside herself. She asked me to help her daughter which I foolishly did. You’ll know what I mean when I finish my story.

                      I had compassion for this family so I took her daughter to the clinic, covering her head to get through the picket line, and she had her abortion. I took her home and cared for her until she recovered.

                      Not one month later, this same girl was pregnant by that same guy and the situation was as dire as the last. This time, however, I did nothing. The first child is gone. But the second child, conceived only a month later, just sent me an email proudly holding up her Ph.D. That could have been the first child had I not intervened.

                      You don’t know what God’s going to do! I had not interfered, that first child could be holding up her Ph.D!

                      You think I would learn my lesson but several years later my son had a short relationship with a woman whom I believe worked in some kind of bar. She and my son didn’t even know each other. She could not afford to have a baby. I told her I would help her find a place to live and make sure she got through the pregnancy if that’s what she wanted, but she didn’t feel she could deal with a baby unless she lived with me and I took care of her and the baby. She was right. Due to some disabilities her mother had, this young woman raised herself and she had nowhere to go.

                      Had I been a stronger person, I would have tried to help her raise her baby. My son was around 18 at the time and they weren’t in a relationship. I worried that down the road, Melissa might get mad at my son and pull her child away from us. I had been in that situation before with another little boy of one of his girlfriends and the little kid got so upset his grandmother had to sneak him over to see us so he wouldn’t think he was abandoned. It was a gut-wrenching experience.

                      Melissa, the young woman who was pregnant, didn’t have enough money to live on her own so we took her into our home. She said she found a doctor who would give her an abortion at 7 months when she could get the money together.

                      Again, I should have left this alone but because I witnessed the aftermath of late-term abortions in the hospitals where I worked, I couldn’t bear the idea of that happening to that baby so I finally gave in and paid for her abortion, as I had the last young woman.

                      Several months passed and we hadn’t seen Melissa. One day my son came to me and said: “Promise me you won’t be mad but Melissa’s outside and wants to see you.” In she walks. 7 months pregnant!

                      This time, my son took her to and from her doctor appointments on a bus. He was there in the delivery room. I was told the child wasn’t his but he felt so guilty about abandoning Melissa, he didn’t want to leave her stranded this time around. He said he had gotten the one who got her pregnant [a black guy] to sign the adoption papers and the baby was adopted by a wonderful family in Irvine. [The reason I said “black” guy is this child looks as fair as my son. So I don’t know if the child was this other guy’s or my son’s.]

                      Again, had I not intervened, Melissa probably wouldn’t have aborted her first baby at 7 months either.

                      This is the second time I interfered thinking I knew better when I didn’t.

                      I asked my priest for his toughest penance which I wasn’t sure he want to give me. I think it was 8 months. I was still a catechumen and because few catechumens had already been given a penance, it wasn’t easy. But it was also wonderful because part of the penance was to offer to help young families who were bringing home new babies. I loved that part!

                      I honestly didn’t know I was doing anything wrong. God forgive me, but I, too, thought it would be better for these two babies not to be born.

                      Joseph, you may remember I lost my son in 2011. Melissa’s baby could have been my granddaughter or grandson and I would have at least had part of him with me.

                      In terms of my fears, Melissa is not working in some bikini bar somewhere or yanking her baby away from me. She now has a home of her own, is married to a great guy, and they have the cutest little boy I ever saw. I’m the honorary grandmother and she shares pictures of him with me. She stuck by me all these years, especially after my son died. She would never have yanked her baby away from me.

                      In both situations, I thought I knew what was best, but I was so wrong. It was decidedly NOT better for those children not to have been born.

                      So, Joseph, you are mistaken in your thinking. You don’t know what God can do. No child is better off dead. Please change your mind.

                    • Galinushka,

                      It is pointless to argue with the devil. Once it has become clear that a person does not share the faith of a believer, I cease debate inasmuch as it is simply impossible for a Muslim and Hindu to come to agreement on theology. Moral commitments have consequences.

                      As for the Church’s teaching on abortion, this amicus brief was endorsed by all the major jurisdictions in the US back in the late 1980’s:

                      For the Church, it is not a matter of rights, though in the legal context we must appeal to rights since that is the currency of meaning in a republic. For the Church it is a matter of basic morality, the Law of God: “Thou shalt do no murder.” Abortion has been considered murder from the earliest times. It is condemned decisively in the Didache and by a number of Church Fathers. It is no different in a republic than in a monarchy. Murder is murder regardless of the political apparatus.

                    • God said: “Thou shalt not kill”;
                      which is probably better translated as:
                      “Thou shalt do no murder”.

                      The killing of unborn babies is murder.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, I’m not against any government laws that I’m aware of, including government laws against abortion. If the law exists, I’m not in favor of overturning it either. My criticism is solely against the “Pro-life” movement, not against government laws. This is not the same thing as being “Pro-choice.” The main reason I don’t bother to criticize the “Pro-choice” movement is because it doesn’t really have a Christian involvement.

                      My question about Christ’s words, “good were it for that man if he had never been born”, I tend to think mostly apply to the phenomenon of spontaneous abortions: miscarriages. However, it does appear to say something about the “good” state of the unborn child (Christ’s words). Children who die before being baptized may not have any formal existence in the church, but they don’t go to “purgatory” either. No, those unborn children who die are already with God, and their state is “good”. This is not meant in any way to be a defence of elective abortion either. A person who procures an elective abortion is commiting sin. It is a sin against the unborn, against themselves, and against God.

                      Gail, thank you for sharing your heart-wrenching personal stories. I really believe that you have a beautiful soul, and I wish more people were like you. Examples of personal sacrifice and intervention to help someone keep their child, like the story you shared, I believe are the reasons why children later succeed in life. As for the mistakes we all make in our lives, God is merciful and forgives.

                    • What planet are you on Joseph? Those words refer to Judas, as it would be better for him to not have been born than to undergo the punishments that await him for betraying the Lord. To apply this to murdered unborn children is hideous and disgusting sophistry.

              • Antiochene Son says

                Joseph your views make no sense. The early Christians did not have a large enough population to enforce the Church’s views on the state. But as soon as the Christian population was large enough to do so, they did.

                The Lord said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” In our (nominally) democratic country, “Caesar” asks us for our opinions and to elect people to work to give them the force of law.

                Christians have a duty to persuade individuals to do the right thing by their own choice, yes—but we also have a duty to use our collective voice to set laws in place to protect all the innocent unborn, not just our own.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Antiochene Son, there are presently over a dozen countries in the world with majority Orthodox Christian populations. Admittedly, I’m amazed that not even one of them has outlawed abortion. Given your theory that they should set laws in place to make abortion illegal, is there a seriously good reason why they haven’t? The Soviet Union collapsed over thirty years ago. I just don’t buy that “because they used to be communist” is the real reason.

                  Rather, what I see is typically a different approach in these countries that discourages abortion and instead encourages families to have children. In Romania, for example, abortion is legal, but it’s discouraged because it’s almost impossible to get one. In Russia, the government provides incentives for families to have children. If we’re going to go the political route with government legislation, then why don’t “Pro-life” American Christians at least consider the same?

                  I also think you’re misinterpreting Christ’s words here. The sly Jews were trying to trick Jesus into making some kind of political statement about caesar’s pagan government. His response of giving to caesar what’s caesar’s is applicable to what our government actually requires of us (such as paying taxes, being drafted, serving in juries, etc.)

                  I can attest that voting in the U.S. is not a requirement by any means. Instead, give to God what is God’s (our hearts).

            • Well said Fr Alexander.

              • Just a dad says

                Seems like Fr. Alexander and Mr. Lipper are talking past each other.

                You could replace Pro-life with BLM and have essentially the same argument. Do black lives matter? Of course. Is BLM a heinous marxist political organization? Of course. So one could argue, analogous to Fr Alexander, that all true Christians agree that black lives matter, whereas analogous to Mr. Lippers point, Christians should avoid BLM.

                The difference is that true Christians are both opposed to abortion and, I would hope, supportive of the principals espoused by the Pro-life political movement – if not necessarily the means to achieve those goals.

                • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                  RE: “supportive of the principals espoused by the Pro-life political movement – if not necessarily the means to achieve those goals.”

                  Which “means” do you have in mind that might be contraindicated?

                  • Just a Dad says

                    I appreciate the question, Father. I was giving some space to the possibility that two Orthodox Christians might both strongly oppose taking human life while not necessarily agreeing to engage in political activism as a means to respond to the moral decay that surrounds us (globally). One might join a pro-life movement, picket abortion centers, distribute flyers to elect more evangelical Protestants to political office, etc. The other might recommit themselves to prayer, fasting, alms, and engaging locally in efforts to support women (and their family if possible) in making different life choices.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      Thank you for that reasonable reply.

                      You are quite right that individuals may undertake one or more of the measures you proposed. But that simply proves my point. The Pro-Life Movement (hardly to be compared to the so-called Black Lives Movement) embraces ALL of those measures–and more–to end the scourge of abortion in American AND to help women who may be inclined to destroy their own preborn child to consider alternatives AND to affirm their pro-life decision with material and spiritual support.

                      Mr. Lipper and I are not “talking past each other,” as you suggest. Mr. Lipper is denying and undermining the Orthodox moral theology of the sanctity of all preborn human life, while trying to be too clever by half.

      • Well, if, say, Idaho were specifically founded as an Islamic state and had constitutional guarantees that Islam would influence state laws, then why not?

        Point is that abortion is not a specifically Christian – or religious – issue, but a question of whether or not deliberately ending the life of a child in the womb is murder or not. There are secular anti-abortionists out there too, you know.

  10. ‘Youth transplants’ really can slow the ageing process

    Stanford scientists find infusions of cerebrospinal fluid can regenerate
    the brain’s memory centre and may help to rejuvenate elderly bodies

    By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor 14 May 2022 • 4:13pm

    ” ‘Youth transplants’ really can slow the ageing process
    Harvesting the blood and body parts of the young in the hope of achieving immortality has long been a familiar trope in horror novels and conspiracy theories.
    But as macabre as it sounds, science is beginning to discover that “youth transplants” really can slow down the ageing process.
    The fountain of youth, it seems, is youth itself. …

    It may only be a few years before “youth transplants” finally move from the pages of gothic horror novels into the clinic. Whether patients will feel squeamish about such vampire procedures remains to be seen. ”

    I expect the abortionists among us will have long since
    overcome any squeamishness they may have had.
    Look for the post-birth abortion farms to start up.

    Luke 11:29 [KVV] “This is an evil generation…”

  11. George Michalopulos says

    Speaking of Hollywood, Ray Liotta passed away today. His performance in Goodfellas was one of the all-time classics.