Welcome to Liberal Bizzaro World…

…where black is white, up is down, an octaroon Latino is a Redneck, and a blond-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavian is a Cherokee.

The only way to believe in such nonsense is to make up a screwy, ahistorical religion. Thank you Liberals for doing this for us and shoving it down our throats since the 1960s. The damage done to this nation (and by extension, the world) has been incalculable.

Fortunately, because it is a false religion, it is quickly unravelling. Consider the curious case of Elizabeth Warren, an ultra-liberal running for Senate against Scott Brown (R-Mass). Warren, a professor at Harvard who is originally from Oklahoma, has long claimed Cherokee Indian ancestry. She has stated that according to family lore, she had a great-great-great-grandmother who was Cherokee. That would make Warren 1/32nd Cherokee. Whoop-dee-do. Unfortunately, there is no evidence at all that she was telling the truth. In other words, she speakum with forked tongue. Nice work if you can get it though; it was this bogus story which helped her ascend the to a presitigious teaching job at Harvard. (That it made a difference in the first place just shows how debased our standards are anymore.)

As it turns out, the ancestor in question (O. C. Sarah Smith) was not Cherokee at all. In fact, Smith’s husband, Joshua Crawford served in the Tennessee Militia, in the very unit which uprooted Cherokees from their houses in the Old South and forced them to go on the Trail of Tears. In other words, Warren is the descendant of a man who took part in ethnic cleansing. Oh, the irony.

Anyway, Warren has now become a national laughing-stock and is in actual danger of losing one of the Democrat’s easiest pick-up seats in the 2012 election.

On the other hand, things have simmered down on the George Zimmerman front. The “Rev” Al Sharpton has been uncommonly quiet. Why? Because it turns out that Zimmerman is not only not a racist but actually has an African ancestor. His mother’s maternal grandfather was black. That makes Zimmerman an “octaroon,” or someone who is 1/8th black. In other words, not only is he a Latino, he’s also an African-American. Oops. Looks like somebody at MSNBCBSABC didn’t get the memo.

Now none of this makes any difference at all. People should be judged on the content of their character rather than on the color of their skin. At least that’s what Martin Luther King believed and that’s what millions of schoolkids have had pounded into their heads these last forty years. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be never really believed a word of it. It was a bunch of horse hockey intended to fool the peasants. And now we know why: because like the old Democrat Party of the South, our modern elites never had any intention of abandoning race as a bludgeon for exercizing control over the great unwashed. Unlike Jim Crow however, the old elite was always up-front about race: it used politics to enforce a racial hierarchy. If it was found out that you had any African ancestry at all, you were out of the club. That’s what made MLK’s ministry so powerful.

Progressives on the other hand were never that honest. In true Alinskyite fashion, they merely picked and chose which races would be preferred in order to empower people who shared their ideology. That’s why they could take a 100 percent European-descended American like Elizabeth Warren and lavish attention and benefits on her simply because she claimed to have some Indian ancestry. Had a conservative professor done so, he would have been called a “race-traitor.” (Just ask Clarence Thomas.)

And so, like the Iron Curtain, it all comes crumbling down. Good. The sooner the better. People cannot go on embracing cognitive dissonance. When individuals do it, they snap. When an entire nation does it, it too will fracture. Unlike an individual who can be confined to an asylum, nations don’t have that luxury.

P.S. In the meantime, if you’d like to read a really good book about the Cherokee experience in Indian Territory, do yourself a favor and get Zeke and Ned, by Larry McMurtry (the same guy who wrote Lonesome Dove). it’s a rollicking good read, you won’t be disappointed.


  1. Barry Toliver says

    Sir, I think you are confused. I’ve been following your website for a few months now and it seems you are not consistent. You strike me as a nativist regarding immigration but here you go out of your way to defend a Latino. Is it because he killed a young Black man?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Mr Toliver, I am a Conservative. That means that I try to look at the principles underlying things. If I were an Right-wing ideologue, I would say to Liberal, Democrat, Latino, Zimmerman: “serves you right. I don’t care what happens to you.”

      But the facts as presented exonerate Zimmerman. Whether a court which was convened because of political pressure will do so is another matter altogether.

  2. Michael Bauman says

    Mr. Toliver,

    George has never actually defended Zimmerman actions. George has merely excoriated those attacking him for the vileness and unseemlyness of their attacks. The general uproar has made it quite difficult to ever get to the real truth as to whether Mr. Zimmerman was justified in using deadly force or not.

    While it seems that both parties involved made some really bad decisions with deadly consequences for Mr. Martin, whether or not any of those decisions were criminal in nature is the question.

  3. But at the root of this issue is the validity ( as in valid, i.e. logical truth, if it is true in all interpretations) of the “Stand Your Ground” law, right? Is SYG a good law, or more precisely a needed and necessary law? I am not convinced that it is. Could it be that this law is on the books because we have just too many guns in the USA? It reminds me of the old Soviet/USA Missile Race. We had missiles so they had missiles. We had more, so they made more and out of this came laws and protocols to justify the use of these weapons. As time goes by we have come to realize that we don’t need as many missiles any more which has the castcading effect that at least between superpowers, the old protocols and justifications are not as important or needed. (Not to mention the incredible cost of keeping those old missiles safe from simply decaying.)

    I may be wrong, but it seems to me we have more than enough laws on the books already to govern when and how a gun can or cannot be used and certainly more than enough guns that we don’t need another law which might have had the unintended consequence of Mr. Zimmerman doing what he felt he was lawfully empowered to do.

    Would Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Martin’s encounter been different if there was no the SYG law on the books? Did the SYG law have the unintended consequence of lowering the deadlly force barrier just that much more that resulted in the death of another human being?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Amos, SYG may very well be a “bad law” as you say. The question is why do 30+ states have SYG laws? Let me offer a reason: ever since the Warren Court took control of American jurisprudence, there has been a great sympathy towards criminals and away from victims.

      I remember growing up as a child in the 60s (Oklahoma was a lagging indicator). Kids played outside all day. We walked to school (which was safe). Families were by and large intact. The day started with the Pledge of Allegience. We weren’t taught victimology. By the time I started my own family, none of these conditions were in place.

      You can live in Mayberry, or you can have Miranda, but you can’t have both.

      • M. Stankovich says

        The source of a complete moratorium on executions (the overwhelming majority in Oklahoma and Texas) between 1964 and 1977, is detailed in Furman v Georgia (1972), where the US Supreme Court found capital punishment “cruel & unusual punishment.” However, all nine justices described “victimology” and “sympathy towards criminals” more poignantly as an overwhelming abhorrence of an “antiquated, racist vestige of slavery.” While you seem to believe this is a shift in “favor” of criminals, the landmark Furman v Georgia would seem to suggest that, at minimum, you have the right person before you go and string ’em up.

        Somehow, I can easily hear Sheriff Taylor saying, “Now you listen up, and don’t be listen’ to Barney here. I don’t want you sayin’ something you’ll later regret without speakin’ with an attorney. Can’t afford one? OK. You relax and let me make a phone call…” That’s not Miranda, per se. I believe they call it hospitality.

        • Monk James says

          Given all we know of christian, prechristian, and extrachristian history, it seems foolish to deny that The State has the authority to execute criminals.

          But nowhere in this long continuum of human experience has it ever been demonstrated that executing criminals accomplished anything good — unless it was thought that the very elimination of such people was somehow a good thing.

          Bearing all that in mind, christian practice from the beginning has always been inclined to spare the life of even the vilest criminal, some political/statist considerations notwithstanding. This is why St Nicholas is venerated for (among many other things) physically intervening to stop the execution of criminals. This is why St Vladimir made the abolition of capital punishment in Rus one of his first changes after his baptism.

          It must be admitted, though, that the boyars required an almost immediate reinstatement of capital punishment. Yet, in every instance, the bishops came forward to beg for mercy — and usually got it.

          Our canonical tradition requires a lengthy excommunication of anyone who takes a human life, even in war. So then, and a fortiori, what hope is there that a state-employed executioner could ever be absolved?

          Were capital punishment considered a judicial option even in a christian culture, the question remains: what Christians would risk their salvation to serve as an executioner? Or would we try for a ‘technical foul’ and depute some nonchristian to do our dirty work?

          This is not an imaginary scenario. Would any one of us volunteer to serve as an executioner knowing full well that our service to the state would deprive us of Heaven?!

          • You ask, “Would any one of us volunteer to serve as an executioner knowing full well that our service to the state would deprive us of Heaven?!”

            I would.

          • Fr. Justin Frederick says

            Are murder and taking of life in war the same as taking life as an executioner or in self defense or defense of the innocent and weak? Is there a canon that penances an executioner for the state? I don’t recall it. Is there one for self-defense or in defense of the weak and innocent? Please cite it.

            As I recall, the ‘lengthy’ excommunication for taking life in war is two or three years; that for murder is 7 to 15 years–a significant difference.

            After the flood, God commanded Noah that those who shed another’s blood (committed murder) should be put to death.

            The law of Moses affirmed this.

            St. Paul admits this as a proper function of the state in Romans 13 to protect the innocent, and in Acts he admits his willingness to die at the hand of the state if he has committed wrong.

            “But nowhere in this long continuum of human experience has it ever been demonstrated that executing criminals accomplished anything good…” Really? Go back and reread the Pentateuch and refresh yourself on the reasons given for capital punishment. And would you deny that God commanded it? How do you explain that?

            And yes, in many cases, the elimination of the hardened criminal who has no respect for human life or dignity, is the very best way to affirm the value of life and to prevent such a person from every again depriving an innocent of life. And the value of the impending execution to spur repentance, who can calculate?

            Where is there a command to imprison anyone for life?

            And what criminals did St. Nicholas release? I recall him releasing those who were unjustly accused, imprisoned, and condemned to die, but did he release condemned murderers?

            • StephenD says

              What worries me is the number of prisoners who may have been unjustly convicted. Texas just admitted that they executed an innocent man. I was living in Chicago when the then Gov.Ryan stopped executions. It just makes me uneasy to even imagine that an innocent person could be executed. As Gandhi said “in a world where we go by an eye for an eye we will all be blind” Maybe the subject of capital punishment should be disucssed in the upcoming Great and Holy Council. Of coarse I oppose the death penalty and then I imagine Timothy McVeigh driving by the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City and seeing and being fully aware that there was a day care center in the building he was planning to bomb or the grandmother who was taking her grandchildren to California who was on Flight 11 on 9/11.

              • Constantine Ramirez says

                What unbelieving society does is between God and that society. What the Christian community is obligated to follow are the teachings of Christ and the Apostles plain and simple. I batted the passion of violence most of my life, I took that violence and became a Tae Kwondo kick boxer and thrived on that violence looking for anyway to destroy my opponent. I then gave by life to Christ and for the first time when I entered a match I found myself in great conflict because my only purpose was to defeat my opponent in match. I later gave up kick boxing altogether because it conflicted with the teachings of Christ, “turn the other cheek” and “repay evil with good.” The protestant church I was attending became a cross for me to carry as I kept having people and the pastor tell me that it was okay to defend (even using lethal force) one’s self or the innocent. When 9/11 happened the church I was attending was all about pro war against our evil enemy Osama Ben Ladin (who by the way may not have even been responsible for the attack).

                I became so scandalized by this because I knew something was not right in this line of thinking. I left the church (I was a pastor by then) and started my long journey to spiritual truth. I locked myself in my room for hours at a time and started reading the writing of the early church fathers, and to my astonishment, war, killing of the enemy, being a soldier and taking an enemies life was looked upon as wrong and sinful. This is just simply a fact of the teaching Christianity of old. All of this study lead me to ask the question, “Lord, if this is so, then where is your Church and how do I find it?” On May 23, 2010 my wife and I were baptized and chrismated as Constantine and Aquilina into Holy Orthodoxy. The Church teaches that which Christ teaches, even though some may disagree, there is no excuse for violence, and if we do not have the faith that God will prevail even in the times of persecution, then we really need to repent, turn our passions over to God and actually live out the true Christian faith. There is not justified war, there is no justified homicide, there is no justified taking of the unborn life.

                Many bring up the Old Testament, but that was fulfilled in Christ, Jesus made it very clear how wer are to respond to violence against our own persons and the response is love, love will not take the life of another no matter what the circumstance is, if you love God then you also must love your enemy, even if he/she is going to kill you.

            • Fr. Justin, surely as a society we have the choice for capital punishment or not?

              • Fr. Justin Frederick says

                Of course human society has a choice. It (or rather ‘we’ as a society) has many choices. Right choices strengthen society and bring benefit; wrong choices weaken society and bring many unintended consequences (and will invite God’s judgment). The challenge is to discern the true quality of the choices before us.

                Mistakes are inevitable in human justice. The older I get, the less justice I see in the world. Our judicial system is a mess. One person I was talking to Sunday whose profession is connected to it quoted a judge or lawyers he knows who characterized it as ‘legalized extortion” since the 1930s or 1940s. Your best bet with it is to stay out of it, was the professional’s advice. We have a lot of work to do to clean up this mess.

                At least there is comfort in the thought that God’s justice prevails over human justice (and injustice) in the end, and by His judgments brings good out of the evil that we intend or inadvertently inflict.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  if I may pivot off your perceptive comments, Fr Justin: one reason our present criminal justice system is so debased and corrupt is because of the unintended consequences of Prohibition. The explosion of “criminal” cases during the Roaring 20s flooded court dockets with unnecessary cases (families who brewed beer for their own consumption were liable to prison) and caused the system to debase standards of criminality. In other words, in order to get quick convictions, prosecutors created the present plea bargain system which caused them to meet their quotas for conviction, it’s just that the crimes were reduced.

                  Murder became differentiated into degrees as did manslaughter, etc.

                  I also blame that despicable Henry Darrow, who got Leopold and Loeb off from hanging after they thrill-killed Bobby Franks. He made them into objects of sympathy and stressed that they could be “rehabilitated.” The fact that their parents were rich didn’t hurt either. Regardless, a turning point had been reached in American jurisprudence. Before that, murderers of whatever class or race were swiftly executed.
                  Another unintended consequence of Prohibition was the creation of crime syndicates.

              • Monk James says

                Yes, we have the choice. But it’s better, holier, more christian of us as a nation to choose not to kill people, even people who’ve killed other people. Instead, we ought to give them time to repent until God Himself calls them to final judgement.

            • Reluctant Commentator says

              Father Justin. Christ is Risen!

              Thank you for your remarks, but I believe you are not reflecting the belief and position of the entire Orthodox Church in the matter of Capital Punishment. Please see below.
              Jurisdictional Statements

              In “Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church” adopted by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, the death penalty is condemned, in part because it denies the criminal the opportunity for repentance:


              The Orthodox Church in America condemned capital punishment without exception at its All American Council held in St. Louis in 1989:


              Statements from Church Hierarchs

              Patriarch Alexei likens the death penalty to premeditated murder:


              Patriarch of Georgia condemns death penalty:

              http://www.geplac.org/publicat/law/archives/glr99q1q2e.pdf , see also http://www.steele.com/fpphr/capital.html

              Metropolitan Herman of the Orthodox Church in America issued statement condemning capital punishment, euthanasia and capital punishment in January 2005:


              Metropolitan Evangelos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese applauded the State of New Jersey for being the first state to abolish the death penalty since its reinstatement in the 1970s:


              Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos condemned capital punishment and calls for its abolition. See


              Various Bishops condemn capital punishment

              Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada (OCA) condemns capital punishment.


              Bishop Demitrios (GOA) condemns capital punishment.


              Other Orthodox condemnations of capital punishment

              Pan-Orthodox Sanctity of Life Prayer Service at St. George Antiochian Church condemns capital punishment, euthanasia, and abortion. See http://www.romarch.org/news.php?id=1540 . In attendance were His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos from the Greek Metropolis of Chicago, His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae, and His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos.

              • Monk James says

                Many thanks to ‘Reluctant Commentator’ for this wonderful list of contemporary orthodox christian sources for the consistently pro-life commitment of The Church!

              • StephenD says

                well the Bishops and Patriarchs speak for me and to me…I am an Orthodox Christian so I need to follow the bishops..

              • Fr. Justin Frederick says

                I respect those making these statements. But they are limited to the last few decades and so cannot be taken by themselves as an expression of the Church’s position. Do they reflect the spirit of our times or the Holy Spirit? How do they square their position with Holy Scripture and the last 1900 years of Church history? But thank you for calling these to my attention. They shall make for interesting reading.

                • Monk James says

                  The Church, the Body of Christ, is not frozen in time. Nor is it limited to the cultural assumptions of the past. We’ve learned a lot in the last twenty christian centuries, thank Heaven.

                  The very fact that our Lord Jesus Christ submitted Himself to capital punishment as the absolute nadir of His autokenosis (‘self-emptying’) tells us that this is the lowest He could go in our human experience, which He redeemed by His resurrection.

                  Let us think on this, and how every evil devised by Man was brought to humiliate God, but failed.

                  We, then, ought not repeat such savagery, but learn the ‘better way’ we consider on Holy Friday.

              • Fr. Justin Frederick says

                Well, five out of twelve links actually lead to relevant material.

                The first link, to the position of the Russian Church, is the most thoughtful and informative. Here, the conclusion of the matter is put thus: “Keeping in mind that mercy toward a fallen man is always more preferable than revenge, the Church welcomes these steps by state authorities [not to apply the death penalty]. At the same time, she believes that the decision to abolish or not to apply death penalty should be made by society freely, considering the rate of crime and the state of law-enforcement and judiciary, and even more so, the need to protect the life of its well-intentioned members.”

                This is far from an unequivocal condemnation of capital punishment.

                The link to the 9th AAC does not provide the actual resolution passed (note this was a resolution presumably from the floor, not an official statement by the bishops). It does provide the reflections of one priest. He does not adequately deal with the positive OT commands, nor St. Paul’s remarks. He misuses, I think, the story of the woman caught in adultery, to say this: “To avoid falling prematurely into a political trap, Jesus does this silently, by shaming the devotees of capital punishment. By His actions He sets aside the law of retaliation.” Jesus here actually upholds the law, which required at least two witness to bear witness against one accused. After his famous words, “He who is without sin, let him be first to cast a stone”, everyone left; no one was able to bear witness against her. No witnesses, no conviction, not penalty (which the Jews couldn’t carry out anyway–the whole case was merely a provocation and testing of Christ, not a referendum on capital punishment). Is the purpose of Christ’s words and actions “shaming the devotees of capital punishment” or “set[ting] aside the law of retaliation?” Is that what this was about??

                The last three links do lead to their intended end.

                Abp. Seraphim’s piece speaks eloquently of his own inability, but offers no persuasive argument–unless you are generally persuaded of the efficacy of his ability (thus his inability demonstrates that it cannot be done). He says:

                “I cannot square capital punishment with any of my Christian experience. The Old Testament may be quoted, but I do not see it in the New. I cannot square it with the introduction to the Ten Commandments. I cannot square it with the Gospel. I cannot square it with the words of the “Our Father.” I cannot square it with “The Beatitudes.” I cannot square it with my knowledge of our canonical tradition. I cannot square it with my knowledge of the teaching of the Fathers. I can not square it with my reading of any one of our saints. And most certainly I cannot square it with the teaching of Saint Silouan, that the real test of a Christian is being able to forgive one’s enemies.”

                Is this an expression of the Church’s teaching, or his own private opinion?

                The newspaper article on Bp. Demitrios, GOA, reports simply:
                “In the years to come, Kantzavelos would become an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, an interfaith bridge builder, and chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, making him second in command.”

                OK. And is his position his own or the Church’s?

                The final link that worked reports a “Pan-Orthodox Sanctity of Life” service. “The Service included prayers for all those confronted with the prospect of abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, for those suffering from terminal illnesses and for their families.”

                This looks like a para-liturgical service of recent provenance. It certainly is not found in my Trebniks.

                I regret that the other links did not deliver what they promised, but if they deliver more of the same, please forgive me if I remain unpersuaded that this is in fact the Teaching of the Church, especially when the only reasoned statement here, that of the Russian Church, does not offer a blanket condemnation (as it would were it clearly a black and white issue like murder) but expresses a preference for not imposing it while explicitly recognizing the State’s prerogative to use it if needed.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              We should be careful not to conflate capital punishment with other instances where a life may be extinguished lawfully (such as self-defense or lawful armed conflict). We should also be careful to make sure that we interpret the Old Testament through the lens of the Holy Cross, as my priest likes to say. Finally, we should respect process, something that the Supreme Court itself does not do (such us Roe v. Wade and other legislating-from-the-bench decisions).

              That said, I think that it is wrong to prejudge the actions of those who have, carry or use guns. That is an individual decision that is guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Similarly, support or opposition to capital punishment should not be an occasion for bitter polemics. For the record, I support the right of the several states to decide whether they wish to continue to have or impose capital punishment in their penal code, Yet, if I were to have a vote or input, I would vote “no” in accordance with my religious convictions.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Fr Justin, thank you for this thoughtful exposition on a difficult subject. If I may add my 2c worth, the idea that “innocent” people have been executed is a canard. Most people who are in the criminal justice system are almost never innocent. By the time somebody gets to death row, he’s already committed several crimes (murders even), so even though he may be technically innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, he’s hardly ever innocent.

              This is one reason for example why I had to switch my position on the old Three Strikes and You’re Out Law that was popular in California about 15 years ago. My buddies in the police force and lawyer friends of mine told me that this would only adulterate the criminal justice system further by extending the careers of petty criminals thusly: once they hit two strikes, then if they’re caught for Grand Theft Auto (say) for the umpteenth time and he’s been convicted twice and already served 7 years at Folsom, the state may go out of its way to plead the crime down to something like time served or such nonsense. Simply because they don’t have the resources to incarcerate yet another human being in an already-overburdened prison system.

              • If we’re going to talk about what the Bible and Tradition say, let’s begin with Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” It may seem to be a paradox, but capital punishment actually elevates the value of human life by attaching the ultimate earthly penalty to the criminal taking of life, which is also an attack upon God. Before we even consider the deterrent factor of capital punishment (and I believe process of the execution of the death sentence needs to be greatly expedited for that factor to truly take effect) we have to acknowledge that capital punishment provides the only true satisfaction of justice in a case where a life has been criminally taken. It may be said that we should forgive; true enough on the personal level, but the state is tasked with administering justice for the protection of us all. Yes, the state too can exercise mercy – but such cases are the exception that proves the rule.

                • StephenD says

                  Please don’t say that we have to go by the book of Genesis in our thinking I love a good pork barbecue way too much .

                  • That trivialises the subject so much StephenD I won’t even bother to reply at length. I can only suggest that you take a course in basic Biblical hermeneutics in order to discover the difference between the commandment to abstain from pork and the commandment not to kill. Perhaps you were trying to be humorous.

                • Monk James says

                  GEN 9:6 is also adduced by the Mormons, who not only insist on capital punishment, but also that it be literally bloody. Hence their preference for firing squads, although a beheading now and then might suit them just as well.

                  But let’s also consider GEN 4:8-15. Here, the Lord punishes the first murderer, Cain, with a harsh life. But Cain, perhaps not unreasonably, fears that people will kill him for killing his brother. So the Lord marks Cain in such a way that people will not kill him.

                  Now, if God wanted to make known how we should treat murderers, it’s not unreasonable to think that He’d make His point with the very first murderer. If He did, then maybe Chapter 9 means something other than capital punishment.

                  After all, that section is about the holiness and symbolism of blood, animal and human; murder isn’t mentioned at all. Perhaps it means that if one human being wounded another and caused blood to flow, blood which is holy and belongs to God, then the person who did the wounding must be wounded by another human being, maybe the same wounded person, but only as far — and no more — as that person was wounded. That’s the meaning of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’: retribution may not exceed the damage for which it is invoked.

                  It’s clear that these two citations teach different things, but it’s also clear that God’s original (from our POV) intention was that murder not be punished by death, which was already our common lot by virtue of Adam’s sin.

                  In any event, a proper hermeneutic regarding biblical consideration of the death penalty cannot proceed on the basis of these two excerpts alone. That is merely prooftexting, not exegesis.

                  It takes careful examination of the whole length and breadth and depth of the authentically orthodox catholic christian Tradition to understand the scriptures, and the consensus of the Tradition is that capital punishment is not an acceptable way of punishing criminals.

                  We should rather think in terms of restoration and restitution and repair and redemption. Demanding even an eye or a tooth when we’re violently deprived of them is part of the law which Christ alone fulfilled perfectly, and which He does not require us to observe, as we see in today’s reading from the 15th chapter of Acts.

            • M. Stankovich says

              I think it is interesting to note that the eventual reinstatement of capital punishment came with Texas’ sense from the Furman decision that the Supreme Court was “open” to a process they later would rule as “advancing a legitimate penological purpose.” Go figure. Texas then set the standard for many states by attempting to control, as best as possible, the arbitrary application of the death penalty by defining “qualifications” for capital murder.

              The death penalty was immediately limited to cases of murder; in the Furman appeal, three cases included black men who were convicted of raping, but not murdering, caucasian women (all three were released following the Furman decision). Then, the “qualifying” circumstances of murder included murder of a peace officer; murder in the commission of a felony, such as robbery; murder of a child; murder for pay (“contract killing”); murder in prison while serving a life sentence; murder while “lying in wait”; etc. Once convicted, the Texas protocol did not call for the jury to determine the sentence outright, but presented three questions: 1) was the conduct of the defendant deliberate, expecting the victim would die; 2) is it likely the defendant would pose a threat to society again; and 3) if the evidence showed the defendant was provoked by the victim, was the response unreasonable. If all jurors answered “yes” to all the questions, the sentence was death. If at least ten or more answered “no” to one or more questions or they failed to answer a question, the sentence was life in prison. In 1976, the Supreme Court affirmed this as “guided discretion.”

              It is also interesting to note that here in California, where Gov. Brown reported this week that the state budget deficit is actually twice what was previously projected, the case to eliminate the death penalty is being argued without mentioning a single issue raised by Fr. Justin. It has cost CA taxpayers – from trial through the entire appeals process – and this is the “fast-track” – $4.6 billion to execute a total of 12 individuals since 1978. And so it goes…

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          You obviously missed that episode in which Sheriff Andy and Deputy Barney took that drifter and beat him up and put him on the bus to Mt Pilot. 😉

          • M. Stankovich says

            Wow. I would have bet real money it was Aunt Bea what put the wallop on that boy… I’m gettin’ old.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Amos, had there been no SYG law, and had the ghastly Brady people carried the day, Zimmerman would have been dead. yet another in the long line of victims of “urban youths.”

      • I suppose we could conjure up all types of potential outcomes but I would like to focus on if the SYG law is good or bad law. The fact that 30+ states have it on the books tells me that all the other laws on the books, including I would guess, the death penalty, in some of those states has not satisfactorily stemmed the tide of violence, insecurity, fear, mistrust, and maybe all out hatred for whatever segment of the population proponents of the law feel they need to be protected against.

        I am not convinced that passing more laws like SYG “deputizing” folks to play Marshall Dillon is making us a better country.

      • This “ghastly Brady person”, of your same age (or nearly so), who was raised in, and who lives in Texas, is staunchly anti-guns, and considers concealed weapons abominable and dangerous. I, too, grew up walking to school, riding my bicycle for miles to get around Houston as a teen in Houston. People who oppose weapons are not automatically idiots, any more than people who like them are [automatically idiots]. Please keep the insults to yourself.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Antonia, present company excepted, the vast majority of people who are anti-gun are very much anti-freedom. In fact, it cannot be otherwise.

          I’ve thought long and hard about this, having grown up as a Truman/JFK Democrat and seeing the face of pure wannabe-Bolshevism and its hatred for Church, country, tradition, family, etc., in college.

          • George, I recognize (and do appreciate) that you are trying to be polite to me. Unfortunately, the sentence “In fact, it cannot be otherwise” fails. At any rate, I do not agree with a quasi-mathematical equation that “anti-gun = anti-freedom.” Pro-freedom does not equal pro-gun, either.

            My only intent was to point out that the stereotype of anti-gun people as nut jobs is no more than a popular, easy-to-toss-off response.

            • Geo Michalopuls says

              Point taken Lola. But theoretically speaking, how can forbidding law-abiding citizens from owning firearms be anything other than wrong? I know that it’s wrong to say that “no firearms leads to tyranny” necessarily but the common expiernce of history is that such is always the case.

              And I for one never believed that the anti-gunners were “nut jobs.” To the contrary, they’re quite intelligent as are most liberals. What are not however (again, yourself being excepted) is pro-liberty. Indeed, the sorry trajectory of government has always been towards increasing tyranny. This was obvious as far back as ancient Israel, when the Israelites demanded of Samuel that he appoint a king over them. The Lord responded (through Samuel) that the king –any king–will take their property, their daughters, their very freedom away from them. It was ever thus.

              • Anna Rowe says

                The lesson learned is if the police can’t or won’t to protect you, a gun may be your last defense. Perhaps this was MLK’s thinking.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Civil rights movement wouldn’t have gotten where it did if these darn black ministers didn’t have guns in their home. Because, ya know, one can fight off sheet-clad folks in the dark with bare hands.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Interesting you should say that, Lola, in fact, I’m very glad that you brought it up. In 1956 I believe, MLK applied for a license to get a pistol and the Birmingham police turned him down. One of those things that make you go “hmmmmm….”

    • Brian Jackson says

      I’m not so certain that the SYG law is at the center of all this. My understanding thus far is that– whatever judgment one may have about the wisdom of Zimmerman following Martin at all– Zimmerman (and counsel) may be claiming that this was simply self-defense with no ability to retreat by the time the attack against Zimmerman happened. Isn’t Zimmerman claiming Martin was on top of him, hitting Zimmerman and banging Zimmerman’s head against the ground? Didn’t Zimmerman report suffering injuries which were documented? Is SYG even relevant, considering those claims?

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        I’ve been seeing recent reports that Zimmermann had a broken nose. How much force does it takes to break a nose?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Not much actually. Lots of people walk around with broken noses that they didn’t know were broken, usually because of childhood accident like getting hit by a basketball, even a glancing blow. The question in this case is how badly was Zimmerman’s nose broken?

      • George Michalopulos says

        No, because if Zimmerman was immobilized (i.e. pinned to the ground on his back and getting his head slammed into the sidewalk), then he could not physically be standing his ground. So the SYG law is essentially moot in this instance. What he was doing instead was pure self-defence. Which is why when he was originally taken into the police station, he wasn’t arrested. You can’t be arrested for doing something legal (and make it stick in a court of law, that is).

        • But where in Zimmerman’s thinking ( a gun carrying self-appointed neighborhood watchman) did SYG give him another legal option if things should get ugly? It is true, Zimmerman called the police to notify them, but it is equally true that he followed Martin against the instructions of the police. Why follow him at all at that point? The altercation took place because Martin ignored the law officers who told him not to follow him. He put himself in potential harm’s way and eventual harm’s way and then used deadly force. He claimed SYG to the police after he was taken into questioning and he continues to use SYG as a defense, so I think that SYG is central to this case and as a law it needs to be questioned.

          • Brian Jackson says

            Amos: “…but it is equally true that he followed Martin against the instructions of the police.”

            We really don’t know this. Zimmerman has reportedly claimed that when the dispatcher suggested that following Martin was unnecessary, he stopped following Martin. Here’s an excerpt from the Chicago Tribune:

            “We don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher said.

            “OK,” Zimmerman replied.

            Zimmerman says he then broke off his pursuit and headed back to his vehicle. At that point, Martin returned to confront him, Zimmerman says. Martin stood 6 feet tall and weighed 160 pounds; Zimmerman was three inches shorter but at least 40 pounds heavier.

            Clearly there’s a lot we don’t know, and who knows what sort of picture will emerge once all the evidence is presented on both sides? But we need to maintain a circumspect attitude about what is undoubtedly “true” in this case in the face of the contradictory claims.

            • And one hopes the trial will shed light on all of this but from what I have read about this case, Zimmerman’s claims of breaking off pursuit don’t jive with the timeline of where he was when he made the call, where his car was and where the confrontation took place. Again, if Zimmerman has no gun I doubt he even is out of his home that night. Of course that is speculation on my part, but the gun was carried to “even the odds.” Just too many guns in the hands of people who don’t need to be carrying them and laws to validate this just compound the issue.

              • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                Amos speculates, “Again, if Zimmerman has no gun I doubt he even is out of his home that night. Of course that is speculation on my part, but the gun was carried to ‘even the odds.’”

                Well, Amos, if I were to carry a gun here in Chicago, that is exactly why I would carry it.

                • How sad for you Fr Patrick. I have walked in many urban areas in my life, some that apparently you would be afraid of in Chicago, and I have never felt the need to carry a gun to “even the odds” including the time I was robbed at gunpoint.

                  • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                    I used the subjunctive hypothetical, Amos: “IF I WERE to carry a gun.”

                    Your difficulty with this statement appears to be grammatical and logical.

                    I have read your response carefully several times. As far as I can determine, your argument contains what logicians call an “assertion of the consequent.”

                    It is structured thus:

                    If there is A, there is B.
                    There is B.
                    Therefore, there is A.

                    This is a fairly common fallacy.

                    Its refutation is pretty simple:

                    If I owned all the gold in Fort Knox, I would be wealthy.
                    I am wealthy.
                    Therefore, I own all the gold in Fort Knox.

                    The fallacy here is obvious, since there are all sorts of ways of being wealthy without owning the gold in Fort Knox.

                    That is to say, an “assertion of the consequent” leads to no logical conclusion.

                    Let us suppose, for a moment, that I had written, “IF I WERE to take extra vitamin C, a fear of infection would be the reason.”

                    Your grasp of the grammar and logic of the statement would obliged you, evidently, to answer: “How sad for you, Father Patrick. I have gone into all sorts of dangerous and unhealthy situations, and I have never felt the need for extra vitamin C.”

                    • Fr Patrick,

                      Thank you for the grammar lesson and your primer in First Year Logic. I simply took you at your word that “IF” you carried a gun (which I did see, read and understand). The point being that I assumed such a decision, even in the “subjunctive hypothetical” was a result of your thinking about it and your thoughts and decision making processes leading you to conclude, thus your statement that you would be favorably disposed to such an outcome.

                      I too have had such conversations with myself on the topic, however my conclusion is that I have not, could not, and will not be armed. So I do feel sorry for people, like you, who have come to the conclusion that arming themselves with deadly weapons is acceptable. I have concluded that it is a lamentable circumstance, even in the subjunctive hypothetical.

                      Have a pleasant day.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      To all: some assert that if Zimmerman had not been out of his home in the first place none of this would have happened. Quite possibly true. However the level of crime has forced people to form vigilant societies. If not Zimmerman, then who? Especially if the police cannot or will not not perform their duties. (This is becoming increasingly the case. Look at the recent Norfolk incident in which two white reporters were beaten by several young men and the newspaper they worked for refused to cover this story and the police only reluctantly made arrests because The O’Reilly Factor broke the story.)

                    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                      Amos declares, “I do feel sorry for people, like you, who have come to the conclusion that arming themselves with deadly weapons is acceptable.”

                      Exactly the wrong conclusion, unwarranted by either grammar or logic.My personal position on the matter is exactly 180 degrees at variance with the one you ascribe to me.

                      In fact—like yourself—“I have not, could not, and will not be armed.”

                      It is a point of mammoth mystification to me how you could “conclude” otherwise.

                      I did not write, “If I carry a gun,” as you accuse me (“I simply took you at your word that ‘IF’ you carried a gun”).

                      I wrote, “If I WERE to carry a gun.”

                      Subjunctive, man, subjunctive.

                      I am starting to understand, perhaps, why you have trouble with other folks’ comments on this blog site.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      I recommend this Reuters report on Zimmerman’s situation. Not the last word, but it does help put things into perspective.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  As would I, Fr.

                  • Diogenes says

                    That’s not the issue. Zimmerman followed Martin, was told to stop and didn’t, attacked Martin, Martin fought back & Zimmerman shot him. Zimmerman is guilty of premeditated murder.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      The medical evidence coming out now seems to support Zimmerman’s story that he was attacked by Martin first, but don’t let the truth get in the way of a good rant in favor of your political ideology Diogenes.

                    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                      Diogenes believes, “Zimmerman followed Martin, was told to stop and didn’t, attacked Martin, Martin fought back & Zimmerman shot him.”

                      I am trying to figure out some logic in this sequence.

                      Zimmerman attacked Martin?

                      Okay. With his fists, with a club, with a knife or something like that?

                      Surely not with a gun, since Diogenes assured us, “Martin fought back.”

                      If you get attacked with a gun—especially at point blank range—there really is no way to fight back, is there?

                      If Zimmerman wanted to murder Martin—(“Zimmerman is guilty of premeditated murder.”)—he would just shoot him right way, wouldn’t he? I mean, why complicate the process by attacking Martin ahead of time? Why not start off by using the gun? They tell me that usually does the trick.

                    • Daniel E. Fall says

                      At the end of the day, a boy who was walking home from the candy store is dead. A man who was trying to protect people is facing prison. The whole thing could have been avoided if the young black kids in Florida hadn’t been breaking into houses and stealing stuff for the bags of weed they buy, and if the only adult in the room hadn’t brought a gun to the conversation.

                      Disclaimer: I am a gun owner and always will be…and this is not an argument for legalization.

  4. Michael Bauman says

    Amos, you are correct about one thing: we have more than enough laws on the books. We need fewer.

    On the other hand, the velocity of the ginned up outrage prevents a rational examination of either the actual encounter or the efficacy of the SYG law.

    • Diogenes says

      When it all comes out in court it will show that the 911 operator told Zimmerman not to follow Martin. Zimmerman did not listen and accosted him. Martin fought back and Zimmerman shot him at point blank range. The facts are clear.

      • another one says

        Gee it must be so wonderful to live in such a black and white world (ignoring the pun…)

        You do get your exercise leaping to conclusions.

        Proof that he accosted him? And if someone is on top of you, how do you back up so you don’t shoot at point blank range?

        You don’t know, and as the evidence is revealed it is looking more and more like Duke Lacrosse case once again. However, I’m content to let the courts decide at trial, because I don’t know either.

        Things are rarely black and white in total. Zimmerman showed poor judgement, and so did Martin.

        This is being played by the media for their agenda. And you Dio, line up for the koolaid once again.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Another one, please go back and re-read my original essay. I specifically made mention that Martin may have felt that he was going to be accosted and if so, then he would have been exonerated by the SYG law.

          Let me add this interesting wrinkle. There was a cell phone call that Martin made to his girl friend. His lawyer for some reason has not released it to the public. Why? Based on the girlfriend’s immediate testimony, she said that Trayvon had used the word “fag” and that he thought that Zimmerman was a homosexual who was going to accost him for sexual purposes. He may have even said something like “I’m gonna kill that faggot,” or “I’m gonna teach that faggot a lesson.”

          So you see, my world is not black and white, nor have I jumped to any conclusions.

          However, if this information is true, then we can see why Martin’s lawyer wants it kept under wraps and why his girlfriend has been coached in the interim.

          The irony is too delicious for words. In our liberal, bizarro world, what would happen in the courtroom if the two most cherished minorities of our glorious civilization were pitted against one another? Does black trump gay or is it the other way around?

          The political ettiquette is unsustainable.

          In such a manner does a civilization implode.

          • another one says


            My apologies. My remarks above were directed toward the Diogenes comment immediately above mine, not to your essay.

            I actually agree that, in court, the motives and reactions and so on will be sliced and diced. I’m not sure that SYG will be as relevant as the Zimmerman case for self defense. After all, if Martin was standing his ground, then Zimmerman was defending himself – and can demonstrate that he was attacked. Martin, on the other hand, has a sum total of the bullet wound (fatal to be sure…) and bruised knuckles to show as injuries. He also was found to have THC in his blood and urine.

            My reaction was to the Diogenes’ comment that Zimmerman accosted Martin. Maybe, maybe not. Point blank range – I have no argument, as if someone is on top of you, it is going to be point blank range. But if Zimmerman was doing the accosting, doing it from a distance with his firearm would seem to be a safer option then getting one’s face punched for a while.

            So, George while we are re-reading, you might notice that the last line of my comment addresses Dio, not George.

            Net on this case is that it is a tragedy. Both parties did stupid stuff. While I can see the possibility of a “defense” of Martin being the SYG, the available evidence indicates a prima facie case for self defense by Zimmerman.

            The more disturbing aspect of this case is the media distortions with the direct result of increasing racial tensions. It is they who are doing grave damage, and once again, betraying the trust of the people.

      • Michael Bauman says

        The facts are clear only if you complete prejudge the context and the outcome. That makes it really easy to select and prioritize the facts to fit you case. Such a process is beyond dishonest. Such a process is just stupid.

  5. cynthia curran says

    Well, no one said Mr Zimmerman mother was hear illegality. Anyways, the US is now 13 percent foreign born which is the highest since 1920. I use to live in a county which people think is white rich people but had a lot of hispanics immirgant legally and illegaliyt and asians and it was about 30 percent foreign born. George is discussing the double standard of liberal folks that like progressive towns like Portland which is more white than Phoneix just like Zimmerman and Warren. Anyway, some immirgation reduction doesn’t mean your against certain groups ,Hispanics might have reduce their poverty rate to under the 20 percent mark in the US if they had reduce their immirgation levels as the same as South Koreans. The US Census states that hispanics are a lot less likely to be college educated and professonal which means they are more likely to be the working poor than let’s say immirgants from Europe.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Cynthia, one of the worst things we Americans did to Mexico was open the borders. Although our elites and Chamber of Commerce types did this to exploit their cheap labor and thereby depress the white and black working-man’s wages, this also created a safety-valve which ennabled the white Mexican elite to continue their oppression of their mestizo and Indian lower classes.

      • Daniel E. Fall says

        There you go again George suggesting liberals are this and conservatives are that when in fact we are just neighbors with different ideas about stupidity and what to do with it.

        Good thing for that crazy bishop posting here or I wouldn’t bother checking in from time to time….I enjoy hit witty comebacks to you all.

        It is actually quite possible Liz Warren thought she was part Indian. Many families have odd geneologies…my wife always says she is a Catholic Jew because she was baptised Catholic, but has a Jewish grandmother…once a Jew always a Jew….. all in good fun…

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Daniel Fall writes: “Good thing for that crazy bishop posting here . . ”

          George, respectfully, this comment is way over the line, by elementary standards of civility, to say nothing of the reverence Daniel Fall owes to a bishop of the Church.

          I truly object to Fall’s comment.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            As do I.

          • Daniel E. Fall says

            For all the things others have said about Bishop Tikhon, I have found his posts here to be superb. If my rhetoric implies anything else, I apologize. When I said crazy, I was referring to what others have stated in a sort of sarcastic way. If you read any of my replies to the Bishop’s posts you will see my appreciation for him posting here is consistent.

            And actually, the only reason my wife states it and is sure it isn’t family lore is the generational proximity, if you will.

            I, for one, am a Warren fan, and I agree it isn’t a good thing to believe and say you are something and perhaps even write it as fact if it isn’t true, but many times families get things confused and mistated along the way. My Orthodox roots, for example… We don’t know who my fathers great or great great grandfather is even.

            Again, thanks for calling out my poor choice of adjectives. I sincerely was using it in a sarcastic way, but it was poorly done for sure. Sorry Bishop Tikhon… I also want to thank you for engaging in the dialogue…it is meaningful to have a bishop argue points made in a very public forum such as this… one which can become the pulpit for Orthodox views without being fully ordained to do so.

          • Sarcasm can be difficult to spot when one is on a self-appointed neighborhood watch to correct others.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          The difference Daniel between your wife and Elizabeth Warren is that you have proof that her grandmother was Jewish, not merely “family lore.” With Warren, that was all she had and even then it was bogus.

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            And, there is a Cherokee genealogist who’s posted a bit about this. See http://www.pollysgranddaughter.com/ . . .

            Apparently there are, zero, zilch, nada evidence that Elizabeth Warren has Cherokee ancestors. To quote from her blog,

            You see, we Cherokees have lots and lots and lots of documentation supporting our claims of our ancestry. Our Cherokee ancestors are found on every roll of the Cherokee Nation (30+ rolls!) dating back to before the removal and in all sorts of other documentation, including but not limited to claims against the US government for lost property; the Moravian missionary records; ration lists before and after the forced removal, etc…yet your ancestors are found in NONE of those records.

            She says evidence will be forthcoming soon:

            Several people who are experienced researchers in Cherokee genealogy have been working together exploring Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry. They have uncovered many documents that, combined, paint a very clear picture that Warren descends from white people who had no connection whatsoever to the Cherokee Nation. These documents will be posted soon.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              I’m looking forward to seeing (1) the list of those 32 people in the fifth generation back in Warren’s ancestry,and to learning how I can do that for myself.
              Bishop Tikhon

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          I liked that Daniel! Took me back to those glorious sixties: “Crazy, man, crazy!” I’ll be that Crazy bishop any old time you like! Now the only thing better than that would be for someone to call me, “the craziest freak on the Internet, man!”

  6. It seems that Zimmerman is a registered Democrat and that he voted for President Obama. This wasn’t generally known, and both liberals and illiberals seem to have assumed he was not a Democrat who voted for President Obama. Interesting to see how support or disparagement will evolve now.