Where the Rubber Meets the Road


Now that the politcal conventions are over with, I’d like direct your attention to the following news story regarding charitable giving. I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. (And I won’t say anything about those “money-grubbing Mormons.)

Source: The Daily | By Hasani Gittens

Most religious states also the most generous in charitable giving

The Lord giveth.

A new study on the generosity of Americans suggests that states with the least religious residents are also the stingiest about giving money to charity.

The study released yesterday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, based on 2008 IRS data, found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.

The Northeast, with lower religious participation, was the least generous to charities.

The study also found that patterns of charitable giving are colored in political reds and blues. with GOP leaning states giving more. But Peter Panepento, the Chronicle’s assistant managing editor, said that the breakdown likely speaks to a state’s religious makeup, not its prevailing political views.

“I don’t know if I could go out and say it’s a complete Republican-Democrat difference as much as it is different religious attitudes and culture in these states,” he said.

The study was based on IRS records of people who itemized deductions in 2008, the most recent year statistics were available

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  1. Fr. Hans Jacobse says

    You can take this farther George. Several years ago a book came out that compared charitable giving between liberals and conservatives. Liberals give less, conservatives more. George Will wrote about it.

    Conservatives More Liberal Givers.

    This is one reason why the continual scoldings from the left about caring for the poor ring hollow to me.

    I watched both conventions and switch between channels continuously to watch all the commentary (FOX, CNN, MSNBC mostly).

    I caught Chris Matthews, an old politico from the Tip O’Neil era who came of age came during the Civil Rights movement and a good bellwether of late boomer thinking, on MSNBC a few days ago come out for school vouchers. School choice is political heresy on the left because it challenges the grip the unions have over education in the blue states (America’s worst performing schools are in Democratically controlled cities).

    His colleagues launched into him like the planes hitting the Twin Towers. Not much variance in thinking allowed in those ranks but we already know that. He was visibly shaken but stuck to his guns. Good for you Chris, I thought. Maybe some on the left are not impervious to facts.

    • After considerable thought, I have come to the conclusion that the reason many of the well-to-do are “Liberal” is that that pose excuses them from having to dispense with any of the comfortable trappings to which they have become accustomed. It allows them, for instance, to buy that $5 cup of Starbuck’s coffee without remorse or embarassment.

      Thus, it does not surprise me that a soul tending to think only of itself is disinclined to making great demonstrations of generosity. It makes sense.

    • Fr. Hans, I am sure you know the saying “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

      As the link you provided ITSELF points out (and mentions several times, in fact), the main reason why conservatives are more charitable than liberals is because conservatives are more likely to be religious. Thus, it is misleading to imply that the difference is due to political ideology. In fact, the difference is due to the greater number of religious people in the conservative camp.

      It would be interesting to compare the charitable giving of conservative atheists/agnostics with that of religious liberals. I am quite certain you’d find the second group to be more charitable.

      And I daresay that scoldings to care for the poor should never ring hollow to you. As long as poverty exists, we are not doing enough to care for the poor.

      • Brian writes:

        And I daresay that scoldings to care for the poor should never ring hollow to you. As long as poverty exists, we are not doing enough to care for the poor.

        The problem is that conflicts with the prevalent conservative view that (1) the poor only have themselves to blame for being poor–they bring it on themselves by the choices they make, and/or (2) they have succumbed to the government infection of entitlement and victimization.

        • Yes, and that prevailing conservative view is profoundly anti-Christian. What do we say when we pray before communion? “I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first.” To pass judgment on the poor (or anyone else) and say that they deserve misfortune and suffering is to commit the sin of pride. It is to say that you (who are presumably not poor) are better than them, more holy, less sinful, and therefore you deserve your status and they deserve to be lower than you.

          That is absolutely wrong. I am the chief of all sinners, I deserve poverty more than anyone else. My brothers are blameless compared to me. I should, of course, try to help them correct any of their sins that I am aware of. But I must never, never, pass judgment on them and say that they deserve this-or-that thing in life.

          We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. This means doing everything possible to make our neighbor’s life better, including through government. There is no “if they deserve it” clause in that commandment.

          As for entitlement, if you blame the poor for believing themselves entitled to health care or welfare, while at the same time believing yourself entitled to the wealth you currently have, then you are seeing the speck in your brother’s eye but not the log in your own eye. All things are God’s and all blessings are from Him. You do not deserve your house, or your car, or any of your possessions any more than a homeless man deserves food and shelter – in fact, you may deserve them less. If we are to speak of entitlement, let us speak first of the entitlement of the wealthy, who believe they have achieved through their own strength that which was given to them by God.

          We need to be much more serious about the importance of not being proud of ourselves and our “accomplishments.” Only after we’ve freed ourselves of this pride can we begin to see political and social issues more clearly.

          P.S. Upon re-reading the article provided by Fr. Hans, I’ve noticed that it does in fact mention that the least charitable group of all are secular conservatives. This confirms what I suspected: the only thing making conservatives charitable is their religion. If we take religion out of the picture, their political ideology makes them less charitable.

          • Archpriest J ohn W. Morris says

            In the Divine Liturgy and other services we pray for the “needy poor.” Some people are poor because they make bad choices like dropping out of school, getting pregnant before they get married, etc. It is not un-Christian to argue that our welfare system is dysfunctional. Since Johnson;s War on Poverty, we have spent $15 trillion on various programs with no successful results. Instead, we have created a permanent underclass of people whose families have lived for several generations on welfare. We need to understand that throwing money at a problem will not solve it. We have created a system where teen age girls get pregnant so that they can go on welfare as their mothers and grand mothers did. Therefore, I believe that the welfare state has not helped the poor. It has hurt them. Welfare programs should be designed to motivate people to help themselves get out of poverty. The best way to do that is to support education and work to improve the economy so that people can get jobs. However, we can have the best funded schools, but if a student comes from an environment that belittles learning, the best teacher in the world cannot teach him or her anything. No one should get welfare unless they do some kind of work. During the New Deal the WPA and other programs employed the poor on public works projects. We need to reinstate these kinds of programs so that everyone has to work and no one gets a free ride.
            Even St. Paul wrote, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat.” II Thes 3:10

            • George Michalopulos says

              Fr, I completely agree with you. Brian’s diatribe was a strawman on stilts. It is not wrong for the Church to castigate sinners. Indeed, it is part and parcel of the Prophetic mission.

              Because we are not heretical Calvinists and because we believe in freewill, we believe that God loves us enough to accept the consequences for our own actions. I myself have had to live with the consequences of youthful indiscretions. I would not pile them on to society or distort the Church to accommodate them. Instead, I acknowledge them as a means to repentance.

              • George, I’m puzzled that you referred to Brian’s posting as a diatribe. What you saw as apparently abusively critical, I saw as thoughtful and introspective. Forgive me as well, as I don’t see the strawman nature of his response.

                I said earlier that the prevalent conservative view is that (1) the poor largely have themselves to blame for being poor–they bring it on themselves by the choices they make, and/or (2) they have succumbed to the government infection of entitlement and victimization. Most of your posters here, including yourself, would probably agree with that assessment. That’s unfair, as a majority of those living below the poverty level are not drug addicts, single teenage moms, welfare cheats, etc. Brian, to his credit, says, even when that’s a fair assessment, so what? What makes us any better? That’s a bold statement. Being judgmental is a personal flaw I know I’ll never control; the best I can hope for is awareness (sigh.)

                I live well, I have no financial worries. I believe I’ve worked hard to achieve what I have, but I also know I’ve been extremely fortunate, or as Brian says, extremely blessed. I had wonderful parents who gave me every advantage, as well as love. I have an amazing wife who has made my life better in so many ways I couldn’t begin to count. I have an awesome daughter and beautiful grandkids. I’ve had good health. How many of these things do I truly deserve? And if I have been fortunate, or blessed as the case may be, why wouldn’t I want the same for others?

                We have been fortunate or blessed in America to have a system of government that has sought to provide equality of opportunity, where even the sometimes disadvantages of birth can be overcome. Historically, that’s really, really front page news. Yet, for many now, our current setbacks outweigh the amazing success we’ve had; to the point now, we want to punish those less fortunate? Politically, we want to sanction an aristocracy of elites and wealthy. But then we want to a go a step further and validate that as evidence of moral superiority?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Logan, I characterized Brian’s remarks as a diatribe as I do yours. No Conservative that I know of has this blanket view of “the poor.” Many of us came from the lower classes ourselves (myself included). That does not mean that many who are poor and remain in that state don’t have but themselves to blame. I know that there are Trustafarians who behave in a white trash manner (the Hero of Chappaquiddick springs instantly to mind) but because of his immense wealth, he was able to escape the consequences of his multidunous sins. Those of who are not so lucky have to pay for ours.

                  It’s not that difficult to rise out of poverty in the US. It’s been said that there are three ingredients for doing so: first, graduate from high school; second, get a job; third, get married and stay married. Will you live like Rockefeller? No, not at all. But you will avoid the death-spiral of dependancy that many who are poor find themselves in.

                  To be fair however, I will gladly concede that many of our schools are cesspools of stupidity, that illegal immigration and feminism have devalued the worth of the working man, and that incessant fees and taxes placed upon small businessmen have eroded entry-level jobs for men like my father who 50+ years ago was able to pull himself up from his bootstaps and provide for his family. (Plus a saintly mother who would never have thought to fritter away his meager earnings on vanities and stupidities.) Both were moral people who did not squander their livelihood on licentiousness.

                  • George, in response to your second comment: First you claim that my post was a diatribe because you do not have a blanket view of the poor, then you spend the remaining three paragraphs showing that you do, in fact, place a blanket blame on the poor for their poverty.

                    What else could be the purpose of your claim that it’s easy to escape poverty, if not to imply that the poor (all the poor) are lazy? What else could be the purpose of your last sentence, if not to imply that the poor squander their livelihood on licentiousness?

                    Being poor, or sick, or stricken by misfortune in any other way, is absolutely not a sin and not an indication of past sins. Indeed, many saints were poor and died in poverty.

                    Now, changing the tone a little, your claim that “it’s not that difficult to rise out of poverty in the US” is false. Among the three ingredients that you list, two of them are confusing cause and effect. First, on the matter of high school, people drop out because they are poor – they don’t stay poor because they drop out. Dropout rates are much higher for the children of poor parents than the children of non-poor parents. The dropout rate low-income families is about five times greater than the rate of their peers from high-income families (7.4 percent vs. 1.4 percent):

                    It’s the same for marriage. The poor are actually MORE likely to hold traditional views of marriage than the rich, but their marriages fail (or don’t happen in the first place) because of financial problems:

                    Your third ingredient, getting a job, is no guarantee of escaping poverty. Take a look at the unemployment numbers among the poor:
                    Many of the poor are unemployed, yes, but the vast majority DO have jobs. Among people who make $12,160 per year or less, 30.8% are unemployed… meaning that 69.2% have a job. Over two-thirds of the poorest of the poor have jobs.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Quite the opposite Brian. I only mentioned several traits which hold down the poor, usually on an intergenerational basis. I then mentioned several factors which have devalued the intrinsic worth of an honest man’s honest labor. In both instances, I stand by what I said and ask you to show me where I was wrong.

                      “Getting a job” is very much a major step in getting out of poverty, both real and as defined by the Federal Govt. Let’s not forget that those living under the “poverty level” includes people who have cell phones, wide screen TVs, SUVs, and air-conditioning. Obesity is likewise more concentrated in this group than in the upper classes (although here too it is making inroads). Louis XIV had none of these things in Versailles and yet he was the richest man on earth.

                    • I just want to point out that it seems to be a universal human flaw to want to blame the sufferer for their own suffering, and us religious folks tend to justify ourselves using the biblical God as our Authority for doing so. The Book of Job powerfully illustrates this. This has been explained psychologically. It is a good way to insulate ourselves from the self-denying call to compassion for others (co-suffering with them).

                      Why the poor are poor is, I suspect, most of the time a more complex issue than George makes it out to be and, in my reading of Orthodox faith, not one of us is not entangled in some way in another’s stumble into sin and misfortune. If I see someone in adverse circumstances, I need to realize that it is very likely had I experienced the same advantages/disadvantages, I would be struggling, too, and if the attitude called upon us Orthodox is reflected in the pre-communion prayer in the Liturgy, I would be falling in a worse way (being the *first* of sinners).

                      Logan46, your attitude of humility recognizing the blessings you enjoy are a gift of grace is exactly where we all need to be. Then we need to roll up our sleeves and help those around us who are less fortunate, and not excuse ourselves based on the lie that “they got what they deserve.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Karen, again, life is complex. I do not blame the poor qua poor. (I dare not especially now since my own job is on the line.) I have gone so far as to blame “society” for the evils of untrammelled illegal immmigration, Feminism, and inadquate government schooling, and onerous regulations which inhibit job growth, which have done more to increase poverty than the illicit choices of perhaps 20% of those below the poverty line have done to themselves.

              • George: Indeed it is not wrong for the Church to castigate sinners. Indeed it is part of the Prophetic mission. And that was precisely what I was doing – castigating sinners – when I said that the conservative mindset (i.e. treating the poor as less deserving than oneself) is prideful and therefore anti-Christian.

                To be poor is not a sin. To be rich and not do everything in your power to help the poor, on the other hand, IS a sin. To be rich and think of yourself as better than the poor is also a sin (note: castigating sinners is one thing, condidering yourself to be better than them is another; we must never confuse these two, for the first is good and the second is sinful). Why do you castigate the poor, who may or may not have sinned, but you do not castigate the super-wealthy, who are blatantly and visibly sinning by hoarding their wealth and not giving it to the needy?

                At this point you might ask, don’t the wealthy give to charity? Is that not enough? How much wealth should we expect the wealthy to give to the needy? St. Basil explains:

                “If it is true that you have kept the law of charity from your childhood, as you claim, and that you have done as much for others as for yourself, then where does all your wealth come from? Care for the poor absorbs all available resources… So whoever loves his neighbor as himself owns no more than his neighbor does. But you have a great fortune. How can this be, unless you have put your own interests above those of others?”

                In other words, you should keep giving away your wealth until you are left with about the same as your neighbor – perhaps something around the median income in the US, which is $26,000 per individual. St. Basil’s words imply that anyone who keeps more than that for himself is sinning. So let us castigate them.

                And if we are part of them, if we own more than our neighbor does and do not give the excess away, let us repent.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Brian, I never said “to be poor was a sin.” To be a drug addict, a prostitute, a scofflaw who will not work, a woman who sleeps around while her children eat Cheetohs, or a man who regularly beats his girlfriend into submission until she hands over her Welfare check –these are sins.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris wrote these words: “In the Divine Liturgy and other services we pray for the “needy poor.”
              Seeing the quotation marks (around “needy poor”) one might assume, as I did, that this priest is quoting from the Divine Liturgy.
              Even though I was received into the Orthodox Church in 1960, just after being commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S.Air Force, from that day until now I can’t remember EVER hearing the words “needy poor” in a Divine Liturgy.
              I just now went through the Divine Liturgy section of the Liturgikon authorized by Metropolitan Philip and I can’t find “the needy poor” there either!
              The closest to it is where we pray for those “who remember the needy”, but the poor are not mentioned as such even during the great anamnesis.
              Could this be perhaps a trick of memory, recalling something in the BCP, rather than something in the Divine Liturgy?

              • Archpriest J ohn W. Morris says

                Your Grace:

                I did make one mistake, but the phrase “needy poor” is not actually in the Divine Liturgy. It is in the “Prayers for the Living” section of “Morning Prayers” in the Antiochian Service Book, p. 10. I guess that it sticks in my mind because I say these prayers every day.
                There are people who are poor through no fault of their own, but there are also people who are poor because of their own mistakes; people who drop out of high school, teen age girls who get pregnant, people on disability who could work if they wanted to work. Our welfare system has created a permanent under class of people for whom welfare is a way of life. There is a group of people who believe that they are entitled to a free living off of the labor of others. The welfare system is bankrupting our country. We cannot afford to continue to support people who are really thieves stealing from the labor of others. These people must be made to do some sort of productive work in exchange for the welfare that they receive. We should not just give people money or food stamps and let them sit around watching television.
                That does not mean that government should not do something to help people who want to help themselves. We need maximum flexibility in our educational system. We need alternative high schools to help those who dropped out get an education. These schools need day care for teen age mothers. They also need vocational programs so that people can learn a trade so that they can make a living. We also need a strong community college system for those too old for high school. These should have an open admissions system that admits everyone who applies whether or not they have a high school diploma. Each student should take a series of diagnostic tests when they enter and be provided remedial classes for whatever deficiencies they have. These community colleges should have vocational education programs in addition to the regular academic programs so that students who want to can learn a trade. I taught at a community college that taught how to drive a truck, for example.
                We also need to take care of people who cannot take care of themselves. The mentally ill should not be left on the street to beg, but need to be taken care of in clean and well managed institutions. Those with substance abuse programs need to be provided with programs to help them resolve their problems. Like the mentally ill we should not just let them sit on the street and beg.
                Most of all we need a good economy with low taxes and as few governmental regulations as possible. We need a more efficient government that does not take too much of our national income. Every penny that the government takes out of circulation is a penny that is not producing income that produces jobs.

                • I think you idolize your very limited understanding. Continual indications of that. Here you’re trying to rationalize a conventional compromise with American materialism and the pandemic of grotesque veneration of the money-rich (regardless of what they had to do, or consent to, to pile up the money). It’s true that you don’t go as far as Morris and Jacobse in their double-minded, shallow sloganeering and parroting of tired, hollow cliches, and that’s a good thing IMHO. It’s certainly a sign of relative spiritual health not to be as silly and confused as they are, or as deceptive. But you need to think this through a bit more.

                  To understand a parable you need to get beyond the confines of literal-mindedness. In the NT, true wealth is just not material or “earthly” — period. If you don’t get this, you don’t understand the New Age in Christ or much of anything He or the apostles had to say about the Kingdom of God and the reason for, the logos behind, its age-long conflict with the deceptive values that prop up and yet at the same time are destroying from within a fallen world, “lying in wickedness.” It took most of the apostles awhile to get it, judging from the gospel accounts. Eventually they did, though. When will American “Christians” get it? Was Jesus rich, in the material sense, or were any of his apostles? Show me one place in the apostolic epistles where money, and the desire for money, aren’t utterly scorned and warned against. Just one. In the first few centuries of the Church, prior to Constantine’s apparent surrender of the essentially commercial Roman state to the Church, was anyone of any note in the Church rich, as conventionally understood?

                  Everything belongs to God. We are nothing more than stewards of his Creation. That’s the truth, but it is increasingly alien to many in this country. Priests too cowardly to teach it, and its implications, are basically just imposters. They pick on the victims and petty sinners while explicitly or implicitly blessing the great ones. Their Judge is watching.

                  “Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?

                  I. Those who bestow laudatory addresses on the rich appear to me to be rightly judged not only flatterers and base, in vehemently pretending that things which are disagreeable give them pleasure, but also godless and treacherous; godless, because neglecting to praise and glorify God, who is alone perfect and good, “of whom are all things, and by whom are all things, and for whom are all things,” they invest with divine honours men wallowing in an execrable and abominable life, and, what is the principal thing, liable on this account to the judgment of God; and treacherous, because, although wealth is of itself sufficient to puff up and corrupt the souls of its possessors, and to turn them from the path by which salvation is to be attained, they stupefy them still more, by inflating the minds of the rich with the pleasures of extravagant praises, and by making them utterly despise all things except wealth, on account of which they are admired; bringing, as the saying is, fire to fire, pouring pride on pride, and adding conceit to wealth, a heavier burden to that which by nature is a weight, from which somewhat ought rather to be removed and taken away as being a dangerous and deadly disease. For to him who exalts and magnifies himself, the change and downfall to a low condition succeeds in turn, as the divine word teaches. For it appears to me to be far kinder, than basely to flatter the rich and praise them for what is bad, to aid them in working out their salvation in every possible way; asking this of God, who surely and sweetly bestows such things on His own children; and thus by the grace of the Saviour healing their souls, enlightening them and leading them to the attainment of the truth; and whosoever obtains this and distinguishes himself in good works shall gain the prize of everlasting life. Now prayer that runs its course till the last day of life needs a strong and tranquil soul; and the conduct of life needs a good and righteous disposition, reaching out towards all the commandments of the Saviour.

                  II. Perhaps the reason of salvation appearing more difficult to the rich than to poor men, is not single but manifold. For some, merely hearing, and that in an off-hand way, the utterance of the Saviour, “that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven,” despair of themselves as not destined to live, surrender all to the world, cling to the present life as if it alone was left to them, and so diverge more from the way to the life to come, no longer inquiring either whom the Lord and Master calls rich, or how that which is impossible to man becomes possible to God. But others rightly and adequately comprehend this, but attaching slight importance to the works which tend to salvation, do not make the requisite preparation for attaining to the objects of their hope. And I affirm both of these things of the rich who have learned both the Saviour’s power and His glorious salvation. With those who are ignorant of the truth I have little concern.” St. Clement of Alexandria

            • Very Reverend Father John,

              First, let me say that I absolutely agree with your last few sentences when you say that providing employment in public works projects (as was done during the New Deal) is better than providing welfare. In fact, given that we are now in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, that kind of policy is needed more than ever (or, well, more than any other time after the 1930s).

              However, I disagree with most of the rest of your post. It is true that some people are poor because they made bad choices, but the vast majority are poor through no fault of their own.

              Two of my best friends are a couple who met in college, and graduated a couple of years after me. They did everything right: got an education, got married, and even found jobs in this bad economy. But the only jobs they found were at Target and Burger King, and today they live in poverty, renting a room in a relative’s house and trying to make ends meet while facing massive college loan payments.

              So let’s not forget some of the other major causes of poverty: a minimum wage job does not pay enough money to live on; college loans are so high that going to college these days often leaves you poorer than you started; and medical bills, even for the people who have insurance, can bring financial ruin. This was all true before the Great Recession. Now add the fact that jobs are hard to find these days, especially for young people, and you get a good picture of what makes people poor.

              On the issue of welfare, let’s look at the numbers. Welfare checks are very small, and in most cases you cannot live on them alone. Generally, the maximum value of food stamps for a family of four is $500 per month, and for an individual it’s $200. Cash allowances (“welfare checks”) do not go above $900 for a family of four, or $300 per month for a single person living alone. That’s about one quarter of what you’d get from a full-time minimum wage job. How is this not reasonable? If anything, it’s too low.

              You claim that welfare has “created a permanent underclass of people whose families have lived for several generations on welfare.” But there have always been families who lived in deep poverty for generation after generation. This underclass has always existed. It’s just that now they’re getting welfare, whereas previously they didn’t. This is not a bad thing. If a family is going to be stuck in poverty anyway (for whatever reason, including when it’s their fault), it’s better for them to receive welfare than not.

              Now, as I said, I don’t think welfare is the best thing in the world, and I would completely support replacing it entirely with a program that offered a government job to every person in need. But do you think conservatives would endorse such a scheme?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Brian, because I am under a severe time constraint, I will only deal with your first paragraph. Although in principle I am for extremely limited constitutional government and therefore look askance at public work projects, fearing that they are “make work projects,” I am pragmatic enough to see where they can be a useful remedy for massive unemployment for a short term.

                Having said that, the vast majority of projects that the New Deal pushed through were not enough to solve unemployment. WWII did. (If you think about it, sending men off in the millions to die is not my idea of a an ideal “public works” project but strictly speaking it is a “public works” project per se.)

                The problem however is that today, because traditional men’s and women’s labor has been devolarized by feminism and government education (which no longer teaches mandatory Shop or HomeEc classes), the loss of the work ethic has been pretty much destroyed. Let’s be honest, manual labor and skill in the trades via mentoring has been throughout history the best method for lifting a poor man out of poverty.

                I know I’m gonna sound like a curmudgeon, but the vast majority of young (under 30) men I’ve met would no more pick up a hammer than they would a Patristics volume. Instead, they spen untold thousands of dollars on cigarettes, tatoos, and video games living in their mothers’ basements. For spending money they take work at Burger King, etc. The young women of their acquaintance are not any more virtuous but because they provide easy, no-strings attached sex for them, there is no incentive for them to get out of their morass. Let’s be honest, the only reason men have traditionally even made the attempt to pull themselves out of poverty was to acquire a wife. When virginity was prized the family unit was more stable. (There’s an old Yiddish saying: “No chuppah, no shtupah.” A Chuppah is the Wedding Canopy, I’ll let you guess what shtupah is.) But of course we are so much more enlightened today thanks to Feminism which has extolled sluttish behavior.

                This is not ambition nor does it presage well for their individual futures.

        • But Jesus Christ concentrated on yelling at and preaching to the RICH, not the POOR, when he was talking “politics”. He said that the problems in society were caused by the RICH, not by the poor. He didn’t criticize and judge the poor, blaming them for the problems in society, but he warned the RICH over and over. He warned the exploiters of the poor, those who built their worldly kingdoms on the broken backs of the POOR that the Father would not judge the poor, but the rich. His solutions were directed to the rich, not to the poor. He said it is very difficult for the RICH (I use all caps to emphasize that there are people with money and then there are people with MONEY, and shame on them for protecting themselves and not giving, and I don’t give a rip what party they belong to.)

          Stop putting your energy into blaming the poor, and look at what the RICH have done to bring the economy to this dismal condition we are in. People are greedy no matter how much money they have. A poor person may be greedy, but a rich, greedy person does far more damage. Doggone it.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Technically, you’re wrong, Jane. The problems of the world which Jesus preached against were the products of sin, not wealth per se. He had many wealthy friends (Lazarus and his sisters, Susannah the Steward’s wife who helped him in His ministry, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimethea, etc.) One could be rich and righteous as well as rich and evil.

            Of course we are called upon to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. That has never been in contention. It’s just that we Christians who are conservative believe that it is through private charity that poverty is best alleviated, to the extent that it can be.

            • There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. — Luke 16:19-25

              No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matthew 6:24-25, 31-33

              Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:19-21

              Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. — Matthew 19:23-24, Mark 10:23-25

              But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. — Luke 6:24

              Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. — James 5:1

              • George Michalopulos says

                We’re not supposed to idolize anything Mike, including money. I certainly don’t and I despise our popular culture with its emphasis on “bling,” and consumerism. But for every parable you cited, Jesus gave others in which God was a rich man or a king (they’re usually rich). The Good Samaritan was rich, the Prodigal Son’s father was rich, the king who forgave the unjust servant of his debt was rich. (Interestinly, the forgiven debtor was not rich yet he was violent towards the other servant who owed him a pittance.)

                As for real-life scenarios, Jesus ate in the houses of rich people, even miscreants like Zacchaeus who became wealthy by extortion.

                • I think you idolize your very limited understanding. Continual indications of that. Here you’re trying to rationalize a conventional compromise with American materialism and the pandemic of grotesque veneration of the money-rich (regardless of what they had to do, or consent to, to pile up the money). It’s true that you don’t go as far as Morris and Jacobse in their double-minded, shallow sloganeering and parroting of tired, hollow cliches, and that’s a good thing IMHO. It’s certainly a sign of relative spiritual health not to be as silly and confused as they are, or as deceptive. But you need to think this through a bit more.

                  To understand a parable you need to get beyond the confines of literal-mindedness. In the NT, true wealth is just not material or “earthly” — period. If you don’t get this, you don’t understand the New Age in Christ or much of anything He or the apostles had to say about the Kingdom of God and the reason for, the logos behind, its age-long conflict with the deceptive values that prop up and yet at the same time are destroying from within a fallen world, “lying in wickedness.” It took most of the apostles awhile to get it, judging from the gospel accounts. Eventually they did, though. When will American “Christians” get it? Was Jesus rich, in the material sense, or were any of his apostles? Show me one place in the apostolic epistles where money, and the desire for money, aren’t utterly scorned and warned against. Just one. In the first few centuries of the Church, prior to Constantine’s apparent surrender of the essentially commercial Roman state to the Church, was anyone of any note in the Church rich, as conventionally understood?

                  Everything belongs to God. We are nothing more than stewards of his Creation. That’s the truth, but it is increasingly alien to many in this country. Priests too cowardly to teach it, and its implications, are basically just imposters. In effect they pick on and marginalize victims of injustice and magnify the guilt of petty sinners while explicitly or implicitly blessing the great ones.

                  “Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?

                  I. Those who bestow laudatory addresses on the rich appear to me to be rightly judged not only flatterers and base, in vehemently pretending that things which are disagreeable give them pleasure, but also godless and treacherous; godless, because neglecting to praise and glorify God, who is alone perfect and good, “of whom are all things, and by whom are all things, and for whom are all things,” they invest with divine honours men wallowing in an execrable and abominable life, and, what is the principal thing, liable on this account to the judgment of God; and treacherous, because, although wealth is of itself sufficient to puff up and corrupt the souls of its possessors, and to turn them from the path by which salvation is to be attained, they stupefy them still more, by inflating the minds of the rich with the pleasures of extravagant praises, and by making them utterly despise all things except wealth, on account of which they are admired; bringing, as the saying is, fire to fire, pouring pride on pride, and adding conceit to wealth, a heavier burden to that which by nature is a weight, from which somewhat ought rather to be removed and taken away as being a dangerous and deadly disease. For to him who exalts and magnifies himself, the change and downfall to a low condition succeeds in turn, as the divine word teaches. For it appears to me to be far kinder, than basely to flatter the rich and praise them for what is bad, to aid them in working out their salvation in every possible way; asking this of God, who surely and sweetly bestows such things on His own children; and thus by the grace of the Saviour healing their souls, enlightening them and leading them to the attainment of the truth; and whosoever obtains this and distinguishes himself in good works shall gain the prize of everlasting life. Now prayer that runs its course till the last day of life needs a strong and tranquil soul; and the conduct of life needs a good and righteous disposition, reaching out towards all the commandments of the Saviour.

                  II. Perhaps the reason of salvation appearing more difficult to the rich than to poor men, is not single but manifold. For some, merely hearing, and that in an off-hand way, the utterance of the Saviour, “that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven,” despair of themselves as not destined to live, surrender all to the world, cling to the present life as if it alone was left to them, and so diverge more from the way to the life to come, no longer inquiring either whom the Lord and Master calls rich, or how that which is impossible to man becomes possible to God. But others rightly and adequately comprehend this, but attaching slight importance to the works which tend to salvation, do not make the requisite preparation for attaining to the objects of their hope. And I affirm both of these things of the rich who have learned both the Saviour’s power and His glorious salvation. With those who are ignorant of the truth I have little concern.” St. Clement of Alexandria

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Obviously Mike you didn’t read what I wrote about how I “loathed” consumerism.

                    • “Consumerism” is just a symptom of a deeper hollowness at the core of our political economy. You appear to defend that deeper hollowness, the utterly debunked, empirically devastated nostrums about the “wisdom of markets” or the benignity of laissez-faire liberalism or neo-liberalism. The whole notion that human beings and society itself should be subservient to the marketplace and its sordid valuations and to the abject slaves of Mammon who enforce all that rot while being paid off like bandits to do so is just nauseating stupidity, and priests who defend it, or worse passionately shill for it — in God’s name yet! — are frauds. They should get honest jobs.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, I hate to break it to you but Marxism has been tried and it’s failed.

                    • Social democracy (not “Marxism”) has not only been tried in much of Europe, it’s thriving. Problems posed by aging populations and low birthrates are real enough there and serious, but that is an entirely separate issue from the stark differences in political economy and social contract between the US and much of the EC. The Mediterranean periphery does have some very serious structural problems, but they’re due mostly to half-hearted commitment to the principles of commonwealth as well as having come relatively late into the game. In poverty levels, educational attainment & cost, job training, apprenticeships & rational labor market policies, health care quality, access & cost, abortion levels, out-of-wedlock births, to name only a few metrics — and just general quality of urban and country life, most of Europe is significantly ahead of us. Fact.

                      As usual, you have little idea what you’re talking about.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      OK, if you say so.

                • Isaiah 56:11– Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

                  Jeremiah 6:13 — For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

                  Jeremiah 8:10 — Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

                  Ezekiel 22:25-29 — There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

                  Ezekiel 33:31 — And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

                  Luke 12:15 — And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

                  Luke 20:47 — Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

                  Luke 16:13 — The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    OK, Mike, where did I say that the rich should “devour the poor”? Please point out just one syllable in one sentence in which I advocated plutocratic rapacity. Just one.

                    • Where did I say you said that? But since you’ve brought up the subject so defensively — if you’re voting for Romney/Ryan, you’re supporting politicians whose platform is to enable plutocratic rapacity, whether you personally think of yourself as “advocating” it or not.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      Where is it written that the poor shall devour the rich? In our country it is not the welfare cases who are being exploited. It is the middle class that pays taxes to support the welfare class that does no productive work. Our middle class children do not have the special programs and scholarships that have been set aside for the so called poor. When we moved to Texas, we had to pay out of state tuition for my daughter to attend Houston Community College. Had we been illegial aliens, we would have only had to pay in state tuition. Our country is being bankrupt by the welfare state, that has expanded greatly under Obama, whose whole campaign can b summarized by “vote for Obama. He will take money from people who earn it and give it to you so you will vote for me.” He is appealing to greed and jealousy and supports programs to keep as many people dependent on the government so that they will vote Democratic.

                    • Neither taxes on “the rich” (really marginal taxes on top income brackets) nor “welfare” for the poor (really a series of programs designed to support those at the bottom brackets) have been significantly altered since the Bush Administration.

                      In fact welfare has not significantly been altered since the Clinton Administration, and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have become a sacred cow for the GOP so that merely returning to the taxation index of the Clinton Administration is decried as “socialism” and worse.

                      More people are eligible for welfare, of course, thanks to the Bush economic collapse of 2008 (which really started in 2007) and the bleeding of nearly 400,000 jobs each month which have not yet been replaced. And if you wish to fault Obama for failing to enact policies that replace those jobs you have a case.

                      There is no case, however, that Obama has raised taxes on the wealthy or “greatly expanded the welfare state.” None.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Except for the fact that the President tried to gut the work requirements that Clinton and the GOP put in place in 1996. As near as I can tell, the House has stopped this from happening.

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says


                Jesus wasn’t a European Socialist.

                Jane Rachel,

                Be careful not to conflate the Gospel mandates with Progressive ideology. Progressive ideas foster economic dependency, gives the poor the worst performing schools in America (America’s worst schools are in the inner cities of Democratically controlled cities), has undermined the the Black family while profiting from that breakdown (70% of all of Planned Parenthood abortuaries are in poor Black neighborhoods), and so forth.

                To sum up: The Boomer values from the sixties onward have largely been a failure. The next generation is saddled with Boomer debt even while the Boomers have aborted about half of them.

                It’s time for new ideas.

                • Hans,

                  Get an honest job.

                • According to the Acts of the Apostles, protochristians ‘held all things in common’, hence the strict punishment imposed by God on Ananias and Sapphira, and the appointment of the first deacons, since it was more important for the apostles to preach than to run a bank (_trapeza_).

                  It’s unknown why or just when our first christian ancestors abandoned socialism at the same time as it’s clear that they held it as an ideal. Is that when we Christians first ran off the rails? Have we continued to degenerate in our practice ever since?!

                  Certainly, christian monastic practice has always remained socialist, and no one complains about that.

                  We need to think more deeply about this, and not see this history only through the lens of our own contemporary political experience.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I’ll tell you why the first Christians abandoned Communism: because it didn’t work.

                    • It seems, though, that — at least in the case of Ananias and Sapphira — God disagrees with George. Risky business.

                      I admit that there are instances in the Tradition where our ancestors in the faith are recorded as negotiating with God, but this doesn’t seem to be one of them. The record is wide-open-flat unremarked and unexplained, and we’d need more that just a statement that the experiment failed in order to regard selfishness as a virtue in the face of community needs.

                      And we still have to deal with monastic socialism (not poltically referenced communism), current even now.

                      Let’s theologize this rather than politicize it.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                    Monasteries are socialist? How so?

                    Most monasteries I know are free marketers, selling their wares to support themselves. Some do quite well at it too. Those that rely on donations actually rely on the work of others, again a nod to the free market although one step removed.

                    I think you meant that the monks don’t claim private ownership to things within the monastery. But this is not the same thing as saying the monasteries are socialist. They aren’t.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                    Sharing all things in common does not speak to how the wealth was generated to obtain the things that they shared.

            • See also St. Clement of Alexandria (referred to by St. Maximus the Confessor as “the great Clement of the Miscellanies”) on
              “Who Is The Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?”

            • George Michalopulos says:
              Of course we are called upon to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. That has never been in contention. It’s just that we Christians who are conservative believe that it is through private charity that poverty is best alleviated, to the extent that it can be.

              And just how would that work? Fault federal and state welfare programs all you want, but private charities could never match their breadth and scope, and I dare say, their results as well.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Logan, I hate to break it to you, but forty years ago LBJ declared a War on Poverty. Guess what? Poverty won.

                • But George, didn’t you tell me how the “poor” have food stamps, free housing, free health care, not to mention the cell phones, flat screen tvs . . . who won? 🙂

                • Logan makes an extremely important point here. You cannot claim, at the same time, that:

                  (a) Welfare is too generous, and the poor can get too much without working;
                  (b) Government assistance has not worked as a means to alleviate poverty.

                  If one is true, the other MUST be false.

                  If (a) is true, then poverty HAS been alleviated, the “poor” are doing just fine, and therefore (b) is false. On the other hand, if (b) is true, then the poor are still suffering greatly, therefore (a) must be false.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    OK, so, I guess there’s no more poverty in America? That the War on Poverty succeeded? If so, could disband all those federal agencies that keep $85 for overhead for every $100 in taxes collected?

                    • There is poverty in America, that is obviously true. What this means is that (a) is false. Do we agree on that?

                      The War on Poverty did not end poverty, but it did make the lives of the poor significantly better than before.

                      Now, which federal agencies are you talking about, exactly, and where is the evidence that they keep $85 in overhead for $100 in taxes collected?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Brian, I wonder how many intact poor homes and neighborhoods you’ve ever been in. How many kids growing up eating Cheetohs while Mommy’s entertaining the fourth sire of her five children. The cracked windows, graffittied walls, overweight great-grandmothers who have diabetes, and uneducated children that have no prospects and thus repeat the cycle for five generations now.

                      Just because there’s a wide-screen TV and everybody has an I-Phone doesn’t mean that their condition is any better.

                  • Dear Brian,

                    Both a and b can be true. I would suggest (a) and (b) are fallacious opinions. I owul suggest

                    (a) Welfare is poorly administered
                    (b) Poverty is proportionally increasing with wealth increasingly unobtainable

                    (c) We need institutions to coordinate welfare funds in order to prevent our masking our lack of charily

                    Have mercy, even as your Father has mercy

            • Technically, you’re wrong, Jane.

              Technically, Jane is correct, George.

              You cannot cite for us the Gospel passage that says “Blessed are the rich…” nor the one that talks about how hard it is for the poor to enter the Kingdom. You cannot find for us the Gospel passage in which Christ issues a blanket warning to the poor of impending doom, as he does to the Scribes and Pharisees.

              • George Michalopulos says

                OK, so let’s kill the rich and confiscate their wealth. I bet you’re pretty rich yourself. You forget that during the Reign of Terror, 90% of those who had their heads lopped off were not the aristocracy by any stretch of the imagination. What makes you think you would escape such a fate?

                • Who are you arguing with, George? CQ, or Jesus? You amaze me.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Well, since I don’t think Jesus was a Marxist-Leninist, I guess I’m arguing with CQ.

                • You’d have us deny the plain language of the Gospel because you fear the Reign of Terror?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    No, not at all. Since you love the Gospel so much, how do you explain these words: “Those that shall not work, neither should they eat.”?

                    • “Since you love the Gospel so much…”

                      Don’t you?

                      The context of the Gospel is the revelation of the all-merciful and ineffably compassionate God incarnate. In that context Jesus’ words about the powerful and wealthy are affirmations of God’s own character, and a stark warning to those whose actions are violations of His character. ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

                      Jane Rachel was technically correct both in her reading of the scripture and in her analysis that the global economic crisis was due to the avarice of the wealthy, not the myriad and well-documented shortcomings of the poor.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Yes I do love the Gospel. The present world-wide economic collapse is multilayered. For one thing, the massive entitlement spending of the Western democracies have put us on a treadmill of increasing the money supply in order to stave off an inevitable economic collapse. In addition, horrendous financial mischief by people like Bernie Madoff have contributed mightily to the present doldrums. Contra Pat Buchanan/Ron Paul, our military adventures are a minor net-minus in this regard because at the very least what they have done is stabilize and/or confiscate foreign commodities, especially gold and oil. Still, military spending is overdone. (Why for instance are we still in Japan and Germany? Last I checked we won WWII seventy years ago.)

                    • Returning to the point: Jane Rachel’s understanding of the Gospel is “technically” correct, it is your declaration that her understanding is wrong that was in error.

                      As for the rest of you post: There would be no global financial crisis were it not for the avarice of global financial elites. “You can’t cheat an honest man.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      CQ, these elites have been gaming the system since time immemorial. Our prediliction for massive government spending (i.e., entitlements) only gives them a bigger pond to fish in. Ever heard of Solyndra? Boondoggle city. And what “made” Solyndra? The government-manddated necessity that we needed alternatives in the energy sector.

                    • Since the vast majority of the poor do work (as I have pointed out elsewhere), the words “Those that shall not work, neither should they eat.” cannot be used to justify failure to care for the poor. Neither can they be used to justify support for the greed of the rich.

                      People who do not work are to be found in all walks of life, among the rich as well as the poor. Do I really need to mention some well-known celebrities who obtained great wealth by inheritance or by other methods that do not involve work?

                      By the way, the full context for the quote you reference is as follows:
                      “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)

                      This is clearly not a teaching about society as a whole, but about the Church and its members. It does not refer to the poor. It refers to those members of the Church who “walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies” and who demand bread for this activity.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Brian, we don’t not care for the poor. And the only reason that the vast majority of those on income assistance work is because the Clinton-Gingrich reform of 1996 mandated that they work. Obama gutted this provision.

                    • Regarding the present world-wide economic collapse, the most important reason is often overlooked: All Western democracies have drastically cut taxes over the past 30 years. When the “entitlement” spending programs were created, tax rates (especially on the wealthy) were much higher than they are today. Thus, they were perfectly affordable at the time. The only reason they seem unaffordable to us today is because we’ve gotten used to the much lower taxes of the post-1980 era.

                      Consider, for example, the evolution of the top marginal income tax rate in the United States (meaning the tax rate paid by the richest individuals) from 1950 to 2012:

                      1950 — 91.00%
                      1951 — 91.00%
                      1952 — 92.00%
                      1953 — 92.00%
                      1954 — 91.00%
                      1955 — 91.00%
                      1956 — 91.00%
                      1957 — 91.00%
                      1958 — 91.00%
                      1959 — 91.00%
                      1960 — 91.00%
                      1961 — 91.00%
                      1962 — 91.00%
                      1963 — 91.00%
                      1964 — 77.00%
                      1965 — 70.00%
                      1966 — 70.00%
                      1967 — 70.00%
                      1968 — 75.25%
                      1969 — 77.00%
                      1970 — 71.75%
                      1971 — 70.00%
                      1972 — 70.00%
                      1973 — 70.00%
                      1974 — 70.00%
                      1975 — 70.00%
                      1976 — 70.00%
                      1977 — 70.00%
                      1978 — 70.00%
                      1979 — 70.00%
                      1980 — 70.00%
                      1981 — 69.13%
                      1982 — 50.00%
                      1983 — 50.00%
                      1984 — 50.00%
                      1985 — 50.00%
                      1986 — 50.00%
                      1987 — 38.50%
                      1988 — 28.00%
                      1989 — 28.00%
                      1990 — 31.00%
                      1991 — 31.00%
                      1992 — 31.00%
                      1993 — 39.60%
                      1994 — 39.60%
                      1995 — 39.60%
                      1996 — 39.60%
                      1997 — 39.60%
                      1998 — 39.60%
                      1999 — 39.60%
                      2000 — 39.60%
                      2001 — 38.60%
                      2002 — 38.60%
                      2003 — 35.00%
                      2004 — 35.00%
                      2005 — 35.00%
                      2006 — 35.00%
                      2007 — 35.00%
                      2008 — 35.00%
                      2009 — 35.00%
                      2010 — 35.00%
                      2011 — 35.00%
                      2012 — 35.00%

                      That is a massive decrease, from over 90% to 35%. It left a very big hole in government coffers. And what has the government used to fill that hole?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Wait a second. I dispute this. Which countries did cut their taxes and by how much? Your graph has no attendent evidence to this effect.

                      Does this include Sweden, Finland, and the other social democracies? Greece still has a high income tax. Of course the Greeks are notorious for not paying taxes but that’s a story for another day.

                    • George, your statement “…these elites have been gaming the system since time immemorial” gives more, not less, credence to Jane Rachel’s reading of the Gospel.

                    • Brian,

                      Two things to note about the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

                      The act did away with most of the high-end tax margins, collapsing them so that a working person of high-middle status and an investor billionaire were treated as though their economic circumstances were equivalent.

                      It also treated capital gains as regular income.

                      Today the concept of treating capital gains as regular income is decried as “socialism.” The entire system has been jiggered to serve the wealthy; it must be the fault of the poor. 😉

                    • To the Brian who made comments on this thread such as this:

                      Since the vast majority of the poor do work (as I have pointed out elsewhere), the words “Those that shall not work, neither should they eat.” cannot be used to justify failure to care for the poor. Neither can they be used to justify support for the greed of the rich.

                      and this:

                      Regarding the present world-wide economic collapse, the most important reason is often overlooked: All Western democracies have drastically cut taxes over the past 30 years. When the “entitlement” spending programs were created, tax rates (especially on the wealthy) were much higher than they are today.

                      Without commenting on the merits of what you have written, I respectfully request that you change you moniker for the sake of preserving my identity on this site.

                      As the first Brian here and long-time follower of this blog, I appreciate your cooperation.

            • George Michalopulos says:
              September 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm

              poverty is best alleviated, to the extent that it can be.

              Did not our Lord Himself say (paraphrased) “the poor you shall always have with you.”

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Actually Christ said very little about politics. He never spoke of the injustice of Roman occupation or the unjust society in which he lived. He only spoke of personal acts of charity. He never said that the secular government had any obligation to help the poor.
            Nothing is more dangerous than confusing your personal political and economic views with the Gospel. The Social Gospel, Liberation theology and liberal Christians try to use the power of the state to impose their religious beliefs on others.
            I still believe that our welfare system actually harms the poor by creating a culture of dependency on government. As it has evolved, there is no real motivation for the poor to work to get themselves out of poverty because they can count on politicians like Obama to give them what they want. Obama is running on a platform that promises to take from the rich to give free stuff to the poor. That is what redistribution of wealth is.

            • “Nothing is more dangerous than confusing your personal political and economic views with the Gospel.”
              …yet conservatives do that all the time.

              It is true that Christ did not explicitly talk about politics, and for a very good reason. He did not become incarnate to accomplish the relatively small goal (by God’s standards) of creating a better human society on Earth. His goal was much higher and more important than that: the salvation of Mankind. He could have spoken about politics too, but that would have confused the message, that would have created a Church that didn’t know whether its mission was temporal or spiritual. So Christ made sure to emphasize that the Church’s mission is spiritual, by deliberately avoiding talk of temporal matters.

              But that doesn’t mean that temporal matters are unimportant. It just means they are less important than spiritual ones. The purpose of the Church is to save souls. But that doesn’t mean we can’t also try to make human society better in the process. And in fact, the Church has been improving society throughout its history – most notably by preaching against the evil of slavery, both in Roman and modern times.

              Actually, we cannot avoid “trying to use the power of the state to impose our religious beliefs on others”, no matter how hard we try. Conservative Christians do that just as much as left-wing Christians – they just focus on different issues. Are we not trying to use the power of the state to prevent abortion, for example? To the extent that we are doing this because our faith tells us abortion is wrong, we are trying to impose our religious beliefs on others. And in the past, did we not try to use to power of the state to abolish slavery?

              The only way to not try to use the power of the state to impose our beliefs on others would be to stay out of politics entirely, and let non-Christians make political decisions.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Fr. John, and many Protestants confuse their rapacious and heretical ideology and Zionism and so-called Patriotism with American policy foreign and domestic.

              Simply put, there is not one poticial ideology anywhere on the spectrum that is Christian, not one.

              Franky, I can’t think of one that is appreciably better than another except in this: Where actual freedom is allowed and encourage there we might find some reasonance. Where the unborn and tghe aged are protected (not made wards of the state BTW), just protected, where the Freedoms oulined in the Bill of Rights, specifically freedom of religion (not freedom from religion or freedom of worship), is respected and protected (not enforced), there folks might be able to live a Christian life with as little interference as possible. However platfoms and ideologies that demand any sort of ‘justice’, fairness, governement utopianism or Gaia anti-humanism or plutocratic/fascist tryanny, not so likely.

              The hypocrisy, the corruption, the lies and the lust of power that is so obviously present in all national politicians, yes ALL, has led my 26 year old son to the conclusion that there is no point in voting.

              The west is sinking because we have forswarn our Christian roots, morals and virtues in place of a slavery of consumerism and economic excess placing our trust in the riches of this world.

              Those who think for even an instant that Obama and his policies will lead to any impovement are deluded. Those that think that Romney’s policies will bring freedom are equally deluded.

              Freedom comes only when people are willing to fight and die for it, not wait for it to be given to them by someone else who has bigger guns.

              Our fight, as Christians, is against our own passions first. No matter the cost, we are commanded to care for the poor personally; to live a life of mercy and forgiveness while thanking God for His mercy and condensension; to witness to the truth in thought, word and deed no matter what the government does or does not do. We are to love one another no matter how deluded we feel our neighbors are, to bear one another’s burdens as Christ bore the Cross and St Simon of Cyrene helped Him.

              There is no government in any of this, there is just the community of the Church empowered by the Holy Spirit.

              Sooner or later, all government turns against the Church because worldly government seeks power and control and the Church always stands in its way so the Church must be suppressed.

              Government has guns, the authority to imprison and kill and wage war. We have Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, the martyrs and other saints, the Sacraments and the Jesus Prayer.

              Take your pick.

  2. Priest Justin Frederick says

    But what do the numbers mean? No key is given to the chart, either here or in the source at the Daily. I’m guessing the first percentage is the percentage of those who itemized and had charitable deductions, while the second would be the average percentage of their gross income those charitable deductions represented. Charts and graphs need good keys to interpreted properly.

    • Will Harrington says

      I would guess, from the information being discussed, that the green is the percentage of income given in the state, whether average per person or as a percentage of gross incom in the state, wheras the blue indecates the percentage of the populace involved in a religion.

  3. Does this study include contributions to one’s church as charity?

  4. Some people deliberately give alms in a private manner which would NOT to be captured by such statistics. In fact, that always has been my understanding of one Gospel directive.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Some people deliberately give alms in a private manner which would NOT to be captured by such statistics. In fact, that always has been my understanding of one Gospel directive.

      There is a Gospel directive against writing checks? Jesus doesn’t want us to have tax deductions for our tithing?

    • Yes Antonia. And Mrs. Romney, in her television interview announced triumphantly, while extending her hand downward to slap the coffee table in front of her, “He gives TEN PER CENT of his income EVERY YEAR to charity!!!”

      • Chris Banescu says

        What a crock! She was just pointing out that unlike our current Hypocrite-in-Chief that claims to “love his neighbor” yet barely gives to charity and didn’t lift a finger to help even his half-brother George Obama, Romney actually practices what he preaches and tithes to help others. While Obama pontificates on being “his brother’s keeper” and does nothing, Romney walks the talk. Romney’s faith is made manifest in his works. Obama’s “faith” is made manifest in the stream of socialist nonsense, falsehoods, and distortions he continually spreads.

        But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:18-20)

        Liberals are very generous with other people’s money, but many (Obama, Biden, etc.) are quite stingy with their own wealth. Even the New York Times noticed this pathological hypocrisy of the liberals: “Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.”

        Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

        Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Chris Banescu writes, “What a crock! ”

          I agree.

        • She calls the ten percent tithe (annual cult dues) to the Mormon presidium in Salt Lake ity, “charity!” All Mormons are required to do that as the price one must pay to be called a Mormon. it’s no more charity than my NRA dues!!!!
          I guess Chris thinks that Mormon Cult Dues, called “tithe”, are charity, too.
          Chris! How much do Obama and Biden give to charity? After all, they don’t hide their tax returns as the illberal Romney does. I say that because you state so authoritatively that they are stingy with their own “wealth.”

          How did Arthur Brooks identify houses “headed by conservatives?”
          I can’t tell a conservative from a liberal until they open their mouths. Did this eminent scholar and researcher Brooks actually talk to all those houses. Did the Catalogue for Philanthropy actually talk to all those states that give money to charity?

          • George Michalopulos says

            I disagree Your Grace. Mormons not only tithe to support their Church but give philanthropically as well. That is, above and beyond the standard 10%. Of course we Orthodox should be the last people to be casting aspersions at these people. We don’t even give 1% to our churches. And we wonder why our central administrators always find themselves in a pickle shifting monies from this fund to that fund. We, who claim to the Body of Christ are the most niggardly of all people who call themselves Christian.

          • Patrick Henry Reardon says

            Bishop Tikhon says of Mrs Romney, “She calls the ten percent tithe (annual cult dues) to the Mormon presidium in Salt Lake ity, “charity!”

            I believe this is what the IRS calls it.

            I would be very careful about calling the Mormons a cult.

            This popular sociological term carries a recognized description. There is no way the Latter Day Saints qualify as a cult, unless one wants to extend the usual boundaries of that term.

            I am sensitive on this point, since I belong to an Eastern Church that is often identified as a “cult” simply because it does not fit somebody’s description of a “recognized faith.”

            • George Michalopulos says

              Very good point Fr. If they are a cult, then what are we?

            • Oh, as far as Mormonism’s being a cult goes, I still agree with the Lutheran guide to denominations that the Missouri Synod published in the 1950s or therebouts, which put both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Christian Science into a special chapter called; “Miscellaneous Anti-Christian Cults.’
              Yes, I consider the Mormon religion to be anti-Christian and a cult, having learned nothing in the Orthodox Church that would not exceed the Lutheran standards.
              As for the tithe, i have been told by many Mormons that the famous Mormon obligatory tithe goes entirely to Salt Lake City. I’m sure that many Mormons in addition give to charity. By charity, I mean hospitals, orphanages soup kitchens, prison ministries, and I’d be glad to learn of the great Mormon hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, prison ministries, disable veterans’ support and so on. Do they have an I.M.C.C. like the I.O.C.C.?
              Please, do not bother “informing’ me that American Orthodox don’t have a lot of those things either, certainly not on the scaleof the Church of Russia which may even today be stlil helping the St. George Hospital of the Atniochians.
              Perhaps I’m ignorant in this, but I’ve always thought that the Masons were better known for charities than the Mormons are.
              I consider holding services to baptize dead relatives to be cultish, as well as the underwear with arcane symbols sewn into it, not to mention the, oh, outre teaching on the Holy Trinity and our relationship to it and to Satan.
              Lost tribes? Seems to me there’s an Atlantis cult out there too, as well as one for the lost continent of MU…Yes, there are some modern thinkers that think Christianity itself is a cult, but WE don’t believe that, and I find it strange to avoid labelling a cult a cult because we might be called one,too!
              The main and almost only occasion for calling the Orthodox Church a cult was the anti-religious movement in the Soviet Union and their government policy of designating ALL religions as cults.
              WE, though…do NOT consider our Church to be a cult or fit the definition of cult. I think, and ‘Mike” may correct me if I’m wrong, that the major literature on church vis-a-vis cult is German. I think some of it’s been translated and it would be in most seminary libraries. The name “Troeltsch” springs to mind (actually, I exaggerate: at my age NOTHING ‘springs” to mind!)

              • George Michalopulos says

                I for one think that the time is rapidly approaching when we will be considered a cult.

                • Yes, it’s only a matter of time before the ultra politically correct and the femina-nazi politicians discover that we Orthodox do not allow gay marriage or the practice of homosexuality, that we are pro-life and do not ordain women. And then, look out! –Fr. A

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Fr A, certainly you may be right: once the secularists realize the above about us then the persecution will come.

                    May I offer another perspective? That a secularized, ghettoized American Orthodoxy led by a Soros-subsidized Phanar and a ultra-liberal Syossset will prove suprisingly pliant to the dictates of satanically-inspired government directives?

                    I worry that the latter scenario is the one that will obtain. In exchange for no persecution and the continuing of our tax-exempt status, I fully expect that the soft men that constitute the majority of the Episcopal Assembly will only ask “how high?” when the government tells them to jump.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      What makes you think that Soros has anything to do with the Ecumenical Patriarchate?

                      Fr. John W. Morris

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Good question. The entire Riverboat Cruise that Went Nowhere back in 2009 was sponsored by Soros front groups. The EP spoke at the Soros-funded Center for the American Progress.

                      I’ve been preparing an essay on it but it keeps getting derailed by events here in America. I found the material in “Orthodox England.” The gist of this material was that the EP was being supported by the State Dept as a counterweight to the resurgent ROC which the US views as an arm of the Russian state. The confluence between Soros, State, and other NGO’s is well-known. For example, the NGOs have been funding the Syrian rebellion against the Assad regime. Russia has come to the aid of Assad and Kirill has come to the aid of the Damascus-based patriarchate. In the meantime, the Phanar has been strangely quiet regarding the impending destruction of the patriarchate of Antioch should the rebels prevail.

              • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                Of course, we do not regard the Orthodox Church as a cult.

                Occasionally I meet Mormons; none of them regard their religion as a cult.

                With respect to their “charitable” giving (as the IRS calls it), I don’t recall any financial scandal within “the Mormon presidium in Salt Lake City.” (Bishop Tikhon, who seems far more familiar with the Mormon than I, may want to correct this impression.) This is more than I can say for all Orthodox institutions.

                An ordinary American Protestant, if he were to read this blog site, might be unfavorably impressed by the large number of complaints about financial scandal in the OCA (again, I honestly know nothing about this, beyond what I have read on this blog site).

                When that hypothetical American Protestant reads, on the blog site, the suggestion—and even the threat—-that money should be withheld from the central office of the OCA “until the scandal is cleaned up,” it might be easy for him to suspect that the Orthodox Church has something seriously wrong with it.

                Would he call it a “cult”? Maybe. The impulse to do so might be strengthened if he regards the flowing robes and funny hats of its leaders. (A few years ago, when I was standing at a red light on a street corner in the lovely Bavarian city of Eichstaat, a young woman came and stood beside me, also waiting for the light to change. She began to look me up and down, with considerable suspicion. Observing my grey beard, my wind-blown riassa, and the pointy skofia on my head, she finally blurted out, “Gandalf?!”)

                If that same hypothetical American Protestant, with a view to checking things out a bit further, visits an Orthodox parish and hears a strange language and watches an arcane ritual, what might he think?

                Would he imagine the Orthodox Church to be a cult?

                Almost four decades ago, the year before my marriage, I went to Rome as part of an extended vacation in the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. One evening I came upon a corner kiosk of the Latter Day Saints. Deciding to have a bit of fun at their expense, I came up and inquired why they were in Rome. Speaking Italian in my Kentucky accent, I asked where the Mormons got the nerve to set up shop in a city where the two chief Apostles were buried. The young man in the kiosk, speaking Italian with his Utah accent, endeavored to explain to me that a newer revelation had been made to certain Americans, rendering the revelation to Peter and Paul a bit out of date.

                He asked me if I had ever read the Book of Mormon. I informed him that I had read the copy I stole from a hotel room in Salt Lake City. (This, also, was true.)

                We parted friends, I think. At least, neither of us called the other a cult.

                Bishop Tikhon, in calling the Latter Day Saints a cult, stands with most of American Evangelicalism. Are they right?

                “Cult” is a sociological, not a theological, term. I can say this much: if Mitt Romney is elected President, we can expect the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing at the inauguration, just as they have sung at other presidential inaugurations in my lifetime. Most Americans do not find the Latter Day Saints outside the usual lines of religious plausibility.

                The Orthodox still have a way to go in this respect, but I was flattered to be mistaken for Gandalf.

                • Thanks. Patrick Henry Reardon provides support for my decades-long adovicacy of Orthodox clergy wearing identifiably Orthodox streetwear, such as under-cassock (podriassnik or anteri) Cassock (Riassa Raso or Jibby (sp?), and preferably with one the various styles of skouphos or kamilavka.
                  One of the most important and sometimes difficult aspects of any missionary endeavor is getting someone’s attention, as Our Lord did by astoundingly addressing a Canaanite woman at a well with demeaning references to her people (who are to be ignored, like “dogs”, and whose religious customs are useless since salvation comes not frmo them but from Jews, etc.) Patrick Henry Reardon, although he modestly didn’t mention it, no doubt went on to explain that he was, indeed, not Gandulf, but an Orthodox Christian clergyman who held the original belief of the early Church, and so on. He didn’t have to worry about how to approach her: she approached him! Likewise, once in the San Jose airport, a little girl came running over to me, followed by her young parents, and asked, “Mister! Are you a wizard?” I said no and had a good laugh with the parents and then proceeded to explain what I was and what i was doing in the airport. Luckily too, i had a couple copies of Timothy Ware’s Orthodox Church in my attache case and gave it to them before their flight was called. If I’d been wearing civvies or, worse, a black clergy suit with clerical collar, no one, except, possibly a Roman Catholic WANTING to talk to a Roman Catholic priest or a Roman Catholic with a chip on his shoulder would approach me. Everyone would assume they knew exactly what i was.
                  And instead of “having a little fun” (I’m not sure what the point of that would be) with a Mormon, Patrick Henry Reardon made the Mormon’s day by allowing HIM to eduated a non-Mormon in the Mormon faith. it might have been a different anecdote entirely if Father had simply idled by the counter in a bright red skouphos and riassa with prayer beads on his wrist as well. the Mormon, perhaps bored out of his skull, might have said, ‘Do you mind if I ask you something?”

                  If they saw a couple Middle Eastern Orthodox hierarchs, following the advice of the local Antiochian experts, going through the airport in their black suits with clergy collars, very dark sunglasses and cigars, the public might think these are chaplains of the Marfia, off for a flight to Vegas, snd give them a REALLY wide birth. it’s all about the mission, right?

                  • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                    it might have been a different anecdote entirely if Father had simply idled by the counter in a bright red skouphos and riassa with prayer beads on his wrist as wel

                    I wasn’t Orthodox at the time.

                  • Here, here, Vladyka! 🙂

                    One can use the term cult in the general (normal conversation) sense to connote strange or perverse rites combined with group control and manipulation. One can also use it in the theological / sociological sense to connote a religious group that vis-a-vis the parent group (or surrounding religious culture) denies a foundational tenet of the parent group.

                    I.e., a cult denies a central tenet of a given faith, whereas a sect differs from the main group in a relatively marginal belief. So, vis-a-vis 1st century Judaism, Christianity was a cult, whereas the Essenes were a sect.

                    Now, vis-a-vis historical Christianity, Mormonism is a cult, denying such central tenets as the Holy Trinity, incarnation of the Logos in human flesh, process of salvation, etc. One can well argue that Protestant assemblies and Roman Catholicism are sects vis-a-vis Orthodoxy, whereas LDS, JWs and the lot, are rather cults.

                    • Re: The New Calendar as a solution to overcome the cultish image of the OCA

                      To overcome the cultish image and to be more acceptable to Americans in the USA, many Orthodox Christian jurisdictions have modified Orthodox traditions and have compromised the Holy Faith. For example, Antiochian clergy have accepted the wearing of the Roman collar, Orthodox women in many jurisdictions have tossed out their head coverings, contraception including the abortifacient pill has been largely accepted by Orthodox laity and clergy as a necessary reality, homosexuality is now largely accepted in most OCA dioceses, and the Greeks, Antiochians, and the OCA have largely accepted the New Calendar. While the infighting of grumpy old men in the OCA Synod is often seen as the pathetic beginnings of senility, the wholesale acceptance of modernist ecumenist trends can be more disturbing to those inquirers who seek the Ancient Faith without compromise.

                      Did the OCA accept the New Calendar in 1982 to become more acceptable in the USA and to overcome the image of cultishness? Was this a sellout and the beginning of the travails in the OCA? Excerpts from Andrew Bond’s essay reprinted below may shed some light on this matter:

                      Surely, more nonsense has been written about this subject in Orthodox journals than about almost any other ecclesiastical controversy. This year, another jurisdiction, the “Orthodox Church in America,” has introduced a change of calendar, so perhaps this is a convenient moment to re-examine the arguments for and against such a change. The official announcement by the OCA merely stated that the New Calendar would be adopted on the Church’s New Year Day (1st Sept.) 1982, but gave no actual reasons for this decision. However, the official newspaper of the OCA, The Orthodox Church, in its February 1982 issue published a lengthy apologia.

                      . . .

                      In the Orthodox Church we accept infallibility, not in a personal, papal sense, but as the voice of Christ’s Church expressed through an Ecumenical Council. Thus, even if a change had been made in A. D. 325, which it was not, it would have been quite legitimate and binding on all Christians, simply because it is only an Ecumenical Council that can order these aspects of the Church’s liturgical discipline. This is why Pope Gregory in 1582 and Patriarch Meletios in 1923 acted in defiance of Holy Tradition. They did something they had not the right to do, by usurping and taking to themselves the authority that rightly belongs to a General Council.

                      For the complete article, go to: http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/calendar_bond.aspx

                      If the great decline in the OCA can be attributed to the adoption of the New Calendar and the further inroads of modernism, simply electing another Metropolitan or disbanding the OCA Synod will not stop the spread of this cancer of modernism.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Your Grace:

                    Do you ever miss a chance to attack our Antiochian Bishops? By the way there is no airport in the country that would allow anyone to smoke a cigar. I have seen Greek Bishops travel in suit and clerical collar. There is no canon requiring Orthodox clergy to dress in a manner that is impractical. It is impractical to wear a cassock when driving or traveling.
                    There is a time and a place for everything. What an Orthodox priest wears outside of the Church in a country where people are used to seeing a priest in a cassock is one thing. What a priest wears when he lives in Baptist land is something else. I do not wear a cassock outside of the Church because it is very hot and humid most of the time in Mississippi. Here in Baptist land the people would think that I am a Muslim or member of some weird cult. I wear the clerical attire as instructed by my Bishop which is clerical shirt with clerical collar. Except when he is conducting services, there really are no ancient standards on what a married priest should wear. Therefore, a priest who dresses according to the instructions of his Bishop is following the Tradition of the Church.
                    Although the canons require a priest to dress as a priest, the canons do not describe exactly how a priest dresses. The tradition is that clergy dress as clergy, but the tradition does not specify what is clergy dress. That is because non-liturgical priestly attire has changed through the centuries. Until the 19th century a married priest in Greece wore the same clothing as any other man, but in darker colors. It was only in the 19 century that married clergy in Greece began to wear the inner cassock, rasso and kamilavka outside the Church. It was only in the 1920s that the Church of Greece began to require married clergy to wear the inner cassock, rasso and kamilavka outside of the Church. The rasso and kamilavka actually come from the attire of a Turkish judge, because during Turkish times the clergy also had a judicial function.
                    The first Orthodox clergy in America wore the attire of an American gentleman. There is a picture of the Fr. Makarius Saify the first Priest to serve St. George’s Church in Vicksburg from 1904 showing him wearing a business suit with a cross around his neck. Only later did Orthodox clergy begin to dress in clerical shirts and collar which is normal clerical attire in America.

                    Archpriest John W. Morris

                    • Very Reverend Father John,

                      Thank you for your explanation on clergy dress. I have heard this said many times about the Turkish influence. But, then, what explains those Orthodox never enslaved by the Ottoman Turks? I.e., Russians, etc.


                    • …What does Where It Originally Came From have to do with any custom, habit or tradition? Is the revelation (not really a revelation at all, but one of the common facts ‘brought to light” by those who go all to pieces at the idea of not appearing normal). cylindrical headgear were probably worn by Persian nomads and courtiers LONG before anyone had heard of Arabs or Turks. Much of the Byzantine court ceremnial, including parts now in our services, originated in Sassanid Persian courts. Even today, in modern Persian, where we would say “If you please,” the persian says “Command!” (Befahrmaid). And so, when Byzantine royal hostages were taking notes of the marvellous rites of the Persian Court, they noticed this habit of an Official pounding his staff and proclaiming ‘Command” before the Most Important people were to move from room to another, or go before the Emperor. So, too, our Deacons, cry, “Command” (“If you please”) to signal he Priest to go to the High Place before the Trisagion. And they say it at the beginning of the All-Night Vigil just before the Priest begins his censing tour of the Altar. And we ALL know how it’s said to the candidate for ordination, twice, before the Bishop is addressed to take his seat for the ordination.
                      Yes, that’s where it “comes from,’ but that doesn’t stop would be western liturgical (and even some Orthodox!) experts and connoisseurs from building a whole segment of Conciliarity Doctrine around the word, imagining the the word is SHOWIING that the people ‘participate” by their command!!!!!!!!!!!
                      The use of “Command” in the services of the Byzantine Court is found in the Book of Ceremonies. When the Basileus and his retinue were to move from, say, a golden room to a porphyry room, the Master of Ceremonies would signal with his staff and say ‘Keleuse” or Keleusate’ (Command), just as magnificently as a Persian sub-Vizier might say ‘If you please to the Monarch or Monarchs.
                      Patriarch Pavle of Serbia told me that he had done his thesis on the very topic of “Poveli” Command, and he nodded when i cited the Book of Ceremonies.
                      Why in the world immigrant clergy wanted to look like “American gentlemen” is incomprehensible. Someone, please explain. I know: They want to fit in. I’m sure that’s somewhere in the Gospel, the virtue of fitting in.

                  • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                    With considerable creativity, Bishop Tikhon imagines folks “going through the airport in their black suits with clergy collars, very dark sunglasses and cigars.”


                    The bishop evidently hasn’t been in an airport in some time.

                    • I’ve not been in an airport since i retired and don’t want to be in one ever again.
                      However, I’m afraid my standard image of an Antiochian Hierarch hasn’t changed: just should have subtracted the big cigars in an airport or restaurant image , perhaps they no longer even flourish them at banquets anymore—just back home. Hardening of the arteries of the imagination or something like that in my case!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Sigh. The idea of being able to smoke aromatic tobacco in a public place is preposterous anymore, isn’t it?

                    • That reminds me – back in the day when one could smoke in public places a friend and I were in the habit of smoking a particular brand of Indonesian cigarette when we went out on the town. The tobacco in them was spiced and exuded a beautifully pungent aroma. I can’t tell you how many times we were asked to leave various establishments because they suspected we were smoking marijuana. I’ve long since given up such indulgences on health grounds, but, as Mary Hopkins once sang “those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end”.

                    • Darn it, Your Grace, I was hoping to get you to go to Parma.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      This reply is to Bishop Tikhon:
                      Your Grace:

                      Have you ever stopped to think what a non-OCA Orthodox Christian or someone considering converting to Orthodoxy would be led to think about the OCA and its bishops from reading the posts on this site? If even 25% of what is posted here is true the OCA is hopelessly compromised by corrupt and immoral bishops and clergy. Before you criticize the Antiochian Archdiocese and its bishops, I suggest that you clean up your own house.

                      Archpriest John W. Morris

                    • Helga! Thanks. Everyone knows that I sit here in Los Angeles revealing a side of the Orthodox Church UNKNOWN to The Faithful and earning the moral censure of Antiochian presbyters. One of them recently told me “i suggest that you clean up your own house.”
                      Talk about thin skins!
                      Then he testifies that the OCA, the odds say, is hopelessly compromised by corrupt and immoral bishops and clergy. You know what? I never said that, he did. I try not to use the word hopelessly….I know, I know, American gentlemen use the word, but it just doesn’t seem consistent with our Faith.
                      But, Helga, coming back to your lament…all it would take would be a convention resolution like this “Come back. BT, come back!”
                      “We were all first called Christians in Antioch!” Even the Romans, the Corinthians, etc., were first called Christians in Antioch! Do the Corinthians of today know about this wonderful addition to their heritage? And yet, and yet….there seems to be something just as prestigious in being called “Antiochian,” too, right? I mean, when it comes down to it, which has the primacy of nomenclature?

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      Your Grace:

                      I never wrote that the OCA is hopelessly corrupt. I wrote that if even 25% of the things written on this blog are true the OCA is hopelessly corrupt. There is a difference. I did not write that the accusations of homosexual and alcoholic bishops and corruption are true. I personally pray that they are not. I wrote that these accusations harm not only the image of the OCA but all of American Orthodoxy. Some of this stuff is starting to leak to the secular press. If the OCA looks bad, we all look bad. Think of what a potential convert to Orthodoxy would think, if he or she read the kind of things posted on this blog about the OCA. I do not know what is really true, but I do this that the public image of the OCA is of a highly dysfunctional Church that no one in their right mind would want to join.
                      I did write that your Grace should clean up your own house before you criticize the Antiochians or any other canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in this country. You never miss an opportunity to attack our Metropolitan and Bishops, belittle our liturgical practices, and write about us as if we were not really Orthodox. That sort of attitude coming from an OCA Bishop, even a retired one, does not further the cause of Orthodox unity in this country. Why should any self-respecting Antiochian want to unite with the OCA if it has Bishops, even retired ones, who look down of us?
                      Yes, I am proud of our heritage as the Church of Antioch where Christians were first called Christians. When someone asks me what Church I am from, I ask them where Christians were first called Christians. When they say Antioch, I can tell them that that is my Church the Church of Antioch which has continued to exist since Apostolic times. That means that we were not founded by a man like the Protestant sects, but are the Apostolic Church.
                      Please, Your Grace, think of the harm that you are doing to the cause of Orthodox unity in this country by your constant criticism of the Antiochian Archdiocese. We all want Orthodox unity, but none of us want to be united with those who consider us second rate Orthodox.
                      Whether or not I have thick skin is irrelevant. My concern is the image of Orthodoxy and the great harm that all the postings about scandal in the OCA does to the rest of us.
                      I am also deeply offended by your attacks on our Metropolitan, Bishops, liturgical practices and the way that we received the Evangelical Orthodox into the Church, especially since I was one of the Priests appointed by the Metropolitan to work with them as they prepared to become Orthodox.

                      Archpriest John W. Morris

              • Daniel E. Fall says

                The church of Joe Smith is a cult by all typical standards because it isn’t orthodox [sic] Christianity. The only reason you are working to defend it is because it ain’t Obama’s church, oh, and the only reason to speculatively debate as to the 10% being over and above the LDS givings is because there are no tax returns. Imagine if that were Obama! You guys would be nuts!

                I did enjoy Banescu’s letter citing Obama’s stepbrother/halfbrother. The interesting thing is the brother called a journalist to manipulate a payment and that was okay because it was for a sick child supposedly, but what a great article for the thousand bucks! I’d hate to be in Obama’s shoes for a second with the drunk brother calling for money. I do find it disappointing the President doesn’t seem to be more helpful, but those kinds of decisions happen long before wealth and power or sick children usually.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Mr Fall, I don’t defend Mormonism. However the Mormons I have met are people of exemplary character. For one thing, they aren’t tearing each other apart like we Orthodox are wont to do.

                  • Patrick Henry Reardon says


                    • If an Antiochian presbyter adds his “Amen,” it must be the Gospel truth. So, what is the secret of these Mormons who don’t tear each other apart?
                      By the way, if they are not an anti-Christian cult, but a faith community of Christians, has anyone notified them that they, too, were first called Christians in Antioch? This is held by some to be awfully important!

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
                      September 12, 2012 at 11:41 am
                      George, you let that one get by – Not good!

                  • George Michalopulos says:
                    September 11, 2012 at 7:11 am

                    Mormons… they aren’t tearing each other apart like we Orthodox are wont to do.

                    If so, it’s because the Devil does not attack those who are already lost.
                    If he did, it may “awaken” them.

                    • Amen! Enough with whitewashing Mormons. A few months ago you people were rightly decrying Mormonism. Now you uphold it for political expediancy. You are hypocrits!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      No, I’m principled. I would rather vote for a Wise Turk than a Foolish Christian.

                    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                      Andreas says, “A few months ago you people were rightly decrying Mormonism. Now you uphold it for political expediency.”

                      Not I.

                      My own views on the Latter Day Saints have not changed one whit.

                      Nor my views about abortion.

                      Abortion is the major reason I will be voting against Mr. Obama.

                  • John Christopher says

                    There are plenty of scandals within Mormonism involving finances, sexual abuse, feminism, homosexuality, etc. There are also internal politics, bickering, and nasty turf wars.

                    Most outsiders don’t know about them, just like most outsiders don’t know about the issues discussed on this blog. All institutions appear monolithic from the outside.

                  • I am sure there are Mormons of good and even noble character.

                    That said, every social organization has some family squabbling taking place on the inside, no matter how polished its exterior—this is simply fallen human nature. I doubt Orthodox Christians are fundamentally more likely to tear each other apart than Mormons are.

                    It is through Christ alone that man overcomes his selfishness, and the Mormons do not have the access to Him that Christians have through the mysteries of the Church.

            • What in the world… just catching up on comments here. Mormonism is a cult. Absolutely and positively. Why would anyone say Mormonism is not a cult? Because Romney is a Mormon?

              • It would seem to be the case that certain people on this blog have compromised themselves. Mormonism was inspired by a demon, just like Islam. To whitewash it in the name of political convinience is unconcienable.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Quite possibly true. I have not “whitewashed” Mormonism however. Nevertheless, I will vote for Romney, for the same reason that I’d vote for anybody but this Imam of dubious parentage who wants to socialize us any further.

                  • Drinking the Right Wing Kool-Aid I see.

                    • Priest Justin Frederick says

                      Is it any better than the Left Wing’s version? Does everyone who vote for one of the main candidates then drink a fatal drink? Let’s drop the worn-out metaphor of drinking kool-aid, please, and have some original turns of phrase.

        • Joseph Clarke says

          As a factual point, Pres. Obama goes well beyond tithing in his charitable contributions. In side-by-side comparisons of his tax returns with Romney’s (during the two years that the latter has released them), Obama has given away a distinctly higher percentage.


          The general sociological observation here about charitable giving among liberals and conservatives may well be accurate, but I don’t see how you can argue that Obama isn’t doing his best to set a good example as president.

          • “…I don’t see how you can argue that Obama isn’t doing his best to set a good example as president.”

            Mr. Obama certainly is setting a good example as president—of what, however, is a matter of some dispute. If Mr Obama would only stop perpetually campaigning with millions of dollars of taxpayer money, I might give your favorable opinion of him some credence.

            As it is….

            1001 Reasons to Vote Against Barack Obama: Complete Edition

  5. Sean Richardson says

    When I see studies like this, I always find them fascinating, but I also want to keep them in perspective. There are always more issues involved than just Republican/Democrats. People need to be taught how and when to give, and to whom. It harkens back to the old quote: “Where there is no learning, there has been no teaching”. One might suggest, where there has been no giving, it is either because no one has been taught to give or because there is a different world view. Liberals give less, it is true, because they believe the government should take care of the needs of the poor and needy. In a way, their belief in higher taxes is a requirement to give to take care of those in need. Conservatives give more because they believe that people need to take care of the poor and needy. I’m not suggesting one or the other is good or bad, it’s just a different way of looking at things.

    Now a couple other points: It’s impressive that so many people in Mississippi give to charities, because they are often seen as the poorest state in the country. Out of their little supplies, they give much.

    As for the numbers, I think, and I could be wrong, the first number is the percentage of a person’s income that is given to charities (and yes, church giving is included); the second number is the percentage of people who give to charities, at all.

  6. There are many people who take the standard deduction because they rent or have their house paid off so their charitable giving wouldn’t even show up on their tax return. In Utah, where Mormons predominate they are required by their faith to give 10 percent to their church.

  7. Subdeacon Julio says

    These findings might be explained by something else we’ve already known for a while: the states that give more generally have a larger portion of the population living in poverty and survey after survey shows that the rich give less of their income to charity than the poor do.


  8. Dear George,

    Here is religion by state


    Before even making anything of the figures you post above, I would look at cost of living inclusive of cost of health care, unemployment rates and % home ownership (as opposed to home indebtedness, i.e. those still having a mortgage) as well as taxes and availability of social welfare programs available to such folks as, say, your average monk out of a job with no place to live and parents and siblings to care for. What are people’s prospects causing fiscal conservatism when it comes to giving? Is everyone employed? Full-time? Part-time? Temporary employment? Permanent employment? With benefits? With extended family? Working more than 40 hours a week on salary to keep that job? Highly educated with menial job? Precariously employed “consultant”? Occasionally compensated priest or choir director?

    That said, it is pretty sad when you see someone in furs or a “bespoke” suit gingerly parting with a buck for the tray.

    I think the answer for our church is to have more institutions associated with our church. We have only one OCA home for the aged, and for other folks as well, on Staten Island. There is Tolstoy Farms, of course. We have few schools, colleges, and the majority of the young folks seem to be converts, not children of cradle Orthodox. Do we socialize with one another or do we exclude one another? Are we locating our mission parishes close to public transportation? In DC, only one has. It attracts an incredible number of students of all nationalities as well as regular folk and in meeting in a storefront. Many of our people no longer have transportation. Do we give rides to others on a regular basis?

    Two thriving organizations in the DC area are Orthodox Christian Singles and DC Greeks, both of which have events for all Orthodox also open to unmarried clerics. How is that unmarried subdeacon going to find someone willing to share his lifestyle if he should desire a life int he Church? SHould we be more transparent about clergy salaries? Clergy discretionary funds with which to help others?

    How many of us have or still have Orthodox spouses? How many of would be glad to have a child become a monk? A priest in the OCA? How many of us see the OCA as a place for our daughters to have vocations as other than nuns?

    How many of us are filling buses for Orthodox pilgrimages or religious events on a regular basis? In DC, that would be the ROCOR church, St. John’s.

  9. phil r. upp says

    You don’t understand how Mormon’s work. They are like a “closed society.” Mormons help other Mormons; a great strategy for growth. For instance, the Marriott Corp. is a run by Mormons. You can’t really get anywhere in Marriott if you aren’t a Mormon (top levels). In Utah, Nevada, Idaho, etc., the Mormons set up a number of corporations and philanthropic organs. to help other Mormons. They take care of their own with jobs, money, food, housing, etc. They can’t lose. Join them and be saved, NOW and later.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Phil, this is true of all endogamous groups that live in a diaspora. Sikhs, Parsees, Armenians, Jews, etc. It’s a type of “ethnic networking.”

      • My point is that you may think the Mormons are great philanthropists, but primarily to other Mormons. As a Mormon, they will employ you and take care of your family. Just think if all the Orthodox did this. Remember, even robbers & thieves take care of their own.

        • Isa Almisry says

          “Remember, even robbers & thieves take care of their own.” Indeed. The present administration, with its crony capitalism and other “Chicago Values” demonstrates that!

    • Will Harrington says

      to be fair, the LDS does not limit itself to helping Mormons, and as far as helping their own? This is what all churches should be doing. Helping their own and others. They, who I believe can’t even claim to be any part of Christ’s church are putting us to shame in this.

      • Mormons tithe. Their tithe supports the national Mormon administration only. That tithe comes off the top of every Mormon’s income, before everything else. Any support of their local community or stake is above and beyond that. Since they have to wear those ‘temple garments’ (long johns with arcane symbols sewn into them), I suppose there must be a central garment factory the profits from which also finance the the national administration? Will is right to berate us for not helping others.
        Metropolitan Philip Saliba, because he is Metropolitan Philip Saliba and not because he’s Antiochene or Antiochian or because other people and peoples long ago, unrelated to him or us, were called Christians in Antioch, is the absolute leader in concrete acts of charity amongst all the Orthodox leaders.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Bishop Tikhon says of the Mormons, “they have to wear those ‘temple garments’ (long johns with arcane symbols sewn into them).”

          Apparently we have returned to the knickers theme.

          • In British English slang, the word knickers is used to designate, primly, women’s bloomers. Patrick Henry is referring to that, and in this case when longjohns were mentioned it’s understandable that he reflexively began to think of, or even visualize, women’s bloomers. In other words, his thinking it was that turned to women’s underwear in particular. In our American English, however, knickers are a special kind of trousers, gathered usually just a little below the knee and called, sometimes, “plus-fours.” I believe that some of our famous golfers used to wear them, with a brimmed cap.
            Anglican officials also wear some kind of knickers-like garments–I forget what they’re called.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              I stand corrected.

            • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

              Vladyko bless!
              I may very well have to form a Love BT fan club dedicated to the wit and wisdom and occasional snarkiness of the retired Bishop of San Francisco and the Wild Wild West.

              Pray for me a sinner!


    • Many years ago, there was a large flood in Yuba City, near Sacramento California. The roads were flooded out and it took some time for relief trucks to arrive. The first truck came from a nearby Mormon stake (diocese). They pulled in to the parking lot and gave food and stuff to other Mormons but not to anyone else. This was mentioned in newspapers at the time (I think it was back in the 1960s or 70s but I’m almost as old as Bp Tikhon and my memory gets fuzzy now and then, not like his!

      Rdr. James Morgan (I was tonsured a reader by him some time back…)

  10. cynthia curran says

    If Romney was a democratic like Harry Reid would he be as criticized on this board. Harry Reid converted to Mormonism as an adult.

    • Harry Reid converted to Mormonism as an adult.

      I think it was part of one of his plea bargains.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Cynthia says, “If Romney was a democratic like Harry Reid would he be as criticized on this board.”

      It seems to me that Romney has been very much criticized here.

      Some comments of Bishop Tikhon come to mind.

  11. Yes, Cynthia. Mormonism would still be Mormonism.
    If Harry Reid refused to reveal the standard amount of income tax returns and Mrs. Reid says they are nobody’s business, yes, I think he’d get the same treatment, except that Fox News and the enormous right-wing media complex would join the rest of the media in the uproar.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I rather doubt that, Your Grace. Democrats and Liberals are given WAY more latitude when it comes to moral and civil transgressions. Two words: Ted Kennedy. Bob Packwood was a piker compared to the Hero of Chappaquiddick but he was thrown out of the Senate.

      • Gee, the pickings among Democrats and Liberals are so lean that we have to still rely on Chappaquidick t reveal their criminality?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Well, there’s “Cold Cash Jefferson” of New Orleans, Rod Blagojevich formerly of Chicago now of Joliet, old Mike Curley of Boston back in the day, Al Sharpton the serial hoaxster, Jesse Jackson another piece of work…

          • Daniel E. Fall says

            Plenty of politicians are crooks on both sides. That is one huge whizzing contest there!

            • It seems to me that the “successful,” “competent” ones get elected to the Fed. Gov. as aspiring poor young lawyers, and come out as millionaires with fantastic pension plans.

            • Yeah, there’s plenty of corruption to go round, but you’re really not giving the Dems their due: Christopher Dodd, Barnie Frank, Maxine Waters, Charles Shumer, Nancy Pelosi, Franklin Raines, Timothy Geithner, Jesse Jackson, Eric Holder, Roland Burris, John Murtha, Charlie Everlovin’ Rangel, Barack Obama—these people are giants, legends in their own lifetimes.

              All I’ve really got is John Ensign and a couple of other obscure twits whose names have been lost in the mists of time; It almost embarrasses me to be a Republican.

        • Chris Banescu says

          Liberals conveniently “forget” about the characterless fibber and serial philanderer Bill Clinton who was the Guest of Honor at the DNC. The left still loves and embraces Clinton who exploited and abused women and disposed of them like used Kleenex, disrespecting his wife and shaming his family? And they want us to take them seriously when claiming the “high road” on “liberal” and “women’s issues”? In the words of John Stossel, Give Me a Break!

          • Gee, where have we all heard that before?
            At least Clinton did not attack the institution of marriage like a Gingrich, etc. etc.,, who defined marriage as one man and one woman after another, right? But let’s not dig up all the anti-homosexual illiberal types that turned out to be Friends of Dorothy, right? At least, they didn’t marry some other guy, but married one woman, and just had their young men on the side, also to be disposed of like used kleenex, too. What was the subject again?
            Oh, yeah, Chappaquiddick and a Democratic President who screwed up with a female white house employee, unlike the (apparently totally forgotten?) Republican congressmsn with a penchant for pages?
            No one wins these things and neither Ted Kennedy nor Bill Clinton add one cubit to any Republican’s stature. Attack! Attack! Attack!

    • …the enormous right-wing media complex…


      Here’s the part where I comb my hair over my face, start wiggling my fingers next to my ears. and start going “Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! Weee-oooo, weee-ooo, weee-ooo! We are your friends. We will not harm you.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Bishop Tikhon speaks of “the enormous right-wing media complex.”

      This assessment is probably due to the severe atmospheric conditions in California. It must be a lot like where I live—Chicago.

      • How else could a robot like Mittens end up the Republican Nominee, and do ok in the poles despite being creepy.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Well . . . ummm, maybe because the guy warming the seat at the White House is even more creepier?

  12. cynthia curran says

    Personality I don’t always agree with the Republicans but the Democraticsand their antics with code Pink ladies sex parts and so forth are crude. Code Pink women are about 50 and over, how many women in their 50’s and 60’s dress as sex parts to make a silly political statement for abortion and so forth. Code Pink is the middle ages verison of Pussy Riot but at least they have not yet bring their protest to church t. In fact gay groups after prop 8 in California had vandalized some Mormon, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.

  13. Archpriest John W. Morris says

    I am personally more concerned with politicians who are members of the Orthodox Church, yet vote to support abortion and gay rights than I am over Romney’s religion. It seemed that every speaker at the Democratic Convention preached the virtue of abortion and same sex marriage. I cannot vote for a candidate from a political party that supports government paid abortion, giving millions of our tax money to Planned Parenthood and supports same sex marriage.

    Fr. John W. Morris

    • George Michalopulos says


    • Fr. John,

      Someone once said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesars and to God what is Gods.” Even Christ was apolitical. The Romans were murderers and abusers. Orthodox Christians don’t have to have an abortion; Orthodox Christians don’t have to support same-sex unions; etc. Sin is personal. The President has very little to do with abortion, same-sex unions, etc. The President must represent all the people of America, not just a select group. Go get abortion re-argued at the Supreme Court and over-turn it. Get the Congress to legislate against same-sex unions. When we elect a President, it’s not for our Chief High Priest, but who politically will do the best for all the American people. Romney isn’t that guy.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Well, when the Muslims take over and bring back chattel slavery for blacks, I will use your own words if you find this appalling: “If slavery offends you, look the other way, after all, you don’t have to own a slave!”

      • Priest Justin Frederick says

        If everything is God’s, the earth and the fullness thereof, what remains for Caesar to claim as his own? Just the currency with Caesar’s face, it seems.

        How was Christ ‘apolitical’ when He Himself is a king with a kingdom? Politics has to do with the life of the polis, the art of governing and overseeing the affairs of the city–or the kingdom. Christ is apolitical?

        You might want to reread the Old Testament if you are claiming that sin is only personal. How much did Israel suffer as nation because of the sins of the people? Children do suffer from the sins of their parents through no fault of their own. How much do we suffer today from the sins of our land whether or not we are personally guilty of those sins? Quite a bit, I’d say.

        St. Justinian certainly thought that the laws of the land should reflect the laws of God. If they don’t reflect God’s law, whose law, then, do they reflect, and how good is that ultimately for man?

        The President of the US is an executive, not a representative. You find those in Congress. Maybe. The President’s job is to execute the duly enacted laws of the land, not to represent the people.

        Neither of our two monopolistic parties offers a candidate able to offer anywhere near the ‘best’ for our land. One might marginally offer something better than the other. Maybe.

        • Fr.

          You’ve hit the nail on the head. I would go so far as to say the Maybe is indescribable. One of the great lies is that you have to vote for the lesser of two evils. I reject that. It’s like someone saying you have to select someone for them to kill otherwise they will kill a lot more people. Sadly, many people on this blog are completely blind to the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the so called Right and the Republican Party, otherwise they would take the more rational approach and vote for neither.


          • George Michalopulos says

            Compared to the moral “clarity” of the Left? Did you miss the massive boos that attended the DNC’s attempt to put the word “God” back into the party platform? The only reason we’re in this mess is because the Democratic Party abandoned it commitment to American traditionalism back in 1968.

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            Two elections coming up where the best choice may be ‘none of the above’ .

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Sin is personal.


        As Adam and Eve learned very quickly, sin is also social and political.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        Teddy Roosevelt called the White House, “A bully pulpit” The President has a great deal of influence on popular opinion. The President also decides how to enforce the law. In Obama we have seen how he is using Obamacare to force government paid abortion and to force religious institutions to pay for abortion causing medications. He is also actively supporting same sex unions. Almost every speech at the Democratic National Convention contained a statement supporting the right to marry the person you love, which is code for same sex marriage.
        Besides Obama is incompetent. Just yesterday, he skipped a meeting of the national security council to discuss how to respond to the attacks on our embassies to go to a fund raiser in Las Veges. A real President would have cancelled the fund raiser and stayed in Washington to do his job. He is actively supporting the removal of Assad, which will open the way for turning Syria into an Islamic state. This will have a direct effect on the Orthodox Church, and could result in the persecution of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Even if Obama were a conservative, which he is not, he would still be a bad President. We have not had a federal budget since he took office. His job is to get the leaders of congress together and get a budget passed.

        Fr. John W. Morris

        • Please, Archpriest John W. Morris, give us the citation. I’d never realized that President Theodore Roosevelt himself called the White House a bully pulpit. But I’ve often read that he USED the White House as a bully pulpit. When and where did President Theodore Roosevelt call the White House a bully pulpit?
          Just checking the facts, if that’s all right!
          And as for President Obama’s or any other president’s “job”, I think Archpriest John W. Morris may not understand the separation of powers or maybe they didn’t teach civics where he went to school.. The Executive Branch has NO supervisory powers over the Congress, and it is NOT the Chief Executive’s responsibility “to get the leaders of congress together and get a budget passed.” What an idea! I think Archpriest John Morris must think that all Presidents must use President Lyndon Johnson as their model, because he certainly did control the legislative branch! I’m surprised to find a non-Democratic Party member advocating this sort of thing!

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Your Grace:

            You owe me an apology for implying that I am not informed about the American constitution and the history of relations between the executive and legislative branches of our government. Although my specialization was German history, I studied at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. I also studied American history. I have an MA in history with an area in American history to 1877. I have a Ph.D. in history with an area in colonial and early national period of American history. I have taught both halves of American history on the university level. Presidents and their cabinet members have always introduced legislation and tried to get it through Congress. It was disagreement over legislation between Jefferson and Hamilton which led to the formation of our first political parties. Ever since Wilson, the President has taken an even more active role in persuading Congress to pass legislation he favors. Wilson actually set up an office in the Capital to influence legislation. Reagan worked with Tip O’Neil to get legislation through Congress. Clinton worked with Gingrich. No modern President has done less to work with Congress than Obama.
            As far as the quote from Roosevelt, look at any basic American history survey text.

            Fr. John W. Morris

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              Paul Samsonoff sent me the e mail below.


              It was first used by TR, explaining his view of the presidency, in this quotation: “I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit!” The word bully itself was an adjective of the time meaning first-rate, close to the use of the word awesome. The term bully pulpit is used today to describe the president’s power to influence the public.

              bully pulpit
              1904, coined by U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt, in reference to the White House.


            • I stand corrected by Archpriest John W; Morris. Indeed, it was President Theodore Roosevelt who coined the phrase, “bully pulpit.” I was wrong to claim otherwise, though I can’t imagine WHY no one had used the phrase before, since his use of it had nothing to do with bullying anybody at all.
              “Bully” in that expression, and in President Theodore Roosevelt’s own personal vocabulary, meant “first-rate,” “A-One”, “bitchin'”, “bang-up”, “groovy”, and “cool.”
              So, then, a scholarly and credentialed historian, knowing that, would never cite President Theodore Roosevelt’s use of “bully-pulpit” to give credit to pressuring anyone, right?

              Oh, yes, and just what is a “history survey text?” Amateurs and non-professionals want to know. Are there any famous ‘history survey texts?”

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Your Grace

                A survey text is just that a survey of the history of a nation or period. When teaching, especailly lower division courses, one uses a survey text. I have not taught since 1997 when I taught at Kent State at Stark County in Canton, Ohio. For U.S. History, I liked the 2 vol. American A Narrative History by George Tindall published by Norton. I liked it because it was well written and because it had a low cost. I always tried to help my students out by choosing texts that were as inexpensive as possible.
                Of course, for Wei mar and Nazi Germany, I am prejudiced towards The Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany by Warren Bayard Morris (my pe-ordination name) available from Amazon. For Church history, I am somewhat prejudiced towards The Historic Church: An Orthodox View of Christian History also available from Amazon. The blurb on Amazon reads:
                The Historic Church is a survey of Christian history written for Orthodox Christians by an Eastern Orthodox scholar. Although one can find many excellent studies of Christian history in the United States, none of them considers the development of Christianity from an Eastern Orthodox point of view. The work begins by laying a foundation for the study of Christian history by discussing the beliefs and practices of the ancient Church, during the age of the Fathers and the Seven Ecumenical Councils. The author then discusses the development of Roman Catholicism and the theological and cultural reasons for the split between Rome and Orthodoxy, and relations between East and West following the schism. He concludes his work with a discussion the origins and historical development of every major Protestant group and tells how they differ from Orthodoxy.

                Fr. John W. Morris

                • I guess I wasn’t clear in putting my question. I’ll try again. What is the difference between a history or history textbook, on the one hand and a “history survey text” on the other?
                  Am I to surmise that it is a term meant to dstinguish a secondary from a primary source of historical lore?
                  We used Ralph Flenley’s “Modern German History” in Dr. Margaret Stern’s class at Wayne State. it’s quite outdated. i’ll order The Weimar Republic and nazi Germany from Amazon and let you know what I think of it. I admit my perennial suspicion of credentials has been aggravated lately by an Archpriest we had here in L.A. who has a PhD in history, is now on the faculty of the new St. Katherine’s College in San Diego, but who wrote in an article for the parish leaflet on the topic “Holy Russia” that Communism was invented in Russia and that Vladimir Lenin is the one who concocted “this Godless philosophy.” Perhaps when you got your doctorate it signified more than it does nowadays, when they seem to pass doctorates out like popcorn or crackerjacks.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Your Grace:

                    A survey text deals with a longer period and subject than what historians call a monograph. A history of Modern Germany would be a survey. A book on the SS would be a monograph.
                    I suspect that the priest is referring to Leninism, which is a variation of Marxism. Marx wrote about his economic theories and speculated that the oppression he saw would lead to a revolution. Lenin wrote about how to do the revolution in his work “What is to be done?” which sets forth that the revolution must be led by a group of dedicated professional revolutionaries who form a political party dedicated to the revolution. The problem with Marxism-Leninism is that once they have led the revolution, the professional revolutionaries do not want to give up power and become what Milovan Djilas called “The New Class” in his classic critique of communism. Thus instead of withering away as Marx theorized the government of Lenin’s professional revolutionaries becomes more oppressive than the old capitalist class. Which is exactly what happened.

                    Fr. John W. Morris

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris, you “suspect” that the priest is referring to Leninism rather than to Communism itself? Don’t you mean that the Priest should have spoken of Leninism, rather than Communism?
                      Here are his exact “scholarly” words;
                      “The career of Communism demonstrates that well enough. This godless totalitarian ideology was born in Russia. Its apostate founder Lenin had been baptized as an
                      infant in an Orthodox parish church and given the name of the saint who had been responsible for the baptism of Russia (or Rus, as the state was then known) during the tenth century.”
                      He did NOT write “Marxist-Leninism”, nor did he write “Leninism.” It seems to me that if a student in a Russian history classroom wrote what the priest wrote, he’d be marked down for it. Whatever you call it, Communism was NOT born in Russia.
                      As if Lenin is more the :”founder” than Marx, ro Lasalle (Lasall), or Engels etc. And there’s nothing “Russian” about Communism, Marxist-Leninism, or Stalinism.

                  • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                    Your Grace,
                    Master,Bless! Did any Russian parishoners correct the priest in question? I’m just a big dumb Ukrainian-Polish hick from Vermont with 1 year of Boston College, 4 years of St.Tikhons,and no degree.It scares me that any college graduate,let alone a Phd,could be so ignorant of history.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Fr. John, did not Washington take the ‘advice & consent’ language in the Constitution quite literally in the sense that the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch were to work together in a non-partisan manner to create an agenda, enact it and execute it for the good of all Americans? Wasn’t he rebuffed by the first Congress in his attempts which led to a much more statified separation of powers than Washington envisioned?

              My study of the period led me to the conclusion that the functional separation of powers mandated by the Constituion was much more fluid in reality. The separations became more concrete over time as parties developed and the desire for the folks in the different branches for power became more pronouced. The Congress took the lead; the Supreme Court under Marshall came next (Marbury vs. Madison being a key point) and the office of the President came last. It was not until Pres. Jackson that the powers of that office began to be more fully expressed in an essentially modern manner.

              Would you agree?

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                That is correct. Washington had a treaty, i forget which one. He went personally to the U.S. Senate read it to them and the said, “do you advise and consent.” A somewhat startled Senate told him that they would discuss it among themselves, vote and get back to him. It is interesting to note that between Jefferson and Wilson, no President spoke directly to Congress. Jefferson felt that a Presidential speech before Congress was too much like the speech from the throne of the British monarch before Parliament. Wilson, who was elected in 1912 began the modern practice of the President giving speeches before Congress. As we watch the presidential campaign going on, it is interesting to note that before 1896 when William Jennings Bryant ran against William McKinley. Before then, it was considered in bad taste for someone to actively seek the presidency. The idea was the office should seek the man, not the man seek the office. McKinley stayed home in Canton, Ohio. The Republicans ran special trains to bring people to Canton. They went to his house and McKinley came out and gave a speech and went back into his house. Although Bryant went around the country giving speeches, thereby inventing the modern election campaign, McKinley won the election. In 1900 McKinley won again with Theodore Roosevelt as his vice president. McKinley was shot in the stomach by an anarchist at the Buffalo Exposition. The doctor really killed him by digging around trying to find the bullet. The irony was that there was an X ray machine being exhibited. No one thought to use it. Had they done so, McKinley might have lived.

                Fr. John. W. Morris

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Actually Jackson took presidential power to extreme levels. When Chief Justice John Marshall made a decision in favor of the Native Americans in Worcester vs. Georgia, Jackson said, “Mr. Marshall made his decision, now let him enforce it.” Jackson was responsible for one of the greatest atrocities of American history. The Indian Removal Act, which forced the Native Americans of the South to move to what was then considered an uninhabitable wilderness, my native state of Oklahoma. Jackson’s owes his fame to the victory over the British at New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812. The only problem was that the war had ended in the Treaty of Ghent two weeks before the battle. Although through using executive orders to bypass Congress, Obama is getting close to the arrogance of Jackson.

                Fr. John W. Morris

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Fr. John, while I can agree with much of what you say a couple of comments (Jackson is the one President whom I have studied in depth)

                  Jackson’s Presidency was far more complex and significant for many other acts besides the two you mention. My main point was that his use of Presidential power set the tone for all subsequent Presidents. The fact that he (both personally and Presidentially) is still a lightning-rod exemplfies my point. It does injustice to him to isolate the acts which most displease you as solely emblamatic of his Presidency. He was a man of great, even fool hardy personal courage and absolutely devoted to the men he led and to his friends. Neither was he as rascist as your remarks and common opinion hold and his attitude really should be considered through a less presentistic lens.

                  His leadership qualities are what allowed him to beat the British army at New Orleans. Even though the battle had no impact on the outcome of the war, the fact of the victory, the courage and leadership he demonstrated were what brought him to national attention. No one in this country new the war was over. His duty was to defend the city of New Orleans against a British attack. He did so with skill, valor and absolute determination.

                  During the election in which he won the office of President the first time, he had to endure vicious personal attacks against his beloved wife. Rachel (attacks that rank as the most viscious of any ever launched in a US political battle). Rachel did not endure them. She died and Jackson entered office a recently widowed man with a sorrow and bitterness that never left him.

                  The fact is that during his Presidency there were major changes in the political, social and economic landscape of the Union, a Union which he cherished and did a great deal to strengthen, despite a Vice-President who hated him and conspired against him at every turn (John C. Calhoun).

                  Without Jackson, the United States, if it still existed, would be greatly diminished. Would that be a good thing?

                  These days he would never even sniff the Presidency or any other high office because he refused to disemble and he would be considered in need of extensive ‘anger management’ and sensitivity training.

                  A man with great flaws, no doubt, but he should not be remembered for his flaws alone.

                  As I am sure you know, he was the first President to experience an assasination attempt. The pistol of his would-be assassin miss-fired. President Jackson (about 50 years older than his assailant) proceeded to beat the man into a near comatose state with his cane. Jackson had to be pulled of his assailant to prevent him from beating the man to death.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    You could add that Jackson’s presidency was seen as the result of the rise of the common man. By 1824 most men could vote as property requirements were either lowered or abolished in the various states. As I am sure you know, he almost won the election of 1824 against John Quincy Adams, but it was thrown into the House which chose Adams after Henry Clay dropped out and endorsed Adams, in what Jackson’s supporters called “a corrupt bargain.,” especially after Adams appointed Clay Secretary of State. When Jackson won the election of 1828 it was seen as a victory for the common man. A mob of supporters almost destroyed the interior of the White House until they persuaded the mob to go outside by putting big bowls of spiked punch outside the building.
                    I do think that the “Trail of Tears,” that resulted from the Indian Removal Act was one of the greatest crimes of American history. He did defend the union when John J. Calhoun and South Carolina threatened to succeed over the high tariff enacted by Jackson’s supporters. It was actually an accident. Jackson’s people in Congress proposed a tariff so high that they thought that it would not pass. That way they could tell the North which supported a tariff that Jackson was for a tariff. However, they also told the South that they deliberately made the tariff so high that it would not pass. It did pass, however.
                    Can you imagine what would happen today if the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision and the President refused to enforce it as Jackson did in the case of Worcester v.Georgia?
                    It seemed that Jackson unknowingly married Rachel before her divorce was final. That is what his opponent used to cause a scandal. They passed around anti-Jackson literature with coffins on them to remind people of Jackson’s reputation as a dueler.
                    Yes by modern standards he would be sent to anger management.

                    Fr. John W. Morris

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      What would be done if a modern President refused to enforce a Surpreme Court decision? Not much at least not much if it were a Democrat President. What has happened to Obama? He has developed a routine of ignoring both court rulings and the acts of Congress.


                    • Let’s not forget Jackson’s invasion of Florida, which technically belonged to Spain at the time, under the pretext of pursuing marauding Seminole Indians–the real problem being the Seminoles were offering haven to runaway slaves. Exceeding his authority, he led a full scale invasion, executing 2 British citizens even after his own military tribunal commuted their death sentences. His Presidency was marked more by personal vendettas than public policy.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Jackson was definitely a character. He had two important things going for him, which in my view washed away all his sins: First he was a real man of the people and second, he closed the Second Bank of the United States. We can talk all we want about Right, Left, Progressives, Reactionaries, This, That, or the Other, but the greatest evil that befalls any nation is an unaccountable centralized banking authority. All evil flows from that.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To George Michalopulos

                      There are historians who argue that closing the National Bank led to the dominance of our national finances by the Robber Barons.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Possibly, but even so, they could not have engineered the permanent wage-enslavement that a central bank could, or our blood and treasure being harnessed for overseas Wilsonian adventures.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                It is somewhat humorous to remember that the very first discussion in Congress was how to address the President. A proposal to call him His Elective Majesty almost passed. Finally, they compromised with Mr. President.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            Before you insult someone you should be more careful. I have the academic credential to discuss these matters. The quote from Teddy Roosevelt can be found in almost any basic American history survey text book. I have taught both halves of American history on the college level. Although my major field was Modern German History, I studied at Goethe University in Frankfurt as a Fulbright Scholar, I have an area on both my MA and Ph.D. in American history. Despite the division of powers every President has used his influence to get legislation through Congress. Our first political parties came from the division within Washington’s cabinet on the question of whether or not the US should have a National Bank. Hamilton favored the Bank, Jefferson opposed it. Wilson even set up an office in the Capital itself to persuade members of congress to vote for his programs. Johnson was a master at manipulating Congress. Reagan worked with Tip O’Neil to get legislation through. Clinton worked with Gingrich. Every President has tried to bring together members of congress to get legislation passed except Obama who despite his lofty rhetoric is unable to bring people together to work out the compromises necessary for our government to function. A few days ago instead of meeting with his advisers to deal with the outbreak of anti-American violence in the Middle East, he went to Las Vegas for a fund raiser.. The Prime Minister of Israelis about to start what could be another world war, and Obama does not have time to meet with him when he comes to the meeting of the UN because he is scheduled to be on the Letterman show. By any rational standard Obama is the most incompetent president in modern American history.

            Fr. John W. Morris

            • Dear Father John, I wouldn’t have taken Vladyka’s banter as an insult. You have demonstrated your competence with this historical matter.

              You know, bishops in the Russian tradition, much like monastic spiritual fathers, or even just earthly fathers, give little insults in love to keep people humble.

              My bishop does this, as does my own earthly father! Elder Ephraim has mentioned that St. Joseph the Hesychast never called him by name, but only by various “epithets.” I detect in Vladyka’s own mild comments merely a fatherly ribbing, not an “insult.” Such “belittling” is in fact a gift, since it first of all is clearly meant in a loving way, and secondly is an opportunity to not take ourselves, and our credentials, so seriously.

              Let’s be humble– I say to myself first and to whomever else decides they need that, too. Not you in particular, Father.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                I am not a monk and have never lived in a monastery. This I am used to common courtesy as found in the outside world.

                Fr. John W. Morris

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                We don’t live in Russia either.

              • I’m certainly with Fr. John and Fr. Hans in this one, Isaac. There is a world of cultural difference between everyday parish or secular life in the U.S. and a Russian or Athonite monastery. I think the Apostle Paul’s model is here a better one to follow in everyday discourse. “Let your speech be seasoned with grace . . .” (Colossians 4:5-6). “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, . . .” (Ephesians 4:29). A seasoned monastic Elder, a loving biological parent, or even your Priest confessor who knows you well may have the true discernment necessary to know when a little fatherly belittling is appropriate. Public Internet blog postings are not the place for such. Not to burst your bubble, but I am completely skeptical that people who know His Grace well would compare his belittling in a forum such as this to the situations you have described!

            • Being able to speak, read, and write is all the academic credential anyone needs to”discuss” anything.
              Isaac Crabtree is being insulted by Archpriest John W. Morris, who ignored Isaac’s reference to “Bishops…..just like earthly fatthers,” when he ignored Isaac’s careful words and acted as if Isaac had only held up monasticism as a standard!!!!!

              I don’t think I’ve ever attempted to justify even one word of my own by stating that I am this or that, or a Deacon, Priest, or BISHOP. Yet Archpriest John W. Morris can’t seem to discuss any disagreements with his writing without pointing to his credentials and how they must not be insulted.

              It’s as if someone were found to have been brought up with the idea of “comfortable words” as being somehow a moral standard!
              Again, I recommend Maya Kucherskaya’s excellent book which should give Archpriest John W. Morris a glimpse into a larger outside world than his own.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Your Grace:

                Perhaps is you would cease insulting me, I would not feel a need to remind you that I am not an ignorant peasant, but have an education. I have never met you and probably never will. For this reason, I do not understand why you have developed such a dislike for me. If you did meet me you might even find that you find things that you like about me. You seem to have an interest in things German. I am watching a DVD of the Metropolitan Opera of Wagner’s Tannhauser as I write. You seem to find something to criticize in everything that I write. You do so in a very condescending manner that challenges my knowledge of Orthodoxy, history and liturgics. Your criticisms cause me to remind you that I am not only an experienced priest, but an highly educated one. You never seem to fail to take advantage of an opportunity to attack the Atiochian Archdiocese, its Metropolitan and Bishops and its liturgical practices. When you write something that I know is wrong, do I not have a right to provide the correct information? For your information, I read Maya Kucherskaya’s book several months ago.

                • Rather than risk being accused of insulting anybody, I’ll just take this moment to thank the Antiochian Archpriest John W. Morris for his intelligence and academic achievements and for his letting us know that he is not a monk, and to thank the Antiochian Fr. Hans Jacobse for his intelligence and academic achievements and ‘down-to-earth common sense and for letting us know that he does not live in Russia. I feel totally outclassed and humbled in this milieu!

                • It’s often MUCH better to be an ignorant peasant, I think.

                • Father John Morris wrote:

                  “Your criticisms cause me to remind you that I am not only an experienced priest, but an highly educated one.”

                  It’s that second one, aye, there’s the rub. Maybe that’s why the Baptist preacher next door won’t talk to you. I know, I know, it’s not your fault.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    You can’t offend someone if you have never had contact with him. The Baptist preacher next door will not talk to me because Baptists suffer from an extreme case of Romaphobia. Anything that looks Catholic to them is anathema. I also have found that some black churches preach black racism.

                    • I apologize for that wisecrack, Father John. I know they do. However, I don’t see the point in letting everyone know all the time that you are highly educated and not an ignorant peasant. If the preacher next door read that comment he might wonder what your point in saying it is, too. Never mind.

            • Father John Morris wrote: ” The Prime Minister of Israelis about to start what could be another world war, and Obama does not have time to meet with him when he comes to the meeting of the UN because he is scheduled to be on the Letterman show.”

              That’s spin! I HATE spin!!!

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                No it is not spin. It is the truth. The world is on the brink of a major catastrophe. Obama needs to do everything possible to prevent this thing from blowing up into a major war. That is more important than appearing on the David Letterman show. I cannot figure out if Obama is deliberately trying to destroy our country, or if he is just too incompetent and tied to his left wing ideology to know the harm that he is doing to our nation. If Israel bombs Iran and Iran tries to close the Straits of Harmouz, the cost of gas could rise so high that it causes a depression. Under Obama we have projected an image of weakness. That is why the Middle East is blowing up with anti-American riots. When he announced that no matter what the US would withdraw from Afghanistan next year, he gave away everything that we have accomplished. All the Teliban has to do is wait for us to withdraw and then move in and retake the country. Thousands of Americans have been killed or wounded and we have spent billions for nothing.

                • Father John, I’m a stickler, or try to be, for the facts. I understand your opinion overall. It’s the statement you made that the President was too busy getting on David Letterman, etc., to meet with Netanyahu. As if he said, “Oh, I’m on Letterman that day, I can’t meet with President Netanyahu.” From what I can gather in this out-of-control fray called “news reporting,” he has had a lot of contact with Netanyahu and speaks with him on the phone frequently. If you do not like the WAY he communicates with Netayanhu, or if you don’t like his policies, then that is your opinion and I like reading your opinions. However, I think the statement you made above is not based on actual fact, but is based on a spin coming from those who spin words with an agenda attached. If he is doing what you have just stated, you don’t need spin to make the point. You can make it as you have above, simply and to the point.

                  Where is your source from which you make the claim that the President actually and in reality did this: ” The Prime Minister of Israelis about to start what could be another world war, and Obama does not have time to meet with him when he comes to the meeting of the UN because he is scheduled to be on the Letterman show. ”

                  I didn’t mind and don’t mind anyone having opinions or stating facts. However, it’s bothersome for the hair on the back of my neck, and also, I feel, unnecessary, to go beyond what is necessary to make a point, and to use another’s article or opinions to bolster one’s arguments, and then rephrase that “spin” without backing up one’s allegations with evidence to show it is true.

                  • In fact, I can’t edit my above comment now that I reread it because it’s sort of under consideration by George or something. I am not in fact sure that the President has frequent contact with Netanyahu by phone. I just read that somewhere. Oh, and please disregard typos. I work hard for a living and am exhausted.

                    All the best, (insert real name here.)

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      The refusal of Obama to meet with Netanyahu has been widely reported in the press. No, I do not like Netanyahu. I think that he is guilty of deliberately sabotaging the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians that began in Oslo. I strongly oppose terrorism, but have a great deal of sympathy for the Palestinians. The state of Israel is the result of British imperialism. Had the British and French given the people of the former parts of the Ottoman Empire the same right of national self-determination that they gave the people of the former Habsburg Empire, a lot of the problems that plague us today might not have happened. We should have let the refugees from Nazi Europe come to American, but the Zionists put pressure on Roosevelt to turn them away so that they would go to Palestine and help establish the Jewish state. Just because someone’s ancestors lived somewhere 2,000 years ago, does not give them a right to go there, displace the people whose ancestors have lived there for hundreds of years, and take over the country in a way that gives the newcomers superior rights to the indigenous people. If you think that this is “spin” talk with a Palestinian.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      For what it’s worth, Fr, Prince Feisal recruited Jews to come to Palestine during and after the Great War. He wanted as many allies as possible in his war against the Turks.

  14. According to Merriam-Webster online the definition of a cult in part:

    — a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents

    In some circles of anthropologists, every religion begins as a cult until it has developed a larger following and internal theological structure accepted by most of the wider population. Some do not move past the cult stage.

    It is my understanding that in the 1980’s the GOA declared LDS a cult. Whether this happened, is still believed I cannot at this time independently verify.

    LDS is a church in which deceit is accepted for the sake of continuity of the church. As many know, the recent leaders of the LDS have systematically taken embarrassing parts of its past and declared them secrets of which no Mormon may speak. The life of their founder cannot be too well hidden due to the public record which exists separately from the church. Simply put, he was a petty thief, con man and was known to have and use his charismatic personality in a hypnotic way to convince people of the absurd nature of the doctrines and religious books of that faith. Recently, a fictional work which predates the writing of the Book of Mormon, has been discovered describing the Jews in America which uses the same names used by Smith in the Book of Mormon. Genetic information proves that there is no connection between Native Americans and Jewish people. The current leaders are now instructing their faithful that the book of Mormon is not an actual history of America but a spiritual one. Of course you know that they believe that Jesus is a spirit child of Heavenly Father,and is such a brother of Satan. The fact that “heavenly Father” created both is sufficient fr the Orthodox to declare this religion heretical. Jesus as well as Heavenly Father have multiple wives sealed in Spiritual marriages. You are probably more aware of the differences than am I. The fact of praising them for involuntary tithing is placing far too much of a positive nature to this heresy. It would be similar too approving the tithing of the people who were the members of the Arian heresy.

  15. The recent storming of the U.S. Embassy in Libya was the supposedly due to an American short film on YouTube considered anti-Muslim. People have said this film producer is a Mormon. True?

    • George Michalopulos says

      No, it was produced by someone named Sam Bacile (I believe). Word on the street is that he’s Jewish. Some sources think the Iranians did it in order to incite violence and fend off an Israeli attack. It’s too pat. The type of Arabic used in it is the type of Arabic spoken in Egypt. It was not intended for a broader Arab distribution but specifically to incite Muslims in Egypt.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        First the name Sam Bacile is a play on words meaning = “The U.S. (Sam as in Uncle Sam) is an imbecile (Bacile).

        Second, the movie is nothing more than a pretext. These were coordinated attacks on our U.S. Embassies by Al-Qaida. In regards to Libia in the City of Bengazi no spontaneous riot or protest would have a Rocket Propelled Missle shot at our embassy and killing our Embassador and members of his staff.

        Third, all these U.S. Embassy attacks happened on or imediately after 9/11.

        This entire fisco has Al-Qaida written all over it and the only people who think a low-budget hit piece on Islam and the Prophet Mohammed caused all this are either idiotic Atheists Progressives and the poor uneducated people in these regions that were once again manipulated and taken advantage of by a bunch of cowards called Al-Qaida.

        That’s just my take on things.


    • The virtually unknown, and ludicrous, film was a pretext: the action was coordinated between Egyptain president Morsi and agents in Libya.

      Proof. (In Arabic.)

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      People have said this film producer is a Mormon. True?

      He is in hiding at the moment, so we can’t ask him. Apparently, however, he is not only a Jew but an Israeli citizen.

      I saw several clips of the movie. He should be in hiding. If he is responsible for it, he should be imprisoned—or worse—for this serious offense against every recognized artistic norm.

      • So far, I have read that “Sam Bacile” is a Jew, a Mormon, and a Coptic immigrant and working with Terry Jones of Koran burning fame.

        And, yes, the little I saw of the “film” does deserve the same punishment as the maker of “Boot Hill” http://youtu.be/ilsrxf_piFw

      • Anti-Muslim Movie Maker a Meth Cooker

        The man allegedly behind the incendiary film, Innocence of Muslims, that sparked deadly protests in the Middle East has a sordid criminal past. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has a criminal record that includes a narcotics conviction. He was arrested on March 27, 1997 and charged with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. The Daily Beast’s Christine Pelisek reports.

    • I wouldn’t be censoring any film makers in the near future if I were Obama. It might look, I don’t know, hypocritical or something:

      Obama Super PAC Banked $1 Million from Producer of Anti-Religious Movie

  16. cynthia curran says

    Well, Mississippi is not a poor state for whites, whites there have a poverty rate lower than West Virginia, Kentucky and Montana. Its the black population in the rural areas. The Mississippi delta is where the poverty is, its like Texas with the Rio Grande Mexican population. This explains why Mississippi high poverty votes Repubican because the white population basically has it good and housing is cheaper. Steve Sailer did reserach on Red and Blue states showing the higher the housing costs the more likely people vote Democratic. In fact California not only had radical demographic changes the past 40 years but housing costs have skyrocket as well. San Diego in the 1960’s was a strong Red County a book called Suburban warriors mentions the rise of the new right not in the south but in San Diego and Orange Counties California. Today San Diego is a swing county usually it votes Republican for President but last election for Obama.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Cynthia, Sailer’s a great demographer.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      Why do people who pay more for housing tend to vote Democratic? I think that is more a characteristic of a large urban area. Large urban areas tend to vote Democratic. In Mississippi whites tend to vote Republican because the Democrats have become the party of the blacks. You have not seen racism until you have lived in a predominately black congressional district. Black politicians run racist anti-white campaigns. Black churches are deeply involved in politics and tell their people how to vote. I know of a person who ran for office and was approached by a black preacher who asked for a bribe for his endorsement.
      The need for voter identification is no myth, nor is it racist. During the last election the press caught black election officials using white out on the voter sign in books, so that more than one person could vote using the same name. There are counties in this state that have more registered voters than people. The Bush administration had a case in court that convicted a black political leader of preventing whites from voting. The Obama administration dropped the case.

      Fr. John W. Morris

      • Fr. John, you’re more than familiar with American history. You talked at length about examples of Black anti-white racism, but then you didn’t proffer an explanation of why that is in Mississippi? Not saying two wrongs make a right, but your examples pale to what I could drag out of the Jim Crow era.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Reply to Bishop Tikhon

          Your Grace:

          You are right at the time that Lenin wrote “What is to be done” he was in exile in Munich. You are right on another level. Ever since Peter I, the Russian aristocracy and educated classes had been culturally separated from the bulk of the Russian population. Many of them spoke French and embraced idea from Western Europe instead of drawing on their own Russian traditions. The Tsar and his family lived in a hermetically sealed world and had almost no interactions with the common people. Thus you had a layer of basically Western Europanized upper class ruling an Eastern people.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Not all the examples that I gave were from Mississippi. The voter fraud was from Mississippi because I live here. But I have seen examples of black racism from students in Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, and Ohio. In one school in Texas where I taught, I caught a black basketball player cheating on a test. The administration which needed to show that the school had black students punished him by forbidding him to drive his car on campus. Of course he did not have a car. At Austin Community College, in Austin, Texas a black racist dean demanded that I make it possible for a black student who could not read pass my course in American history. In Indiana, a black foreign student complained to the minority students adviser. After I spoke with him, I realized that his English was not good enough for him to take a history course. I called the foreign student adviser, who tole me that she had told him that he should not take my course because of his poor English. In Ohio, a black student complained that her grade was too low because I am a racists. I was never given a chance to defend myself. I simply was not rehired the next semester. When I was in grad school, they had an appointment for a grad student to teach English history. I was almost finished with my dissertation and would have my Ph.D. by the time that the fall semester began. The department chair called me into his office and told me not to bother because they had to hire a black grad student who had not even taken his comprehensive examinations and did not even have an area in English history so that they could have a black on the faculty. They also rushed him through the program with inferior work so that they could claim that they had produced a black Ph.D. In almost every school where I taught it was an unwritten rule to grade blacks easier than whites.

          Fr. John W. Morris

          • George Michalopulos says

            Well said, Fr.

          • I decided to make a couple of minor substitutions to your study, in the interest of contributing to the literature of prejudice. There is a way to teach everyone. It is a matter of how and how long and maybe a loving attitude and patience on the part of the teacher, my experience

            … But I have seen examples of football players from students in Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, and Ohio. In one school in Texas where I taught, I caught a football player cheating on a test. The administration which needed to show that the school had football players punished him by forbidding him to drive his convertible on campus. Of course he had two cars from his summer “job”, so no problemo, just not so much visibility. At Austin Community College, in Austin, Texas former football player dean demanded that I make it possible for a football player who could not read pass my course in American history. In Indiana, a foreign football player complained to the alumni association. After I spoke with him, I realized that his English was not good enough for him to take a history course. I called the foreign student adviser, who told me that he had told him that he should not take my course because of his poor English. In Ohio, a football player complained that his grade was too low because I am too confusing to understand. I was never given a chance to defend myself. I simply was not rehired the next semester. When I was in grad school, they had an appointment for a grad student to teach English history. I was almost finished with my dissertation and would have my Ph.D. by the time that the fall semester began. The department chair called me into his office and told me not to bother because they had to fund a football player alumnus who had not even taken his comprehensive examinations and did not even have an area in English history so that they could have a football player alumnus on the faculty. They also rushed him through the program with inferior work so that they could claim that they had produced a football player Ph.D. in order to attract hot picks to the university. In almost every school where I taught it was an unwritten rule to grade football players easier than other students.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I saw all sorts of hypocrisy when I taught at a small church related college. I was on the committee that decided who to suspend due to poor academic performance. The son of the vice president of a big Houston based oil company flunked all his courses. The provost of the university came to the meeting to tell us we could not suspend him because the school needed his father’s money. I once over heard the English faculty discussing hiring a new professor. One of them said, “We cannot hire him, he would make the rest of us look bad.” The basketball coach always brought a box of doughnuts to the faculty lounge during finals time to not too subtly persuade the faculty to pass his players. The school needed money so they set up an endowed chair of political science and promised to hire a conservative to get money from the Texas conservatives. They finally hired a man whose chief academic credential was that he wrote an article calling for public executions. They hired faculty to meet affirmative actions quotas. I left completely disillusioned with the academic world.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      There has to come a point when we stop living in the past. Listening to a black militant or a black politician running for office in a predominately black district sounds like we are still living in the days of Jim Crow. They perpetuate black resentment against whites. We have come a long way since the days of Jim Crow. We have had decades of reverse discrimination against whites, affirmative action, and a lowering of standards to give blacks a chance to catch up. It all has to end sometime. The people who supported Jim Crow are dead or will soon be dead. I believe in equal standards for all. I do not believe that blacks cannot meet the same standards as whites if they have to meet those standards. It is very interesting to deal with Africans. They do much better than American blacks, because they do not have the same resentment and sense that we owe them something that is holding American blacks back. I really believe that all the efforts that have been made have actually harmed the African American community. When I taught at Austin Community College, I was reprimanded by a racist black dean because I expected my black students to be able to read and write. He told me that “Those are the white man’s values.” I contend that he was doing more harm to blacks than anyone by not expecting black to meet the same standards as whites. I have taught at several colleges and universities where it was official unwritten policy to grade blacks easier than whites. The attitude that blacks cannot perform at the same level as whites is racist. Unfortunately, blacks students soon learned that if they did not like the grade they received all they had to do was hint that the prof is a racists. No white male wants to be branded a racists so he automatically grades blacks easier than whites.

      Fr. John W. Morris

      • Fr. John, I mean this in the most respectful way. Whenever I see comments about Black racism, I can’t help being skeptical that maybe there is some other underlying (psychological) factor at work. For me, personally, I know that’s the case. I was raised in the segregated south in white racist family. I don’t recall seeing Black people as they were invisible, although I easily remember the white and colored public drinking fountains. I never met or talked with a Black person until I was drafted for Vietnam. It was a strange experience as Blacks seemed in most ways to be just like me. When I went to college on the GI Bill, I majored in history and found by reading broadly that much of what I had been taught in high school American history was highly suspect. American slavery wasn’t nearly as beneficent as I had been taught, and its aftermath during the Jim Crow era was even more evil and malignant. So when I read about Black racism or reverse discrimination, I always put it in the balance of historical context and generally find it wanting. Perhaps it’s the psychological baggage (guilt) of my white, southern upbringing. Perhaps, as you say, in a generation or two, these perceptions and/or realities will finally fade.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          African Americans will never rise out of poverty until they get rid of their own anti-white racism. People like Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and many black preachers tell black youth that the whites will prevent them from doing well, so they give up drop out of school and wind up in poverty. You can call me racist, but the only way that we will ever achieve racial harmony is to honestly look at the facts and try to resolve them. The reality is that the African American sub-culture is dysfunctional. When black youths consider getting an education as “acting white,” they stay dumb and will never get good jobs. When over 70% of black children are born out of wedlock and raised by a single mother with an absent father, the result is a dysfunctional sub-culture. The facts show that the welfare system has destroyed the black family and with it black society. The blacks can blame the whites and as a result will never solve their problems, or they can recognize the dysfunctions of their sub-culture and work to resolve them by encouraging young girls to wait until they are married to have sex and children and both young girls and men to get an education and not drop out of school.

          • That brings to my mind that an African American, some years ago, wrote a book titled something like “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation.”

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            Fr. John,

            Here are some Black leaders who agree with you:

            Project 21.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              There are several. The problem is that people like Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and dozens of local “leaders” of the African American community have built their entire careers on the Civil Rights Movement. If we were to actually begin to solve problems, they would have to find real productive work to do. They even create crises where there are none. Remember the Duke LaCrosse players. I suspect that in the end the same hoax will be found in the case of that man in Florida. People like Jackson and Sharpton are constantly looking for some incident they can blow up into a civil rights case so that they can continue to have relevanlce. The result is that they take an incident that could have been quietly resolved and turn it into a racial conflict.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              Also . . . does anyone think its odd that there is no black leader at the level of Jackson/Sharpton in terms of being well-known and popularity from the post-Baby Boomer generations?

              It’s almost as if Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are albatrosses holding down my generation en masse. I wish they would just shut up and go to their rocking chair on the porch.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Answer to Logan46 says:

          Perhaps is you lived in a predominately black area as I do, you would think differently? One sees racism here everyday. The hardest thing that I had to get used to after moving here having never lived in a small predominately black town in the South was the black racism. When a white person goes to the deli counter in a grocery store, the black workers seem too busy to help. However when a black person comes up to the counter they help them first. If you go to fast food restaurant, the teenage black help cannot speak English that can be understood on the speaker system, and they almost always get the order wrong. God help you if you have a car accident with a black person, especially in Jackson where they have a racist black police force. A woman ran a red light, with an expired license, who should not have been driving because she had just gotten out of the hospital a few minutes before the accident and was still under the influence of medication. The racist black cop wrote in the report that the accident was my wife’s fault. Although she totaled our car, she sued us. The insurance company settled out of court and gave her $15. The attorney that the insurance company assigned to the case did not even return our telephone calls of speak with us. We tried to hire an attorney, but no attorney will represent a white person in a suite with a black person in Jackson, Mississippi, because the racist blacks control the legal system. Our congressional district is deliberately designed to give the blacks a majority. The result is that white people are not represented in Congress because our congressman runs openly racist campaigns, even calling his black opponents an Oreo cookie, black on the outside, but white on the inside. My Church is next to a black Baptist Church. When I first arrived, I tried to meet the Pastor. He would not take my calls. I even wrote him a letter suggesting that we should meet since we are neighbor. I am in my 9th year and he still has not tried to meet me.

          Fr. John W. Morris

          • George Michalopulos says

            Fr, that’s very bold of you to speak the truth. The unjust sense of entitlement that comes from the grievance industry for select minorities has never done anyone any good. And no, I’m not saying this because I’m a racist/sexist/bigot/homophobe/whatever.

            I speak from personal experience here. Whenever I went to Greece growing up I was put off by almost everybody there who had a massive chip on their shoulder about how superior Hellenism was to Americanism, etc. And it did them nothing but allow them to wallow around in a pond of delusion rather than actually do something like better themselves.

            Logan, I know black people have had it bad in America. So did Indians. Jews had it bad during the Crusades. The Armenians certainly took it on the chin during the Great War. Suffering happens. It’s a fallen world. Get over it. Calling the Waahmbulance every MLK Day and showing pictures of Bull Connor with the waterhoses will not help black people rise up from the self-inflicted wounds that they are now applying to themselves.

            Jesse Owens was incensed by the Black Power/Civil Rights movement of the 60s. He knew that black people would only be respected by their own efforts, not by the paternalism of the Great White Father in Washington.

            You served in Vietnam, I thank you for your service to our country. That makes you at least five years older than. You talk about how “invisible” black people were in the segregated South. Did you ever stop to think that black people preferred to stay closeknit? Let me tell you about my experiences during the great bussing controversy of the late 60s.

            In 1971, I went to Horace Mann Jr High School in Tulsa, OK. It was predominantly white. That was the first year they instituted bussing. It was about a 3/4 mile walk from my house and me, my cousins, and my best friend Mark Greene walked it every day, to and fro. We had black friends. Some blacks were not so friendly. You know why? Because they resented having to be packed in a bus like a bunch of sardines and travel 3 miles or more to go get educated with a bunch of white folk; especially when they had perfectly good schools within walking distance from their houses. How fair is that?

            Justice Clarence Thomas once wrote an opinion in which he castigated the idea that just because an institution was predominantly black it was necessarily inferior. “Seperate but Equal” has become a liberal shibboleth but it wasn’t too far off the mark in reality. And even if George Washington Carver Jr High needed some sprucing up, Horace Mann was not intrinsically superior in any way, even if it was white. The vast majority were the children of working-class white people. Our schoolyard was in the middle of four walls –it resembled a prison. To go play football we had to walk three blocks through downtown traffic to a park. We didn’t care, we thought everything was fine. There were definately more modern, up-to-date Jr Highs on the south of town. That’s just the way of the world.

            Now let’s look at one of the real-world applications for the black community wrought by forced integration. Because they couldn’t go to their local schools, it became harder for their parents to attend PTA meetings. My folks could walk to our elementary school (which was 3 blocks away). Nobody lived more than six blocks from Riverview Elementary or Horace Mann Jr High. Most families had only one car, some relied on public transportation to get to and from their job site. It didn’t matter because neighborhood schools really meant just that, hence there was active parental involvement. Some of the black parents though relied on public transportation to get to and from work. The bus lines shut down at 6pm. How could they be reasonably expected to stay on top of things at the local “white” school? Yet their “black” schools were multigenerational and they had active PTAs, Scout troops, Jr Achievement, etc. In the end, these supposedly inferior schools shuttered and the neighborhoods around them became abandoned.

          • Fr. John, I was tempted to ask have you ever had an experience or interaction with a Black person who was not a Black racist? (I’m not trying to be snarky.) Part of me wants to say: you live in Mississippi, what do you expect? Seriously, if I were a Black living in Mississippi, how would I view whites? Probably, not too favorably. I’m not excusing the behavior you encountered, but I understand. And that must be difficult to do when you’re on the receiving end. Uh, btw, I worked and lived in Detroit for a number of years. It was an interesting experience being white and in the minority. I managed an office of 25 people, of which 23 were Black, 1 white, and 1 Muslim. It was the best office staff I ever had.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I have had black students who were very good. I served on the executive committee of the Ethiopian Society of Fort Wayne, Indiana. So be careful before you call me a racist. We will never solve our racial problems until we recognize that all forms of racism, including black racism is evil. We cannot undo the wrongs of the past. But we can grow beyond them. Jim Crow has been over a very long time. It is time to grow beyond the racist past. People like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton will not let us advance, because they earn their living exploiting the past. White black relations in the South are trapped in the past and will never normalize until the blacks realize that the whites alive today are not guilty of the crimes of the past. Because we are next door to a black church, sometimes the black newspaper printed in Jackson is put through our mail box. It is filled with hatred for whites. It tells the blacks that the whites want to keep them trapped in second class status and fight every thing that might help them. So, do not tell me that we have a problem with black racism. I have seen and lived it. It is very real. How many people accuse anyone who does not agree with Obama of racism?
              The first Orthodox immigrants to America faced the same sort of prejudice faced by blacks. When I was in Cedar Rapids, we bought land and wanted to build a new church. The white Anglo-saxon neighbors did not want an “Arab” church in their neighborhood. Our parish council met with the neighbors. I have never seen such open and blatant racism as I saw from the Anglo-saxon people of that neighborhood. In Boston, St. John of Damascus Church bought property in a predominately Jewish suburb to build a new church. The Jews successfully prevented them from building in that suburb. When St. George’s Church built a new church in West Roxbury, someone spray painted, “Arabs go home” on the new building. In Vicksburg, Lebanese were not allowed to join the local country club. Finally a successful Lebanese bought the country club and ended the discrimination against Lebanese.
              The Orthodox people worked hard, eventually overcame the white Anglo-saxon racism and have made it in America. African immigrants to the U.S. also face white racism, but they also work hard and make it in America. If the blacks would do the same they too would overcome white racism and make it in this country. But as long as they are living in the past and resent whites and are told that they do not have a chance because of the whites, they will not even try to overcome that prejudice through the hard work necessary to overcome it.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Personally, I don’t mind black “racism” directed against me. It’s not so much racism as it is ethnic solidarity (and I’m Greek so I know what I’m talking about). Jews are no different, nor Asians. People tend to prefer their own kind. That’s unremarkable. Heck, I don’t even resent the stupid Nation of Islam theology that says that white people were bred on the Island of Patmos 6,000 years ago to be slaves. That’s nonsense on stilts and I believe in freedom of religion. What I resent is the grievance industry which encourages black people to be resentful and to not take responsibility for their own actions.

              • One state over must make quite a difference. We spent ten years in Birmingham, where my personal interactions with, and friendships with blacks and whites — people of greatly assorted income levels and with varying levels achieved of education — almost uniformly were positive and pleasant. Not a Utopia, but radically better than the old stereotypes of the city. I had moved there most unwillingly because I expected to experience the worst. I left there disconsolate to leave both the beautiful state and the people.

                I did, to exercise “full disclosure”, experience one episode of reverse discrimination while in Birmingham. During a job interview shortly after my arrival, a staff member risked trouble by telling me, in a snatched private moment, that I would not receive a job offer because the institution’s hiring quota system demanded a black male. I possessed enough insight, however, to recognize that this had nothing whatsoever to do with the Birmingham location, but with the demographics of my professional field.

                There is more than one Orthodox parish in metro Jackson, as well as one in McComb. I wonder whether their clergy and faithful share Fr. John’s perceptions of the local society. I don’t question his personal experience, I just wonder about other people’s. When I think of it, I can ask our relatives, who have lived in Jackson for decades.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Jackson is basically a segregated city. The blacks live in Jackson itself, the whites have moved to suburbs. The suburbs are flourishing, but Jackson itself is definitely crime ridden and on the decline. The Greek Orthodox Church was in the city. They had to hire a guard to protect the cars in the parking lot during services. Finally, they moved to Madison. I agree however, that racial relations are better in other cities. It always amazes me when I go to another city and the blacks are not as hostile as the some of them are here in Vicksburg.

  17. cynthia curran says

    Foolish Christians while that can be said of Theodosius the Great’s sons, Arcadius and Honorius. Arcadius exiled John Chrysostom because of his wife. Honorius was weaker politically since he got rid of Stilicho a good soldier and adviser who was Arian. He didn’t rid him because he was Arian but Olmypius another adviser convince Honorius. Stilicho the Arian was wiser than Honorius the Orthodox Christian. Honorius was one of those factors in the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.

  18. Fr. John,

    When Jesus referred to Himself as a King, He was referring to a King not of this world. Christ did nothing to interfere with Roman or Jewish politics like Barabas. To follow Christ, we are members of His Kingdom, not of this earth that is fallen. Therefore, we as followers of Christ, should not participate in abortions (murder), homosexuality or any impure acts even if the govt. allows it. In our pagan society where Christianity is tolerated, the President represents all the people and unfortunately, our society is going the way of Sodom and Gomorrah. And yet, I would rather live in the U.S. rather than Russia, Greece, Syria or anywhere else in the world. If you don’t like policies in the U.S., change the laws via Congress or have the Supreme Court hear a plea.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      If you don’t like policies in the U.S., change the laws via Congress

      This was Father John’s whole point: we do this by elections.

      A vote for Romney is morally different from a vote for Obama.

      The first is an imperfect man. The second is a monster.

      • Chris Banescu says

        Fr. Pat is right! The choices are very clear: (1) Imperfect man vs. (2) Incompetent, inexperienced, narcissistic, and Marxist man-child.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        At this point I would vote for Daffy Duck over Obama. Romney or anyone would be better than Obama. Even Clinton was a better president than Obama. His left wing pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage ideology is not the only problem because he is incompetent. He does not do his job. He is running one of the dirtiest campaigns in American history. I do not know what motivates him, but I do know that because of Obama Care, my parish is paying much more for my health insurance, my deductible has tripled, and my co payments have gone up. I am paying almost twice as much for gas as I had to pay when he came into office. The cost of groceries has gone up. I have disagreed with presidents before, but I have never felt that a president actually did harm to me personally. Obama’s policies have harmed me personally. Our country cannot take 4 more years of Obama.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says: At this point I would vote for Daffy Duck over Obama. . . . . . Our country cannot take 4 more years of Obama.

          Our country will have to make do 4 more years as the Republicans have managed to alienate every large voter constituency, except the wealthy and disaffected white males. I won’t be voting for President Obama because he failed to end the war in Afghanistan. Since I believe the wealthy have too much political power already, I won’t be voting for Willard; so, for me, I guess it will Daffy Duck.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Logan, that’s so juvenile that I’m embarrassed to have to point it out. “Alienating” constituencies is what political parties do by definition. The Democrat Party alienated the “Solid South,” urban Catholics, and are well on their way to alienating Jews.

        • Chris Banescu says

          AMEN, AMEN, AMEN! The nightmarish “fruits” of Obama’s “labors” are all around us. Dependency UP, poverty UP, inflation UP, welfare UP, unemployment UP, instability UP, deficits massively UP, national debt insanely UP (increased in 3 years more than previous 12 years!), etc. etc.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Diogenes, our culture is not pagan but Christian (although currently it lives off its historical memory). Christian engagement in Christian culture is different than it would be in pagan or Muslim culture.

  19. cynthia curran says

    Well, I thought the film in poor taste but why should the followers of Islam go and killed people over insulting their Prophet. Islam is too medieval. They did the same thing in Europe over a Cartoon and killed a flim maker in Europe that criticized them as well. Islam can act that way but if a christian acts radical and kills someone they are considered wacky. People are going to make insulting films on religion and the followers of Islam need to leave the middle ages and enter the modern world.

  20. cynthia curran says

    Blue States and Counties tend to have higher housing prices and people have less children. San Fran, New York City, Hawaii, Los Angeles, have housing costs above the national average and among non-Hispanic whites in these cities tend to have lower birthrates because its expensive. Texas housing is a little cheaper than the national average so a lot of Republicans in places like California moved to Texas because of lower taxes and housing and in Texas they can afford to be in a less diverse neighborhood or where the minority population is more middle class.

  21. cynthia curran says

    Someday, Islam may develop a hide thick enough to bear the sorts of artistic depictions that Christians endure. Monty Python’s 1979 motion picture Life of Brian generated huge laughs — by satirizing Jesus Christ. While some Christians criticized or boycotted the film, they retaliated by killing exactly zero people.

    Today’s Broadway hit The Book of Mormon makes The Life of Brian resemble a consistory of the College of Cardinals. While Mormons may find this musical more blasphemous than hilarious (it is both, in spades), their reviews have not been homicidal.

    Artist Chris Ofili infamously attached elephant dung to his painting of the Virgin Mary. Christians objected, and a believer named Dennis Heiner splattered white paint on this canvas. But neither Ofili nor anyone else was murdered for such infantilism.

    So long as free speech remains a fundamental human right, free people can and should say what they will about Islam. And until that faith’s most fervent adherents learn to count to ten before commencing carnage, one objectionable YouTube video or bothersome charcoal sketch could sever America’s vital supplies of petroleum. This is the difference between Islam and Christianity in dealing with insults to one’s religion or as mention Mormonism versus Islam.

    • Oh, Cynthia, we, too, have our sacred cows, but they’re no longer Christian, they’re patriotic, rather. If some Syrians or Pakistanis, etc., were to begin lining their toilets with the American flag, or imprinting one on every square of a roll of toilet paper and then showing images of those articles being used on YouTube, I think that some embassies and consulates here might see some action.

  22. cynthia curran says

    Well, I think the economic problems of blacks and Hispanics are more complex than racism. Blacks grow up more into single families and in the west they are not the poorest. In CA, TX, AZ, NV Hispanics have the lowest incomes and the highest poverty rates. Hispanics have been a heavily immigrant group and come from rural regions of Mexico or Central America where skills for jobs are going to be low. Puerto Ricians and Cubans also had these problems as well but they are found more back east. On the other hand Cubans and South Americans immigrants tend to have higher levels of education when they come to the US as well.

  23. cynthia curran says

    George mentions the crusades and Jews, by the Crusades the Jews were treated terrbily I would blame this more on the west since I’m not familiar with that bad treatment in the East. However, there was bad blood between Jews and Christians for years. In the 4th Century Theodosius was going to make the church pay for a synagogoue that a christian mob burn down but Bishop Ambrose opposed using church money to rebuilt the burn down synagogue. Also, in the 6th century Jews seized control of Yemen and killed Christians.

    • Archpriest J ohn W. Morris says

      The persecution of the Jews during the Crusades took place mostly in the Rhine area not the East. The same crusaders who persecuted the Jews persecuted the Orthodox in the areas of the East they took over. In fact, most historians date the finalization of the Great Schism not to 1054, but to the Crusades because when the crusaders occupied an Orthodox town, like Antioch, they removed the Orthodox Bishop and put in their own Latin Bishop in his place. They did that in Jerusalem. When the Latin Patriarch tried to preside over the ceremony of the Holy Fire the fire did not appear until they brought in an Orthodox Bishop.

      • George Michalopulos says

        You’re right Fr. As for the persecution of the Jews in general, during the first half-millenium of the Church, the shoe was on the other foot. The Rabbinic conquest of Judaism after the Council of Javneh (ca. AD 85) intensified the intellectual rage against gentiles in general which found their culmination in the Talmud. There were sporadic persecutions against Christians throughout the Roman Empire and beyond which were perpetrated by Jewish extremists.

      • Archpriest john W. Morris, an erudite scholar and teacher, to be sure, wrote “The persecution of the Jews during the Crusades took place mostly in the Rhine area, not the East.” i feel that is like saying the persecution of the Jews during WWII took place mostly in Germany and Eastern Europe, not in France.”
        Persecution of the Jews by Christians began in the time of Constantine and continued until the time of the Crusades, when the Crusaders, forming up in Germany on the way to Byzantium launched what were later called pogroms against Jews, from Germany all the way into the Middle East. The first and largest pogrom did take place in the Rheinland, but it was not singular or solitary. One of their most savage acts was the burning of the Jews alive in their synagogues into which they had been herded in Jerusalem upon the “successful” conclusion of the First Crusade. (Greek Christians, also potential witnesses to their prosperity allowed them under islam, were likewise slaughtered like Muslims and other “infidels,” in the streets till they ran with blood. In Egypt, until our modern times, the Jews, Copts, and Greeks for centuries controlled everything financial, including tax collection, especially under the Mamelukes and the Ottoman Turks.
        By the way, Archpriest John W. Morris is right about the Holy Fire: it occurred annually under the Muslims, until the Christian Crusaders took over Jerusalem, when it wasn’t until the Greek clergy were allowed back that it once again “worked.”. It’s always happened under Muslim control of the city, I believe.
        I politely ask George Michalopolos to refer me to historical research or study which shows that sporadic persecutions against Christians throughout !the Roman Empire and beyond (!) were perpetrated by Jewish extremists. I’d like to learn of just one such persecution and the Emperor under which it took place.
        At least Muslims do not bar Christians from heaven, but allow that both Christians and Jews may go there, while Christians tend to paint nice pictures of Muslims burning in hell.
        One Muslim woman recently wrote that all virtuous Jews, Christians and Muslims are on the way to heaven, but the Jew is in a horse-and-buggy, the Chrstian in a VW Beetle, but the Muslim in a Ferrari!

        • George Michalopulos says

          Yes, as mentioned in Yemen Christians were persecuted by Jews, a Patriarch of Jerusalem was killed by a Jewish mob in the first century. In 1821, a Jewish mob humiliated a Greek funeral procession for Patriach Gregory V which was occurring in Odessa, Russia. The Greeks took the provocation and fought back. Things got so bad that the Cossacks had to come in and seperate the Greeks from the Jews, the latter who were winning the melee. In the meantime, the Jewish merchants were able to drive the Greeks out of business in Odessa, often using violent means. (The Greeks had the first czarist concessions/licences in Odessa.)

          As for the pre-Constantinian times, Jewish communities throughout the Roman world assisted the Romans in their persecution of Christians. This was not always propagated by mob violence against the Christians but by informing on them, refusing them refuge, and simply by denying to the Roman authorities that the Christians had any standing whatsoever within Judaism. (The Jews were granted exemptions and rights within the Greco-Roman world because of the antiquity of their religion.)

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Jews have not necessarily been friendly towards Christians.
            When the Muslim armies first conquered Christian areas of the Middle East the Jews supported the Muslims.
            In 1821 after the beginning of the Greek revolt against the Turks, the Turks hung Patriarch Gregory V in full vestments from the West Gate of the Patriarchate for five days. A group of Jews then took the body down and dragged it through the streets and threw it into the Bosporus. Greek sailors found the body, which is now in the Cathedral in Athens.
            One reason Jews were so unpopular in the Ukraine and others of Russia once occupied by the Poles is that Polish gentry borrowed money from Jews and made the Russian or Ukrainian peasants work tor the Jewish money lender to pay back the loan. Sometimes the Polish rulers made Orthodox pay fees to Jewish money lenders for baptisms and other services in the local Orthodox Church to pay back a loan.
            In Israel the Jewish government finds all sorts of ways to persecute the Orthodox Church because the Church owns a lot of land that they want, and, of course, the faithful are Palestinians. The Israeli government claims the right to approve the election of any candidate for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem using old Turkish laws. The authorities make it almost impossible for Orthodox to go to Jerusalem to celebrate major feasts. Israeli police have roughed up Orthodox Christians during the Holy Fire Ceremony. The authorities have forced the Church to sell or give up some of its lands for Israeli settlements.
            The Spanish did not like Jews because most of them sided with the Muslim Moors during the reconquistia.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              Jews had not been completely innocent victims of Christian persecution. They caused a lot of the anti-Jewish feeling of many ancient Christians by their hatred of Christ and His followers. Read a book called Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schafer. It tells how the Jews bragged about their role in the crucifixion of Christ and how their religious writings condemn Christianity in the harshest and most crude and vulgar terms. Today, Jews spit on Orthodox Priests in Jerusalem. They harass Orthodox religious processions.

          • So Greek businessmen battled Jewish businessmen in Odessa. What’s it got to do with religion?
            “Simply denying that Christians had any standing whatsoever in Judaism” counts as persecution?
            Yes, Jews (like St. Paul) and Mithraists and all sorts of religions were granted exemptions and rights throughout the Greco-Roman world, as Copts and Greeks and Jews were granted exemptions and rights and concessions in the Ottoman Empire, so that in Egypt, for example, the Copts and Jews had a death grip on tax collection (Copts) and on finance (Jews), and the Greeks on foreign trade, the Arabs left to fend for themselves as farmers and soldiers (cannon fodder) from which “duty” the Greeks, Jews, and Copts (and Melkites) were exempt.

  24. cynthia curran says

    Well, many western states the most people on welfare are Hispanic. Texas over 53 percent of those that use welfare are Hispanic. Part of this is a poor immigration system. I use to be against guest-worker programs for low skilled jobs but maybe the one that Texas is designing will address the current problem of a lot of illegal immigrants that stayed in the US long enough to have children and the children are on the welfare programs. Barry Goldwater back in the 1980’s opposed the IRAC Act that Legalization about 3 million people instead he wanted a guest-worker program. The current problems with guest worker programs are vista overstays. Mitt Romney could have use this to deal with immigration problems and the welfare problems. Also, the current program of having a member outside of a spouse of minor child leaves to more use of welfare since the immigrants may not have the job skills to get out of welfare.

  25. cynthia curran says

    Well, blacks are not the only ones with resentment against whites, Hispanics are another because of the history of the southwest. At one time Mexican kids were considered colored in states like Ca, TX, AZ for schooling granted some whites don’t like Mexicans or Central Americans because of the illegal immigration but radical Hispanic groups sometimes claim the whole US as Azlan even in States were Spain or Mexico did not have colonies. Also, a few resentments by Asian groups against whites.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      During segregation Lebanese and Syrians were considered “colored” in some southern states. The Klan was anti Orthodox because to them we looked like Catholics.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      Most Americans do not really understand the history of the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War. The Texas Revolution was part of a revolt that spread through Mexico after Santa Anna abolished the constitution and proclaimed himself dictator. They were not fighting for Texan independence at the Alamo. They were fighting for the restoration of the old constitution and the end of the dictatorship. Only after the massacre at the Alamo did the Texans decide to fight for independence from Mexico. The Treaty of San Jacinto, which Santa Anna signed after losing the battle of San Jacinto to the Texans led by Sam Houston, Mexico recognized Texan independence with the Rio Grande as its southern boundary.
      The background of the Mexican War was that Mexico owed money to the US that it refused to pay. In fact Joel Robert Poinisett one of the diplomats sent to negotiate with Mexico over the Mexican debt brought back the flower that bears his name. In 1845 President Polk sent John Slidell to Mexico with an offer to forgive the Mexican debt and pay Mexico up to $30,000 for Texas and California and the areas in between. The Mexican government refused to negotiate and threw Slidell out of the country. By standards of 19th century international law, Mexico had committed an act of war against the US by refusing to pay the debt and throwing Slidell out of the country. In 1846, Mexico declared war on the U.S. first. At the end of the war the US forgave the Mexican debt and paid Mexico $18,250,000 for Texas and California and the land in between. So the US did not exactly steal Texas and California.

      • Well, that’s certainly one interpretation of the events. I’m glad you said the US didn’t “exactly” steal, but rather implied that the US, well . . . kinda of stole Texas and California. 🙂

        • George Michalopulos says

          Logan, Fr Justin hit it right on the head. Mexico had instigated several provocations against the US going all the way back to the Jackson Administration. Old Hickory chose not to engage in military action because he thought the US was too weak and he didn’t want to indebt the government any further, especially since he was moving heaven and earth to pay off the national debt (which he did).

          • George, Fr. John is our historian. Yes, in 1835, Jackson did pay off the national debt, which was helped by what seemed to be the almost inexhaustible supply of public land the federal government could sell. Yet, in 1829, Jackson offered to buy Texas from Mexico. Appeasing Southern slave-owners, which Jackson was one of himself, apparently at the time, was more important than paying off the debt? Increasing national tensions over slavery, fueled by the new abolitionist movement, probably caused Jackson to change his views regarding Texas. Even after Texas had won its independence, Jackson waited to his last day in office to recognize Texas.

            I’m not sure of what provocations Mexico instigated against the U.S. during Jackson’s presidency? I think the influx of Mexican silver during the time forced the value of American gold coinage up and devaluing American silver coinage? If I recall, Jackson legalized the circulation of foreign coins.

            • George Michalopulos says

              The Congress issued a report in which it listed several provocations by the Mexican dictator, including encroachment upon American lands. Jackson made the prudent decision to not to war even though he could have received a declaration of war from the Congress. Yes, he was a slave owner and yes, the Southern states wanted to add slave-holding territory in order to prevent them from being politically overwhelmed in the Congress by the North. These are unarguable. Yet the US suffered a series of provocations by Santa Ana and in time it did go to war.

              Many people forget (or do not know) that many people in Mexico were secretly sympathetic to the Americans because of Santa Ana’s depredations. The Catholic Church for example was infuriated by him because of his wholesale confiscation of monasteries.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Mexico was not an innocent victim of U.S. aggression. By the standards of International Law at that time, the US had a right to go to war over the Mexican refusal to pay its debt to the US. The Texans revolted against a dictator who abolished the constitution. Mexico went to war against the United States and lost the war. The United States paid Mexico a good price for the land it got from Mexico. I am tired of the blame America first crowd. The U.S. did not ask to become a world power. We would have been quite happy minding our own business but got dragged into two Word Wars that we did not start. Then the French and others who look down on us today, were quite happy for the Americans to pay to put their army between them and the Soviets. I agree that the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake. I have no doubt that within a few years they will have another dictator. We really had to do something about Afghanistan after 9/11. However, by giving a definite time for American withdrawal, Obama has given away anything that we might have accomplished there. Obama’s policies have made us look weak. As a result Islamic radicals are taking over the Middle East. Even if he somehow gets reelected, there will come a day when the American people will curse the memory of Barak Obama.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Amen, Fr. To all those who Blame America First re the Mexican War, you are free to decamp to Canada or better yet, go back to the country of your origin.

          • To Fr. John and George, who is saying “Blame America First” for the Mexican War? I only commented because of all the most likely causes of the war, you picked the decidedly minority viewpoint–the failure of the Mexican government to settle claims for losses by US citizens during Mexico’s War of Independence from Spain. Most historians hold a more balanced view that neither country was entirely blameless in the matter. I hold that view as well, but would add history has proven becoming part of the US has been a far better outcome than the alternative.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:
            September 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm

            the French and others who look down on us today, were quite happy for the Americans to pay to put their army between them and the Soviets.

            Don’t forget the Marshall Plan by which we paid for the rebuilding of their countries, their dept to us for which, I believe, was forgiven.

      • Fr. John told the facts correctly.

  26. cynthia curran says

    There is some references I believe in Eusebius about Jews involved with turning Christians into the Roman government and the historaian Paul Johnson mentions persecution by both sides in his books the history of Christianity and the history of the Jews. The Jews did it more of this in the pre-Constantine era but there were some incidences after Constantine of Jewish mob violence granted there was some christian mob violent that led to syngogoues being burn. Christians made Jews and Pagans second class citizens by the time of Justinian, both Jews and Pagans couldn’t have anyone defend them in a court but were forced to testify for a christian. Not all of this was violent but the Laws by the 6th century limited the freedom of religion of the Jews they couldn’t read out loud the old testament in Hebrew but had to use other languages like Greek or Latin or other langues of the day.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Part of the problem Cynthia is that we see history through the prism of the Holocaust. In other words, even hindsight isn’t 20/20. In reading Gibbon’s history of the Roman Empire, we find many negative references to Jews and their particularities which so exercized pagans (i.e. before Christianity began). Including their wont to violence against non-Jews. And Gibbon was not predisposed to the Church either.

  27. cynthia curran says

    True Gibbon wrote in a different age and he probably was not anti-Jewish for his time period. I remember a riot in the first century in Alexandria between Greeks and Jews. The Jews after Hadrian didn’t rebel that much it was the Samaritans who rebelled against the late Roman Empire in the East that were flatten out. Many of the Samaritans in the 6th century that number in the thousands were killed and enslaved. Today they are less than a 1000. I bring this up because I wonder what happen to the Samaritans

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      Gibbon might not have been anti-Jewish, but he was definitely anti-Christian like most followers of the so-called Enlightenment.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Of course he was. However like other eminences of the Enlightenment (Voltaire especially), he really disdained the Jews for a variety of reasons.

      • As I understand it, Gibbon considered what is now called the “Byzantine Empire” to be the “fall” of the Roman Empire, and he was part of the British culture when it thought itself to be “the light of the world.” The fact that the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for nearly 1000 years all the while surrounded by attacking enemies didn’t seem to impress him at all.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I agree. Like most Protestants and/or men of the Enlightenment, he really hated the East.

  28. cynthia curran says

    Well, the media shows Mexicans that enter illegality by boat and that can be more risky but what the media never mentions is that Mexico has the same per capita as Russia. Personality I would favor changing things fi there was a guest worker program for low skills people in eastern Europe besides the Latin Countries could quality. Mexicans and Central Americans coming illegality in a lot of markets would face job competition and more would return home. Mexico growth is 4 percent versus under 2 percent for us, granted, wages and living is harder but it would make the country deal with this. Currently the Country is living off of remittances its second to oil in income.

    • George Michalopulos says

      For the record, Mexico is the 14th wealthiest country in the world. The fact that the Castillian elite lord it over the Mestizo majority is not my faulth.

  29. cynthia curran says

    Well, i think a lot of Northern California was not Mexican.. I feel that Mexicans have a better deal than Greeks or Italians and so forth immigrating there are probably some illegal immirgant Greeks but its harder for them since they have to have the right vistas to go to Germany and so forth for work. The Russians also have to follower paper work, granted some are illegal. Let’s change US immigration policy to include more Greeks, Russians and so forth and less Hispanics and Asians.. Currently Mexico even in legal immigration has 30 percent and China around 11 percent.

  30. cynthia curran says

    Remove my last two statements

  31. cynthia curran says

    Well, I agree about the remark of Obama wanting to go on Letterman than discuss political matters with foreign heads of state. Obama’s friend as a teen was the strange William Marshall Davis who at one time thought Henry Truman was more evil than Joseph Stalin., maybe Obama feels that way about the Republicans while Clinton as mention above will work with them. Granted, i think Obama is not the radical of his youth but doesn’t always want to attend to matters of state.

    • cynthia curran says:
      September 23, 2012 at 1:13 am

      i think Obama … doesn’t always want to attend to matters of state.

      Maybe he considers it to be “above his pay grade?”

      • George Michalopulos says

        Well, it’s certainly not as fun as going on David Letterman and getting your butt kissed after one of your Ambassadors was savagely beaten, sodomized, and then shot in the head like a rat in the dump. At least Carter had the decency to not light the national Christmas tree when our embassy personnel in Tehran were imprisoned.

  32. cynthia curran says

    I mean Harry Truman.

  33. cynthia curran says

    My comment a lot of people that lost houses were not poor. In fact, Ladera Ranch an upper-middle class community in Orange County where houses were selling now the million mark average income is 90,000 or higher. Many of these folks knew they couldn’t afford the houses but brought he houses anyway and also took out loans for cars they couldn’t afford on top of the houses. So, not all the people who lost houses were lower middle class minorities that acorn pushed banks to lend money but many were also upper middle class people that signed agreements and therefore were not victims of the banks but victims of wanting to live a certain lifestyle. So the cry that only rich people are to blame is not true there are slightly rich people, middle class and lower middle class people that are also to blame for the housing mess.

  34. cynthia curran says

    Well, I can only think of two poor performing school systems, middle size or larger cities that are Red and that’s Bakersfield Ca and Anaheim Ca, granted the more native born white population votes more than the minority which in the case of Anaheim tends to be foreign born. The bad Texas schools are Houston heavily Hispanic and around 20 percent black a blue town, Dallas heavily Hispanic also over 40 percent of the population and around 16 percent black, Austin student population probably over 40 percent Mexican and a blue town, and El Paso around 80 percent Hispanic and probably near 90 percent among the student body also Democratic.

  35. cynthia curran says

    Gibbon thought that Christianity was at fault for making people in the Empire less likely to defend themselves he blame the last rulers of the west and the east for this. Zosimus I believe the last Pagan Historian had this view as well in the late 5th or early 6th century. Basically he thought the East had too many Eastern traits like being somewhat cowardly or double dealing. Its true modern Historians that study the Eastern Empire mention how it was able to changed into a late Antiquity civilization to a medieval one with a great deal of success for a 1000 years. Three of the greatest building projects were in late Roman Empire, Valens Aqueduct, the Theodosian Walls-land and sea and Hagia Sophia number 3. Gibbon didn’t get to visit Constantinople and he commented that the forts of the Byzantines were small, some were but others were not. Archaeologically was not available in his day but he read several ancient and medieval sources and most enlightened people of the 18th century didn’t think highly of the east.

  36. cynthia curran says

    Well, I can see a Jew in Israel spitting on a christian but not in the United States, Jews here I have known are usually not hostile to Christians some get overly defensive as George mention because of the Holocaust.

  37. My understanding is that the poor are blessed, not simply because of their poverty (which can be poor in health, status, etc., as well as monetary), but because, when endured/accepted with spiritual humility, it “draws down” Grace. A proud poor man, ashamed/embittered for his poverty, is in the same “danger” as a rich man proud of his riches.
    (Matthew 5:3 says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” and Luke 6:20 says: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.”) (Both NKJV)

    • George Michalopulos says

      As the Gospel of Matthew predated Luke, and was written in Aramaic, it is probably more correct. The locution “poor in spirit” meant those Jews from the lower orders who were not able to comply with the increasingly complex regulations that the Pharisees delighted in. The Pharisees tended to be wealthier and were able to engage in pre-Talmudic trivia in order to lord it over the peasants who had to spend the majority of their time trying to scrape a living from farming and trades. This explains why Jesus castigated the Pharisees who “laid heavy burdens on the poor in spirit.” Essentially they were playing theological “Gotcha!” which only dispirited those who couldn’t keep up.

    • PdnNJ says:
      . . . . A proud poor man, ashamed/embittered for his poverty, is in the same “danger” as a rich man proud of his riches.
      (Matthew 5:3 says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” and Luke 6:20 says: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.”) (Both NKJV)

      Good grief! now if we attempt to ameliorate any of the ills of poverty, we may endanger the impoverished from the “kingdom of heaven.” So, the poor are doomed to be poor and on top of that they must be rejoice in it and not be bitter. Make your case for conservative political views based on facts and logic, and please leave theology out of it. For those of us who may be undecided, it can be quite disheartening.

      • Dear Logan46, who says:
        September 24, 2012 at 10:47 am
        “now if we attempt to ameliorate any of the ills of poverty, we may endanger the impoverished from the “kingdom of heaven.”
        I said, implied, meant, and believe no such thing.
        “So, the poor are doomed to be poor and on top of that they must be rejoice in it and not be bitter.”
        Again, I said, implied, meant, and believe no such thing, except for “not be bitter.”
        “Make your case for conservative political views based on facts and logic, and please leave theology out of it.”
        I wasn’t speaking politically or theologically.
        The point I wanted to get across is that, according to the writings of our Saints, humility trumps pride no matter what condition of earthly life one finds him/her self in.
        “For those of us who may be undecided, it can be quite disheartening.”
        I have no interest whatsoever in “influencing your vote.” You have your God given freedom to decide for yourself whichever you think is right.
        P.S. For my personal feelings toward those in poverty for any reason, please see my post of September 24, 2012 at 8:53 am below.

  38. DEAR EVERYONE: In regard to the subject of this thread, please consider supporting, if you have not already done so, FOCUS NORTH+AMERICA, Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (as well as IOCC, of course).
    See http://www.focusnorthamerica.org/

  39. cynthia curran says

    Well, George is right class hatred can be bad as well. The Occupy War Street movement has an anarchists element which is more rowdy than the average Occupy War Street and they Vandalized and smash small business not the property of multimillionaires or billionaires. Stalin considered the Kuliks rich and had the in labor camps where they died.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Cynthia, people forget that the OWS movement traded in classical anti-Semitic tropes as well.

  40. cynthia curran says

    Well high margin rates were pretty much income that were not really tax at 70 percent or 90 percent. A lot of it was put into trust funds and offshore investing. There are a lot less rich people than people in the middle or poorer, so to generate income you need to reduce the earned income tax credit which doesn’t always go to people here legality. Europe has both progressive and regressive taxes and the regressive taxes like the VAT probably collect more money that helps the poor more since their is more money available to finance things..