Some time ago, the ACLU threatened to sue to force Los Angeles County to remove the tiny cross from its seal. You can see it if you look very closely. The cross represented the Franciscan missions, an integral part of California history. The mere threat of a suit frightened the county into removing the cross. A group of us filed suit to restore it. We lost, but at least we tried.
I had a friend with an odd sense of humor. As he greeted guests at the door, he would yell over his shoulder to his wife, "Put more water in the soup!" Of course, there was always more than enough food. It was his way of bringing a smile to his guests' faces. But for some people, putting more water in the soup isn't a joke — it's a fact.
For new readers it might be difficult to tell if Dr. Bill Cummings’ column “Is Christianity dying in America?” was written with glee or with slight regret, like the puzzling smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” For those of us who have read some of his previous columns deprecating the Catholic Church, of course, it is not difficult to discern the gloating and streak of satisfaction, especially when he affirms that while it is not dying, “it’s declining for sure.”[2,3]
Recently, I had a conversation with my colleague Dr. Zrinzo, who you will remember conversed with me on the subject of "America's gun culture." The conversation in fact continued, and the subject of "female genital mutilation" (FGM) came up. This time Dr. Z blamed the three monotheistic religions, particularly the Catholic faith. I thought this edited portion of the conversation would also be of interest and instructive.
If the errors committed in the building of the edifice of Western civilization are compared with Plato’s ideal Republic and the perfect State, protected by intelligent but disinterested Guardians and ruled by equally disinterested and totally just Philosopher-kings, then Western civilization loses hands down.(1) But as Aristotle pointed out in his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, man is subject to errors and thus such ideal utopias created by real men are unworkable and nonexistent.(2) Despite over two millennia of history, no such state has ever been created, and the half-baked facsimiles
I want to thank both Douglas Harden and Dr. Bill Cummings for conducting such an informative and clarifying civil discussion on Catholic Church dogma and cannon law. I appreciate their sharing ecclesiastical knowledge as well as their civility. I'm sorry that this debate went over the heads of some frivolous "opiners," who dismissed it with atheistic contempt. It is an interesting but telling observation that keen observers will notice over and over: Why are atheists so preoccupied with God, denying monotheistic religion, and in deriding people of faith?
The Sale of Indulgences
Since the heyday of Billy Graham in the 1950s to the 1980s, Protestantism has evolved mostly to become silent on secular issues or to speak only to promulgate politically correct (PC) proclamations depending on the trendy issues of the day. I was brought up as a Presbyterian. Presbyterianism originally believed in the Elect and predestination. As a 14-year-old boy when I discussed this with my pastor, a learned man and respected pillar of the Miami community, he brushed it aside to talk to me about the power of faith.
I apologize in advance to those here who have already assiduously learned these Medieval history lessons and find them redundant in their intellectual ordnance. If you already know about the Inquisition, the Crusades — and their historic relationship to Western civilization, please skip this post!