The Washington Post section that allows liberal religious authors to self righteously blast believers is at it again.

Opinions are opinions, of course, but facts do tend to get in the way of some of their opinions, and facts are stubborn things.

Today’s “let’s blast Catholic” essay is by a historian whose expertise is the Great Depression, Robert McElvain.

Why McElvain? Well, he has also written a book about modern prosperity Christianity in the US. Fair enough.

But, according to Wikipedia, he has also

wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post titled “Impeach the Pope”, indicating his opposition to the papacy of Benedict XV

This opinion piece is HERE.

It blast the Pope by distorting the truth: he claims the Pope called Islam a religion of violence (he did not: he used a quote and in his speech promptly discussed what the quote meant in philosophical terms), for not “allowing women priests” (the tradition goes back 2000 years and is not under the Pope’s discretion to change) and of course telling Catholics to remain faithful in marriage instead of using condoms for protection during illicit sex.

Today’s essay is also an example of bad scholarship, distorting facts to make a political point.

Here is an example of fake history in his newest essay:

Well, Jesus was an activist if their ever was one, and he certainly didn’t make abortion the paramount issue of his activism. Abortion by various methods was widely practiced in Roman times, yet Jesus never mentioned it.

Ah, but Jesus preached to pious Jews in Palestine, and abortion was forbidden under Jewish law, and infanticide was widely condemned by the prophets.

Adultery, abortion, infanticide, homosexual sex were all considered major sins by his Jewish audience. Indeed, many Romans, who were aghast at the decadence of their city. Many were trying to return to the moral purity of their ancestors. Emperor Augustus’ morality laws are an example of this trend.

Many of these upright ordinary folks were sympathetic to the Jewish faith; many converted, but many more hesitated because of the burden of dietary laws and circumcision, so became Christians instead.

In contrast, modern “christians” are preaching sexual laxity, ignoring the bad societal consequences of their destruction of these rules (children without fathers, divorce that makes the marriage contract meaningless, and the promiscuity behind the HIV, Herpes and HPV epidemics).

Yes, Jesus preached a lot about caring for the sick and helping the poor, but christian theologians that emphasize Jesus’ social gospel (i.e. true Christians support huge government programs to care for the poor) don’t see how many of these social problems are caused by lack of personal responsibility in sexual matters.

How many children grow up in poverty and how many women are hurt because our society no longer condemns seducing women, forsaking your sexual partner when she gets pregnant, forcing her to abort your child, breaking marriage vows, deserting your children, and encouraging grandmom to euthanize herself so you aren’t stuck with hospital bills might not be compatible with Jesus’ teachings.

Bishop Sheen once counseled a dissident priest, who gave a long tirade against all the “rules” and “dogmas” of the Catholic church that needed to be changed.At the end of the tirade, the good bishop quietly asked: “Tell me. Is your main theological objection blond or brunette?”

(Answer: neither. She was a redhead).

So if you look closely, McElvain’s objections center on rules about the family: the idea that sex is a privelege and responsibility, not a right, the idea that women and men differ for biological reasons that have to do with begetting children, that marriage is about protecting pregnant women and children, and that promiscuity is wrong because it destroys the family and threatens the health of the wife and children.

The irony is that many of these ideas are not “catholic” but universal, with parallel ideas in all the great religions and philosophies of the world.

As for McElvain’s tirade that “dissent is American”, he implies that unless one dissents to authority, one is not a good American.

Well, I dissent against doing abortions or euthanasia, but President Obama has just removed my civil rights so that if I were practicing in the US, I could be fired from my job.

But to McElvain, dissent is only “american” if one obeys the progressive wing of the Democratic party and dissents the traditional moral rules that Catholics, Jews, Muslim, Hindus, and the sages of antiquity say that should govern one’s personal life.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines.

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