31 October 2011

Sin and Sex

In consideration of Catholic opposition to the use of condoms in the fight against the spread of Aids, what are the arguments being used and do they hold water?

1. The use of condoms will encourage promiscuous casual sex and thus actually increase the spread of Aids.

That's an empirical question and can be tested. My bet is, it won't, but I suggest that that is not the main focus of the churches viewpoint nor reason for the position they take on this.

2. The God given purpose of sex is procreative and generative and therefore anything that interferes with either of those natural ends is sinful.

So, if you have a married couple who are knowingly infertile where the man is HIV positive and the woman isn't, and the man uses a condom to prevent his wife getting aids, would that be sinful?

If you have a married couple, this time not infertile, but still HIV discordant as above, who practice the rhythm method with the aim of preventing a pregnancy and who also use a condom with the intention to protect the wife from getting aids, would that be considered sinful?

The intent in the use of the condom is solely to prevent disease transmission, not to prevent pregnancy. This brings us to the principle of double effect, which even catholic doctrine will allow to operate without moral condemnation in certain circumstances. For example, the use of the contraceptive pill is allowed for medical purposes so long as the primary intent in its use is not the prevention of pregnancy. A pregnant woman diagnosed with uterine cancer where the prognosis is death before term will be allowed a hysterectomy even though the outcome will be the death of the fetus. The death of the fetus is a secondary effect, it is not the prime motivation of the surgeon performing the operation.

So, if that is the case, even considered from within catholic doctrine, if the intent in the use of the condom is medical, (prevention of disease), and the secondary effect of this is interference with the (assumed) natural purposes of sex, whence then the moral teaching against the use of condoms?

Leave the mind reading to your supposed God and instruct every HIV positive person to use protection.

You know it makes sense.

12 October 2011

In Defence of The Realm

Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP
Secretary of State for Defence


Dear Liam

I am writing to apply for the post of 'Special Advisor' to the Secretary of State for Defence, (assuming you still are), and enclose my CV.

I've already taken the liberty of printing my business cards, and don't worry about the vetting: I signed the official secrets act in 1975 and I've been to the vet several times this year.

Never mind all this carping in the lefty press - what do they know? To be honest, I had a 'best man' too once but lost him in similar circumstances. It happens. I'm sure Mr Wherrity's done nothing wrong and paid all his own travel and accommodation expenses on the eighteen trips abroad on Mod business. I've no idea what the fuss is all about! Anyway, Mrs Root likes the look of the chap and we're prepared to offer him the back bedroom and a wet-fish franchise.

In my undergraduate years I developed a network of highly trained haddock able to detect enemy submarines off our coastal waters from the smell. This was a top secret project - so mum's the word! The network is still active and I would be more than happy to sign it over to your defence research department for a nominal remuneration.

Nil bastardo carburundum old boy. Here's a pound.

Look forward to working with you. Let's go!

Yours sincerely

Dr Henry Root. Dip. Fsh, MoD, CoD.
(Aquatic Defence Specialist)

11 October 2011

Hose Anna?

Q. What today unites - Roman Catholics, Mormons, Presbyterians, United Methodists, Seventh-day Adventists, Hindus, United Sikhs, Muslims, Episcopalians, Reform Jews and Orthodox Jews, National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches, the devotees of Santeria, Yoruba and a bunch of other religions? Is it love, peace, truth, justice, compassion, mercy?

Nope....it's discrimination. The case is Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School versus Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al. Where the the fight is for the legal right to hire and fire employees at will within their organisations upon religious grounds....notwithstanding Equal Opps Laws.

The case is here...

How do you think the Supreme Court will vote, with or against the respondent?

Perich's brief notes…..this is not in essence a religious dispute.

“Perich asserts only that she was wrongly terminated
from her teaching responsibilities in retaliation
for asserting her right to sue for disability discrimination.
Resolution of that question does not require
the court to resolve a Lutheran doctrinal dispute.

The civil court need not consider whether Lutheran
doctrine in fact requires called teachers to follow
the Synod’s internal dispute resolution procedures.
It can take the church’s assertions about Lutheran
doctrine as a given, but nevertheless determine
that Perich’s termination violated the ADA’s
retaliation provision—a neutral law of general applicability
that does not give way to religious conviction,
no matter how sincere or important. Smith,
494 U.S. at 879.

Nor does it matter that Perich was a called
teacher or commissioned minister. The fact remains
that she taught secular subjects in a commercial setting.
And the question whether Hosanna-Tabor retaliated
against her for threatening to assert her
rights under the ADA is a secular question for a
secular court, not an ecclesiastical question for an
ecclesiastical court. Indeed, called and uncalled
teachers had “identical” duties. Pet. App. 4a; see supra
at 5-7.

The question in this case thus is the
same as would have been presented if Hosanna-
Tabor had fired an uncalled teacher of the same
secular subjects in the same commercial setting in
retaliation for her exercise of ADA rights.”

My own view is that, while it is not the business of the state to interfere with freedom of religious expression, no exclusions from civil protections to employment rights should be conceded to religious organisations.

JUSTICE SCALIA: “What is the legal definition of "minister"? What is it? That you have to lead the congregation in their religious services or what? What is it?”

That's the issue. If you grant the religious exclusion from employment law citing the 'ministerial exception' rule, then they (religions) have to know who their ministers are and so does the state, because the state has an interest in protecting employees. Granted, not all religions have heirarchic structure, so they could choose to define everyone as a 'minister' of that religion. But if that was defined in law, then any person choosing to be in the employ of such a religion, would do so knowing that the ministerial exception rule applied to them (in whatever capacity they work for the organisation), and they would be free to accept or decline the job knowing the implications of that. The state is required to legislate to make that clear and religions are likewise required to make their position clear by either keeping a ministerial list or granting across the board ministerial status to everyone or whatever.

Then it becomes...does the state have the bottle to do it? It remains in religion’s interests to have the situation remain murky and it will turn on the states determination to protect its citizens employment rights, if necessary, with constitutional amendment/s.

10 October 2011

Because I'm Probably Not Worth It

Dear Ms Bettencourt - Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris.

I am writing to inform you that Mrs Root and I are considering becoming L'Oréalists and would like to seek your advice on how we might go about this.

To be blunt about it, we’ve examined all the major philosphophies: from the tub-dwelling Dodgynees of Sinope in classical times, right through to the nicotene-sodden existentialists of the modern era and, quite frankly, they’re all whingeing namby pambys, liberal wets, barking mad, or worse.

Your own philosophy on the other hand, seems to grasp the essential truth of modern life with such a deceptive wisdom yet dynamic profundity, somehow all encapsulated in one simple aphorism…. ‘Because We’re Worth It.’ [TM]

Sheer genius….it’s got ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ knocked into a cocked hat, I can tell you!!

We know where you’re coming from too Lilian. As proprieters of a multi-thousand pound, wet fish distribution empire, we know when to call a spade a spade and the importance of developing a dialectic of olfactory capitalism to enlighten the early 21st century.

I say ‘dynamic’ because yours is a living breathing philosophy which moves with the times. I remember the slight look of dissapointment on Mrs Root's face in the early years when the slogan was ‘Because I’m Worth It.’ [TM]

Well obviously, YOU are - €34 million a month, or approx 25,350 times the French minimum wage, so I hear (LOL).

But then came the look of delight when it changed to ‘Because You’re Worth It.’ [TM] By golly, you should have seen the growth in Mrs Roots volume and confidence after that one! It was staggering.

But even that palls into insignificance besides the sheer transcendent bliss and ecstatic realisation that became hers when you delivered the ultimate teaching - ‘Because We’re Worth It.’ [TM]

Obviously there’ll be one or two points of doctrine to clear up before we join because, well, let’s not beat about the bush, not everybody is 'worth it', are they? You wouldn’t, I imagine, be including such wooly minded liberals as Germaine Greer or Polly Toynbee or Shami Chakrabatti as being ‘worth it’ now, would you?

Also It might be worth clarifying just what the ‘it’ is that those that are worthy of it are worth, if you get my general drift. If you could also say what the age is when people start to become ‘worth it’ is and what age they stop being ‘worth it’ and if you could clarify which groups are not ‘worth it’ and probably never will be and maybe how those who are not ‘worth it’ may proceed to become ‘worth it’.

Marvellous! I’m sure you’ve got all that worked out by now.

Can’t wait to hear from you. Here’s a pound in advance of membership fees.

Do you want references? I know the Pope quite well and am in frequent ongoing correspondence with him.

Yours in L'Oréalfactory anticipation

Henry Root - Supplier of Pure Protein from the Sea.
“There is nothing more sublime than the smell of wet fish on a Monday morning”

PS - [TM] - stands for trademark...not transcendental meditation.

04 October 2011

Roll Mops and Reverends

Reverend Ratzinger

What’s going on?

I wrote to you last September following your triumphal visit to this green, and once peasant land, offering our help with your avowed ‘Re-evangelising of The West’ program. You’ll doubtless recall that I offered to meet Archbishop Fisichella of the Pontificial Council for New Evangelisation, (PCNE for short), in Whitby to get the ball rolling. He didn’t turn up: and we’d even brought him a brace of Craster Kippers!

I hope we can rely on you to initiate the required disciplinary procedures and provide us with an explanation of why the Archbishop failed, by his absence, to support this important catholic grass-roots initiative?

After we’d eaten the kippers, Mrs Root and I decided to begin the process of evangelising of the east coast anyway starting in Scarborough, (just down the road from Craster).

In the absence of any representatives from the Holy See, we decided to employ tactics that Mrs Root and I developed some years ago during our hectic campaign to eradicate all the pornography that was flooding into our area at the time. In that instance we formed an organisation called ‘The Ordinary Folk Against The Rising Tide Of Filth In Our Secular Society Situation Society’ - (TOFATRTOFISSSS for short). We achieved considerable success with this venture organising weekly gatherings for lively, no-holds-barred discussions over wine, cheese and roll-mops and sometimes with a guest intellectual delivering a short paper.

Building on this success I am pleased to inform you that we have initiated similar organisations in Scarborough, Throxonby and Ugthorpe thus far and are gradually working our way west.

We sent invites to most of the top turns in the Catholic heirarchy to the inaugral meetings but none of them turned up. It’s possible they were all busy setting up the new clerical anti-paedo monitoring units that are now such a feature of everyday catholic life.

Whatever, Mrs Root and I will continue the campaign in the assuredness that it has your blessings. I enclose an invoice for start-up expenses incurred so far: accommodation, petrol, publicity, office costs, room hire and so forth. I trust you will remit and oblige through the Vatican treasury at your ealiest convenience. Can’t have the good guys running out of the readies eh?

Good luck in Berlin, though God knows why you’re going there. We’ve already done them twice!!

Could you oblige with a signed photo for the Mrs?

Here’s a pound.

Yours......going great guns!

Henry Root

PS Don’t mention the war!!!