April 3, 2022
Extra___________________________________________________Two thoughtful essays by Judd GarrettObjectivity is the Objective  Are We Insane?March 30, 2022 At the start of the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday, the three hosts, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall, shouted, “gay, gay, gay, gay!” in unison as a protest against the Florida bill which protects 5, 6, and 7-year-olds from being indoctrinated into the LGBTQ ideology by their teachers. Shortly, thereafter, actor Will Smith stormed on stage and slapped Chris Rock in the face for telling a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett. Later, after winning the Oscar for best actor, Smith gave a speech about the similarities between himself and his character, Richard Williams, both being “fierce defenders” of family. Smith received a standing ovation from the same crowd protesting the Florida bill. So, when you slap someone in the face because they told a joke about your wife, you’re a “fierce defender” of family, but when you try to protect your children from being groomed into the LGBTQ community, you’re a bigot.Are we insane?  We should not care one iota about Will Smith, Chris Rock, or Jada Pinkett; We should care about our kids.   The bill in question, Florida’s HB 1557, was signed into law on Monday by Governor Ron DeSantis. The bill is often mischaracterized as the “don’t say gay” bill, but never uses the expression, “don’t say gay” or even uses the word “gay”. So, the people who are opposed to this bill, are lying about the bill. When people lie like this, it means they want something much more objectionable than what they claim they are fighting for. They are doing what they always do, shrouding their sinister agenda, under a more reasonable goal because they don’t want anyone to know what they are actually up to. This is why teachers do not want parents involved in their students’ education because their indoctrination will be exposed. The at-home learning brought on by Covid exposed the nefarious workings of the schools and teachers because parents saw first-hand what was being taught to their children. So, after spending two years locking kids out of school, masking them, and forcing them to get vaccinated to protect them from a virus that wasn’t any deadlier to the students than the seasonal flu, the people who did all that are now vilifying the students’ parents who want to protect them from the poison of radical gender ideology and Critical Race Theory, both of which will have a more devastating effect on the students’ lives than Covid. Should we be teaching 6-year-old children about sex, much less homosexuality and transgenderism? In any other context, a grown adult talking to a 6-year-old about sex, sexuality, hormones, and genitalia would be considered borderline criminal. Do we want adult teachers having these types of intimate conversations with 5, 6, and 7-year-olds? Medical doctors are not allowed to be alone with minor children during an appointment to protect the child from potential inappropriate interaction, yet we are opening the door for other adults to talk to children about sex. Are we insane? Discussions of sex and sexuality with children can be seen in the same vein as teaching religion in public schools. Just as we would not want public school teachers imposing their religious beliefs onto children who come from families of all various religious backgrounds, we do not want teachers imposing their beliefs on sexuality onto children who come from families who teach differing concepts of sexual morality which are rooted in their differing religious beliefs. Beyond the teaching of the pure biology of human reproduction, the teacher should have no other role in the students’ sexuality or sex life. And the fact that these teachers and school boards are so eager to get involved in these minor students’ sex life is very disturbing and revealing. The fervent and misguided objection to this bill by teachers leads one to believe that maybe those objecting get some sort of pleasure out of exposing young children to this type of sexuality. They pretend that since this interaction occurs with a teacher, it makes it okay as if a teacher exploiting his or her position to have sex with a student never happens. The school environment in our country is not pristine when it comes to sexual matters between teachers and students. The incidents of teachers acting sexually inappropriately with their students is on the rise and at a disturbing level, so opening the door to teachers broaching the subject of sexuality with students is creating a potentially dangerous situation. Every week, on average, 15 students in America are sexually victimized by the educators entrusted to protect them. And we want to make it easier for teachers to talk about sexuality with the most vulnerable students in the school? Is this really what we want to do? Are we insane?  The people on the left continually tell the government to stay out of their bedrooms, yet they are the ones who are opening the door of young students’ bedrooms to adult teachers who happen to work for the government. American teachers can barely educate our children in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and they want to take on the highly nuanced and complex issues surrounding human sexuality? Our teachers are failing our children across the board. Only thirty-five percent of 4th graders in America are reading at or above proficiency level. Out of the top 64 industrialized countries in the world, American students rank 30th in math, 8th in reading, and 11th in science, even though the US is in the top 4 spending on education. We spend 37% more per student than the average industrialized nation, yet our academic performance does not mirror the money invested. Maybe, we are lagging because we spend too much time and money indoctrinating, and not educating. And that is why many teachers want to do away with the traditional grading system and standardized testing because those measures of the academic proficiency of the students expose the teachers’ inability to teach. Beliefs and attitudes about sex and human sexuality are not scientific facts or universally accepted. There are many competing and conflicting attitudes towards sexuality. Do we want adults who we barely know, and who may not have gained our trust, teaching our children about homosexuality, transgenderism, premarital sex, abortion, promiscuity? These are all subjects that will eventually come up when you open this door. How many of these teachers will be able to resist the temptation of imposing their personal beliefs about these issues on the students? Have we looked at American politics lately? All we see are people imposing their political beliefs on others. Do we think that will stop at sex? Of course not. As we see with political issues in our schools, conservative students are continually shut down and silenced by the liberal teachers and administrators who run the schools. So, the sexuality that will be taught in schools will come strictly from the far-left perspective. There will be no room for disagreement or dissenting opinions from the morality (or lack thereof) that is being taught in these matters, and as always, those in charge want to keep the parents blind to what is going on. In New Jersey, a public middle school was caught teaching children about transgender hormone therapy without the parents’ knowledge or consent. That is how much respect schools have for the parents.  Many of these students will get conflicting messages about sex because much of what is being taught in school will be dramatically different from the beliefs and morals that many of these children’s parents are teaching at home. And we wonder why we have a sharp increase of kids throughout our country who are confused about their sexuality. Many believe that parents should not have a say about what is taught to their children and that the so-called “professionals” should control the curriculum. Remember, the teachers have no vested interest in the student lives, none. After the final bell rings, the teachers go home to their houses, and their families, and any problem that arises in the student’s lives based on attitudes and morality that are being indoctrinated in school, the parents must deal with, confront, and work through, not the teachers.  The teachers have no real concern about the life outcomes of the students. How much sleep are American school teachers losing from the fact that only thirty-seven percent of 12th graders are reading at or above proficiency level, and are not prepared to be productive citizens? Not only aren’t the kids being taught but their lack of proficiency also is not being identified by the teachers, as they are pushing kids ahead who are not working at grade level. The teachers’ unions have made it virtually impossible to fire teachers for poor performance. And what happens after the teacher gets involved with the students, talking to them about sexual issues, and injecting their own beliefs and ideologies onto the child? The teacher goes home. But the parents are the ones who must deal with the fallout from their child’s indoctrination or miseducation. The parents are going to have to pick up the pieces of their child’s shattered life if they made a poor decision because of what they “learned” in school. The teacher disappears from the student’s life, never being heard from again while the parent is the parent of the child for the remainder of their lives.  This desire to teach 5, 6, and 7-year-olds about radical gender ideology, progressive sexual beliefs, and critical race theory, is solely about getting to the children as early as possible, before their sense of self, and their morality is developed, so they can indoctrinate the children into their neo-Marxist, post-modernist worldview, which many parents are fighting tooth and nail against not only in the schools but throughout most of the popular culture. Nothing good will ever come of this type of indoctrination. What would the outcry be if a pro-life group were able to get access to these children and teach them about their pro-life beliefs? The same people objecting to the Florida Bill would be objecting to that practice because they are not about teaching children, they are solely about indoctrinating them. And the best way to indoctrinate the masses is to get to them as young as possible. They cannot allow these children to start thinking for themselves beyond their indoctrination. It is absolutely no business of any adult teacher in any school to have any conversation with any child about their sexuality. None. Not their business. None. 100% inappropriate. The children in question are prepubescent, their bodies have not even begun to develop sexually so their thoughts and minds are not on sexual matters, yet these teachers want to inject sexuality into these young minds. If the parent believes that there is an issue with a child, the parent can take the child to a trained professional to have those types of discussions. The teacher is not qualified to have those conversations. And any teacher who wants to or is forcing himself into those discussions suspiciously appears as somebody who gains gratification from talking about sexual things with minors. These people in the education establishment are hell-bent on corrupting the innocence of the youth, and they will label anybody a bigot who fights to protect their children from their corrupting influences. This is why Jesus said, “whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in me – it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42   PrideApril 3, 2022 As we are still dealing with the fallout from the Will Smith-Chris Rock episode at the Oscars last week, one word continues to come to mind; it is a word that has come to dominate American culture. And that word is ‘pride’. Pride was on full display at the Oscars last week. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock out of pride. The hosts mocked Florida parents who are trying to protect their children out of pride. Pride may be the most destructive of all human emotions. It is the most anti-Christian emotion. Why did the devil rebel against God? Pride. Why did Adam and Eve disobey God and eat the apple? Pride. It is that sense of personal superiority. It is not enough for Will Smith to be rich and famous and about to win an Oscar, he could not allow one perceived slight against him because his pride demands that he must be better than everyone else always, so his pride forced him to act out in anger, to become the exact opposite of the person he wants to be. His pride caused him to later go on stage and make a speech claiming, “I want to be a vessel for love… I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern”, moments after punching someone in the face. He showed no humility. It was all about him, and his superiority even when he just proved he wasn’t. The way he framed what he said was all about him. “I want to be… I want to be…”. “I, I, I, I.” Pride is the reason why comedy has become so hard these days. Out of pride, too many people are unwilling to laugh at themselves, to see the humor in the way they behave. Comedy knocks people down a peg, and the prideful refuse to let that happen. New York Times contributor Roxane Gay defended Smith’s action in a column arguing that black women like actress Jada Pinkett Smith shouldn’t have to tolerate jokes made at their expense. That sentiment comes from pride. The prideful cannot stand any criticism, critique, or joke about themselves. We have become a culture of the perpetually offended. Oscar’s co-host, Wanda Sykes on the Ellen Show, complained that “no one offered me an apology.” She wasn’t the comedian who was struck by Smith, but she was so offended that she is demanding an apology. But that incident is the logical destination of the Academy Awards. The entire ceremony has become a three-hour-long display of pride. Rich and famous celebrities putting their beauty and opulence on display for the whole world to see at a ceremony where they give each other awards for how great they are. The red carpet is the ultimate, “look at me” venue, putting themselves on display, on a pedestal believing they are better than someone else because they are wearing the most prestigious designer’s clothes. That’s why most of their speeches have become virtue-signaling pablum because they know how self-indulgent it all is.  So, they have to show the world they are morally superior through their high-minded, empty, words.  Most of the speeches at the Academy awards have turned from humble words of gratitude into expressions of superior virtue. Today, American culture is being strangled by this virtue signaling pride.  It is what causes someone like Hilary Clinton to call the people who disagree with her politically, a “basket of deplorables”. We cannot simply disagree on a matter. We must make it personal, and in making it personal, we are feeding our pride. ‘I am better than you because you hold different opinions than me.’ How can we come together when what’s keeping us apart is not merely differences of opinion, but a contrived sense of moral hierarchy? Most of our political debates are framed as moral litmus tests. The other side is painted as the devil when the real devil is the one who dons the garb of moral superiority. And it is that moral superiority that will not only lead to the destruction of our country but the desecration of our souls. Pride took hold of many people who bought into the Covid orthodoxy. Those who wore masks or got the shots looked down upon, sneered at, and even rejoiced at the deaths of those who chose not to. They viewed themselves as morally superior and more worthy of life than those lesser creatures. This prideful attitude shows up in many political positions, including BLM, Ukraine, the border, vaccines, and masks. If you are on the “moral” side of those issues, then you are a better, more worthy person than those who aren’t. Pride leads to the pro-choice position. Pride is dripping all over their abortion arguments. “My body, my choice” – me, me, me, me, me. The only concern is about the self. They believe they are so much more valuable and superior of a person than the baby that they can decide whether the baby lives or dies. That is all pride. Adults and teachers grooming children into the LGBTQ lifestyle do so out of pride; they are putting their woke virtue ahead of the child’s well-being. They are proclaiming, ‘Look how virtuous I am promoting this progressive lifestyle’, as they encourage children to have their sexual organs removed, rendering them sterile, causing them to live an inauthentic existence. They proudly attend “pride marches” and wave “pride flags” believing their lifestyles are so morally superior that they push it onto others, onto children. It is all about themselves, their virtue, their pride. Critical race theory which teaches our children that certain races are inherently bad and other races are inherently good stems from pride, the desire to say I am superior to others. And the white virtue signalers who go along with critical race theory and beat themselves up for their “whiteness”, do so out of pride, believing they can gain moral superiority by confessing to sins they did not commit or admitting to character flaws they do not have to gain moral superiority through feigned humility. The censorship which is taking hold in our country is motivated by pride. Certain people believing they alone know the truth to such an extent that anybody who disagrees with them needs to be shut down and silenced is all prideful. Cancel culture which denies certain people forgiveness, is the ultimate expression of pride. It is complete moral superiority to render somebody unworthy of your forgiveness.  But that pride is far more destructive to us and our society than even the worst piece of misinformation or misguided opinion could ever be. Social media sites promote pride through their platforms. Users are constantly posting pictures of themselves showing how superior their lives are. No matter what the issue, the virtue signalers all change their Facebook pages to reflect their virtuous position. Their so-called statement of support for the cause is a statement of their virtue. They are proclaiming, ‘Look at me. Look at how wonderful, compassionate, caring, and moral I am.’ This is what we get from the selfie generation, masses of people taking pictures of themselves to post on social media to show everyone how much better their life is than the reader’s.  Our leaders’ tone-deaf policy decisions come from their deep-seated sense of pride – their belief in their moral superiority over the masses. Joe Biden’s refusal to represent the will of the people, and to continue with his failed policies to appease a small segment of his party at the expense of those he is supposed to represent is driven by his pride. He believes that he and the far left of his party are superior to hundreds of millions of suffering citizens to the point that he will do their will over the citizens. Elites like Mark Zuckerberg who chose to use $400 million of his own money and his social media platform to thwart the will of the people and help rig the 2020 election was done out of pride. He believed his opinions, and his will are so far superior to everyone else’s that he disenfranchised the entire citizenry and rigged the election to his desired outcome. That’s why he censored the authenticated Hunter Biden laptop story to ensure that his will was done over the collective will of the people. Pride is driving the people who want to replace objective truth with subjective reality, those who believe their subjective reality is superior to the objective truth. Only the prideful believe they can change reality to suit their wants and desires. A true non-prideful person, even when he believes he holds the moral position, would never use that position to mock or degrade others. A non-prideful moral person would attempt to build connection and unity with those with whom he may disagree, not highlight the difference to emphasize his superiority. He would attempt to bring them along to his side by trying to understand their perspective, and why they believe what they believe. He would show empathy, not ridicule.  Whenever we believe we are morally superior, we are not, because pride is never moral.  In fact, there is no such thing as moral superiority. We have lost the sense and importance of humility in our culture, and that more than anything is why we are so divided. Pride divides, humility unites.  The prideful person makes it about themselves. The humble person sublimates himself for others and the cause. This is all brought to us by the biggest liar of them all, the one who was so prideful that he rebelled against God because he believed he was equal to God, the devil.  In the end, it is not ours to judge. I know in my life I’ve let my pride get the best of me far too often. I’ve just been fortunate enough that it wasn’t in front of millions of people or posted on YouTube. Rather, it’s ours only to pray for, and forgive those who commit transgressions just as we would like God to forgive our transgressions. So, I’m not judging Will Smith for what he did, I’m trying to point out the traps that are set by our own pride that we can easily fall into. And far too often, myself included, we become victims of our prideful nature. We should not define Will Smith by this one regrettable moment. When the crowd was ready to stone the adulterous woman to death, Jesus told them, “He who is without sin, may cast the first stone.” Jesus refused to define that woman by her sin, the way the prideful so often do. Jesus brought everyone down to her level which meant he saved those people from the most egregious sin of all, pride.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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