Collect


Collect for the Assumption of the Mother of God

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst assume the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of thy Son, body and soul into the glory of heaven: grant us, we beseech thee; that being ever intent on things above, we may be worthy to be partakers of her glory hereafter; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Irresistible


Con su mano serena
En mi cuello hería,
Y todos mis sentidos suspendía.


With his gentle hand
He wounded my neck,
And all my senses were suspended.


—St John of the Cross, En Una Noche Oscura (The Dark Night of the Soul)




I met the Bride of Christ, the bruised beauty:
Her eye had a purple halo, and along her cheek
There ran a scarlet cord.
She sat on the end of my kitchen table, smoking a cigarette,
And explained that she’d run into the door.
I poured her a scotch
And another for myself, and we talked.


She told me about the years and months with him
When they were young, and they sailed the Mediterranean together,
And she spent her nights eating apples and figs;
She talked about their Christmases on ragged western islands,
And the elusive spring together on Kyushu.
She said his palms were rough and beautiful.
Her hands trembled as she spoke;
The painted nails were chipped, and underneath
There were grains of some dry substance, glittering.


I asked her about that time in autumn
When their neighbors called in a noise complaint,
Because the yelling and the noise of breaking glass were waking up the street,
And she wouldn’t talk to me for a week;
I asked her about the evening after that, when we drank too much coffee,
And she wore a turtleneck in the heat
With the pearl pendant he had given her.
She stubbed out her cigarette, studying the ashes,
And lit another one and changed the subject.
Our drinks fell and rose.


She would not say the specious litany—
‘He just gets a little angry sometimes’ or
‘It’s my fault; I should have had things ready.’
Instead, clear and cool: ‘He’s jealous.’
And, ‘It always hurts like the first time;
I love that.’


I looked down into my cup
And said something about taking her in, if she needed it.
Her smile frightened me, a mouthful of glass;
‘I get my own back.
I’ve dug my finger right through his wrist.’


I thought back to the first time I had met him:
Heat dropping from a dark sky,
A scarlet loveliness running along his throat,
His strangely tilted head, the smell of sweat, the motionless mouth,
His eyes, like hands that reach inside you,
Caressing you—such a tender touch,
But you can feel the force they’re capable of:
Like running a fingertip gently against a knife.
I understand her.
I am in love too.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Index of Creation

The Beatrician experience1 may be defined as the recovery (in respect to one human being) of that vision of reality which would have been common to all men in respect to all things if Man had never fallen. The lover sees the Lady as the Adam saw all things before they foolishly chose to experience good as evil, to ‘gaze upon the acts in contention.’ Williams believes that this experience is what it professes to be. The ‘light’ in which the beloved appears to be clothed is true light; the intense significance which she appears to have is not an illusion … The great danger is lest he should mistake the vision which is really a starting point for a goal; lest he should mistake the vision of Paradise for the arrival there. … The immediate glory will dazzle him ‘unless he has a mind to examine the pattern of the glory’ …


—C. S. Lewis, Arthurian Torso: Williams and the Arthuriad2


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I’ve written before about the late Pope’s Theology of the Body, and my attempts to ‘digest’ it on my slow and uphill road toward chastity. I’ve recently hit upon a possible alternative, however, one that seems to be much more accessible to somebody with my temper and imagination, and I’d like to explore it.


Theology of the Body looks at our bodies from the perspective of creation, drawing together the Roman scholastic tradition, German idealist philosophy, and the wisdom tradition of the Scriptures themselves and the methods of the Church Fathers. I love it, but I’m not completely satisfied with it and don’t feel totally at home in it—not because I’m gay (though I would have liked to see St John Paul addressing homosexuality directly in TOB), but because of … call it the work’s atmosphere. It’s a mountainous sort of book: huge, cold, airy, with a dappled mixture of clarity and clouds. It’s beautiful, but, for me at least, it isn’t home.




But I think I may have found this other way of approach to the mystery of the body. Not one that’s more doctrinally correct, any more than the Roman or Byzantine or Antiochene liturgies could be ranked by correctness, but one that my mind and heart can grasp more firmly: an approach that illuminates the mystery, answers the questions and intuitions that I have about the body, and hints at solutions to difficulties that TOB rarely if ever addresses. This way of approach can be gleaned from Charles Williams’ work on poetry, particularly on Dante, the Arthurian cycle, and the Romantics.


The difference between St John Paul II’s tome and Williams’ thought could be expressed by saying that, where the pastor considered the body primarily in terms of a created thing with a proper pattern and function, the poet considered the body primarily in terms of a medium of revelation.3 (Each view is capable of including the other; the distinction is one of accent, not of content.) He states his fundamental attitude in the essay The Index of the Body, where, quoting Wordsworth’s lines the human form To me became an index of delight, Of grace and honor, power and worthiness, he reflects on them as follows:


The word index is the beginning. The question proposed is whether we shall take that word seriously as a statement of the relation of the human form to ‘grace and honor, power and worthiness.’ … An index is a list of various subjects, with reference to those places where, in the text of the volume, they are treated at greater length. But, at least, the words naming the subjects are the same; and a really good index will give some idea of the particular kind of treatment offered on the separate pages. Some such idea, Wordsworth’s lines suggest, the body and even the members of the body may give … The Sacred Body [of Christ] is the plan upon which physical human creation was built, for it is the center of physical human creation. The great dreams of the human form as including the whole universe are in this less than the truth. As His, so ours; the body, in this sense of an index, is also a pattern. We carry about with us an operative synthesis of the Virtues … ‘Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye; / In every gesture dignity and love’ is much more a definite statement of fact than we had supposed; footsteps are astonishing movements of grace.4


After reading or quoting Williams, I generally feel that nothing I can say could exalt the hearer’s thoughts more than what’s just been said: yet, our beloved brother Charles also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written, in which are some things hard to be understood. I haven’t finished searching out the great wealth of meaning that he conveys, but what I do understand so far is, roughly, as follows.




First, in contradistinction to the great saint’s return to the chronological beginning to understand the body, Williams looks to Jesus as the point of origin for the body. He followed the tradition of Bl Duns Scotus, asserting that God would still have become man if we had never fallen; from the beginning, independently of our sinfulness, He meant to become a man, to be born of a Mother, and that that Mother should herself have ancestors and companions. So the body of Jesus, though not the physical progenitor of the human race, is the center of the human race—our final cause, as the body of Adam was our efficient cause.


Second, it explains something of why we find physical beauty (especially erotic beauty) so powerful, and have so hard a time practicing chastity. For anyone who’s attempted chastity for any appreciable length of time knows that it isn’t just a matter of controlling your libido—it includes that, but there’s a sense of enchantment about sex that is something more and other than satisfying a biological impulse. A man who is enamored of a woman or man will probably want to sleep with the object of their desire at some point (though at times, more mysteriously, erotic love produces the impulse to perpetual continence), but the first impulse is something much more like adoration. The impulse to possess the beloved, though it often follows, is at the very beginning felt to be far less important than the impulse to revere the beloved.


This suggests that the magic of erotic love (however transitory) is not illusion, but a kind of transfiguration: a vision of what the actual person was meant to be, in their unfallen or archetypal identity. In the world as we know it, there will always be the risk of confusing the archetype with its earthly ectype, pretending that the beloved has no flaws or that the beloved’s flaws are virtues; or, alternately, being disobedient to the heavenly vision and sinking into a contented vulgarity.5 But all of these things are human imperfections; the vision is, in fact, a vision of a fact. And man was made for truth, and the senses are one of our means of receiving it, however surprising that may be to the adept who was expecting one of Yoda’s dismissive lectures about ‘crude matter.’ That the truth should reach us through our eyes, our hands, our tongues, our chests, our legs, is not really any stranger than that the truth should reach us in the first place.




Third, this also seems to me to reposition our understanding of chastity. The teleological perspective taken by St John Paul II in particular, and Roman Catholics in general, makes sense to me, but I’ve always found it vaguely unsatisfying.6 To adapt Chesterton, I always felt that it explained something, but in a way that made the explanation seem far less important than the fact; and thus unworthy of the fact. The perspective taken by Williams—call it the esoteric view7—hints at significances and mysteries inhering in the body which would transfigure chastity, from the vegetarian-sounding fulfillment of the good of a rational and embodied creature, to the virile, pregnant, magical idea of a ritual invocation of spiritual energies through the visible body that is charged with them.


I don’t fully understand this third part. But it makes me a lot more optimistic that there is something worth understanding here, and that feels a lot better than the law-centered concept of chastity I’ve always had up to now. Most aspects of chastity have always seemed very arbitrary to me (of course, since God made the body, He kind of has a right to be arbitrary if He likes, but it’s easy to resent and hard to accept, and also doesn’t really sound like Him). Williams’ esoteric conception of the body seems like the sort of thing that would be worth slowly penetrating, until the fullness was found.


Of course, there’s much more to this way of looking at the body. It isn’t just that this explains chastity, or sexuality in general for that matter. That the human form should be an index of delight, Of grace and honor, power and worthiness implies (and Williams certainly thought) that the body indexes creation as a whole, not just its fecundity or its orderliness; the doctrine that man is made in the image of God, if it means anything at all for the body, implies the same. But this is what I have understood up to now. I hope I will have more to say about this as time goes on!



Henry Holiday, Dante and Beatrice, 1883


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1I.e., the kind of experience of love that Dante had when he met Beatrice. Not all loves have this quality, though many do, with or without an erotic element.
2I just got a copy of this during my trip to Portland, and I am still over the moon about it. Arthurian Torso is tough to find—Lewis’ career as a professor of literature is largely and unjustly forgotten today, and Williams is tragically obscure. Unfortunately it’s a frustrating book to cite as well, because the two halves of it (an incomplete work of Williams’ which was meant to be published as The Figure of Arthur, parallel to his earlier work The Figure of Beatrice, but which he was prevented from finishing by an abrupt death; and Lewis’ own commentary on both this work and Williams’ volumes of Arthurian poetry) are by different authors, but the book is not really a collaboration.
3Another way of putting it would be that St John Paul II tended to the Aristotelian where Williams tended to the Platonic. The Pope considered the body’s nature in itself, so to speak, where Williams treated it (and everything else) first and foremost as an icon of the divine glory, a means to adoration. This brings out the contrast in their approaches very clearly, since treating the body as a means is almost exactly how St John Paul defined lust, though obviously he was not thinking in terms of adoration; while conversely, for Williams, the body was a means first of all because everything is a means, everything refers to God, and only exists by so referring.
4The Image of the City, pp. 81, 86. This collection is a posthumous anthology of Williams’ essays (mostly published in periodicals) on literary and theological subjects.
5I don’t mean by this that the vision in which Williams thought romantic love consisted is the only way of rising above vulgarity. The human soul can be exalted by virtually any good, if it follows that good diligently and disinterestedly. But, if a person has this kind of vision—whether they fall in love with a person or are enchanted by a piece of art or anything else—and then decides, for whatever reason, to cynically dismiss what it had to tell them (‘I was young then,’ ‘puppy love,’ ‘it was a phase’: the maxims of the lie are many), they will at least be merely vulgar toward the object of the vision. A great many marriages, whether they conclude in divorce or not, show this unhappy progression.
6The word unsatisfying means no more than itself. I accept the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, contraception, monogamy, etc.; when I say I find the explanation unsatisfying, it means I am left hungry for more explanation.
7The word esoteric is not a quite happy one, first and foremost because it is horribly vague. It is also a very artificial category: there is a shared atmosphere among many of the things labelled today as esoterica (the Rosicrucian tradition, Kabbalah, certain forms of neopaganism, astrology), but for the most part these things were simply part of the common heritage of wisdom in the West until after the Protestant Reformation. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to come up with an alternative to esoteric that isn’t even more unsatisfying.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Five Quick Takes

I.

I will be spending the weekend with some friends of mine who graciously invited me to stay with them in Portland. I’ve wanted to visit the city for ages, it being more or less the capital of hipsterdom, and, let’s face it …


I’m particularly interested in seeing Powell’s City of Books, reputed to be the largest bookstore in the world, which sells new, used, and out-of-print books. If I’m very lucky I may be able to lay my hands on some Dunstan Thompson—I’ve been fascinated by him since I first learned of him through William Doino Jr. and Dana Gioia championing his work, but his books are extremely difficult to find. So far I have only Lament for the Sleepwalker, his second and perhaps best-known volume of poems, and I’d be interested in acquiring his first as well; but I’d really love to lay my hands on Poems 1950-1974, which I understand has some of his most elegant religious poetry. Fingers crossed.

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II.

I wonder whether there have actually been more shootings of persons of color over the last couple years, or if we’re just finally starting to hear about it. I could honestly see either one being true: I haven’t experienced race-based prejudice in my life, but based on my experience of being gay, I know that sometimes bigotry merely becomes more visible and sometimes it actually increases, and those two phenomena don’t seem to be correlated.

It has been upsetting and frustrating, though, to see many of the reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement. On the one hand, I have run into one or two people being pretty horrifically racist about it. But the liberal outrage that dismisses all questions and uncertainties has been frustrating too, not because I consider the BLM movement dubious, but because scorning people who don’t agree with you is so terribly counterproductive—something else I’ve learnt in the LGBT community.

One of the greatest difficulties is something that I discovered only two or three years ago: that the right and the left mean quite different things by the word racism. Conservatives tend to mean prejudice against people of a certain race; liberals tend to mean actual advantages for a given race embedded in the social system. And the cross-purposes here are really important, because when you’re using the first definition, most conservatives I know genuinely aren’t racist, but when you use the second, the problem lies not with people but with entrenched systems. And those are essentially different problems that require different solutions. Sinful attitudes demand repentance; flawed systems demand systemic reform. But when leftists, as so often, allow their zeal for racial and systemic justice to trump the patience, clarity, and readiness to listen that are prerequisites of successful dialogue, they just come off as self-righteous jerks. Nobody wins.


From the Interaction Institute for Social Change, by Angus Maguire.

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III.

Thanks be to God and my brother-in-law, I have a car again! I was in an accident late last year and my sedan was totalled, and my grandmother allowed me to borrow her minivan for a few months (she lives on the west coast, but had been considering moving out here, so the car was just here gathering dust otherwise). Then one night, my sister’s husband and I got together for beers, I mentioned in passing that I needed a car, and he offered to sell me his (or, more accurately, gave it to me at a stealing price, which will allow me to do other exciting things like register and insure it).

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IV.

As I believe I’ve mentioned in passing here before, I am slowly entering on a fresh attempt at celibate chastity. I’ve been seeing a counselor at Regeneration Ministries in Towson for a while, which has been really helpful. I was pretty skittish at first, because Regeneration used to have ties to Exodus, and I am six hundred percent done with ex-gay nonsense; but apparently they detached themselves even before the grand ex-gay implosion back in 2013, and the counselor I’m seeing has proven himself genuinely accepting of me as a gay man, and a trustworthy source of wisdom. There’s been no demonization of gayness, no language war, no homosexuality-equals-addiction lectures, no imposed farther-and-smother pseudoscience.

All the same, it’s been a challenging experience, just because dealing intimately with any profound element of ourselves is challenging. Our deepest impulses are powerful, and usually quite unfamiliar—after all, we live on the surface of our minds most of the time. Coming to understand the things that draw me to other men, sexually, affectionally, spiritually, that’s mysterious stuff. Not impenetrably so. But it is difficult; particularly because we bury so much pain in the recesses of our minds, and going in there with a lamp makes it start hurting again.


But that’s how healing works. And if I really do propose to be celibate, I need a healthy soul to do that with, an integrated soul, whose passions and instincts are under the governance of my will; and, both morally and practically, government must be by the consent of the governed.

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V.

God is weird and amazing. I mean, just think about it: the Mind that made, contains, and sustains literally everything wants to give Himself to me. That’s nuts. I wonder whether a lot of the darkness, pain even, that goes with pursuing God—or allowing yourself to be pursued by Him—is more a matter of being ‘stretched’ so that His infinity can inhabit your smallness, than it is of sin or imperfection or even mere immaturity.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve had locutions exactly, but if there’s anything I think He has wished to convey to me, it’s this: Do not do; simply be. Which is great, because it sounds all Eastern and shit, but it’s remarkably hard to not do. Of the two sisters, Martha’s behavior is far more obvious to all of us, in spirituality as much as everything else. I don’t think this is because of the ‘works righteousness’ theory of most Protestantism, the idea that the most basic human impulse (apart from grace) is to earn our salvation; I don’t find that idea justified by Scripture or by the observable facts of human religion. I think it’s just because doing things is easily graspable to our minds, and being is not. Consider for a moment that Descartes’ notorious Cogito ergo sum literally reasons from the fact of doing to the fact of being—which is about as cart-before-the-horse as you can possibly get.

The Mediævals are underrated here. They had learned well from their Master that Mary had chosen the better portion, that doing proceeds from being, and that contemplation was a deeper thing than action. To be, that is, to be still in intentional receptivity to God, waiting upon Him to act, is quite the challenge. Which is ironic, since challenge implies doing, and … sigh

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, ‘Abba, as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you will, you can become all flame.’1


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1The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Joseph of Panephysis §7 (p. 103), trans. Sr Benedicta Ward, SLG.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Terrible Prospect of a Civilized Country

‘What does he want?’ I asked a group of men gathered around the cake table as I set down the pot. ‘This man in Germany, does he want war?’ I knew it was poor talk for a party, but somehow thoughts of Willem always set my mind on hard subjects.
A chill of silence fell over the table and spread swiftly around the room.
‘What does it matter?’ a voice broke into it. ‘Let the big countries fight it out. It won’t affect us.’
‘That’s right!’ from a watch salesman. ‘The Germans let us alone in the Great War. It’s to their advantage to keep us neutral.’
‘Easy for you to talk,’ cried a man from whom we bought clock parts. ‘Your stock comes from Switzerland. What about us? What do I do if Germany goes to war? A war could put me out of business!’
And at that moment Willem entered the room. … But every eye in the room had settled on the figure whose arm Willem held in his. It was a Jew in his early thirties in the typical broad-brimmed black hat and long black coat. What glued every eye to this man was his face. It had been burned. In front of his right ear dangled a grey and frazzled ringlet, like the hair of a very old man. The rest of his beard was gone, leaving only a raw and gaping wound.
‘This is Herr Gutlieber,’ Willem announced in German. ‘He just arrived in Hilversum this morning. Herr Gutlieber, my father.’
‘He got out of Germany on a milk truck,’ Willem told us rapidly in Dutch. ‘They stopped him on a streetcorner—teenaged boys in Munich—set fire to his beard.’
Father had risen from his chair and was eagerly shaking the newcomer’s hand. I brought him a cup of coffee and a plate of Nollie’s cookies. …
Herr Gutlieber sat down stiffly on the edge of a chair and fixed his eyes on the cup in his lap. I pulled up a chair beside him and talked some nonsense about the unusual January weather. And around us conversation began again, a hum of party talk rising and falling.
‘Hoodlums!’ I heard the watch salesman say. ‘Young hooligans! It’s the same in every country. They police’ll catch up with ’em—you’ll see. Germany’s a civilized country.’

—Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place1


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I’ve come to a decision that I’d like to share with my readership, in hopes of persuading you to do the same if you’re in a position to do so. Said decision is about Donald Trump, and what I mean to do about him, and what I will beg God to do about him.

Normally, I do not vote. This is because of my anarchist beliefs. Since I believe that government ought to be as limited and decentralized as possible (and, correspondingly, that countries as big as the US—or a whole lot of others—ought to be broken into multiple entities), I consider direct participation in its politics a kind of hypocrisy on my part. If what you want is a new system, implicit coöperation with the normal functioning of the old system is, at best, a pretty mixed signal.

However, if there seems to be a real danger that Donald Trump will win the presidency this November, I will vote.

Now, since I live in Maryland, I don’t think there’s any real reason to fear (or hope) that my vote will sway the state one way versus another. It’s a solidly blue state, and can probably be called for Hillary Clinton even now, in the midst of the scandal of the DNC’s sabotage of the Sanders campaign. Partly for that reason, if I vote, I plan to vote for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein2; because if I vote at all, it’ll be to make a point to a possible Trump administration.

That point being: I dissent; I reject; everything about such a government that is not merely ridiculous is abhorrent to me, and I will not give it the smallest hint of my approval.


Except this. This can stay.

Trump is unfit to lead this country. Trump is unfit to run a sandwich shop. His business ventures have been bankrupted five times in twenty-three years; nor, as he likes to imply, did he build his business from scratch—he inherited it from his father, which wouldn’t matter except that he so badly wants to fudge any and all facts he dislikes. His numerous lawsuits for defamation (of which he has lost many) suggest it, as do the thirty-odd liens acquired against his properties by the New York State Department for nonpayment of taxes. All this even apart from the mere fact that it’s hard to understand any honest man, in any business, being engaged in over three thousand lawsuits. He is a chronic liar. Tony Schwarz, Trump’s ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal, recounted the headache of getting any kind of facts out of Trump for the ostensible autobiography they were writing.

After hearing Trump’s discussions about business on the phone, Schwarz asked him brief follow-up questions. He then tried to amplify the material he got from Trump by calling others involved in the deals. But their accounts often directly conflicted with Trump’s. ‘Lying is second nature to him,’ Schwartz said. ‘More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.’ … ‘He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.’ Since most people are ‘constrained by truth,’ Trump’s indifference to it ‘gave him a strange advantage.’

He has been accused of multiple rapes, in conjunction with Jeffrey Epstein, a confirmed sex offender against underage girls. He has declined to dissociate himself from—often enough, actively justified—acts of violence on the part of his supporters, notably against blacks and Muslims. He has frankly refused to dissociate himself from neo-Nazi organizations and the Ku Klux Klan. He has ordered security guards at his rallies to confiscate (that is, steal) the property of protesters. He has openly discussed plans to commit war crimes, up to and including the mass murder of women and children. There is simply no truth, no law, no decency, and no right that this man can be trusted to respect.


The only cases I’ve seen made for him are these. First, that he’s a political outsider and therefore a welcome relief from the corruption and cynicism of Washington. Far be it from me to praise the corruption and cynicism of Washington, but replacing a familiar crook with an incompetent egomaniac and professedly worse crook on the grounds that it’ll make a change is, well, not technically a false line of reasoning.

Second, that he’s pro-life. He isn’t. The evangelical vote has been tied to the pro-life cause since the early seventies, and in my view with good reason, though I would point out that a holistic pro-life outlook requires certain attitudes toward social welfare and war, as well as abortion. Unfortunately, that’s led to the delusion that, because pro-life politicians have usually been Republicans since the Reagan era, therefore any Republican politician is pro-life and any Democratic one is pro-choice, and therefore an evangelical must always vote for the GOP. But even if this had been true through the 1990s and 2000s, which it wasn’t, it has no bearing on Trump. The most he’s been able to say is that he is pro-life ‘with qualifications’: i.e., not pro-life.

Third, that all his demagogic rhetoric must be merely a tactic; that it conceals some deeper personality and thought. Well, the man who wrote his autobiography doesn’t think so. And since all we’ve had so far is the aforesaid demagoguery, I think it argues an immense faith to seriously believe that there’s more; and I don’t like to make human beings the object of that kind and degree of faith.

And why would I vote for Jill Stein? Well, the only stance of hers that I know I disagree with is that she is pro-choice: her general social policy is attractive to me. That she is pro-choice is a serious problem for me—I don’t, can’t, believe that any human right is more fundamental than the right to live, or that the liberty of one person can reasonably be thought of as abrogating the life of another. However, she has also made a point, when asked about her views of abortion, of discussing the needed improvements in the welfare and resources of pregnant women, improvements that (in her words) would make abortion ‘less necessary.’ If implemented, that would save more lives than any legal act since the partial-birth abortion ban of 2003; and that makes me able to countenance the compromise involved even in a professedly symbolic vote for a pro-choice politician.3


But, if I decide to vote, it won’t be because I think President Stein could be sworn in in 2017. It will be to say, loud and clear: This is the America I’d want to live in. Not Trump’s. I reject, loathe, and defy everything about him.

If he’s elected, I fear for my neighbor’s safety: my black neighbor; my Muslim neighbor; my immigrant neighbor; my international neighbor on the other side of the world. I want it known for whom I will lift my hands in prayer—and for whom I will do whatever I’m able, to help them lead safe, happy, long lives.

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1This party, celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the Ten Boom Watch Shop, took place in 1937. The state of Israel gave Corrie, and later her sister Betsie and father Casper (who died during the war, the former in the Ravensbrück concentration camp), with the title Chasidey umot ha-Olam, ‘Righteous Among the Nations,’ for their work in concealing Jews and helping them escape during the Holocaust.
2Most probably. I haven’t ruled out Darrell Castle, the Constitution Party candidate, who is credibly pro-life; however, his isolationist words about securing the US border (gotta watch those hooligan Canadians) and withdrawing from the UN and NATO are rather alarming to me.
3The USCCB guidelines for Catholic voters are that, when every plausible candidate advocates a grave evil, the voter may either conscientiously abstain from voting, or decide on practical grounds which one is likely to do the least evil. Since the only plausible candidates are precisely Clinton and Trump, both of whom advocate grave evils—abortion access in Clinton’s case, basically everything he says in Trump’s—I am considering the pragmatic option, though only as a symbolic protest.