More religious testifying in a major newspaper

If you don’t know what “testifying” is in an American religious context, it means telling to a bunch of people—usually in a church—how you came to Jesus (it’s a Christian practice) and how much you love the Lord. In fact, Wikipedia even has a subsection on it. But listening to such testimony quickly gets boring and repetitious.  Yet, increasingly, the op-ed pages of newspapers, including good ones like the New York Times, are occupied by flat-out, old-fashioned Christian testifying or its intellectual equivalent: unexamined assertions about the truth claims of religions like Christianity.

And now the last redoubt of good American journalism besides the Times, and I’m referring to the Washington Post, has published an even more extreme op-ed, one using the burning of Notre Dame as a reason to tout Christianity very hard and mourn its disappearance. While newspapers publish a variety of pieces from various viewpoints, simple proselytizing like this should be going away; it doesn’t deserve any space in such a good newspaper.

You can read the piece by clicking on the screenshot below. The author, Mark Thiessen, is characterized by Wikipedia as “an American author, columnist, and political commentator. He writes for The Washington Post newspaper. He served as a speechwriter for United States President George W. Bush (2004–09) and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (2001–06).”

So he’s clearly a conservative, but he’s also a staunch Christian who wants to bring God back to the West. Just as Jesus wept (the Bible’s shortest verse), so Jerry wept when he read this:

It’s a short piece. Thiessen bemoans the increasing secularism of France and Europe, which he says, correctly, is spreading to the U.S. But the burning of Notre Dame, he claims, “is an apt metaphor for the devastation of Christianity across Europe—and a warning for us in the United States.”  And although he doesn’t say the fire was a sign from God, he does want us to pay attention to the spectre of secularism that is haunting the West:

France was once one of the most Catholic countries in Europe. Today, while 64 percent of French people still identify as Christian, only 5 percent attend church regularly and just 1 in 10 pray daily. The younger generation is even less attached to the faith of their fathers. According to a study by the Benedict XVI Center for Religion and Society, only 26 percent of French young adults consider themselves Christians, and 65 percent say they never pray. The same sad story is playing out across the rest of Europe. The study found only three countries — Poland, Portugal and Ireland — where more than 1 in 10 young people said they attend a religious service weekly.

The situation in the United States is somewhat better: 39 percent of Catholics and 58 percent of evangelicals attend church services once a week, and even more say they go a few times a month. But the numbers are in decline among the young as well. Only 11 percent of younger millennials are weekly churchgoers, while 16 percent more go either once or twice a month, or a few times a year. The secular tsunami that has swept Europe is making its way across the Atlantic.

I, for one, can’t get too worked up about this. In fact, I think it’s a great trend that will end a lot of divisiveness in our world.

Thiessen even goes so far as to compare secularism with totalitarianism, implying that secular morality is either nonexistent or inferior:

. . . . in the West, modern secularism is slowly accomplishing what the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century tried and failed to do: eradicate God from society. We are seeing the triumph of what Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in a homily a day before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, called the “dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.” On both continents, young people are putting off or forgoing marriage, and having fewer children — because a culture of self runs counter to the sacrificial love at the core of marriage and family.

Finally, Thiessen pulls out all the stops and spews his testimony all over the page. To paraphrase Hitchens, he’s like a preacher on a street corner, yelling at us and selling snake oil from a tin cup:

Today, France is in a heated debate over whether to rebuild Notre Dame as it was, or modernize it — much as the Louvre was modernized when I.M. Pei’s glass and metal pyramids were added to its classical grounds. But this is the wrong question. Yes, most of the millions who visit Notre Dame each year experience it is [sic] a museum. But it is not a museum. It is not even primarily a symbol of France. It is a house of worship. To restore it, we must restore its fundamental purpose: to bring people closer to the Almighty.

The human heart is made to love God. And as Cardinal Robert Sarah put it in an interview with Le Figaro this weekend, the fires which engulfed Notre Dame were “an appeal from God to rediscover his love.” He is right. Skilled craftsmen will soon repair the cathedral stone by stone. But, as the priest who said Easter Mass in Bordeaux told us, to truly rebuild Notre Dame requires what St. Peter called “living stones … God’s own people [who] declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:4-9).

We need more of these living stones — in France and in America, too.

My response to the last sentence is this: “No we don’t.” Lovely ancient cathedrals, yes; ancient superstitions foisted on the people, no.

It amazes me that blather like this gets published in the Washington Post. What were they thinking? All it does is use the destruction of a cathedral as a way to say that we should be mindful of the waning of Christianity. That’s not all that far from saying that the fire is God’s warning that we should stop coddling homosexuals.

h/t: Jeff

67 Comments

  1. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    “That’s not all that far from saying that the fire is God’s warning that we should stop coddling homosexuals.”

    I thought it was gods warning to the RC church to stop its priests raping children and then covering up the fact. What a pity that there isn’t a god to actually tell them that.

  2. Mike Cracraft
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Mark Thiessen is a sycophant who worships Trump and regularly condemns Trump’s critics.
    Enough said. I think the only reason that the Post carries him is that they want to project
    an image of journalistic balance.

    • tomh
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Exactly right, he really should be working for Fox News. He does generate a lot of comments though, 99% of which are trashing him and moaning, “Why does the Post publish this garbage?”

    • CR
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Pretty much what I was gonna say.

  3. alexander
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I’ve a strong impression that the burning of the Notre Dame is now used in France by the Catholic Church as a propaganda tool for spreading Catholicism.

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Really? I watch debates on French tv almost every day but I do not have this impression so far.

      • alexander
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        What is then this talk about the Notre Dame as l’âme de la France? France is legally a secular nation (unlike the UK).

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted April 25, 2019 at 12:54 am | Permalink

          ‘the soul of France’.

          I have no doubt the Catholic church is trying to do that (even though Notre Dame itself is owned by the French government as a historic monument).

          If anybody else i.e. non-Catholic goes along with that, I’d say they were speaking of it as part of French history and heritage. Exactly as they’d say the same about the Louvre or Versailles or the Eiffel Tower.

          cr

  4. Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Stones don’t burn. It was the wooden firetrap known as the forest that burned, so his human stone metaphor isn’t even apt.

    The only lesson here is that the Notre Dame cathedral should have been “modernized” before the fire.

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Yes, and having the fire people reacting faster since it seems they arrived late due to bad communication.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    All I can think is, spend a good portion of the donated money on a sprinkler system or you can expect to watch it burn again in the future. Just sitting there does not cause a fire but people always want to spend money renovating and that can be very costly. Recommend using less combustible materials at such altitude. G*d may not care about those details but the fire marshal should.

  6. Mark Cagnetta
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    If god was punishing France for its out-of-control secularism, wouldn’t he burn a secular building, not a place of worship. Thank god I’m an atheist!

    • Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      He tried to light the Eiffel tower but it wouldn’t burn.

      • Ray Little
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Darwinsins for my first good laugh of the day.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    So he [Mark Thiessen]’s clearly a conservative, but he’s also a staunch Christian who wants to bring God back to the West.

    One of Rummy’s cabal of neocons at the Pentagon during the reign of George II, if I’m not mistaken, who came to the defense of the “torture memos” and “enhanced interrogation techniques” — ’cause nothin’ says the love of Jesus like feckless sadism.

  8. murali
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    He is just another person who is deeply disturbed by more and more people coming to their senses. I hear this in US Catholic radio all the time; the idea that the younger generations are not as religious scares the hell out of them. Secular societies do not force people to leave religion. What does he want? A state sponsored religion? He might as well lament the fact that top hats are not as popular as they used to be.

  9. Posted April 24, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    … to truly rebuild Notre Dame requires what St. Peter called “living stones….” (1 Peter 2:4-9).

    Yeah, only a hardcore Roman Catholic would believe an illiterate Galilean fisherman wrote perhaps the most eloquent example of Greek-language erudition in the entire NT.

  10. Steve Pollard
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I fully endorse our host’s pithy comment on whether we need more “living stones” in France or the US. No, indeed we don’t.

    Regarding his last sentence, I was reminded that after the UK floods of 2007, the Bishop of Carlisle asserted exactly that: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2007/07/01/bishop-claims-floods-are-punishment-for-gay-rights/

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Template slip. My comment,#22, was meant to be a response to yours.

  11. Mark R.
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    After the Quilette comments, this is about all the religious drivel I can handle for today. 😉

  12. Posted April 24, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Each one of the Christians as well as the few Muslims I know here in Europe are both sincere believers and also more or less completely secular. Thiessen is setting up a false dichotomy justify his fanaticism and to explain away the uselessness and irrelevance of the church, and to try to counter the effects of secularism weakening the political power of religious bigots like him.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Exactly!

  13. ladyatheist
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I saw that headline and assumed it was a metaphor for global warming! How could it be a metaphor for secularization when devastation resulted from their refusal to incorporate modern fire-suppression methods into the wooden roof frame? Shouldn’t it be a metaphor for the way religious people cling to centuries-old ideas even at their peril?

  14. JMD
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Thiessen is a Dump (AKA Trump) apologist; that tells me all I need to know about him.

    • Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think so; your comment is a prime example of using someone’s stand on politics to dismiss EVERYTHING they ever said and ever will say. It is close-minded.

      • JMD
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been following Thiessen’s columns; he displays an extreme lack of judgment in toadying up to and defending Trump. He doesn’t just give Trump the benefit of the doubt, he practically worships him. That, to me, is a strong indication that Thiessen’s judgment is not to be trusted.

        • murali
          Posted April 24, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          But aren’t they different issues? His ‘toadying up to and defending Trump’ should be criticized independently of his views on the Notre Dame fire. Dismissing Thiessen’s Notre Dame column based on his views on Trump is a flawed way of thinking. What if Thiessen’s comments about the fire were in agreement with your views while his ideas about Trump remained the same?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 25, 2019 at 12:45 am | Permalink

            If a diehard tRump apologist agreed with me on some topic I’d try to ignore it. Same as I would if a neo-Nazi or a war criminal cheered me on.

            Because though they apparently came to the same conclusion as me, their ‘reasoning’ would likely be based on entirely false and suspect premises. And I would not regard their support as an asset.

            cr

        • Mark Cagnetta
          Posted April 24, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          tRump is making this a white, Christian, nationalist country. Theissen is simply writing about dominionism. His politics, in this case, are as important as his religious beliefs.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 25, 2019 at 2:13 am | Permalink

        I think tRump-apologism is a special case. More analogous to the nuttier religions than to normal politics.

        One can be left-wing or right-wing and be intellectually coherent and consistent. In that sense one shouldn’t use someone’s politics to discredit their views on other matters.

        But tRump’s utterances are so inconsistent, frequently bizarre, and demonstrably unrelated to reality, that anyone trying to justify them is either consciously lying or, if sincere, a certified member of the tinfoil-hat brigade. Either way, he has blown his credentials on any other subject.

        cr

    • Posted April 24, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      If you decide the merits of an argument on the basis of us versus them, then you are part of the problem not the solution.

      • tomh
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Have you ever read Thiessen? He’s a regular columnist on the Washington Post. Anyone who reads him knows exactly what he stands for, and they are not part of the problem.

  15. Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Thiessen: “To restore it, we must restore its fundamental purpose: to bring people closer to the Almighty.”

    JAC: “Lovely ancient cathedrals, yes; ancient superstitions foisted on the people, no.”

    This goes back to my objection to your claim that you can separate the religious significance of the cathedral from its physical beauty. You can’t.

    The significance of the architecture of this and any old European cathedral is immediately recognizable as soon as you walk in. The movement is from the congregation to the priest at the altar up through the spire to God. The structure is, in a word, one of intercession. Without that symbolic meaning, captured in the design of the church, you might just as well have a flat roof and pews in a circle.

    To that degree, I have to agree with Thiessen—there’s no point in restoring the building if its design no longer has any meaning.

    • Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but I disagree. I do recognize that we have to view the building as a monument to religion. What I was trying to say is that we shouldn’t use its destruction to call for a revival of Christianity. And I disagree profoundly on the view that there’s no point in restoring it if Christianity is dead. It will die; should we then dump every religious monument, cathedral, and painting ever made?

      I don’t think so.

      • JMD
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        I agree; we try to preserve the temples of ancient Greece, even though no one worships Athena today.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. My wife and I have just come back from a weekend in Salisbury, where we spent a couple of hours going round the cathedral. It was a powerful experience, not least because the building was constructed over a very few decades in the 13th century, and is therefore architecturally of one piece. It will still be a marvellous building long after Christianity has gone.

        And we went to Choral Evensong on Easter Sunday. If any of the products of the Church of England are worth preserving, it is Choral Evensong! Stanford in C, for the record; and Stanford’s Te Deum in Bb as a bonus.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Would you make the same argument, Gary, regarding religious music? Would Mozart’s Mass in C Minor be any less beautiful were it not a mass? Would Mahalia Jackson singing “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” be any less beautiful were it called “Just a Closer Walk With You”?

        How about literature? Does the beauty of Milton’s Paradise Lost require the reader believe in Adam and Eve?

        • Posted April 25, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          “Would you make the same argument, Gary, regarding religious music?”

          No, Ken, I wouldn’t. I would, however, make the same claim about a sculpture such as David’s Michelangelo. If the statue were destroyed it could be reconstructed from photos, but I would not consider it the same statue, no matter how true it was to the original. Similarly, you could replicate Notre Dame brick for brick as a casino in Las Vegas, but it would not be Notre Dame.

          Those who disagree with me make good points, but I’m of a mind that there’s a spiritual meaning captured in these physical works of art that is more than the sum of their material parts. But I’m a pantheist, and if one doesn’t agree with this in regard to nature, I can see why one wouldn’t be likely to agree with it in regard to art.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 25, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

            “… you could replicate Notre Dame brick for brick as a casino in Las Vegas …”

            Jesus, Gary, don’t give ’em any ideas; isn’t it bad enough Vegas already has an Eiffel Tower? 🙂

    • Posted April 24, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      The significance of the architecture of this and any old European cathedral is immediately recognizable as soon as you walk in.

      Well I’ve walked in to quite a few English cathedrals without ever recognising the significance you suggest.

    • Posted April 24, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      The fact that the cathedral was built with a certain theology in mind doesn’t negate the fact that is it beautiful. It is beautiful in itself. Worth rebuilding for that. We can appreciate the beauty of Hindu or Buddhist monuments independent of the theology behind them, also.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      That sort of argument would warm the cockles of the heart of Mullah Omar and his Taliban bros. To paraphrase John McCain: “Bomb, bomb, Bamiyan.”

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 25, 2019 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      “The significance of the architecture of this and any old European cathedral is immediately recognizable as soon as you walk in.”

      Yeah. It signifies that in those days, big money was available to build churches, castles, palaces, and the occasional bridge; and not much else.

      “there’s no point in restoring the building if its design no longer has any meaning.”

      Might as well let Stonehenge decay, then, since nobody even knows for sure what its significance was.

      cr

  16. murali
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I am not convinced that we should be bashing the Post for publishing this. We can criticize the views of the author for sure. It is not a bad thing for a paper to publish diversity of viewpoints.

  17. Ray Little
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Uhmmm… what, please, are the Europeans who don’t believe in god supposed to do about their agnosticism/atheism? Close their eyes, clench their teeth and strain real hard? That’s not even a good method for producing a bowel movement, let alone awakening faith in the supernatural.

    • Sastra
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes the religious are content with nonreligious people going through the motions anyway. They get two positive benefits out of that.

      First, it makes religion seem like the normal, natural, moral default that everyone should aspire to. The religious carry the standard. And second, there will always be a few casual nonbelievers who start to convince themselves that yeah, they do believe this stuff. The religious see this as “God getting through.”

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 25, 2019 at 1:32 am | Permalink

        Oddly enough, I was idly reflecting, while driving to the beach to worship the waves, how convenient atheism is for me.

        The main reason I’m an atheist, of course, is that religion makes no sense at all.

        But I’m cynical enough to know that I could talk myself into almost anything if I wanted – just like everybody else. If Religion only required me to say “Praise Jeeesus!” once a day, while Atheism required me to waste precious hours every week sitting on a hard seat in a cold gloomy hall being harangued about my defective evolutionary design and mental deficiencies – then I expect I could manage to be Religious.

        cr

  18. Sastra
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    We are seeing the triumph of what Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in a homily a day before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, called the “dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”

    Well hey — welcome to Opposite World, in which reason-and-science based skeptical analysis is the relativism of relying “solely of one’s own ego and desires,” and a faith-based knowing in your heart is a rigorous, disciplined attempt to be objective.

    Because. That’s why.

    You should know it in your heart.

    • Vaal
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      ^^^^ Zing!

      Beautifully put!

  19. Greg Geisler
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    If there was a Jesus (unlikely) which of the following would he choose:
    a. spend $1 billion to restore the cathedral
    b. give the $1 billion to the poor

    • Posted April 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      He was for using some expensive oil to anoint his hair rather than selling it and giving the money to the poor. He justified this by saying, “The poor you will always have with you.”

      I actually agree with him here. In my experience, unselective throwing of money on the poor only makes things worse.

      • tomh
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        You have experience with unselectively throwing money on the poor?

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Taking Jesus as real for argument’s sake…

        It is mostly the douche bag element among the conservative right who choose to quote that phrase out of all context [Rick Perry has done so for example] as part of an ‘idle, irresponsible, undeserving poor’ narrative.

        Looking around just now I note most Bible types are highly aggrieved at that particular spin. They claim that the extended verses in front & back of the cherry picked bit, are about Jesus acknowledging he is soon to die & the oil is a little bit of respect for who he is, BUT the poor can & should be helped later – they’re not going away any time soon.

        Greg Geisler wrote: “give the money to the poor”, which I didn’t take to mean “unselective throwing of money on the poor” in his binary choice of how to best use a billion. It is a pity he didn’t write “use the money instead to improve the lot of the needy”, then you might have resisted going beyond your first paragraph!

        • Posted April 25, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          I would still regard Notre Dame as the legitimate “beneficiary” of this particular money for 2 reasons: the fact that it is cultural heritage of immense value, and the will of the donors.
          But I am actually not against all help to the poor, as I presented my opinion initially. I am for solidarity in society, which includes the middle class and the rich covering many expenses of the poor.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted April 25, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            That’s more like it! 🙂

  20. Vaal
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Re the decreasing church attendance and religiosity, especially among the young:

    “The same sad story is playing out across the rest of Europe.”

    I think there’s a wrong word in there somewhere 🙂

    The human heart is made to love God.

    I must have been given a defective unit. My heart can’t seem to love a God who sets up humans to fail a rigged test, then punishes all humanity with untold level of suffering and death for it, then asks me to accept the torture and sacrifice of an innocent before He will forgive us, and who then lets countless people suffer and perish in horrible ways anyway. Oh, and if you don’t believe all this and love such a Being…he has an eternal punishment all ready for you!

    I’ll stick with my defective heart, thanks.
    At least I seem to have some nice company.

    • Posted April 24, 2019 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      The human heart is made to pump blood. Period.

      • James A Walker
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        The human heart evolved to pump blood 😉

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 25, 2019 at 1:51 am | Permalink

      ‘The human heart is made to love God’

      Wtf???

      I see Thiessen’s grasp of physiology is as shaky as his grasp of everything else.

      The heart is jut a muscle and incapable of loving – or hating – anything. That’s what the brain is for. We all know that, of course, possibly even Thiessen. We also know that ‘the heart’ is traditionally used metaphorically as a symbol for id or feelings, most often in pop songs these days.

      But ‘The human heart is made to love God’ is such a startlingly bizarre statement to use in an ostensibly serious context, it’s risible.

      cr

  21. Dionigi
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    “On both continents, young people are putting off or forgoing marriage, and having fewer children — because a culture of self runs counter to the sacrificial love at the core of marriage and family.”
    So what about the 430,00 or so members of the catholic clergy who have taken a vow of celibacy? Nothing these people say ever makes sense.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 25, 2019 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      “On both continents, young people are putting off or forgoing marriage, and having fewer children”

      Considering that there are just TOO MANY BLOODY PEOPLE in the world, *not* breeding like rabbits is surely an unselfish and praiseworthy decision.

      The guy’s a moron.

      P.S. Notre Dame *should* be rebuilt (whether authentic or modernised doesn’t matter much) as a historic and architectural heritage.
      If its only distinguishing attribute were as a place of worship, I’d let the bulldozers loose on it and turn it into a car park.

      cr

  22. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    “We need more of these ‘living stones’…”

    That cracked me up. When I read that, the first thing that came to mind was the intimate connection between architecture and human sacrifice (an eminently religious activity): when in antiquity, humans were killed and then placed under foundation stones or immured alive to ensure the (spiritual and physical) stability the edifice. Those are truly “living stones.” Yep, we need more of them. And in the spirit of the article, why not start a GoFundMe petition to pay for the Westboro Baptist Church choir to fly to France so they can perform in front of Notre Dame. They’ve sure got the right message.

  23. rickflick
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most people don’t know how to think.

  24. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 25, 2019 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I was delighted to read Thiessen’s piece, at least the first two paragraphs. I could do with some good news. Only change I’d make is to change ‘sad story’ into ‘gratifying and encouraging development’.

    After that it kind of went downhill into bullshit.

    cr

  25. Dominic
    Posted April 25, 2019 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    French secularism is hardly new – rooted in the 18th century even before the revolution…


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