Family Values

“What does that hanger thingy mean?”

There’s been much ado over the goods being hawked by Planned Parenthood. This cute
little bag
, was spotted by the eagle eyes of Sed
Contra
reader, Hugo Schwyzer.

Feministe, a blog whose quip is “Dismantle Globally, Rebuild Locally”,
has a
post
that plugs the bag. When I read the
post she quotes
, it nearly made me physically ill.


[NOTE: Planned Parenthood neither makes nor sells the handbag mentioned. Any implication of that was accidental. The PP merchandise was a convenient introduction, but I left out a transitional thought. I apologize for any confusion- Funky]

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About Funky Dung

Who is Funky Dung? 29-year-old grad student in Intelligent Systems (A.I.) at the University of Pittsburgh. I consider myself to be politically moderate and independent and somewhere between a traditional and neo-traditional Catholic. I was raised Lutheran, spent a number of years as an agnostic, and joined the Catholic Church at the 2000 Easter Vigil. Why Funky Dung? I haven't been asked this question nearly as many times as you or I might expect. Funky Dung is a reference to an obscure Pink Floyd song. On the album Atom Heart Mother, there is a track called Atom Heart Mother Suite. It's broken up into movements, like a symphony, and one of the movements is called Funky Dung. I picked that nickname a long time ago (while I was still in high school I think), shortly after getting an internet connection for the first time. To me it means "cool/neat/groovy/spiffy stuff/crap/shiznit", as in "That's some cool stuff, dude!" Whence Ales Rarus? I used to enjoy making people guess what this means, but I've decided to relent and make it known to all. Ales Rarus is a Latin play on words. "Avis rarus" means "a rare bird" and carries similar meaning to "an odd fellow". "Ales" is another Latin word for bird that carries connotations of omens, signs of the times, and/or augery. If you want to get technical, both "avis" and "ales" are feminine (requiring "rara", but they can be made masculine in poetry (which tends to breaks lots of rules). I decided I'd rather have a masculine name in Latin. ;) Yeah, I'm a nerd. So what? :-P Wherefore blog? It is my intention to "teach in order to lead others to faith" by being always "on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful" through the "use of the communications media". I also act knowing that I "have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors [my] opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and [I] have a right to make [my] opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward [my and their] pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." (adapted from CCC 904-907) Statement of Faith I have been baptized and confirmed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I, therefore, renounce Satan; I renounce all his works; I renounce all his allurements. I hold and profess all that is contained in the Apostles' Creed, the Niceno- Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Having been buried with Christ unto death and raised up with him unto a new life, I promise to live no longer for myself or for that world which is the enemy of God but for him who died for me and rose again, serving God, my heavenly Father, faithfully and unto death in the holy Catholic Church. I am obedient to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That is, I promote and defend authentic Catholic Teaching and Faith in union with Christ and His Church and in union with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St. Peter. Thanks be unto Thee, O my God, for all Thy infinite goodness, and, especially, for the love Thou hast shown unto me at my Confirmation. I Give Thee thanks that Thou didst then send down Thy Holy Spirit unto my soul with all His gifts and graces. May He take full possession of me for ever. May His divine unction cause my face to shine. May His heavenly wisdom reign in my heart. May His understanding enlighten my darkness. May His counsel guide me. May His knowledge instruct me. May His piety make me fervent. May His divine fear keep me from all evil. Drive from my soul, O Lord, all that may defile it. Give me grace to be Thy faithful soldier, that having fought the good fight of faith, I may be brought to the crown of everlasting life, through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Behind the Curtain: an Interview With Funky Dung (Thursday, March 03, 2005) I try to avoid most memes that make their way 'round the blogosphere (We really do need a better name, don't we?), but some are worth participating in. Take for instance the "interview game" that's the talk o' the 'sphere. I think it's a great way to get to know the people in neighborhood. Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhod? In your neigh-bor-hoo-ood...*smack* Sorry, Sesame Street flashback. Anyhow, I saw Jeff "Curt Jester" Miller's answers and figured since he's a regular reader of mine he'd be a good interviewer. Without further ado, here are my answers to his questions. 1. Being that your pseudonym Funky Dung was chosen from a Pink Floyd track on Atom Heart Mother, what is you favorite Pink Floyd song and why? Wow. That's a tuffy. It's hard to pick out a single favorite. Pink Floyd isn't really a band known for singles. They mostly did album rock and my appreciation of them is mostly of a gestalt nature. If I had to pick one, though, it'd be "Comfortably Numb". I get chills up my spine every time I hear it and if it's been long enough since the last time, I get midty-eyed. I really don't know why. That's a rather unsatisfying answer for an interview, so here are the lyrics to a Rush song. It's not their best piece of music, but the lyrics describe me pretty well.

New World Man He's a rebel and a runner He's a signal turning green He's a restless young romantic Wants to run the big machine He's got a problem with his poisons But you know he'll find a cure He's cleaning up his systems To keep his nature pure Learning to match the beat of the old world man Learning to catch the heat of the third world man He's got to make his own mistakes And learn to mend the mess he makes He's old enough to know what's right But young enough not to choose it He's noble enough to win the world But weak enough to lose it --- He's a new world man... He's a radio receiver Tuned to factories and farms He's a writer and arranger And a young boy bearing arms He's got a problem with his power With weapons on patrol He's got to walk a fine line And keep his self-control Trying to save the day for the old world man Trying to pave the way for the third world man He's not concerned with yesterday He knows constant change is here today He's noble enough to know what's right But weak enough not to choose it He's wise enough to win the world But fool enough to lose it --- He's a new world man...
2. What do you consider your most important turning point from agnosticism to the Catholic Church. At some point in '99, I started attending RCIA at the Pittsburgh Oratory. I mostly went to ask a lot of obnoxious Protestant questions. Or at least that's what I told myself. I think deep down I wanted desperately to have faith again. At that point I think I'd decided that if any variety of Christianity had the Truth, the Catholic Church did. Protestantism's wholesale rejection of 1500 years of tradition didn't sit well with me, even as a former Lutheran. During class one week, Sister Bernadette Young (who runs the program) passed out thin booklet called "Handbook for Today's Catholic". One paragraph in that book spoke to me and I nearly cried as I read it.
"A person who is seeking deeper insight into reality may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate lack of faith. They may be just the opposite - a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive and dynamic. It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. If a particular doctrine of faith no longer 'makes sense' to a person, the person should go right on seeking. To know what a doctrine says is one thing. To gain insight into its meaning through the gift of understanding is something else. When in doubt, 'Seek and you will find.' The person who seeks y reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees the light. The person who talks to God even when God is 'not there' is alive with faith."
At the end of class I told Sr. Bernadette that I wanted to enter the Church at the next Easter vigil. 3. If you were a tree what kind of, oh sorry about that .. what is the PODest thing you have ever done? I set up WikiIndex, a clearinghouse for reviews of theological books, good, bad, and ugly. It has a long way to go, but it'll be cool when it's finished. :) 4. What is your favorite quote from Venerable John Henry Newman? "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." 5. If you could ban one hymn from existence, what would it be? That's a tough one. As a member of the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, there are obviously a lot of songs that grate on my nerves. If I had to pick one, though, I'd probably pick "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" by Ernie Sands.

8 thoughts on “Family Values

  1. Lauren

    Are pro-choicers really comparable to slave owners or the KKK?

    Perhaps not the most fantastic metaphor, but I get your point, Goerge.

    The mother responded in among the best ways possible one can explain the issue to a three-year-old while still maintaining her values. While the morality issue of the issue is up for debate, at least the mother started the discussion early with her daughter, and with honesty to boot.

    Is that what makes you ill?

  2. Funky Dung

    I find it apalling that the mother told her daughter a story that implies that doctors were denying care to ill women in need of treatment, thus portraying them as villains. Worse yet, she failed to inform her daughter that instead of asking precocious questions at age 3, she might have been at the business end of a coathanger had she been conceived at a different time, under less desireable circumstances.

  3. George

    I would like to add that I thank both Lauren and Cinnamon for their civility in this exchange. Both of you have been very polite and have kept focused on the matter at hand rather than expanding the debate into tangential territory. Thank you very much for that.

  4. Cinnamon

    Just to clarify, Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with the creation of this bag. I created the bag originally to raise funds for the March for Women’s Lives and have since let buyers decide which pro-choice organization their donation goes toward.

    To be purely factual, the mother should have told her daughter that the American Medical Association was fighting alongside many women to make abortion legal. Most doctor’s were not villains, many of them were in favor of legalized abortion and still are.

    And she should also have told her daughter that she should have no doubts that she came into this world a wanted and loved child. Since abortion is legal, she should never have a reason to doubt her mother. Unlike many people my age.

  5. George

    That’s like saying “Mommy, what does that white hood mean?”

    “Well, honey, a long time ago, your ancestors had some very important
    possessions that they needed in order to tend their crops.  Some very bad men
    from a different part of the country didn’t want the farmers to use their
    possessions because the men from elsewhere didn’t respect the farmers’ right
    to own possessions; now the farmers couldn’t feed their families. ┬áThe
    farmers who stood up for their rights had to wear white hoods to hide their
    faces so that the men from elsewhere wouldn’t put them in jail merely for
    defending their rights.”

    “Mommy, will I ever have to wear a white hood to keep from going to jail
    because someone took away what was mine?”

    “Not if there are enough men in the world like those brave ones over there
    burning that cross.”

  6. Cinnamon

    The fact is George, that many women who become pregnant unhappilly do feel ill. While it may be partly due to morning sickness, I’m sure a great deal of it is physical side-effects of mental or emotional distress. The women I’ve known have had a great deal of trouble eating, sleeping, thinking clearly, concentrating, even seeing clearly (in the physical sense.) All these are effects of emotional stress. The women I know who have had abortions have regretted that they had to make the decision, wished that they had made different decisions before getting pregnant, but they haven’t regretted that they made the right decision.

    The mother’s answer is over-simplified, but she’s talking to a 3-year-old, she has to be.

    I think it is permissible for any woman who gets pregnant to decide what goes on in her womb. The main difference in our decision is whether or not the rights of the woman over her body outweigh the rights of the fetus to continue to term naturally. I think the rights of the woman outweigh the rights of the fetus, the potential for life. It’s where our differences stand and I don’t think either one of us will change our stance on that.

    I also thank you for your civility in this discussion. “The pro-choice people are similar to KKK members” argument had me a bit worried, though.

  7. George

    To be purely factual, the mother should have told her child that the issue was not whether or not the mothers felt “ill” but whether or not they were commissioning the death of a child by having an abortion. This has been my point all along: To claim that the dispute about abortion is ultimately about whether or not women should be able to remove things that make them ill is equivalent to holding that the 19th-century dispute about slavery was ultimately a dispute about property rights. This is where the mother was misleading her child. She was not offering an “age-appropriate” explanation about the motivation for dispute when she said that “Most doctor’s didn’t think that these women felt ill”. The issue was never whether or not pregnancy was inconvenient, traumatizing, or physically taxing. The issue has been and will continue to be whether or not the living human fetus may be killed.

    In response to Lauren’s question, therefore, this is what made me feel ill: that the mother distorted the conflict over abortion by making it seem to be a matter of whether or not the women were acknowledged as having felt “ill”.

    I find no cause for saying that the woman handled this question “with honesty, to boot.” There was no honesty in the mother’s answer when she addressed the motivation for prohibiting abortion. The use of the coat-hanger was accurately described (removal), but neither the goal of removal, nor the nature of what was being removed, nor finally the reason why such removal was formerly prohibited and resisted were addressed. Rather, the mother substituted a different and inaccurate reason.

    Why is this so important? It is so important because there is a fundamental question here, as fundamental as the question of whether Africans are free persons or disposable property.

    If any person would support abortion, they must take one of two points:

    (1) Either it is permissible to kill a living human being in the womb for the reason that it is unwanted, ill-timed, or malformed…

    (2) …or it is not permissible.

    Any answer saying “well, in certain circumstances, it’s okay” must therefore claim that (1) is sometimes true. And if one claims that “we don’t know whether it’s a real person, so we should leave it up to the mother,” then one is still saying that — if it _were_ a real person — (1) would be okay.

    The moment one claims that (1) is true because the mother’s rights (to convenience, happiness, whatever) outweigh those of the fetus’ right to life, then I would like that person to furnish me with an explanation of why such an argument cannot be applied to a newborn baby within, say, the first 30 minutes after delivery.

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