Still Hope

I’m holding on to the hope that the Democratic Party will make room under their "big tent" for the Culture of Life. I just pray what I’m seeing is sincere and not just a cheap ploy for votes.

Pro-Life Democrat Gets Backing for Party Chair, Could Start Abortion Debate
Will Pro-abort Gasp Spell Last Gasp for Party of Death?
Meet the Press transcript from December 12

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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.

13 thoughts on “Still Hope

  1. Funky Dung

    Your source for saying that it was about drugs is two people who tied someone to a fence and beat him to death. Would you really put it by them to defame his memory by claiming it was a drug hit?

    That’s a pretty bold claim. You have no evidence that they want to defame Shepard’s memory. Besides, why is bigotry any more likely a motive for a beating than drug money? I thin it was you that said (or perhaps quoted) that a lie, repeated often enough, starts to seem like the truth. Was Shepard really beaten because he was gay or do you just believe that because the media have repeated that claim with little evidence to substantiate it?

  2. Funky Dung

    Actually, historically speaking (and I think John can back me up on this), the Catholic Church’s ties to the Democratic Party were once so tight that it seemed as though the American Church was an official arm of the Party. Priests basically stumped for candidates from the pulpit. Catholics used to vote almost exclusively Democrat. That started to change when the Democratic Party embraced abortion.

    The alleged support for Republican candidates by certain members of the Church hierarchy is rather tenuous and more a matter of “Candidate A is unacceptable” not “Vote for Candidate B because A is awful” or even “Vote for Candidate B because he’s great”. There are certain non-negotiable issues that right now are proudly maintained as planks in the Democratic Party platform. The Church has not suddenly ejected the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has marginalized politicians and voters who’s morals coincide with Catholic teaching.

    There’s plenty of room for Democrats in the Catholic Church – pro-life Democrats.

  3. Jerry Nora

    Alektra, you’re comparing apples and organges. Vatican statements on homosexuality reiterate time and again that discrimination against homosexuals in the workplace or violence against them is forbidden.

    Marriage is intimately tied with procreation in the Church, and a same-sex couple cannot reproduce by reasons of cold hard biology (unless you throw in tons of biotechnology, and inevitably using IVF-type procedures that the Church opposes as well). Therefore the Church would condemn the Shepard case as a heinous crime, as it would any murder or hate crime, but condemning that does not require a particular stance on gay marriage.

  4. John

    First, Catholics have never been overwhelmingly Democratic the way that Jews or blacks are and have been.
    They voted overwhelmingly for JFK, but if you consider that a special case, they’ve tended to lean democratic, but not super strongly.
    A lot of that may be tangential though. There were a lot of poor urban Catholics in this country in the middle of the century. It’s hard to say whether the correlation is due to Catholicism or other conditions which happened to be prevalent in the Catholic Community.

    More importantly, the line about Shepard is at best iffy and at worst appalling. Your source for saying that it was about drugs is two people who tied someone to a fence and beat him to death. Would you really put it by them to defame his memory by claiming it was a drug hit?
    Also: where is your liberal media on this? For all you’ll bitch and moan, they never hesitate to take the hatchet to prominant gay figures. This is the same media that circulated the rumors that Barney Frank had molested children.

    Watch it buddy.

  5. Funky Dung

    I don’t have time to go into detail right now (hooray for Christmas cookies), but I’d like to point out that Matthew Shepard was not beaten to death because he was gay. He refused to pay money he owed to his drug dealers.

    Still, like Jerry says, there’s a difference between accepting homosexuals as persons worthy of dignity and respect and accepting their lifestyle. Homosexual activity is gravely sinful and there’s no room for debate on that. The day the Church accepts homosexual activity as healthy and normal is the day the Church embraces heresy.

  6. John

    If you read the article more closely you’ll also see that it doesn’t say he owed drug money. It says that people who wanted money for drugs robbed and murdered him.

    This is the most recent of many stories the killers have told, and it doesn’t really add up. If they just wanted money, why did they brutally kill him?

    Also, if you’re going to ask me why I am inclined to believe one story, I think it’s fair for me to ask why you seem to be stumbling over yourself to try to believe that he got what he had coming.

  7. John

    Sorry for not explaining that.
    Barney Frank is the Congressman from my district back home. He is openly gay. He is also a man of tremendous integrity. People have made up a lot of trully awful stories about him because they don’t like there to be such a good example of a gay person who leads a normal life and does good for his community.

  8. Jerry Nora

    Ultimately, Shepard’s death was a terrible thing regardless of the precise motives. Be it anti-gay or a drug-related murder, the Vatican would oppose such violence regardless. This shouldn’t derail the original debate on homosexuality and the Church.

  9. alektra

    What about pro gay-rights Democrats? I can be pro-life and still believe that someone’s life shouldn’t be shunned and hated and tortured (Matthew Shepard comes to mind) because of who they are.

    I haven’t searched your site extensively, but I wondered how you took on this topic? I know the Church is against gay marriage, but many priests in Pittsburgh and across the US have a different stand on it.

  10. Funky Dung

    You’re a great guy, John, and you’re heart’s in the right place, but you have a rather nasty habit of putting words in peoples’ mouths. A counterpoint to one of your statements need not be clear across the spectrum. I sometimes feel like we’re playing tetherball with a pendulum.

    Anyhow, I never said anything about him getting “what he had coming”. I merely question the need to raising him to martyr status. Maybe he was beaten for being gay. I don’t know. I’m wondering, though, why one would assume that was the motive. Wouldn’t Occam’s Razor apply here? Shepard had a drug problem. The perpetrators had drug problems. At least one knew Shepard. Shepard looked well off and the they were desperate for money. The simplest explanation seems to me to be that the beating involved drugs and money. Does that make it so? No, but where’s the evidence that it was hate-related?

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