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Wind toy. Fisherman toy.
My mind, when it works.
Oh so many things that get through the radiation shields and penetrate my skull, that I am customarily interested in something, and educated slightly in it, but not actually qualified to really speak above a barber shop level upon. If I were as self-deluded as my neighbors, or as arrogant as my detractors maintain, this would be no impediment, but, in truth, I tend to look for areas where, at least if I don't have an encyclopedic or penetrative knowledge, I can feel safe that no one else does, either.

The topic of the loyalty oath came up in a Teacherken diary. He spoke about our seventy year history of loyalty oaths as weapons against citizen activism. Our children and the young need to know about that history. However, I want to write about the loyalty oath as an ongoing event, both the function of the thing and the practice of it. After all, such a laughable, hated thing must have a use.

Loyalty oaths go back in time quite a ways. They are entangled, ultimately, with the very gnarled concept of honor as a function of personal psychic and spiritual integrity available only to those most refined. A peasant might not be capable of an oath in France, but the English yeoman was supposed to have character and free-born soul enough to have the integrity to never be forsworn. From the oaths used by the British Navy and the Dragoons to the office holders, as the centuries went by, the English state began relying upon more oaths at more levels.

When the United States came along, its founders already had a history of oaths -- already had a heritage of a cultural resistance to oath making and taking. Quakers were an important constituency of the mid-Atlantic states, and Puritans had been targeted by oaths while in England. The fracturing religious landscape of America in the 1780's was leaning much more Protestant than ecclesiastical, and the realities of expansion made the idea of enforced orthodoxy impractical.

. . . And yet American states, and the United States, reached for the oath as an instrument of self-protection.

Why would you want an oath?

We can probably leave the oath laying on top of the idea of honor. It is sufficient, but probably not accurate. If we go back to England, we discover why: the oath leaves room for casuistry. A man's, or a woman's, later, "honor" can be challenged by a charge of inconsistency, but it can also be a challenge for the political or social climber to prove 'honor' by out-witting the oath. Furthermore, the oath's designers inhabit a world view where a "man's word is his bond," where a person's individual identity and word must be aligned in civil as well as religious matters.

The oath-maker assumes that the oath-taker will take it as a matter of honor to read intent from the oath and ensure that his (and later, her) word can only be understood in a manner consistent with the self.

The most infamous oaths in English history surround the Test Act. The English crown is the head of the state church, and therefore a person not in the state church is potentially against the royal. In 1661, only people who took eucharist in the Church of England could hold any office (or attend the universities). This created a category known as occasional conformists, who were Puritans who would go to an Anglican church a couple of times a year to keep their jobs. In fact, only Roman Catholics were effectively barred at all by this measure (imagine Catholicism as "socialism" and Puritanism as "religious right," and the century is easier to understand). By 1673-4, a Puritan plot had been discovered, but the Test Act came along. This required an oath against transubstantiation and taking eucharist in the Anglican church within three months.

(Stick with me. Here's where it gets good.) So, every member of Parliament -- Commons and Lords -- and all ministers of the church, and every college applicant, has sworn thus. When Charles II died and James II came to the throne, it was all change. James II relaxed the persecutions (exclusions, really) against Catholics and "dissenters," but he was still deposed, more or less, and William of Orange came along with his wife, Mary Stuart. This "Glorious Revolution" introduced a new oath.

If you swore to James II, swearing to William meant being forsworn. Swearing to Charles II meant being unable to swear to William. So, either you become a non-juror, or you abandon the notion of the integrity of oaths and implicitly recognize such oaths, even about faith, as being no more meaningful than any other field.

Protection: Failing!
The English Test Acts were based in protection. The idea had been that no man would lie about faith, and faith was identical with political allegiance. By 1700, a politically aware Englishman or woman would have realized that the oaths didn't work, that they, in fact, devalued themselves. Additionally, Parliament had effectively just elected a king.

Meet "The Vicar of Bray":

In good King Charles's golden days,
When Loyalty no harm meant;
A Zealous High-Church man I was,
And so I gain'd Preferment.
Unto my Flock I daily Preach'd,
Kings are by God appointed,
And Damn'd are those who dare resist,
Or touch the Lord's Anointed.

Art project from LP gas canisters. Carrboro, NC farmer's market, May 2000.
:And this is law, I will maintain
:Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
:That whatsoever King may reign,
:I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!
. . .

When William our Deliverer came,
To heal the Nation's Grievance,
I turn'd the Cat in Pan again,
And swore to him Allegiance:
Old Principles I did revoke,
Set conscience at a distance,
Passive Obedience is a Joke,
A Jest is non-resistance.
:And this is Law, &c.

When Royal Anne became our Queen,
Then Church of England's Glory,
Another face of things was seen,
And I became a Tory
Occasional Conformists base
I Damn'd, and Moderation,
And thought the Church in danger was,
From such Prevarication.
:And this is Law, &c.

The founders of the United States? Well, the families who had supported the Rye Plot left or were transported. The Puritans who lost with Charles II came to America. The Catholics who lost with William came to America. In short, the mythic mass "fleeing religious persecution" were fleeing loyalty oaths and political revolutions, and they had reason to despise the instrument of their dispossession. (By the way, do the oaths work? Is it an actual question? The presence of the Rye Plot, the dual invasions against James II, the Irish rebellion against William. . . all of these rather testify to the presence of malcontents in office and under arms. (Yes, I recognize that many, if not most, were not.))


If oaths do not maintain national or local safety, then why would they be used?  Abraham Lincoln's loyalty oath did lead to the resignation of a senator. We will come back to him, because I think he is a perfect example of what oaths do. It's fairly obvious that the United States loyalty oaths did not prevent much Soviet or Nazi subversion. Truman's "loyalty program" managed to net a lawyer or two. How many Communists stopped at the oath? How many KGB plants halted at that point?

Lincoln's oath caught a Democratic senator who was protesting. Truman's program no doubt caught numerous socialists who would not go along with the defiance and invasion of the question. Indeed, the oath inverted in its purpose, as it screened out the people whose word and character were united in "honor." No matter what we think of the Confederate sympathizers of the Civil War or today: those who refuse to sign tend to be the ones who read the oaths and take them as more than ink.

This is their purpose: to capture and reject dissenters, not enemies. In the failure of the original (if there are original) oaths, it became obvious that a certain class of individual would not be a Vicar of Bray. A certain group would argue, and this group is precisely the group that would cause the most trouble from within an organization. Who is going to be more dangerous to the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, an averred Communist -- whose actions will be captured long before they do much -- or a liberal who argues publicly that American nuclear policy is dangerous?  Who will cause more harm to national interests, the Nazi-believing jerk in the infantry, or the educated liberal who argues with his unit that their orders in "Pinkville" are insane?

Setting the normal

Why would anyone, then, permit the oath-making to continue? If the function of the test is to screen out dissent, then it becomes a seemingly infinitely flexible instrument.

Rachel Maddow's blog had an article on how much the GOP loves the oath. What Steve Benen noted was how the GOP apparatus officially embraced loyalty oaths at all levels. They extended their swearing to press conferences, campaign events, delegates, and all sorts of strange places. Furthermore, Republican candidates have to swear to all sorts of things. They have to swear:
*Never to raise a tax,
*Never to harm a fetus,
*To go to church,
*To root all utterances in the Constitution,
*To protect "God,"
*To oppose Islam.
Various groups with leverage on your local or state GOP ask for, and get, oaths from candidates. Meanwhile, some GOP candidates are notable for the oaths they do not take. Secessionists are showing up by refusing to say "indivisible" in the pledge that was designed to catch atheists.

However, these oaths, and their proliferation, show the function of the oath. They allow the oath's designer to proclaim the normal and the norm. (For this, you can see Political Authority and Obligation in Aristotle 2005, Andres Rosler, or the more pragmatic instances of how oaths created counter-norms and norms have destroyed oaths, see "Justice for All? the Supreme Court's Denial of Pro Se Petitions for Certiorari" in Albany Law Review 63:2 by Kevin H. Smith and Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework, David M. Estlund 2008. I confess that I have only read a smattering of this last one.)

Dividing the faithful with the voice of the almighty

If a vow, oath, or declaration establishes a norm, it does so with the vestments of the orthodox. Part of the attraction the GOP feels towards these things, no doubt, is the passive voice drenched certainty and authority in a vow. There are future aorists in there! The oath allows any group, and particularly an emergent reactionary group, to define the movement and actually create the movement according to its demands.

Meet Grover:
When I was twelve I made a pledge,
Against rules it was a hedge.
No taxes you may deduct,
And government can all be plucked.

The shadow greater than the sign.
Chinstraps and bootstraps
Bedknobs and broomsticks
If you want high office,
You'll learn to play tricks.

How many politicians, of any party, would consider a blanket pronouncement against all futurity like, "No tax, of any form?" How many politicians, of any party, would dedicate themselves to "Serving in government so that I may end the government I serve?" The proposition would have been laughable even in 1981, in the midst of the "Reagan Revolution," and yet that very "revolution" was the excuse and the steam for this pledge.

The Libertarian streak of Reagan's coalition was in no way its power, and yet, over the next two decades, it would perhaps grow more insistent than the radical Protestant groups that had been most powerful. One reason for this was the use of "tax" as an amorphous category of vilification.

Declaring the apostate

A loyalty oath catches the intellectual and the dissenting person of "honor." We may take honor in this context to mean not the 19th century's romantic notions, but rather a sense of personal integrity -- either through a skepticism of social bonds (as is found in existentialism and nihilism) or belief in a super-social value in truth (usually present in the religious). We can assume that it does not save an organization from a dedicated enemy or a self-serving careerist.

The enemy is not the concern of the oath, and therefore the careerist must be.

If, when you go to work at a place, you must swear to uphold "Christian principles of conduct," you are at the mercy of the employer's definition of those principles. While you may answer with history or the Bible, such things will be of no avail. If you swear to "Uphold America's traditional values," then you will have no idea what those might be. They might be slavery, or they might be westward expansion or that Latin America is the U.S.'s sphere. If you agree to the oath, the oath's designer has the power to define apostacy and forswearing.

The careerist politician is circumscribed by the oath's organization. Republicans did not need their own reason to say that extending middle class tax cuts was not a tax increase: they needed Grover Norquist to say so. If stem cells are up for a vote, they will not need science to tell them they are or are not voting on abortion: they will need the American Family Association or Focus on the Fambly.

The true value of the oath is the future power it grants the designer of the oath over the careerist.


The Vicar of Bray constitutes a victory for the powers that be. So long as he keeps preaching from the pulpit what they propagate from Whitehall and shows no convictions of his own, they are happy. So long as we change our contents of character to match the words we sign, rather than asking for the words to match our character or honor, then power endlessly recedes from the individual into ever-more vague and devalued groups.

Originally posted to A Frayed Knot on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:40 AM PST.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Community Spotlight.


I swear. . .

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's nearly coherent! (6+ / 0-)

    I didn't spot any typos, either. (If you think this is all obvious, then I apologize, but at least it's all in one place.)

    People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

    by The Geogre on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 09:22:34 AM PST

  •  Excerpts from Catch 22: (10+ / 0-)
    When fellow administrative officers expressed astonishment at Colornel Cathcart’s choice of Major Major, Captain Black muttered that there was something funny going on; when they speculated on the political value of Major Major’s resemblance to Henry Fonda, Captain Black asserted that Major Major really was Henry Fonda; and when they remarked that Major Major was somewhat odd, Captain Black announced that he was a Communist.

    “They’re taking over everything,” he declared rebelliously. “Well, you fellows can stand around and let them if you want to, but I’m not going to. I’m going to do something about it. From now on I’m going to make every son of a bitch who comes to my intelligence tent sign a loyalty oath. And I’m not going to let that bastard Major Major sign one even if he wants to.”

    Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself spearheading it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed. They signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers. To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twenty-four hours a day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them scornfully for their failure to follow his example. Each time they followed his example, he retreated with concern and racked his brain for some new stratagem that would enable him to turn upon them scornfully again.

    Without realizing how it had come about, the combat men in the squadron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed and shoved about all day long by one after the other. When they voiced objection, Captain Black replied that people who were loyal would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they had to. To anyone who questioned the effectiveness of the loyalty oaths, he replied that people who really did owe allegiance to their country would be proud to pledge it as often as he forced them to. And to anyone who questioned the morality, he replied that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was the greatest piece of music ever composed. The more loyalty oaths a person signed, the more loyal he was; to Captain Black it was as simple as that, and he had Corporal Kolodny sign hundreds with his name each day so that he could always prove he was more loyal than anyone else.

    “The important thing is to keep them pledging,” he explained to his cohorts. “It doesn’t matter whether they mean it or not. That’s why they make little kids pledge allegiance even before they know what ‘pledge’ and ‘allegiance’ means.”

    To Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren, the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a glorious pain in the ass, since it complicated their task of organizing the crews for each combat mission. Men were tied up all over the squadron signing, pledging and singing, and the missions took hours longer to get under way. Effective emergency action became impossible, but Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren were both too timid to raise any outcry against Captain Black, who scrupulously enforced each day the doctrine of “Continual Reaffirmation” that he had originated, a doctrine designed to trap all those men who had become disloyal since the last time they had signed a loyalty oath the day before. It was Captain Black who came with advice to Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren as they pitched about in their bewildering predicament. He came with a delegation and advised them bluntly to m ake each man sign a loyalty oath before allowing him to fly on a combat mission.

    One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

    by Inland on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:21:38 PM PST

  •  Loyalty Oaths (9+ / 0-)

    I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, One Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.

    Each Member of Congres, every Representative and Senator, took one Oath:

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
    I promise that I will never vote for anybody who ever signed any pledge to any other entity.  Anybody who pledged fealty to Grover Norquist cannot represent the People, and the Government, of the United States of America.

    It's time to question the Representatives and Senators who choose to bankrupt our Nation in order to serve their Master Norquist.  If they do not represent the people of the United States, then they are supporting insurrection and overthrow of this govenment.  It's time that the GOP, the RNC, the Tea Partiers and the Republicans look at the people they elect.  It's time for all Americans to question their Representatives:  Do they represent the interests of the United States of America?

    The Republican Party is trying to destroy the government of the USA.  They don't want an effective national government.

    The Congress of the United States could not pass the Constitution if it were introduced in 2013!  The Republicans in the Senate would filibuster and never allow the Senate a vote.  This is the state of the nation, today, January 3, 2013.

    Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

    by NM Ray on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:25:44 PM PST

    •  Very good point. (3+ / 0-)

      I've wondered about that. Must be a lot of Vicars of Bray in that august institution.

      "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

      by northsylvania on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:28:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The flag allegiance is a weapon, too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NM Ray, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      The pledge of allegiance as it now stands -- amended by Eisenhower -- was intended to "catch" atheists. The initial formulation had been "liberty and justice" and much more universalist in its formulation.

      What is amusing, and I noted it, above, is that some secessionist candidates in the GOP are refusing to say the pledge of allegiance because it states that it is "one nation, indivisible," and they believe in state sovereignty.

      I linked to an article where the state legislators in Georgia of the Republican side are saying a pledge of allegiance to the flag of the state every morning. These are the same goobers who attended a film presentation on how Obama was going to use "delta method mind control" on the nation.

      What's stranger still is the priority of "Constitution" in some circles. I concur with your faith in the general pledge, but people are now seeing the "Constitution" as a way of erasing common law and negating all precedent to go to 1783 court standings. "The Constitution" includes the courts operating as they operate (although the SCOTUS's declining of all pro se civil cases may not be so kosher).

      People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:39:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My parents had to sign loyalty oaths (6+ / 0-) teach in public schools in the 1950s.  They are serious people who see themselves as citizens, and it did them a violence I think.  They way they spoke of it meshes for me, intuitively, with how they saw their relation to their neighbors, the state, and the trust granted to educators.  One one level they just wanted to teach kids, and it was just some crap they had to do (though they would never have put it so crudely).  On another, it was the voice of the community and government.

    This may simply be a more pedestrian way to echo your diary, but I see the power of those oaths as telling people with a real role in society (who may or may not be careerists, but who serve some vital function) what prejudices and ideologies are to be considered sacred.  A mean little assertion of the dominant ideology, included in your employment contract.  

    I think that role has been largely superseded by the simple fungibility of human resources.  Why spell it out?  If you don't "get it", we need not even talk to you about a job, thanks so much...

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:34:35 PM PST

    •  You're right (5+ / 0-)

      As I said, people with honor would be affected by the oath.

      Your parents believed in personal and psychic integrity, so they could not actually live as if the words meant nothing, even if they were too intelligent to place the oath above the good. Therefore, it acted as an externalized conscience, a nag, an embedded piece of ideology that would take a toll on the earnest and coherent person.

      The actual enemy of the state would laugh. The true social climber would game it. Only the sincere would be affected, which is why they must be the real targets -- those who could actually affect public opinion.

      People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:50:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think I've told this story before, but (3+ / 0-)

      when I taught at Catholic school, the Archdiocese made everyone sign a "I will live my life according to Catholic precepts" oath.  The principle told me about it, laughed, and said not to worry about it.  I don't think they ever checked that sort of thing.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:56:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Protestants are not doing the same (5+ / 0-)

        Trust me: the young protestant denominations are instituting oaths in such a way as to find people wanting. I first began railing in my own mind about the subject when a little "Christian" high school demanded teachers swear to teach "in accordance to America's heritage."

        I had no idea what that meant, and I realized that it meant whatever the heck the principle wanted it to mean at a particular time, or whatever a parent wanted it to mean. It was a word intended purely as a way to fire teachers.

        Later, I saw how the colleges were behaving. Many have the oaths as pro forma, but there are some where the oaths are nothing short of vindictive. (A college has a stipulation that no faculty may imbibe alcohol in any public place where a student by observe, such as a restaurant, and may not consume alcohol within six hours of attending a college event. (I don't drink hardly at all, but. . . !))

        People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

        by The Geogre on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:20:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  WTH? a college? seriously? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Geogre

          Grown Up Time for grown ups. If I see a professor drinking somewhere, I think that they must not be paid much or I must be splurging for us to be frequenting the same watering hole.

          •  As I said, a bit. . . vindictive (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I would guess that Mormon colleges are mirroring this, as well as the various churches attached to evangelical churches, but wherever there is a contest within a church affiliated school, and the gown loses to the robe, the robe has a way of being rather. . . nasty about it. Some colleges tried to shake off their church affiliations and lost, so their churches took over, and, upon doing so, decided that the secular humanist plague had to be cured. As I say, this is reactionary, but it is also indicative of what happens, broadly speaking, when the robe feels slighted.

            It can create a serious problem for the college, of course, but it can also create a wider problem in chilling discourse.

            People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

            by The Geogre on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:03:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  From possibly faulty decades-old memory (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre, 417els

    Scout Oath:
    On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.

    Scout Law:
    A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

    Looking back, I remember taking that quite seriously, but I very much doubt it had very much to do with how I turned out, for good or ill.

    Regardless, I am happily forsworn. I am an agnostic now, which means I'm not certain of a lot when it comes to religion. However, I am quite sure that, whatever else may be true, there is no god to whom I have a duty to be "Reverent". Whether there is or is not an omnipotent creator (or a cast of dozens or thousands of deities) is irrelevant to that point. Likewise, I get to decide on a case by case basis, thank you very much, to what or whom I will be "Loyal" and "Obedient".

    A person is trustworthy or is not. As the diarist points out, an oath won't change that either way.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:59:08 PM PST

  •  Yes they're great believers in oaths and pledges (4+ / 0-)

    After all, the pledge is why all Republicans' children are virgins and none of them have any STD's.  A pledge is much more effective than information or science.

    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:04:55 PM PST

    •  "I'm still totally wearing my promise ring" (4+ / 0-)

      I've thought for a long time that the "fathers taking daughters to prom" and "daughters making a promise to daddy to be pure" constituted a class for psychotherapy, but, now that I know some of the young women who have been through the . . . ceremony . . . I would say that it adds one more layer of confusion and guilt to them, a thick layer of ignorance to the dumber ones, and no alteration in sexual behavior. (Except the CDC reported that oral sex, which should be a mark of intimacy, is being treated quite casually now.)

      People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:42:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  do these people have any sense of self? (4+ / 0-)
    The careerist politician is circumscribed by the oath's organization. Republicans did not need their own reason to say that extending middle class tax cuts was not a tax increase: they needed Grover Norquist to say so. If stem cells are up for a vote, they will not need science to tell them they are or are not voting on abortion: they will need the American Family Association or Focus on the Fambly.
    They "operate" like the inventions of a fevered "brain".
    This current behaviour is an expression of a cult.

    Conservatives, conserving the lifestyles of the rich and infamous. Those < 1/4 billionaires need not apply.

    by longtimelurker on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:28:03 PM PST

    •  Just fear (3+ / 0-)

      To the degree that there is no ONE vision of the Republican Party, and to the degree that both (or all three) legs of the party are moved by hatred or exclusion, each politician is TERRIFIED of being on a "hit list."

      Is the GOP evangelical? (yes)
      Is it racist? (yes)
      Is it plutocratic? (yes)
      Is it libertarian? (yes)
      Do these get along with one another? No.

      So, each politician tries to say, "I'm with you brother/ partner/ fellow producer" while never committing to any one for fear of the others. This last primary was a glorious example: the whole field had three plutocrats and eight evangelicals. Of the latter, three were versions of libertarian. Of the plutocrats, one (Cane) was libertarian. In the end, they went with the plutocrat who they believed would bend beneath the will of the other members of the coalition. It's no surprise that the angry racist, libertarian, and fundamentalists have all concluded from the election that the problem was that their guy or principles weren't on trial.

      We'll see more shrill, narrower oaths, I think, and more fear.

      People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:11:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hate oaths, and one reason is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that the Constitution
    I feel,
    forbids oaths,
    yet states that the President,
    and those holding public office
    shall swear them.

    The Constitution
    states clearly,
    there will be no religious test.

    An oath is a religious test,
    unless you have a very narrow idea
    of what a religion is.

    I truly feel
    that it should be the other way around;
    there should be a very strict
    religious test,
    but not in the form of an oath,
    if possible.

    The test should be,
    if you have a religion
    you should not be allowed
    to hold public office.

    Religions cause bad decisions.

    No religion is correct,
    so how can they help anyone?

    And no,
    not believing anything,
    (and many of us here at Daily Kos
    do not believe in anything)
    is not just another religion.

    Thanks for reading.

    •  Blind Adherence to any philosophy creates poor (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      decision making processes and outcomes.

      Religion is a big offender. But we also have racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and much much more.

      •  Yep, and enthusiasm leads to frenzy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I hate to sound like the people I study, but the phenomenon they called "enthusiasm" (personal revelation, emotional conversion, a belief in a new apostolic age) enables madness and gives it arms. It can also be a potent driver of genuine faith, and I would never deny it or its place. However, as a philosophy or practice it can endorse the private vision, create cults of personality, and lead to idiosyncratic heresies as fiery truths.

        Faith has not meant turning off the mind for the overwhelming mass of mankind for its history. It would be wrong to see the fraction as the whole.

        People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

        by The Geogre on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:11:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True enough, but become a minority, and it can be (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Geogre, bigjacbigjacbigjac

          hard to see through the fraction that surrounds you. When you have movements that are the dominant cultural paradigm whose membership number in the millions, even smaller deviant groups become numerically formidable in any given community, even if by the standards of the large whole, they are statistically insignificant.

  •  Fantastic Piece! THANK YOU! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre, mzinformed

    I get in trouble all the time. I will let you guess why.

  •  Vicar of Bray tune & additional verse (2+ / 0-)

    For those who can't get enough of this kind of thing, there's another verse between Charles II and WIlliam and Mary:

    When Royal James obtained the crown and Pop'ry came in fashion
    The Penal Laws I hooted down and read the declaration
    The Church of Rome I found would fit full well my constitution
    And had become a Jesuit but for the revolution.
    The tune is very pleasant, and all the verses are singable enough if you massage the words a bit. (It's a folk song, y'know.) Here's a couple of verses sung by Stanley Holloway

    The tune is better known by Morris dancers, school orchestras, and piano students as "Country Gardens."

    My brother drilled the beginner piano version into my brain when I was very young, and I learned maybe five verses back when I was a teenaged folksinger in the mid 60s.

    •  Thanks for the links! (0+ / 0-)

      I elided the verses because I felt a bit embarrassed at how long I was going already. I thought the picture I put in was a fair representation of the man, though. :-)

      Way, way, way back in the mists of time I worked on the "(song)" version Wikipedia article by offering up the footnotes to explain the historical references while another user worked on the music.

      I've always wanted to sing it.

      People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

      by The Geogre on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:39:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  :) (0+ / 0-)

    Ash-shadu Allah illaha il-lallahu, wa ash-shadu annah Muhammadar rasullullah.

    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

    by JDsg on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:27:41 AM PST

  •  Conviction by Coercion Still Mandatory to teach (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre

    (as a theologian, minimally) in all Catholic institutions of higher learning. Since 1983, ecclesial (canon) law has required that a theologian teaching in a Catholic university receive a mandatum from the local bishop. The requirement was highlighted in a footnote in Pope John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution on higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church). U.S. bishops began requiring the mandatum in 2001.

    Here's how the mandatum goes (wording from the guidelines of the United States Congregation of Catholic Bishops):

    Attestation of the Professor of Catholic Theological Disciplines

    I hereby declare my role and responsibility as a professor of a Catholic theological discipline within the full communion of the Church.

    As a professor of a Catholic theological discipline, therefore, I am committed to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church's magisterium.

    At some schools -- notably Ave Maria University and the University of Steubenville, in Ohio -- all members of the faculty are required to take this oath, whether they're teaching theology, or biology, or musicology.

    the consequences?

    In times like these, we cannot make too much music.

    by ProvokingMeaning on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:06:01 PM PST

    •  It would be a gamed oath (0+ / 0-)

      You know, that's one of those oaths that's so typically. . . Catholic itself. They seem to say, "I promise not to tell students that Raelianism is supported by the Pope," which is a darned low bar to meet. After all, Hans Kung would be quite clear in saying, "The church disagrees with me, but. . ." and Oscar Romero would have been quite clear about the status of the body of the church.

      Of course that's not really how the mandatum would be used. It would be a quiddity -- an imaginary something that could bend to any shape. (I know there is a legitimate use of the word, but I borrow mine from Swift's reference to the quiddity, as a monad.)

      The Holy Office is still in operation, I believe. We have only to ask the nuns.

      I would love it if private employers and ecclesiastical ones had to answer to sense when it comes to their employment contracts, as employment is a civil matter. Using code words is en vogue on the political right and evangelical left (if left and right have any meaning, then the newer churches are left), while the RCC seems to inflate the meaning of reasonable and everyday phrases.

      (Is there a rash of people going around telling students that, say, the Vatican is weak on the immaculate conception doctrine or that the magisterum is wobbly these days on infant baptism?)

      People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

      by The Geogre on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:32:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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