Category Archives: Religion

Trump’s acceptance speech pivots on America & Americans First

Did you watch Donald Trump’s speech as the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee last night?

What do you think of it?

If you haven’t watched it, here it is:

It was long, because Trump did not rush his words, but clearly and emphatically articulated (and sometimes shouted) important points he wanted to impress on Americans, and because he paused often, to acknowledge the reaction from the Convention delegates. All of which was not the performance of someone just reading from a teleprompter. Instead, this was a speaker who wanted to convey and impress on his listeners the gravity of America’s problems and how he would deal with those problems.

The heart of Trump’s message is a simple one:

America and Americans First

That principle should be self-evident, requiring no defense or justification — for who else but Americans would and should put America and Americans first? Don’t you put your own and your family’s wellbeing first? How is America to help others if America falls apart? And yet, we haven’t heard this overriding principle from other politicians, not even from Trump’s GOP primary rivals. It is also a message that the Left and their MSM accomplices, as well as the GOP elites, distort and malign as something evil — that standing up for and putting America first is “nativist,” “jingoist,” “fascist”…, as if the obligation of America and Americans is to be a doormat for the rest of the world.

From his central principle of “America and Americans First” — of making America rich and strong again — flows these derivative values and principles:

  1. Law and Order: A country that is in chaos cannot thrive economically. A fundamental responsibility of government is to protect and ensure the safety of the governed against criminals, whether criminals here illegally or those gunning down police. To ensure Americans’ safety, Trump is committed to our right to arm ourselves which is guaranteed by the Second Amendment. It is also on the theme of Law and Order that Trump indicts Hillary Clinton for her lawlessness in having a private email-server while she was secretary of state, and for the Obama FBI’s refusal to indict her for violating U.S. laws and endangering national security with unsecured emails containing classified state secrets and names of CIA agents.
  2. Secure Our Borders, to protect Americans against the flood of illegals, many of whom are criminals, and of Muslim “refugees” who the FBI has admitted cannot be vetted to exclude terrorists. On this, Trump reminds blacks that they are the economic victims of Obama’s and Hillary’s open-border policy, and that LGBTs were the victims of a Muslim gunman in Orlando. In so doing, without explicitly saying it, Trump reminds whites and straights that blacks and LGBTs are Americans, and putting “America First” should also mean putting all “Americans First”.
  3. A strong military, and better treatment for our veterans.
  4. In foreign policy and affairs, the United States will jealously guard our interests, be they financial, trade, or security. Trade treaties and arrangements will be rexamined and renegotiated, in order to restore America’s manufacturing industries and jobs. Our allies will have to pay their “fair share” for military defense (Japan, South Korea, but no mention of Israel) and step up to the plate against terrorism (NATO).
  5. Revive U.S. economy: Via restoring manufacturing jobs, getting allies to pay their fair share of defense costs, and lowering taxes.
  6. Populism: Trump ended his speech by telling America that unlike Hillary, who asks if Democrats are “with her,” his message is that he is “with you, the American people”.

Trump also graciously thanked Christians and Evangelicals for their support, saying he’s not sure he deserves it, which is uncharacteristically humble for him.

So how was Trump’s speech received by GOP elites?

If the editor of a supposedly conservative publication is an indication, it’s bad news for anyone hoping for Republican party unity to defeat Hillary, who will complete the destruction of America. Below is the shockingly vicious “The Demagogue Rises,” by Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon:

Donald Trump delivered the longest, loudest convention speech in recent memory when he accepted the Republican nomination for president Thursday evening. He made no attempt to “pivot to the general election,” moderate his agenda, smooth over rough rhetoric. Gone was Mitt Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch, tossed into a dustbin with George W. Bush’s Freedom Agenda, George H.W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light, Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America. Trump was his usual self: brash, boisterous, overbearing, defiant, inimitable, roiling with anger over the state of the country and the corruption, ineffectiveness, and arrogance of the nation’s elite. Trump won’t change, won’t learn, won’t listen, won’t apologize, won’t cavil, won’t conform to the traditions of presidential politics or adhere to the norms of political discourse. He doesn’t care about facts, he wants to overturn the postwar international order, he champions the will to power, he mercilessly attacks opponents. He’s a demagogue in dark suits, electric ties. I can only imagine what he’d be capable of if he were competent.

Because he’s not competent. He is actually truly, magnificently inept. The convention was a mess, haphazard, disorganized, weird. The botched roll call vote, Melania’s plagiarism, Ted Cruz’s hand grenade, the leaked speech draft—all of these gaffes and scandals occurred against the backdrop of dismal attendance, chants to put Hillary in prison, bizarre speakers, rambling addresses, early departures, and testimonies to Trump’s greatness. His campaign has practically no money, no advertising, no infrastructure, no grassroots operation. The other day, when he expressed uncertainty about whether the United States would lead NATO in defense of the Baltic States if they were attacked by Russia, Trump made history by provoking an international incident without even being president. Many GOP officials wouldn’t come near the convention, including Ohio’s popular governor. There are two Republican parties for the moment: the party led by Trump and the Republican Party in exile, the party of Kasich and Larry Hogan and Nikki Haley and Charlie Baker and Brian Sandoval and Mark Kirk and Ted Cruz. Election Day won’t just determine who will succeed President Obama. It will also determine the fate of Donald J. Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP.

Continetti all but calls Trump a Hitler, and Americans who support Trump mindless Nazis.

Note that Continetti’s criticisms of Trump are all about style, not substantive issues — that Trump was “brash,” “boisterous,” and “mercilessly attacks opponents,” and that he did not pay obeisance to GOP old guard elites, who to the end strove to undermine Trump and boycotted the Republican National Convention. As for the “opponents” whom Trump “mercilessly attacked,” since the only “opponents” Trump attacked were Hillary Clinton and big business fat-cats (with apologies to cats) who hollowed out the U.S. economy with their outsourcing of jobs, that should tell us whose side Continetti is on.

If Hillary wins, it will be because of Republicans like Matthew Continetti who reserve their most vicious venom not for Democrats, but for a fellow Republican and patriot who simply wants to put America and Americans first. Should Hillary become president, the victory of Continetti, Bill Kristol, the Bushes, et al., against Trump will be pyrrhic because all that will be left of their Republican Party is an empty shell, devoid of rank-and-file members.

So what do you think of Trump’s speech? Take our simple short poll!

~Eowyn

 

L. A. Times columnist: There’ll be a military coup against President Trump

Donald Trump hasn’t even been elected President, but he’s already making heads explode. Not just liberal heads, but also those of so-called conservatives.

The latest case of an exploding head is someone named Jamie Kirchick, 33, described as a journalist, writer, and a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative — a neo-con think tank.

James Kirchick1In his op/ed for The Los Angeles Times yesterday (July 19), “If Trump wins, a coup isn’t impossible here in the U.S.,” Kirchick tells us that a coup like the one that recently took place — and failed — in Turkey “would not be unfathomable in this country if Donald Trump were to win the presidency.”

Why? Because, in Kirchick’s words,

“Trump is the most brazenly authoritarian figure to secure the nomination of a major American political party. He expresses his support for all manner of strongmen, and his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has actually worked for one: former Ukrainian president and Vladimir Putin ally Viktor Yanukovich. […]

Throughout the campaign, Trump has repeatedly bragged about ordering soldiers to commit war crimes, and has dismissed the possibility that he would face any resistance.”

Kirchick then piously intones that what he calls Trump’s “Blimpish swagger” won’t fly “in a liberal democracy, legally grounded by a written constitution, each branch restrained by separation of powers.”

And so, Kirchick fantasizes, if “Trump commanded our military to do something stupid, illegal or irrational. Something so dangerous that it put the lives of Americans and the security of the country at stake,” and Trump refuses to back down, the U.S. military would be forced to undertake a coup:

“In that case, our military men and women, who swear to uphold the Constitution and a civilian chain of command, would be forced to choose between obeying the law and serving the wishes of someone who has explicitly expressed his utter lack of respect for it.”

Curiously, while Kirchick already anticipates President Trump to violate America’s rule of law, he is sanguine about Trump’s Democratic rival who had already — and repeatedly — violated U.S. laws by using an unsecured private email server while she was secretary of state to exchange emails that contained highly-classified national security information, as well as names of CIA agents. Kirchick writes:

“Needless to say, such dystopian situations are unimaginable under a President Hillary Clinton, who, whatever her faults, would never contemplate ordering a bombing run or — heaven forbid — a nuclear strike on a country just because its leader slighted her small hands at a summit.”

Kirchick then concludes that the only way to avert a military coup in a Trump Administration is if voters stop him from becoming president:

“Trump is not only patently unfit to be president, but a danger to America and the world. Voters must stop him before the military has to.”

The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) is a neo-con non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. From Wikipedia:

“FPI’s Board of Directors consists of former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric S. Edelman, Dan Senor, Editor of The Weekly Standard William Kristol and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Robert Kagan. The latter two were project directors of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century.

In fact, the Foreign Policy Initiative was co-founded in 2009 by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, Dan Senor, and Robert Kagan.

Kirchick also writes for Tablet. In a column on March 14, 2016, titled “Donald Trump Is Turning Me Liberal,” he identifies himself as “gay and Jewish” and hysterically compares Trump to Hitler by calling Trump rallies “Nuremberg-esque”.

James KirchickSee also:

~Eowyn

Mother and her three daughters, aged between 8 and 14, are stabbed by ‘Muslim’ man in French holiday resort because they were ‘scantily dressed’

Religion of Pieces strikes again.

islam

From Daily Mail: A mother and her three daughters were reportedly stabbed while on holiday in France because they were ‘scantily dressed’. A knifeman attacked the woman and her three daughters, aged eight, 12, and 14, in the village of Garda-Colombe near Laragne-Monteglin, in south-east France, at around 10.30 yesterday morning.

The attacker, named locally as Moroccan-born Mohamed Boufarkouch, was later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remains in police custody. 

Local reports suggest the Boufarkouch attacked the victims because they were ‘scantily dressed’. The victims are believed to have been wearing shorts and t-shirts at the time.   It is also understood that the victims were known to the attacker and his family as they were staying next door to each other in the holiday village.  The victims, who have not been named, were attacked while eating breakfast at the holiday village.

Local mayor Edmond Francou, told Le Parisien that the attacker was on holiday with his own family, including two children, from their home in Yvelines, near Paris.

At a press conference, the Prosecutor said so far there was no motive.

Judge Judy shakes head rolls eyes

However local reports suggest the attacker had made references about the woman and children being ‘too lightly dressed’. Jean-Marc Duprat, a deputy mayor for the nearby town, said the attacker was upset because the victims were wearing shorts and t-shirts. French TV channel TF1 said he ‘may have acted out of religious motives’.

A small folding knife with a blade measuring from 8 to 10 centimeters was found at the scene.  Boufarkouch, who is now in custody, has been known to police for at least 15 years. He reportedly fled after the attack, leaving behind his family and his wife ‘in tears’.  The mayor suggested Boufarkouch, who lives with his family in Yvelines, west Paris, could be ‘pyschologically sick’ and he is set to be seen by a psychiatrist today.

The eight-year-old victim was the most severely wounded in the attack and remains in a critical condition in hospital.  The mother reportedly suffered an injury to her sternum. French channel TF1 claimed the mother had helped the knifeman by bringing him medication when he fell ill on Monday.

Francois Hollande’s deputy chief of staff Christophe Pierrel said: ‘It is time to keep calm and let the investigators do their job.’

Karine Berger, member of the French National Assembly representing Hautes-Alpes, said she was shocked by the attack on a family holiday village. ‘This tragedy affects us all by the age of the victims and the circumstances,’ she said.

Laragne-Monteglin is 180 kilometers 110 miles northwest of Nice, where a Tunisian man killed 84 people last week by driving through a crowd on Bastille Day.

DCG

Sick: Art school student makes handbag out of human skin

Here’s a sure sign of how low artistic standards have sunken.

Tina Gorjanc, a student in Central Saint Martin — a public tertiary art school in London — has produced a project, complete with patents, to make a handbag from human skin. Gorjanc used DNA extracted from the hair of the late and queer fashion designer Alexander McQueen to “grow” his skin in a laboratory using cutting-edge biotechnology.

Tina Gorjanc's Tanned Bag projectMcQueen committed suicide in 2010, at the age of 40, by hanging himself with his favorite brown belt.

According to GQ, for her M.A. graduating project, Gorjanc used Alexander McQueen’s DNA to develop a collection of jackets and bags modeled on the designer’s skin—complete with freckles, tattoos, and the ability to get sunburned. She had acquired McQueen’s DNA using samples of his hair that he famously used in the labels of his 1992 fashion collection, “Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims.”

Gorjanc was successful in regenerating McQueen’s skin in sample form, but the pieces used in her show were modeled on pigskin. The collection was met with praise—Gorjanc was a runner-up in the MullenLowe Nova Awards, and people from McQueen’s camp were said to have been at the show.

Writing for The Guardian, July 19, 2016, Jonathan Jones reports that scientists who have commented on Gorjanc’s idea say it is theoretically possible – although it would be difficult to produce enough McQueen skin to make a full accessories line.

Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s ethical. Jones asks:

Should art ever be made from human skin? It used to be serial killers like Ed Gein, the real life model for Alfred Hitchcock’s Norman Bates, who made themselves skin trophies. Today, there are more legitimate ways of getting hold of human skin to make art. Instead of murdering and skinning people, you can grow an epidermis in a lab. But is the resulting art any less creepy? […]

The idea of making art with human bodies disturbs me – with its self-evident degradation of our respect for each other. […]

I suspect Tina Gorjanc knows this. Her proposal to grow McQueen’s skin and make it into leather sounds like, you know, a joke. A joke about fashion and the macabre.

Still, she really has taken out a patent. We live on the edge of science fiction. Who knows, in 10 years’ time there may be skin art everywhere. [….]

Ed Gein was also the real life model for the serial killer Buffalo Bill in the movie The Silence of the Lambs.

Tina GorjancI hate to point this out, but “Gorjanc” is the Slovenian version of the German Jewish (Ashkenazi) name, “Berger”. I also don’t need to point out that given the stories from the Holocaust of the Nazis making soap from dead Jews, Gorjanc’s human-skin handbag project is even more distasteful.

~Eowyn

Dr. Death opens shop in Berkeley

Last month, California became the 5th and most populous state to adopt a law legalizing physician-assisted suicide after Governor Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act last year. The new law went into effect on June 9.

And in Berkeley, the belly of the liberal beast, the new law drew an emergency-room physician out of retirement to open a one-stop-shop for killing people, at a price of $2,000 per pop.

Dr. Death, Lonny Shavelson

His name is Lonny Shavelson, age mid-60s, and he’s opened California’s first End of Life Options clinic in the Bay Area — apparently a cottage office in his backyard in Berkeley (his clinic’s mailing address is a mailbox in a UPS Store) — where he will consult with and provide lethal prescriptions for patients who request them, refused by other doctors who actually hold true to their professional Hippocratic oath of “First do no harm” and “Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.”

Lisa Aliferis of KQED reports that Shavelson’s website, Bay Area End of Life Options, went up in April, and he’s outlined the law at “grand rounds” at several Bay Area hospitals this spring. His practice will be focused on consulting not only with physicians whose patients request aid-in-dying, but also with patients themselves, including offering care to patients who choose him as their “attending end-of-life physician.”

, a reader of the KQED article with a visceral hatred of traditional, i.e., orthodox Christians, is ecstatic over Berkeley hosting Doctor Death:

“This is huge progress in every sense of the word. At a time when basic human rights like abortion are under attack from the WhiteSIS YallQaeda American-Taliban religious subset of our population, it’s truly inspiring to see California steadily marching forward toward real human progress.

We certainly need to fumigate out and eradicate the corrosive, backward and destructive infestation of religion in our government throughout America (we do have this thing called separation of church and state). It is unthinkable and immoral that for so many decades those deranged mentally-ill elements of our population have been directly responsible for extraordinary levels of suffering because of their dark-age and backward religious beliefs.

Things like this are what I love about Berkeley….”

Under the California law, two doctors must agree that a mentally competent patient has six months or fewer to live. The patient then agrees in writing to administer the lethal prescription themselves. Currently, the law does not mandate doctors to provide lethal prescriptions if they choose not to do so.

Dr. Burton PresbergDr. Burton Presberg, an Oakland psychiatrist who works specifically with cancer patients and their families, said he’s concerned that patients suffering from clinical depression at the end of life, sometimes feel they are a burden to family members who could “really push for the end of life to happen a little sooner than the patient themselves.” Expressing concerns that physicians may not be aware of patients’ depression, Presberg nevertheless enthuses that “it’s really good that this [euthanasia] is an option.”

Shavelson, Davidzon, Presberg — all Jewish surnames. It is curious how enthralled some (fake) Jews are with death, given the Holocaust.

“…those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars….” –Revelation 3:9

~Eowyn

Psychiatrist says demonic possession is real

crucifix repels vampire

Richard Gallagher, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist and a professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College.

In an article for The Washington Post on July 1, 2016,  Dr. Gallagher describes some of his experiences. Below is his essay in its entirety.

As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession

By Richard Gallagher, M.D. and Professor

In the late 1980s, I was introduced to a self-styled Satanic high priestess. She called herself a witch and dressed the part, with flowing dark clothes and black eye shadow around to her temples. In our many discussions, she acknowledged worshipping Satan as his “queen.”

I’m a man of science and a lover of history; after studying the classics at Princeton, I trained in psychiatry at Yale and in psychoanalysis at Columbia. That background is why a Catholic priest had asked my professional opinion, which I offered pro bono, about whether this woman was suffering from a mental disorder. This was at the height of the national panic about Satanism. (In a case that helped induce the hysteria, Virginia McMartin and others had recently been charged with alleged Satanic ritual abuse at a Los Angeles preschool; the charges were later dropped.) So I was inclined to skepticism. But my subject’s behavior exceeded what I could explain with my training. She could tell some people their secret weaknesses, such as undue pride. She knew how individuals she’d never known had died, including my mother and her fatal case of ovarian cancer. Six people later vouched to me that, during her exorcisms, they heard her speaking multiple languages, including Latin, completely unfamiliar to her outside of her trances. This was not psychosis; it was what I can only describe as paranormal ability. I concluded that she was possessed. Much later, she permitted me to tell her story.

The priest who had asked for my opinion of this bizarre case was the most experienced exorcist in the country at the time, an erudite and sensible man. I had told him that, even as a practicing Catholic, I wasn’t likely to go in for a lot of hocus-pocus. “Well,” he replied, “unless we thought you were not easily fooled, we would hardly have wanted you to assist us.”

So began an unlikely partnership. For the past two-and-a-half decades and over several hundred consultations, I’ve helped clergy from multiple denominations and faiths to filter episodes of mental illness — which represent the overwhelming majority of cases — from, literally, the devil’s work. It’s an unlikely role for an academic physician, but I don’t see these two aspects of my career in conflict. The same habits that shape what I do as a professor and psychiatrist — open-mindedness, respect for evidence and compassion for suffering people — led me to aid in the work of discerning attacks by what I believe are evil spirits and, just as critically, differentiating these extremely rare events from medical conditions.

Is it possible to be a sophisticated psychiatrist and believe that evil spirits are, however seldom, assailing humans? Most of my scientific colleagues and friends say no, because of their frequent contact with patients who are deluded about demons, their general skepticism of the supernatural, and their commitment to employ only standard, peer-reviewed treatments that do not potentially mislead (a definite risk) or harm vulnerable patients. But careful observation of the evidence presented to me in my career has led me to believe that certain extremely uncommon cases can be explained in no other way.

*          *          *

The Vatican does not track global or countrywide exorcism, but in my experience and according to the priests I meet, demand is rising. The United States is home to about 50 “stable” exorcists — those who have been designated by bishops to combat demonic activity on a semi-regular basis — up from just 12 a decade ago, according to the Rev. Vincent Lampert, an Indianapolis-based priest-exorcist who is active in the International Association of Exorcists [IAE]. (He receives about 20 inquiries per week, double the number from when his bishop appointed him in 2005.) The Catholic Church has responded by offering greater resources for clergy members who wish to address the problem. In 2010, for instance, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops organized a meeting in Baltimore for interested clergy. In 2014, Pope Francis formally recognized the IAE, 400 of whom are to convene in Rome this October. Members believe in such strange cases because they are constantly called upon to help. (I served for a time as a scientific adviser on the group’s governing board.)

Unfortunately, not all clergy involved in this complex field are as cautious as the priest who first approached me. In some circles there is a tendency to become overly preoccupied with putative demonic explanations and to see the devil everywhere. Fundamentalist misdiagnoses and absurd or even dangerous “treatments,” such as beating victims, have sometimes occurred, especially in developing countries. This is perhaps why exorcism has a negative connotation in some quarters. People with psychological problems should receive psychological treatment.

But I believe I’ve seen the real thing. Assaults upon individuals are classified either as “demonic possessions” or as the slightly more common but less intense attacks usually called “oppressions.” A possessed individual may suddenly, in a type of trance, voice statements of astonishing venom and contempt for religion, while understanding and speaking various foreign languages previously unknown to them. The subject might also exhibit enormous strength or even the extraordinarily rare phenomenon of levitation. (I have not witnessed a levitation myself, but half a dozen people I work with vow that they’ve seen it in the course of their exorcisms.) He or she might demonstrate “hidden knowledge” of all sorts of things — like how a stranger’s loved ones died, what secret sins she has committed, even where people are at a given moment. These are skills that cannot be explained except by special psychic or preternatural ability.

I have personally encountered these rationally inexplicable features, along with other paranormal phenomena. My vantage is unusual: As a consulting doctor, I think I have seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.

Most of the people I evaluate in this role suffer from the more prosaic problems of a medical disorder. Anyone even faintly familiar with mental illnesses knows that individuals who think they are being attacked by malign spirits are generally experiencing nothing of the sort. Practitioners see psychotic patients all the time who claim to see or hear demons; histrionic or highly suggestible individuals, such as those suffering from dissociative identity syndromes; and patients with personality disorders who are prone to misinterpret destructive feelings, in what exorcists sometimes call a “pseudo-possession,” via the defense mechanism of an externalizing projection. But what am I supposed to make of patients who unexpectedly start speaking perfect Latin?

I approach each situation with an initial skepticism. I technically do not make my own “diagnosis” of possession but inform the clergy that the symptoms in question have no conceivable medical cause.

I am aware of the way many psychiatrists view this sort of work. While the American Psychiatric Association has no official opinion on these affairs, the field (like society at large) is full of unpersuadable skeptics and occasionally doctrinaire materialists who are often oddly vitriolic in their opposition to all things spiritual. My job is to assist people seeking help, not to convince doctors who are not subject to suasion. Yet I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners nowadays who are open to entertaining such hypotheses. Many believe exactly what I do, though they may be reluctant to speak out.

*          *          *

As a man of reason, I’ve had to rationalize the seemingly irrational. Questions about how a scientifically trained physician can believe “such outdated and unscientific nonsense,” as I’ve been asked, have a simple answer. I honestly weigh the evidence. I have been told simplistically that levitation defies the laws of gravity, and, well, of course it does! We are not dealing here with purely material reality but with the spiritual realm. One cannot force these creatures to undergo lab studies or submit to scientific manipulation; they will also hardly allow themselves to be easily recorded by video equipment, as skeptics sometimes demand. (The official Catholic Catechism holds that demons are sentient and possess their own wills; as they are fallen angels, they are also craftier than humans. That’s how they sow confusion and seed doubt, after all.) Nor does the church wish to compromise a sufferer’s privacy any more than doctors want to compromise a patient’s confidentiality.

Ignorance and superstition have often surrounded stories of demonic possession in various cultures, and surely many alleged episodes can be explained by fraud, chicanery or mental pathology. But anthropologists agree that nearly all cultures have believed in spirits, and the vast majority of societies (including our own) have recorded dramatic stories of spirit possession. Despite varying interpretations, multiple depictions of the same phenomena in astonishingly consistent ways offer cumulative evidence of their credibility.

As a psychoanalyst, a blanket rejection of the possibility of demonic attacks seems less logical, and often wishful in nature, than a careful appraisal of the facts. As I see it, the evidence for possession is like the evidence for George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. In both cases, written historical accounts with numerous sound witnesses testify to their accuracy.

In the end, however, it was not an academic or dogmatic view that propelled me into this line of work. I was asked to consult about people in pain. I have always thought that, if requested to help a tortured person, a physician should not arbitrarily refuse to get involved. Those who dismiss these cases unwittingly prevent patients from receiving the help they desperately require, either by failing to recommend them for psychiatric treatment (which most clearly need) or by not informing their spiritual ministers that something beyond a mental or other illness seems to be the issue. For any person of science or faith, it should be impossible to turn one’s back on a tormented soul.

[End of Dr. Gallagher’s essay]

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: The Messengers

Genesis 18:1-10

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre,
as he sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way.”
The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.”

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
“Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.”
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before the three men;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”

3 angels appear to Abraham at Mamre

The above passage from Genesis 18 is one of many passages in the Bible referring to angels, so many that, as (still) Pope Benedict XVI said in 2009, “We would eliminate a significant part of the Gospel” if we did not believe in angels.

The word “angel” is derived from the Greek word angelos, which simply means “messenger.” They are couriers of the divine—incorporeal spiritual beings who act as intermediaries between God and humanity. As St. Augustine (AD 354-430) explains: “Angels are spirits, but it is not because they are spirits that they are angels. They become angels when they are sent. For the name angel refers to their office, not their nature. You ask the name of this nature, it is spirit; you ask its office, it is that of an angel, which is a messenger.” In other words, angels are defined by their function as message-bearers, although this capacity does not exhaust their activities.

To the question of why God would need messengers, the answer is “Of course, not.” God doesn’t need anyone. But our creator God is so bursting with protean creativity that He has fashioned and will continue to create every imaginable and unimaginable, animate and inanimate, that inhabit the fullest range and spectrum of what is possible.

Philosophers and theologians through the ages have offered thoughtful arguments for the possibility and existence of angelic beings. One of the most famous accounts is that by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).

According to Aquinas, there are four kinds of substances that are commonly known in the world. They are mineral, vegetal, animal, and human—the last substance being an amalgam of the first three, but with something more. Like animals, human beings have bodies; but unlike animals, humans also have souls, and so are made of both corporeal and spiritual substances. The four kinds of substances comprise a series of grades in the universe, all of which, “participate and represent the goodness of God in various ways.” Aquinas then reasoned that the gradation of substances is completed by the inclusion of another kind of being intermediate between God and humans, which is made of purely spiritual or incorporeal substance. The angelic pure spirits would thus “round out the order of things” because a created universe that does not include such beings will have failed to realize an important range of possibilities.

Similarly, philospher René Descartes (1596-1650) in Meditations On First Philosophy, reasoned that since human beings are composed of mind and body — “a thing that thinks” instead of just a body, which is “not a thing that thinks” — Descartes then concluded that there would also be minds without bodies, i.e., pure spirits or intelligences.

For his part, American philospher Mortimer Adler (1902-2001), who wrote an entire and very serious book on angels (Angels and Us), correctly concluded that in the last analysis, the existence of angels turns on whether God exists for the simple reason that, being divine messengers, angels depend on God for their very creation and existence. In his book, How To Think About God, Adler frames the question concerning the existence of God in the following manner:

“If we are persuaded that the physical cosmos is not the ultimate, inexplicable, and uncaused reality, then we are under a rational obligation to posit the existence of the supreme being as the supernatural—and uncaused—cause that explains the preservation of the cosmos . . . [as well as] its creation.”

In the end, despite his self-identification at the time as a “pagan” (which he defines as an irreligious person who does not worship the God of Christians, Jews, or Muslims), he concluded that “we have reasonable grounds for believing in God, not with certitude, but beyond a reasonable doubt.” Born a Jew in 1902, Adler was an agnostic for most of his life. Although he held a rational belief in a transcendent supreme being, he insisted that he lacked the gift of grace, finding himself unable to cross what he called the “great gulf between the mind and the heart.” In his last years, however, he made that transit. In 1984, bedridden with illness, he sought solace in prayer and finally accepted the grace he had long sought. After a lifetime as a pagan, Adler professed his belief “not just in the God my reason so stoutly affirms . . . but the God . . . on whose grace and love I now joyfully rely.” He died a Roman Catholic, on June 29, 2001.

Guardian Angel

Being powerful pure spirits without bodies, angels are therefore invisible and genderless. Though invisible, they can assume physical form when they interact with human beings, as three of them did in Genesis 18, appearing as three men to deliver to Abraham an important message from God — that Abraham’s elderly, way past menopause wife, Sarah, will bear a son, which of course is a miracle.

Since angels can assume physical form when they interact with human beings, in theory, that form does not necessarily have to be human, which is a fascinating thought indeed.:)

So how do we know when it’s an angel?

When the form, be it human or animal or . . . , delivers an important message, the nature of which always is to urge you toward the good.

Has that happened to you?

For true stories of angelic encounters, go to our “Angels and Saints” page for all the post-links colored green. Here’s a simple but lovely prayer to our wonderful guardian angels, by St. Bonaventure (1221-1274):

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His Love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. Amen.

And may the Peace and Joy and Love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you this glorious Sunday!

~Eowyn