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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Battlestar Galactica and God's Children: Let's go save the world.

By Susan Fox
“Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was called ‘Faithfull and True.’ He judges and wages war in righteousness. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many diadems. He had a name inscribed that no one knows except himself. He wore a cloak that had been dipped in blood, and his name was called the Word of God. The armies of heaven followed him, mounted on white horses and wearing clean white linen. Out of his mouth came a sharp sword to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he himself will tread out in the wine press the wine of the fury and wrath of God the almighty. He has a name written on his cloak and on his thing, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’” (Rev. 19:11-16)

The agnostic/atheist fans of Battlestar Galactica are livid at the series finale that ran Friday night, according to blog entries at SciFi.com.
The creators of the long-running SciFi show, Battlestar Gallactica, ended the series with a religious theme. Always in the series, there was a “god,” who was almost a mysterious character in his own right, and caused things to happen. The mostly evil machines, known as the cylons, believed in him, the “one true god.” The humans were all polytheists, and in the finale their “gods” clearly lost the ideological battle in the sci-fi sit com.
But there is nothing Christian in the “one true god” of the cylons. He – capricious, cruel and repetitive – gave his cylon converts no 10 commandments and no transforming love. And in the end he kicked them out the door. With few exceptions, the cylons sought to destroy humanity, which had colonized the universe. Dogged by the cylons and led by a book of prophesy, a living remnant of the human race crawled into space ships looking to find the original earth. Found, it was full of radiation and the reason why their ancestors fled in the first place was clear.
However, in the finale, humans and cylons were about to forge a working relationship when an old crime of one of the cylons put a spanner in the works. A dead viper pilot’s hand presses the button to nuke both cylon and human ships. Starbuck, who always felt she had a great mission, remembers a tune from her childhood, plugs it into the ship’s computer and light speed brings everyone to a lush “new earth” while the left-behind cylons are completely destroyed. In short, she saves the day. Everyone abandons the now junky ships and decides to settle on this new planet where there are already primitive human beings.
Having watched the old Battlestar Galactica series and the “modern” one, I guess everyone assumed that the people in the series were our descendents, that they were our future. But arriving at this new lush planet, Hera, the half human, half cylon child, becomes Mother Eve on a new earth, which is recognizably ours thousands of years later. This is apparently the plan of the “one true god” of the cylons.
The atheists and agnostics who followed the series really didn’t need to be so angry about the ending. The god of Battlestar Galactica was a creature of man’s science fiction. There really was nothing Christian in the final episode’s resolution. There is no “creator” – just an endless loop of one humanity leading to another. However, even when science fiction writers try to create a pagan universe, they sometimes stumble on some aspect of the truth of the human heart.
It was really in a little sidebar on the viper pilot Starbuck. A crack male pilot in the original series, Starbuck in the modern series is a hard-living female viper pilot with a destiny to save humanity. She literally died and came back. She found her own dead body when she led everyone to the old earth they had come from. Finding her dead body and realizing she was not a cylon and probably not a living human being, Kara (Starbuck) agonized over who and what she really was. Admiral Adama, who admirably led everyone through the entire series, finally answered her question, “Who am I?” Kara had been his deceased son’s fiancée. Adama reminded Kara, “You are my daughter.” Dead, alive, cylon or human, Kara was loved and had a valued relationship with her fiancée’s father. This affirmation from a beloved father figure probably gave Kara the final courage to save the human race.
I remember one time starting my prayers, and I must have been very disturbed and confused as I said, “Father, I don’t know who I am.” He answered, “Aren’t you my daughter?” Well, Dumb Head, I just called Him, Father, didn’t I?
Sometimes I think we Christians treat our spiritual childhood with God, which we receive at Baptism, as something academic and dimly understood. Father is title, not a relationship. But even the writers of Battlestar Galactica understood that such a relationship confers happiness and dignity on the person so adopted. If a fictional father/daughter relationship causes such happiness in the human heart, how much more so when a Divine, All-Good and All-Loving Being, such as God, decides to adopt one of us inferior creatures -- made in His image and likeness, made with a heart for God.
There is new series starting on television called, “Kings.” I have no intention of watching it. It seems to be about an American King, who selfishly controls everybody’s lives, rewarding his followers with money and women. But the fact that it’s there on television, is a sign that people do hunger for a “king” and a kingdom, and they do hunger for a relationship similar to the spiritual childhood conferred in Baptism. And such really exists. It is God’s kingdom, and God’s kingship. Jesus Christ, according to the Book of Revelation, is the “King of kings, Lord of lords.” But He is good. He is not capricious. He is not cruel, abandoning His own followers to complete annihilation. He is love. And He gives us standards to live by, which will make us happy. They are called the Beatitudes.
St. Faustina, named by Jesus as the Secretary of His Divine Mercy, wrote in her diary many things that Our Lord said to her. In one selection, paragraph #229, she was having doubts about her own peace of heart. Jesus appeared to her and said, “My daughter, imagine that you are the sovereign of all the world and have the power to dispose of all things according to your good pleasure. You have the power to do all the good you want, and suddenly a little child knocks on your door, all trembling and in tears and, trusting in your kindness, asks for a piece of bread lest he die of starvation. What would you do for this child? Answer Me, my daughter.
The creators of Battlestar Galactica and Kings would kick the kid out the door.
But Faustina answers correctly, “Jesus, I would give the child all it asked and thousand times more.
“Father, who am I?” we ask the One True God.
And He responds, "You are My child."
Yes, Baptism has bestowed this relationship on us. We are children of God, Our Father, children by adoption. And in that relationship, let’s go save the world!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Should Catholics who voted for Obama go to Confession?

Editor's note: This is a letter my friend Phoebe wrote to Fr. Coleman, who has a regular column in the Valley Catholic, the newspaper of the Diocese of San Jose, Calif. He was saying that he was against abortion but that Catholics who voted for President Obama had no need to go to confession. Phoebe said, "I was fighting mad, but I hope I managed to stay calm in the letter." She did an excellent job! Please read. Susan Fox

Dear Father Coleman,Thank you for your words in defense of the unborn in the February 17 issue. My prayer for Lent is that all of us-you, myself, American Catholics and all of God's people-will come to a greater understanding of the horror of abortion.I would like to propose to you some arguments that may allow us to broaden our comprehension of this difficult issue.How many non-combatants did Hitler kill? We will never know for sure, but some estimates go as high as 23 million.How many babies have died from surgical abortion in the U.S. since 1973? 50 million. (54 million as of 2013)

What kind of person believes that one person's life is more valuable than the next? The German Nazis believed that only the pure Aryan race, and only perfect specimens of that race, had a right to live. All others were slated for destruction. Hitler destroyed 300,000 people with disabilities. The news sources tell us that 90% of babies with Down's syndrome are now aborted in the U.S. When these figures are combined with babies aborted because of other types of genetic defects, we will no doubt soon surpass Hitler's 300,000 number.

What difference is there between the accomplishments of Hitler's killing and abortion in the US? None, except that we have killed more people. This comparison only breaks down if you believe that pre-born humans are not persons. May God help all of us realize that they are real, live human beings.Hitler clearly and openly stated his plans to eliminate Jews and others before he was elected by the German
people as head of state. Most voted for him for economic reasons, ignoring his intentions. Obama voted three times against measures to give medical treatment to babies born alive after botched abortions when he was in the Illinois state senate.

Obama also stated before the election that the first thing he would do as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice act, which would overturn every federal, state, and local law passed against abortion in the past 35 years, including partial birth abortion law. There is no reason to doubt that he will do so if Congress sends him such a bill. He has already overturned the Mexico City policy by executive order to allow US funding for abortion oversees.

Why did some Catholics vote for this person? (52% of Catholics voted for Obama) Economic reasons? Other moral issues? What can be more important than life itself? Father, in your article on the Obama presidency you addressed the issue of whether "a Catholic who voted for Obama is under serious moral obligation to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until making a sincere confession for endorsing a candidate who supports abortion."

You quoted Pope Benedict XVI, writing as Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004 to the Catholic bishops: "A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion. When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion., but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

I do wonder what words of the Holy Father's the ellipsis represents, but that aside, I wonder what he would think of having his statement cited in support of assuring Catholic voters that they have no need to seek the sacrament of reconciliation for having voted for a candidate who is pro-abortion over a candidate with a strong pro-life record. 
Joseph Ratzinger suffered the trauma of living under the Nazi regime as a teenager, and has never expressed anything other than a horror of that ideology. Would it not be safer to assume that when he penned the phrase "proportionate reasons", he was thinking of something more along the lines of having to choose between two evil candidates, one of whom proposed killing adult citizens in concentration camps and killing babies with abortions, and another who merely proposed killing with abortion. In such a case, a Catholic would clearly be voting for the lesser of two evils, not in support of abortion.

The last presidential election did not supply us with "proportionate reasons" for voting for a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life candidate. Over 4,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq to date, and over 31,000 wounded. As tragic as those figures are, they pale beside the approximately 1,370,000 abortions that take place annually in the US, almost 4,000 per day. Again, the only way this argument can be considered untrue is if you do not truly believe that unborn lives are just as valuable as your own.

May God help all of us realize that every unborn baby is His child, just as deserving of life as any one of us. Father, I do not want to presume to discuss the care of souls from the perspective of the clergy, but if I had a very close friend who was a Catholic and who had voted for Obama, I would consider it a very brave act of charity to urge her to examine her conscience, confess, and make a good act of contrition before receiving Holy Communion again. Anything less would be to not care about the good of her soul.

Phoebe Wise
Now that the damage is done, and we have an aggressively pro-abortion President in office, we need all Catholics, Obama supporters and long-time pro-lifers alike, to pray, to seek conversion of heart, and to do everything they possibly can to stand up for life. A wonderful opportunity exists here in San Jose with the Forty Days for Life prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood on the Alameda during Lent.I urge everyone to check out their website at www.40daysforlife.com/sanjose
Sincerely, Phoebe Wise