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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pro-life Image is Banned from Twitter On the Feast of the Holy Innocents

The Image of Christ Crucified is identified  as “Graphic Violence”

by Susan Fox

“We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee because by the Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.” (Catholic prayer)

Twitter put a lump of coal in my stocking on the Feast of the Holy Innocents,  Dec. 28, 2018.

They locked down my Twitter Account because of my profile picture, which they said contained graphic violence. 

I agree 100 percent with the sentiment. I truly wish Twitter would ban adult content and graphic violence, but I am still dismayed to run across pornographic content on Twitter. 

Banned from Twitter: Jesus Christ Crucified
To my shock, I found that Twitter identified the image of Jesus Christ crucified as an image of graphic violence! 

St. Paul was right!  "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1Cor 1:18) And he warned us that Christ crucified is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. But to Twitter it is "graphic violence." 

An atheist responding to this post demonstrated the problem. He looked at the banned picture of Christ Crucified and he responded, "Hey, it's just a guy getting a nail in his arm!"  

By saying that, he identified himself as a nominalist, someone who believes that universals or general ideas are mere names without any corresponding reality. Only particular objects exist. I'm often amused by the fact that atheists will argue that human beings are mere meat puppets. You ask them why some meat puppets are atheist and some are Christian, and they ascribe it to a series of chemicals that I find in my vitamins. So to a modern thinker, God's perfect sacrifice is reduced to a guy with a nail in His arm.

For us Christians, Christ Crucified is an image of Love: the Innocent Lamb, giving His Life so that He might take away our sins. Christ's Death is not a computer game arousing and exciting its users with images of meaningless violence. Such titillation the  Romans enjoyed when they threw the Christians to the lions for public entertainment. 

Witness the photo of Pope Saint John Paul II engrossed in prayer at the Hill of Crosses in Siauliai, Lithuania, in 1993. He looks like he is weeping. 
I found this in an article from Catholic World Report, "To Glory in the Cross of Christ" by Peter M.J. Stravinskas. What a wonderful writer! It said, "Every cross borne by any believer gains meaning and becomes life-giving when it is brought into a relationship with the Cross from which Jesus reigned as the King of Love and over which He triumphed in His glorious Resurrection."

Adding that Jesus Christ is “King of love on Calvary,” Stravinskas said, "Only the most hard-hearted are not moved to pity and sorrow. "

Fifth century pagan philosopher Socrates would have admired Christ's sacrifice on the cross. He argued against the tyrants and powerful men in Athens who believed that "Might makes right." Socrates said it was better to suffer a humiliating injustice than to act unjustly toward another person. He believed in an afterlife in which each person would receive what he justly deserved for his actions during life. What he couldn't foresee was that God Himself would send His Son to die for our sins. A graphic image of Christ crucified -- under these circumstances -- would be an object of reverence even to a pagan like Socrates.

Christ Crucified is the core of my Christian faith. Jesus died for my sins. By his stripes, I am healed. From His crucified side flows rivers of Living Water, the Life of the Sacraments that heal. Banning an image of Christ Crucified is equivalent to banning photos of the Quran, eliminating statues of Buddha, or removing pictures of cows in Calcutta. You would offend Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus by removing the images of their religions. But they have chosen instead to offend Catholics. Do you know how many images of Christ crucified there are on Twitter profile pages? A lot.

It will take them a year to ban them all. As I told Twitter in my appeal, every Catholic home in the world has an image of the crucified Christ on their walls. In Hispanic cultures, the images are always bloody. Every Catholic Mass begins with the image of Christ on the cross.  

Infant Christ and his little coffin in the Byzantine Rite
Catholic Tradition
Even Christmas in the ancient Byzantine Catholic Rite points to Christ’s death. Byzantine icons show Mary and Joseph pulling the tiny baby Jesus from his little coffin. Yes, Jesus is pulled from a coffin, not a crib, not a manger — a coffin. It’s to remind us He is born to die for our sins.

For centuries, the Catholic Church celebrated the Circumcision of Jesus eight days after His birth on Jan. 1. This was the first time the blood of Christ was shed, thus beginning the redemption of man.

Even former atheist and famous Anglo-Catholic poet T.S. Eliot uses the image of Christ's death in his poetry in connection with His birth.  

Reading Eliot’s poem Journey of the Magi for the first time, I was brought up short by images of Christ’s death in connection with Christmas. I remembered the poem after Twitter decided to terminate the picture of Christ crucified from my profile page during Christmas.

One generally expects to see the Birth of Christ  at the end of  the journey of the three wise men, who followed the star hoping to worship the newborn King of the Jews. One anticipates rejoicing angels, happy shepherds, quiet donkeys and a little drummer boy! But Eliot’s Magi make their journey and find — His  death.

“Were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But I had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.”  (Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot)

In the poem, the journey to the Christ Child was full of images of His death. It was made in the “very dead of winter.”  They saw “three trees on the low sky,” symbolising Golgotha, the place of Christ’s death. When they came to a tavern, they ominously find six hands dicing for pieces of silver — silver was paid to Judas for Christ’s betrayal. And finally, the Magi ask the question, “Were we led all that way for Birth or Death?” 

There was a birth — they saw the Christ Child, but there is a death as well. The Child was born to die. In a sense, that is His purpose.  And after they encounter Christ, they are no longer at ease in their own pagan kingdoms because they live among what is now “an alien people clutching their gods.” This is a form of death from their own culture, and makes the Magi long for “another death,” their own.

Ironically, my profile image on Twitter contained a pro-life message and hinted that pro-abortion voters betrayed Jesus Christ, effectively crucifying Him again in the person of the unborn child. Containing 30 pieces of silver, a voting booth, the image of an unborn child and the message “Vote ProLife,” it implied that voting pro-abortion was equivalent to the kiss of Judas. And in fact, Planned Parenthood earned more than 30 pieces of silver for its betrayal of the American child. It raked in $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds in the last three years while it earned $229.9 million in income in 2011. In order to get back onto Twitter, I replaced the image of the crucified Christ with an image of the famous kiss of betrayal. 

How interesting that Eliot so strongly connects Christ’s birth and death while Planned Parenthood has begun a campaign to #ShoutYourAbortion

In the 5th Century B.C., Socrates identified forms of deceptive messages. By comparing two similar things, one good and one bad, one can make a false statement. When one delivers a living baby, one celebrates his or her birth. Now the abortionist wants us to celebrate the child’s death. These are similar ideas with drastically different and opposing results. But they fool some people. 

At Christmas, we do celebrate the Child’s death: Jesus’ is born to die for our sins. But only Jesus, true God and true Man, qualifies to die for the sins of the human race. Only God can apologise to God for man’s sins.  No one else’s death will repair the damage done by mankind.

"And so, a symbol of ignominy throughout the ages, the Cross is transformed by Jesus Christ into a symbol of victory. The Book of Genesis tells us that the cause of Adam’s disobedience was a tree; Jesus, ever-obedient to His Father’s Will, takes that tree and makes of it an instrument of salvation. Today we see that good does ultimately triumph; Jesus has not gone down in the annals of history as an executed criminal; on the contrary, He is history’s point of reference," Stravinskas wrote. 

Think of the poor Jews sacrificing untold numbers of unblemished male lambs for centuries. They killed the sheep over and over again as a sacrifice for sin. They may have had a delicious dinner, but they never received redemption by a single sheep’s death. No, that was not the point. The point was that as Abraham prophesied, “God Himself will provide the Lamb for the Sacrifice.” (Gen. 22:8) Instead of killing his son, Issac, Abraham was to sacrifice an animal. Jews would sacrifice lambs  over and over again so that in the fullness of time, when the Son of God appeared, they would recognise their own Messiah. “Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)

Excavated Aztec sacrifices, results of graphic violence
Think of the Aztecs murdering 100,000 people in one weekend by cutting into the victim’s torso in six seconds flat, removing his still beating heart, and then mounting his head on a pole. Now that was graphic violence! It was useless! Nobody was saved. But the Aztecs believed these sacrifices — routinely repeated among the Mexica people in the 14th to 16th centuries — would feed the gods and ensure the continued existence of the world. Aztecs are long gone, but the world is still here and so are the skulls of their victims.

Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews during the 1940s in an effort to purify the German race. Nothing was made pure by his actions. Images of emaciated Jews and the results of Nazi experiments are routinely published to show the horrors of Nazism. These are images of graphic violence. However, I suspect Twitter would welcome them. 

Since 1973, the people of the United States have killed 61 million Americans by abortion in the name of convenience. What convenience? Abortion is the desolation of the human family. It is the destruction of the human race. We are not allowed to show these images of graphic violence on Twitter. 

These twisted deaths do nothing to improve society, but Christ’s death brings redemption! When the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven in Revelation 21, we find that the city is built from jewels that appear first in the the Garden of Eden --  jasper, emerald, onyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, amethyst, sapphire and agate. What is the significance of the jewels? 

Ezekiel explains. This was the original state of man to be clothed in vestments of such jewels: To Adam, God said,  "You were the signet of perfection full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, topaz, and jasper, chrysolite, beryl, and onyx, sapphire, carbuncle and emerald..." (Ezech. 28:11-13) Adam is perfect and beautiful in the midst of creation. He was priest, king and walked blamelessly on God's mountain.

The high priest in the Old Testament
wore the same jewels found in the
Garden of Eden before the Fall. They

symbolise the beauty of creation. 
Then he fell and exchanged his  beautiful garment for hard work, death and suffering, which is the consequence of the first sin, an act of rebellion against God.

In Rev. 21, the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven as a glorious Bride for her husband, the Lamb Slain. Her walls and floors contain all the jewels mentioned in the Garden of Eden that Adam wore. And now man dwells with God forever where there will be no more tears. The image shows us that man has been redeemed and restored to his original dignity as priest, king in creation! 

All this is made possible by Christ's suffering and death on the cross. 

And that’s why Christians celebrate His image, both His Death and His Birth at Christmas. His crucifixion is an image of Divine Mercy. It is the sublime beauty of hope. Because even if you have killed millions of children, or just one, you can be forgiven and receive redemption through the crucified Christ Jesus! 

Eliot’s play Murder in the Cathedral shows how the Catholic  mind works. It is a play about the martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170. At the beginning of the play, we know we are going to the cathedral to see a death, but somehow Eliot turns it into a Birth -- Christ's Birth.

The sermon on Christmas Morning, 1170, offered by the Archbishop Thomas Becket -- before his impending murder -- gives us the clue. The archbishop tells us that wherever the Mass is celebrated, we re-present the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, while on Christmas -- with the same Mass -- we celebrate His Birth.

“As the world sees, this is to behave in a strange fashion. For who in the World will both mourn and rejoice at once and for the same reason? For either joy will be overborne by mourning, or mourning will be cast out by joy; so it is in these our Christian mysteries that we can rejoice and mourn at once for the same reason.” (Interlude, Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot)

Yes, the way Catholics think is strange to the world. Christmas is both a feast of Birth and Death. On Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, we celebrate the martyrdom of St. Stephen. The celebration of the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents also falls right after Christmas  on Dec. 28.

The Magi visited King Herod looking for directions to the Christ Child. They saw his star at its rising, but they needed to check where the new born King of the Jews would be born. They were sent to Bethlehem, where they indeed found Him. The Jews knew where their Messiah would be born. 

Herod said come back and tell me where you found Him so I can worship Him too. But like Planned Parenthood, he spoke deceptively. He was an illegitimate king, not from the line of  King David. And he knew a newborn from the line of David would be serious competition for his throne. 

Image of Graphic Violence, the Murder of the

Holy Innocents
The Magi in a dream were warned not to return to Herod, and went home by another route. But Herod remembered Bethlehem and plotted the murder of the new born king. He  sent his soldiers to murder every male child under the age of two, planning to catch the newborn Christ in his murderous net. But Mary, Joseph and Jesus — thanks to a dream sent from God — had escaped to Egypt. The rest of the little innocent boys in Bethlehem did not fare as well: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Matt 2:18) 

So it is no surprise that my pro-life profile was struck down on Dec. 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. What could be more appropriate than King Twitter attacking both a pro-life image and the image of the crucified Christ on the day that we remember the innocents killed by King Herod. Herod's murderous search continues to sweep the world today through the organisation called Planned Parenthood. Abortion is nothing to be celebrated. But it can be forgiven. Forgiveness is well worth celebrating.

Murder in the Cathedral also reminds us of Simeon, who meeting the Infant Christ, announces He will be a sign of contradiction to many, and His mother’s heart too will be pierced with a sword. To the world, Christ's bloodied image is a sign of contradiction. That is why God was ripped from my Twitter profile page.

Image of Graphic Violence

according to Twitter 
“Between Christmas and Easter what work will be done?” Eliot inquires.  The answer is Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified. 

“Shall the Son of Man be born again in the litter of scorn?” The Chorus asks early in the play. 

Yes in the life of a martyr such as St. Thomas Becket, in the life of all Christians, the Son of Man is again scorned and killed when they are persecuted. As the character of the Archbishop says in Eliot’s play, he has been waiting his whole life to die. So have we all. 

Since childhood, I have spent countless Friday nights praying the Stations of the Cross, singing, “O Sacred Head surrounded by crown of piercing thorn! O bleeding head, so wounded, reviled and put to scorn. Death's pallid hue comes o'er thee, the glow of life decays; yet angel-hosts adore thee, and tremble as they gaze.”

The Cruel Image of my Beloved is meant to be adored by angels and men! Certainly it deserves to be on Twitter. “Now judgment is upon this world; now the prince of this world will be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."  He said this to indicate the kind of death He was going to die.” (John 12: 31-33)

Where is He lifted up? Where will He die? On the cross. But He invited us to join Him! "Lift up your cross! And follow me."

Would you like to read more about Nominalism?  Read  Truth or Consequences? A Dark Churning Blindness Engulfed Humanity. It is called Nominalism

Want to read an unbeliever's dialogue with two Christians? 
Read Are We Meat Puppets?