Free to Agree With Me: Cancel Culture and Freedom of Expression

Herb Block political cartoons, during McCarthyism. Above: 'Fire!' (June 17, 1949); right: 'You read books, eh?' (April 24, 1949); both published in Washington Post. See
Defending American freedoms: by stifling unwanted ideas. (1949) I do not miss the ‘good old days’.

I’ll be talking about a cartoon, a bishop, and brittle bigwigs. But first, an explanation or three may be in order.

Politics, Pigeonholes, and Me

George Bellows' illustration for Metropolitan Magazine, May 1915: Billy Sunday in Philadelphia, March 15, 1915.
Billy Sunday, as shown in Metropolitan Magazine. (1915)

I’m a Catholic. I take my faith seriously, and don’t see the point in believing something if I don’t act as if it matters.

That gives me opinions which line up with political platforms. Several of them.

Conservative? Liberal? Republican? Democrat? No: Catholic

An online opinion poll result that said I'm a libertarian. Not entirely inaccurate, but not accurate either. (2017)I was called “some conservative guy” in social media, several years back. In context, the label made sense. Particularly since I hadn’t been displaying liberal views.

Fact is, I’m like my father-in-law.

Many years back now, he was asked whether he was liberal and conservative.

He said he was Catholic. So am I. And the Catholic Church is literally catholic, καθολικός, katholikos, universal. (from κᾰθόλου: on the whole, general).1

I took a few of those online ‘discover your politics’ quizzes in 2017.

In each, I answered about 20 questions: and learned that I’m a right-wing conservative, a liberal, and a libertarian.

In each case, my assigned label matched political views on economics, state-sponsored micromanagement, that sort of thing.

I think employers should pay folks a reasonable wage, and don’t think a federal agency should tell me what color socks to wear. That very likely accounts for liberal and libertarian labels.

I suspect the right-wing conservative label came from my insistence on seeing humans as people, regardless of age. But it’s been years since I played with those online ‘what are you’ things, and don’t remember details.

Out of Step: a Half-Century-Plus and Counting

Dick Orkin's Chickenman, fighting crime and/or evil: see,33009,843884,00.htmlIf I’d been born a little earlier or later, my teens and the 1960s wouldn’t have overlapped almost exactly. But they did, and that’s affected my attitude.

It was not a serene decade.

Quite a few Americans had started realizing that “legal” isn’t necessarily “right”.

Some were even questioning whether “she’s smart as a man” was really a compliment.

The Vietnam War had become an ongoing SNAFU: arguably on a par with the Charge of the Light Brigade.

America’s self-described defenders of freedom were having fits. In part, I suspect, because (alleged) Communists, fellow travelers, and other folks with controversial ideas, weren’t being consistently silenced.

I was not, putting it mildly, on the same page as The Establishment of that era. But I couldn’t reasonably go along with every belief of what became today’s Establishment.2

Good grief. I couldn’t even be conventionally unconventional, and that’s another topic.

I’ve over-simplified the situation, but the 1960s must have been rough on folks who’d gotten used to having their preferences and paranoia taken seriously.

Protecting Americans From Unsanctioned Ideas

Michael Ramirez' cartoon: 'Human shields', showing a caricatured Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad saying 'How Dare Israel Attack Civilians'. (November 6, 2023) Las Vegas Review-Journal via Fox News, and see
Retracted “Human shields” cartoon, and examples of caricatures by cartoonist Michael Ramirez. (2023)

That cartoon was still visible on the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s website this Wednesday.

Folks visiting the Washington Post’s website, however, will not be exposed to the disturbing image. Because, apparently, it’s “racist”.

Back in my salad days, something offensive could be labeled “Communist”. And then right-thinking publications would shield their readers from the improper idea or image.

The good news then was that not all publications were right-thinking. Not from HUAC’s viewpoint, at any rate.3

The good news now is pretty much the same thing, although The Establishment’s preferred reality has shifted a bit.

On the other hand, folks who have become accustomed to having their preferences and paranoia taken seriously still favor stifling ‘subversive’ ideas to discussing them.

Political cartoonist speaks out after Washington Post pulls his work mocking Hamas
David Rutz, Joseph A. Wulfsohn; Fox News (November 10, 2023)

“…He added he’s happy the cartoon has sparked a debate about the ‘systematic undermining of the freedom of speech.’

“‘I want an open debate. I think America is better, more extraordinary because of that,’ he said.

“The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning artist told Fox News Digital he will have a cartoon addressing what transpired published in Sunday’s edition of the Review-Journal and will pen a piece to accompany it.

“Offering a preview of what he will say, Ramirez cited the Washington Post’s motto ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness,’ saying ‘When the protests and rancor of a distressed newsroom offended by a cartoon exposing the truth causes adults to retreat to their safe spaces, clutching their participation trophies and cancel the freedom of speech, these are truly dark days.’…”

Caricature and Sensitivity

Strickland Constable's illustration of 'low types'. (1899)
“Low types”, left and right; a person of the “superior races”, center. (1899)

Before I talk about caricature and that conniption-causing cartoon, a word or two about racism: which I’ll take as discriminating against (or for) folks, because they have the wrong (or right) ancestors.

Basically, it’s a bad idea and I shouldn’t do it. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1939)

Which should be obvious, since respecting humanity’s transcendent dignity and acting as if folks matter comes with being Catholic. Or should. (Catechism, 1928-1942)

Anonymous graffiti: 'Rufus est,' ('This is Rufus'). (first century AD)Now, about caricatures.

They’re pictures of individuals in which the artist emphasized striking characteristics of that person.

In contrast, cartoons are pictures of individuals in which the artist emphasized striking characteristics of that person.

Okay. There’s more to comparing and contrasting caricatures and cartoons. But I’ll leave it at that today.

These days, artists make caricatures for satire, political cartoons and just for fun. Some folks like their caricatured likeness. Others don’t.

And some say they’re offended when a caricature looks like its subject.

The word “caricature” is only a few centuries old, but folks have been drawing caricatures for a long time: at least since someone scribbled that profile on the wall of a Pompeian villa.

All we know about that picture’s model is that he looked like Mr. Magoo. And that someone wrote “rufus est” over his head: “this is Rufus”.4 Who Rufus is, and why someone drew his profile on the wall, is a mystery which may never be solved.

“…War Rages as Outcry Grows….”

Idan family photo, via BBC News: Maayan, third from right, is dead. Her father, Tsachi, far right, was kidnapped by Hamas. (October 2023)
Family photo, before Hamas attacked.

BBC News schematic: 'Urban battlefields and tunnels: What fighting in Gaza City might look like'. (November 7, 2023)I’ve said this before. I do not like wars. Things get broken and people get killed.

The plight of folks living in Gaza has been a regular feature in my news feed.

What’s been less obvious in the headlines is why the Jews have been paying so much attention to a hospital.

As I said last week — given their beliefs, I can’t blame Gaza’s rulers for digging in under their subjects’ homes and public services. They’re getting headlines and sympathy.

Too bad it comes at the expense of their subjects. And that’s yet another topic.

BBC goes inside Al-Shifa hospital with the Israeli army
Lucy Williamson at Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City; BBC News (November 16, 2023)

“…Doctors at the hospital say they have been working without power, food or water for days now — and that critically ill patients have died as a result, including newborn babies. People displaced by the fighting in Gaza have been sheltering in the hospital complex….

“…In the brightly lit corridors of the MRI unit, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus shows us three small stashes of Kalashnikovs, ammunition and bullet-proof vests — he says they have found around 15 guns in all, along with some grenades….

“…'[And] we uncovered a lot of computers and other equipment which could really shed light on the current situation, hopefully regarding hostages as well.’…”

The point of bringing this up again is that, however much it’s under-emphasized in my country’s news, the Hamas tunnel systems are hardly a secret.

And, embarrassing as the idea may be, neither is the Hamas policy of using human shields.

As for whether or not Israel’s government should respect the sincerely held beliefs of Hamas, and not try keeping them from killing more Jews? I talked about double effect and living in a non-ideal world a few weeks back.5

Self-Appointed Guardians of Freedom and Decency: Then and Now

Herb Block political cartoon: 'Say, what ever happened to 'freedom-from-fear'?' (August 13, 1951, during McCarthyism) published in Washington Post; see don’t think the “Human shields” cartoon is racist — any more that Herb Block’s 1951 “Say, What Ever Happened To ‘Freedom-From-Fear?” cartoon was un-American.

I’d prefer that today’s Washington Post be as willing to incur the (self?) righteous wrath of America’s self-appointed guardians of freedom and decency as the paper was in McCarthyism’s heyday.

But editorial staff, and sometimes viewpoints, change with time.

And, although I’m not pleased that the Washington Post decided to let today’s analog to the old “Communist” trigger word suppress a [trigger word] cartoon — I’d be less pleased if a federal agency forced the Washington Post to publish it. Or, for that matter, forbade the Las Vegas Review-Journal from releasing it.6

One more thing before moving on.

I do feel sorry for folks living under Hamas rule. But I do not think it follows that Hamas leaders should be exempt from criticism and caricature.

American and Catholic

Udo Keppler's anti-Catholic cartoon for Puck magazine: 'The American Pope'. (1894) Persuasive Cartography, The PJ Mode Collection, Cornell University ( ); via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.
Udo Keppler’s anti-Catholic cartoon for Puck magazine: “The American Pope”. (1894)

I’m an American. My country is no longer the youngest in the world, but we’re not quite two and a half centuries old.

I’m also a Catholic. That makes me part of an outfit that’s two millennia old and counting.

There’s no problem, or shouldn’t be, being an American and a Catholic. As a citizen, I should — along with civil authorities — contribute to “…the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom….” (Catechism, 2239)

Civil authorities, politicos included, also have obligations. (Catechism, 2235-2237)

Obedience to and respect for authority are important. That’s reasoned obedience. Blind obedience is a bad idea and I shouldn’t do it. No emperor, king, president or boss is above natural law. (Catechism, 1900-1903, 2242-2243)

And that brings me to a mess involving an ex-bishop, a popular video, and our rules.

He Said WHAT?

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas, USA. Via Vatican News, used w/o permission.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas, USA. (Vatican News)

Last week’s news hasn’t pushed the Gaza mess or presidential politics out of first place in my news feed.7 Can’t complain about that. Won’t, anyway.

Bishop Strickland relieved of pastoral governance of US diocese
“The Vatican has published the Pope’s decision concerning the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, following an apostolic visitation conducted by two US bishops.”
Vatican News (November 11, 2023)

“…Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo, Metropolitan Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, released a statement in which he noted that the prelates who made the visit, Dennis Sullivan, the Bishop of Camden, and Gerald Kicanas, Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, ‘conducted an exhaustive inquired into all aspects of the governance and leadership of the Diocese of Tyler by its Ordinary, Bishop Joseph Strickland.’

“‘As a result of the Visitation,’ the statement continues, ‘the recommendation was made to the Holy Father that the continuation in office of Bishop Strickland was not feasible. After months of careful consideration by the Dicastery for Bishops and the Holy Father, the decision was reached that the resignation of Bishop Strickland should be requested. Having been presented with that request on November 9, 2023, Bishop Strickland declined to resign from office.’ Pope Francis then decided to remove the bishop….”

Maybe a juicy conspiracy theory will develop, inspired by the scattered ‘TRUE FACTS BEHIND…’ headlines I’ve seen.

I hope not. There’s more than enough nonsense bouncing around as it is: including a Catholic version of my country’s End Times Bible Prophecy, playing off the Gaza mess. I’m hoping that doesn’t get traction, and that’s yet again another topic.

I’m running behind schedule, so if I’m going to get this finished by Saturday, I’ll settle for hitting the highlights — that’s not quite the right word, but let it pass — of the Strickland situation, and move along.

Some of the trouble started back in 2020, with a rousing but misleading video.

Texas bishop endorses video claiming faithful Catholics can’t support Democratic candidates
Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter (September 6, 2020)

“Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, has endorsed a video that includes anti-immigrant remarks and homophobic slurs by a priest of Wisconsin in which the priest claims, ‘You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat.’

“The video was released Aug. 30 by Fr. James Altman, pastor of St. James the Less Catholic Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and has since received more than 298,000 views….”

“…In referencing Martin’s participation at the Democratic convention last month, Altman labeled the Jesuit priest a ‘a hyper, confusing [!] spreading heretic’ who was a ‘premier speaker’ at the convention.

“In fact, Martin, who is known for promoting LGBTQ inclusion within the Catholic Church, did not speak and instead offered a prayer that included petitions for ‘the LGBT teen who is bullied’ and ‘the unborn child in the womb,’ among other vulnerable and marginalized groups….”

I’ll give Father Altman credit. He’s got a colorful style. And I can see why he was relieved of pastoral duties.

La Crosse bishop removes Father Altman from ministry
CNA Staff, Catholic News Agency (CNA) (July 9, 2021)

“Fr. James Altman has been removed from ministry after Bishop William Callahan of La Crosse sought privately to correct the priest for his inflammatory, though in some circles popular, commentary on social media.

“‘The obligation of a bishop is to ensure that all who serve the faithful are able to do so while unifying and building the Body of Christ,’ the La Crosse diocese said July 9. ‘Bishop William Patrick Callahan, in accordance with the norms of canon law, has issued a decree for the removal of Fr. James Altman as pastor of St. James the Less Parish.’…”

About Altman and Strickland being relieved of duty: as far as I can tell, they both broke rules about getting political. And in Altman’s case, misrepresented information.

In both cases, again as far as I can tell, due process was followed. And I hope everyone involved can learn something from the experience.

Resources: Political Life From a Catholic Perspective

Reuters photo: Westboro (Kansas) Baptist Church Members demonstrating at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Veterans Day. (2010)As I said before, being an American and a Catholic isn’t a problem.

But I should remember that the Catholic Church isn’t an American political party.

I suspect, based on what I saw when I was modestly involved in local and state politics, that one or both of America’s major parties might get to the point where membership and being Catholic are incompatible.

But I hope we’re not there yet. And if we are, I’m not the one to make that call.

As for why J. Strickland and the Wisconsin priest got in trouble: I can guess at what the specific problem was.

Again, I’m running short on time. There’s a (lengthy) discussion of politics and being Catholic here:

I recommend reading this, too:

Irks, Ilks, Ethics, and Being Catholic

Photo of Pope Francis, via NDTV: 'Francis has pushed a series of reforms since he became pope 10 years ago.' August 2023)Irksome as it may be for someone of the ‘God agrees with me’ ilk — the Church isn’t into politics. Not in the ‘you must belong to this party’ or ‘you must not admit to experiencing this temptation’ sense.

The Church’s job, in part, is pointing out what is — and is not — ethical.

And, irksome as it may be for someone of the ‘right and wrong are whatever I feel like’ ilk, some things are right. And some things are simply wrong. Not all that many, and that’s still another topic. Topics.

As I see it, neither of my country’s main political parties have platforms that line up with what the Church says is right.

But I suspect that there are folks in both parties who honestly believe that they are acting for the common good. It strikes me that making it easier for these folks to learn what actually is ethical behavior is a good idea. Now I’ll step down from that soapbox.

After a quick look through Canon Law, all I could find about Catholic clergy and political involvement was this:

Code of Canon Law – Book II – The People of God – Part I. (Cann. 208-329)

Can. 287 §2. “They [clerics] are not to have an active part in political parties and in governing labor unions unless, in the judgment of competent ecclesiastical authority, the protection of the rights of the Church or the promotion of the common good requires it.”

Can. 317 §4. “Those who exercise leadership in political parties are not to be moderators in public associations of the Christian faithful which are ordered directly to the exercise of the apostolate.”

About Strickland and Altman: I can see why some devout, and conservative, Catholics may get upset over what’s happened.

And I can see why some devout, and liberal, Catholics may get upset when they realize that this isn’t the dawn of a glorious — and liberal — revolution in the Church.

Me? I’m Catholic. I think the Pope is Catholic. I also think the Church has been Catholic for two millennia: and that’s not going to change.

Cancel Culture: New Phrase, Old Habit

Walt Kelly's Deacon Mushrat and Simple J. Malarky. (1953)This isn’t the America I grew up in.

Back then, HUAC was protecting us from Communists, composers, fellow travelers, and other dangerous subversives.

That’s what they said they were doing, at any rate.

It was a long time before I realized there really was a “Communist threat”, and if I don’t stop reminiscing I won’t get this finished.

HUAC finally folded in 1975. We haven’t had anything quite like it, or the Army-McCarthy hearings, since.8 Which doesn’t disappoint me one bit.

These days, trigger words and phrases like “Communist” and “national security” don’t get the response — and broad support — they used to. Which, again, doesn’t disappoint me.

Now we’ve got new trigger words and phrases: like “racist” and “inclusive”. This, I’m not too thrilled about.

What’s been happening lately isn’t “McCarthyism”, and I’m pretty sure folks who want “racist” political cartoons banned feel that they’re protecting us. But I’m no great fan of “cancel culture”.

Cancel culture is a phrase contemporary to the late 2010s and early 2020s used to refer to a culture in which those who are deemed to have acted or spoken in an unacceptable manner are ostracized, boycotted, or shunned. The term ‘cancel culture’ is predominantly used when these responses are to right-wing actions or speech, but is rare when the responses are to left-wing actions or speech….”
(Cancel culture, Wikipedia) [emphasis mine]

Interestingly, Pope Francis doesn’t approve of “cancel culture” either:

“…As a result, agendas are increasingly dictated by a mindset that rejects the natural foundations of humanity and the cultural roots that constitute the identity of many peoples. As I have stated on other occasions, I consider this a form of ideological colonization, one that leaves no room for freedom of expression and is now taking the form of the ‘cancel culture’ invading many circles and public institutions. Under the guise of defending diversity, it ends up cancelling all sense of identity, with the risk of silencing positions that defend a respectful and balanced understanding of various sensibilities. A kind of dangerous ‘one-track thinking’ [pensée unique] is taking shape, one constrained to deny history or, worse yet, to rewrite it in terms of present-day categories, whereas any historical situation must be interpreted in the light of a hermeneutics of that particular time, not that of today….”
(To the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis (January 10, 2022)) [emphasis mine]

What’s funny, or sad, or both, is that folks who were on the McCarthy bandwagon and those who now strive to suppress ideas which aren’t theirs, may sincerely believe that what they’re doing is right.

(Only) Free to Agree With Me is Not Freedom

Herb Block political cartoons, left to right: 'It's okay - We're hunting Communists' (October 31, 1947); 'I have here in my hand. . .' (May 7, 1954), 'Stand fast, men--They're armed with marshmallows' (August 11, 1954) published in Washington Post (during McCarthyism) see
Self-appointed defenders of freedom, caricatured in the Washington Post. (1947-1954)

“Free to agree with me is not freedom” has been a catchphrase of mine.

I knew what I meant, so I didn’t realize how ambiguous it was. Maybe “murky” would be a better word.

Anyway, after some thought I decided that “only free to agree with me” is closer to what I have in mind.

Freedom has been a big deal in my country from day one.

“…In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people….”
(Declaration of Independence: A Transcription — America’s Founding Documents, National Archives)

It didn’t take long to realize that our freedoms needed to be spelled out.

“…Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances….”
(The Bill of Rights: A Transcription — America’s Founding Documents, National Archives)

It’s been an ongoing process. Partly because folks who influence or control key parts of government, media, education and other institutions, can forget that folks like me aren’t the enemy. My opinion.

That’s not an elegant way of expressing the idea; but it’s late, and I’m in a hurry.

Brian H. Gill's 'Totally Depressing News Network: TDNN'.Let’s take a hypothetical situation, imagining that by some freakish violation of probability, I became editor-in-chief of Liberty’s Blinding Light — a thoroughly fictional newspaper, part of the equally-fictional TDNN news corporation.

No. Even for me, that’s too hypothetical.

I am profoundly not corporate executive material.

The point I was groping for was that seeing ‘not mine’ opinions as subversive or otherwise [trigger word] can be easy.

Particularly for someone with sincerely-held opinions, who has lived among like-minded folks most of his or her life.

I’ve got sincerely-held opinions, lots of them. Some more important to me than others.

But I grew up in the 1960s. If folks who had been leaning toward McCarthyism’s views had made more sense, I might have taken them more seriously. But they didn’t. Neither did many of those who became supporters of today’s Establishment.9

“Leaves of Grass”, Underground Comix, and “Banned in Boston”

Public notice, Boston: 'PUBLICK NOTICE - The observation of Christmas having been deemed a Sacrilege....' (1659)As it was, I remember when “banned in Boston” still mattered.

As something other than incentive for folks to go see what had upset the Boston Brahmins this time, that is.

On the other hand, I can sympathize with tight-collar folks. Sometimes I even think they’ve got a point.

But I’m not even close to thinking that celebrating Christmas is “Satanical”.

“The Obferation of Christmas having been deemed a Sacrilege, the exchanging of Gifts and Greetings, dreffing in Fine Clothing, Feafting and similar Satanical Practices are hereby FORBIDDEN”
(Public notice deeming Christmas illegal. Boston (1659))

I’ve also not been filled with holy zeal and an urge to burn copies of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”. Although, again, I can see why someone might, back in the ‘good old days’ of the 1850s.

Gilbert Shelton's cover art for 'Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers' No. 1. (1971) (low-resolution thumbnail) (copyright may belong to Rip Off Press)A big, make that huge, problem I see with ham-handed suppression of [trigger word] opinions and ideas is that folks who hold them don’t always stay suppressed.

Underground comix, for example, still aren’t exactly mainstream.10

But they did, I think, encourage folks who had been willing to try something — almost anything — other than the ‘God agrees with me’ version of patriotism and ‘buy stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress folks you don’t like’ notion of “success”.

Bottom line: opinions and ideas that make sense will, eventually, slip past the censors.

So will those that don’t make sense.

I prefer not being protected from [trigger word] cartoons. Not even those created by a cartoonist who went from national syndication to off-the-radar in a matter of days. As far as I can tell.

And that’s — actually, that’s not another topic, but it’s all I have time for this week.

Walt Kelly's Pogo: daily strip, '...we've brought in Catt's cousin, Simple J. Malarkey....' (May 1, 1953) see Ten Ever-Lovin', Blue-Eyed Years with Pogo', p. 81, Simon and Schuster (1959).Apart, that is, from adding the usual links:

1 Being “Catholic” and “catholic”:

2 A little background:

3 Dealing with differing viewpoints, then and now:

4 Art, life, and a now-dead city:

5 Unpleasant realities:

6 Freedom from fear, still a good idea:

7 In the news, but not ‘front page’ (which I don’t mind):

8 McCarthyism, cancel culture; yes, it could be worse:

9 The folks in charge, and one of their chronic irritants:

10 Propriety above and beyond the call of reason, and The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers:

How interesting or useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

I am sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let me learn why!

How could I have made this more nearly worth your time?

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
This entry was posted in Being Catholic, Discursive Detours, Journal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Free to Agree With Me: Cancel Culture and Freedom of Expression

  1. With our imperfections, we really need disagreement clashing against us, too. And our imperfections aren’t ever things that have “I don’t understand why they’re like this” as the best response to them. I mean, Adam and Eve ate the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, and that sin stained us their descendants, making that confusion a mark of sin rather than of virtue. If we don’t understand, then we must seek to understand as much as God wishes. And before we know, we must believe, for the truth can be right in front of us yet absent from our perception by the power of our belief in the wrong thing.

    So yeah, thank you very much for giving me another reflection of yours for me and my fellow readers to reflect with, Mr. Gill. Also, I feel your statement about being unable to be conventionally unconventional a lot. Even now, I feel that as someone who, for one, would rather wholeheartedly bring my fellow cishet men on earth struggling with toxic masculinity to healthy masculinity, which I strongly believe also doesn’t involve loathing the masculinity we were born with and would rather live with, rather than give into the unfortunate instinct of panicking away from and raining vengeance upon them.

    • First paragraph – well said! Me? I don’t always like running into opinions that aren’t mine – but it can be a learning experience. Again – well said.

      Second paragraph – wow. You’re welcome, and my pleasure. And “my fellow readers” is good to hear! Thanks for sharing this material.

      Oh, boy – the toxic/healthy masculinity topic(s). Agreed: loathing (or disregarding, for that matter) the half of humanity oneself is conceived with doesn’t make sense.

      Being less than thrilled with unreasonable boys/girls do/don’t societal rules – – – over here, at least, that boiled over in the 1960s. There’s still a fair amount of craziness getting flung around from assorted sides.

      Some good news, at least in this town, is that seeing fathers ***carrying*** their babies and otherwise interacting with their families. It wasn’t like that in my youth. And I’d better stop writing now. Have a good one!

Thanks for taking time to comment!