Monday, June 18, 2018

Following Up on the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

Swarms of decent people, who are not at all hateful by nature, sincerely desire to support Christian baker Jack Phillips against his dishonest detractors.... but they SHOOT THEMSELVES AND HIM in the foot every time they commit the innocent but harmful blunder of saying that the issue is "the right to refuse service." No one I know who uses this loaded phrase today is any sort of racist; but when they use the infamous phrase, they might as well hang signs from their necks which say: "Here you are, leftists, I'm offering you the perfect chance to discredit me by convincing the public that I'm a hate-filed bigot!"

This being so, I lately addressed one of these well-meaning persons, to help him think the point through....


The specific phrase "right to refuse service" is ABSOLUTELY AND FOREVER ENGRAVED IN GRANITE IN THE AMERICAN CONSCIOUSNESS as meaning a claimed right to exclude WHOLE CATEGORIES of people from ever being customers AT ALL. Neither you nor I can ever change this. Use the phrase "right to refuse service," and this will INVARIABLY bring to people's minds the segregated lunch counters of yore.

Jack was NOT doing what those racist lunch-counter owners did in the past; but the WORD "service" is too easily perceived as having the kind of broad meaning the racists followed. The way *I* put it, in terms of refusing to make WRONG PRODUCTS, avoids this pitfall of being falsely associated with white supremacists.

Jack never turned anyone away from his shop just for BEING gay. But lying leftists want the public to THINK that's what happened. And every time any of us appeals to the "refuse service" phrase, it is AS INEVITABLE AS DEATH AND TAXES that we WILL be helping the leftists to continue their LIE that Jack was shutting out ALL GAYS AS A CATEGORY. Not maybe. Not sometimes. Absolutely every time, with no exceptions, and no possibility of an exception.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Catfight Confession

      There was a time when it _wasn’t_ widely presupposed that every woman was an indestructible goddess who could trample on armies of men and scarcely notice their bones breaking under her feet. There was a time when it _wasn’t_ widely presupposed that every woman was really a lesbian at heart because men were so boring. Those two suppositions are now deeply enough entrenched in the entertainment media that, if two women in a movie are shown fighting each other now, this is highly likely to be either a titanic battle of super-Amazons, or the prelude to a lesbian sexual encounter, or both scenarios in one.

But physical fights between women were depicted in movies _even_ back when women were assumed to be heterosexual and _weren’t_ assumed to be invincible super-warriors. It follows that the early popularity of “catfights” just _might_ have had some cause _other_ than goddess-fantasies or lesbian fantasies.

What, then, was the other, earlier motivation?

Consider: if two heterosexual women who _aren’t_ clones of Xena the Warrior Princess get into an altercation serious enough to ignite their tempers, but _not_ serious enough to cause either to feel any desire to kill, maim or disfigure the other, they might get into some kind of scuffle without any bloody blades or secret fists of death. They might exchange slaps, grab each other’s shoulders in a shoving match, or even wrestle a bit. When this was SHOWN IN OLD MOVIES, the whole point was that it _wasn’t_ anywhere near to being mortal combat. And if the two women wrapped their arms around each other and rolled around thus clinching, it didn’t mean they wanted to have sex; it meant that they had an unspoken agreement not to punch, kick or strangle each other (at least not initially).

The idea of a catfight which _doesn’t_ need to be taken seriously can entertain me without the female combatants having to end up as lesbian lovers. The two women can be _sexy_ even without _having_ sex, and they can be depicted as angry without either of them being in danger of being killed by the other.

Only once in my entire life, when I was around twenty years old, have I witnessed two women-- or rather, two teenage girls-- physically fighting each other for real, in anger. The girls involved were not at all sexually attracted to each other; they appeared to be fighting over a boy. They were NOT elite-special-forces-trained supergirls ; but they seemed equally matched in strength, and they sure did want to hurt each other, though their wild mutual flailing wasn’t very efficient. The teenage onlookers were enjoying the sight, but neither of the actual fighters was having any fun. They both seemed to be crying at the same time as they fought; each was trying to hit the other, yet at the same time was trying to keep the other away. (Certainly no _hugging_ involved!) Their anger had pulled them into this, and neither girl _could_ stop.

I did not stand watching for as long as my above paragraph might seem to indicate. It’s possible to get a distinct impression of a situation in three or four seconds. I was not one bit entertained by what was happening; I was horrified. So I did what none of the stupid, yelling kids around them thought of doing.

I _stopped_ the fight. I thrust my straightened arms in between the girls, then with an outward movement of my hands, I pushed them away from each other.

Here, by the way, there was no support to be found for the invincible-goddess notion. I have never been physically big or athletic; each of those girls was close to me in size and weight; but I moved them both at the same time as easily as if they had been five-year-old children.
The fact that they _didn’t_ leap right back at each other once I  withdrew my hands tends to convince me that, once an outside force had separated them, they lost their wild rage very quickly. In the circumstances, I had no opportunity to try to reason with the girls at length; but _maybe_ they came away understanding that an adult had cared about _preventing_ them from injuring each other.

Repeat after me: Joseph took NO PLEASURE AT ALL from seeing this real-life catfight.

When I watch a pretended catfight in a movie, I know that the _actresses_ are not really hurting each other; but that’s not good enough. I can only _enjoy_ seeing the pretended catfight if I also know that the _characters_ are not being hurt in the story. A bloodless tussle that vents the characters’ emotions is like a brief glimpse of a world where there _aren’t_ any deadly feuds demanding blood. And loss of the combatants’ clothing is not necessary.

If any simulated fight between women _does_ involve “real” injury (that is, real _within_ the story), I can only enjoy it if it works like a proper good-against-evil fight between men. Thus, if Harley Quinn were so stupid as to attack Wonder Woman, I would take satisfaction from seeing Wonder Woman put Harley Quinn out for the count -- but only the _same_ satisfaction as from seeing Batman put out Joker’s lights. I would never call it a catfight,  precisely _because_ it was too serious a fight to be called that. There would be no pleasure for me in seeing Harley Quinn get the upper hand over Wonder Woman.

For me, viewing a make-believe catfight is like being IN play-fights as a child; the pleasure is dependent precisely on _knowing_ that it’s a game of sorts, not a death-duel.

This relatively gentle sense of fun has been lost by those who want to see women in movies hacking each other into gory meat with swords, and call _that_ a “catfight.”

Sunday, May 27, 2018

On Memorial Day, Don't Forget What We Still Need

On this Memorial Day weekend, I remain painfully aware of one war which goes mostly unacknowledged in the establishment media: the war to destroy good men. SPECIFICALLY to destroy GOOD men.

This war can be observed wherever new-wave feminists utterly IGNORE Scimitarist men who rape women and stone the same women for BEING raped, but then the feminists yell bloody murder if a decent man opens a door for them. These shrews, to use a polite word, pretend to believe that a man being courteous to them is "really trying to keep them subjugated." In this and other ways, they seek on purpose to erode the manly spirit of the same men who would be willing to defend women against GENUINE oppressors.

Keep it up, non-ladies. Just you keep on cutting your own throats. And when you've succeeded in producing masses of timid girly-men who can't even imagine being brave soldiers, you'll actually be so stupid as to wonder how it happened that you DON'T have gallant men to defend you against REAL enslavers of women.

When modern man-haters see my words, they'll pretend to believe that I myself secretly WANT women to be enslaved. Well, I don't want them to be enslaved, and the sisters I grew up with KNOW that I don't want women to be enslaved. Neither would I say that there are no women capable of doing their own fighting. Of course there are women capable of being warriors.... but there are not, and never will be, ENOUGH combat-capable women that our country could survive without MALE soldiers.

It is not merely because of a glass ceiling imposed on women that almost all our weapon-wielding front-line wartime heroes have been men. It is in the nature of actual reality that MORE MEN THAN WOMEN have the strength and fortitude to accomplish missions on a battlefield. Americans who don't wish to commit collective national suicide would do well to get back to a nearly-forgotten concept: "might FOR right." We need all the strong AND virtuous men we can get.

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Romance Which Wasn't

Opportunities not taken can cause the bitterest of regrets. Without meaning to brag, I myself have BEEN someone else's opportunity, which she failed to take, to her own regret. I shall arbitrarily call her "Doris."

I first met Doris during one of my periods of singleness. I was in my fifties then, while she was something like thirty-five. The age difference was great enough that neither of us initially thought of the other in romantic terms; but we became friendly enough in the course of certain innocent activities that we shared.

After four or five weeks of association in the shared activity, Doris and I saw nothing of each other for about an equal span of time. Then one Saturday morning, Doris announced on Facebook that she was feeling gloomy and lonely. So I messaged her to say, "Would it cheer you up if I came over and took you out to a movie?" I wasn't thinking of it as a "date," since 95 percent of all peer-females I'd ever met had instantly and permanently sentenced me without trial to the Friendzone Gulag; but I figured that Doris and I could have a chums-pals-buddies good time.

We attended a matinee, her choice of a movie. She chose a science-fiction movie, which earned her brownie points with me. During the movie, her right hand happened to touch my left hand. No, there WAS NOT the tediously-overused "electric spark" which amateurish romance novelists endlessly insert into scenes. What there was, was coldness: not emotional coldness, but the literal coldness of someone with poor blood circulation in her hands. So I offered to warm Doris' hands in mine. Doris herself up to this point had not behaved in any sort of come-hither fashion toward me; but she was glad for the relief I gave to her genuine discomfort of cold hands.

And she willingly leaned into me until it became natural for me to slide an arm around her.

We did not kiss, but we did stay snuggled together pleasantly for the rest of the movie. It was on my mind that here was a woman with whom I had interests in common, and a woman who seemed to LIKE me genuinely. So we did not part company hastily. From the cinema, we went to walk around a popular scenic location-- one which, as it happened, I had formerly visited with my Mary before she passed away, and with my Janalee before SHE passed away. Walking here now, I held hands with Doris, and she was fine with that too. Some bypassers clearly assumed us to be a couple. After our leisurely stroll, I treated her to dinner at a good restaurant.

When I took her home, I wasn't expecting this to turn into anything romantic; but Doris, despite her behavior at the movie, POINTEDLY MADE SURE not to act romantic at all. In fact, she stated out of the blue that she couldn't see having a relationship with a man as much older than she as I was. Because I hadn't been expecting any romance anyway, I was fine with her conclusion. I hugged her lightly, which was okay with her, and I drove back to Aurora. All was well, no harm had been done, it had simply been an enjoyable day for us both. As Emperor of the Friendzone, I had passed other days in a similar way with other staying-at-arm's-length female acquaintances.

In case anyone figures out who "Doris" is, let me say that I feel free to describe our semi-date because Doris DID NOT DO ANYTHING WRONG. There's no disgrace in going to a movie as friends and afterwards parting company as friends. But there was to be a poignant sequel to that pleasant Saturday in Colorado.

Time passed. I met, and fell for, the woman who was to become my third wife, and who was later to become my only living EX-wife when she decided that she didn't want to be married after all. But at the time I now refer to, "Number Three" did have some feelings for me. A day came when I announced on Facebook that I had found my new love; that I had a new fiancee.

Here's the poignant part. Seeing my status post, Doris -- whom I had not seen in person since that pleasant Saturday -- posted a comment: "I wish it was me!"

Say what?? Doris, you had every opportunity to have encouraged romantic interest back then! But you deliberately locked and barred that door, and NOW you regret having done so? Again, I'm not saying that Doris did anything BAD; but it's wistful and sorrowful to think of her only realizing too late that she would have enjoyed being married to me. It's been a long time since I last saw her in person. And life goes on, from task to task.

Human relationships in this downfallen world are such a minefield! The expression "damned if you do, and damned if you don't" comes to mind. As we search in the dark for love and connection, we may have cause to regret starting a given relationship, OR to regret not starting one. Some of my fellow Christians will glibly say, "God is offering exact guidance for all details at all times, so if any step in your journey is unclear, it's ALL YOUR FAULT for not listening to Him." In reality, however, God DOES NOT invariably tell us in advance what our next move should be; often, it suits Him to let us see some stage in His design only after we've already waded through it.

This being so, disappointments and missed opportunities are sure to befall us in Earthly life. Therefore, all of us need to work at being compassionate toward each other, when we see others bearing the pain of regret.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Children's Crusades a la Postmodern America

In the Old Testament, King Rehoboam the heir of Solomon wanted to be flattered, and listening to flatterers caused him only harm. In modern times, vast segments of society can be deceived with flattery all at once. Notably, political manipulators can flatter emotion-controlled minors into thinking that they’ll be heroes if they do whatever the manipulators want. Yes yes yes yes yes, this manipulation CAN originate from either end of the political spectrum; but anyone possessing one-quarter of a clue about present conditions, knows very well that it is the left which is ALLOWED TO GET AWAY WITH deceitful flattery of the young.

Especially when leftists remember to use the popular buzzwords like “making a difference.” Then their trickery will seem innocent.

     Who can object to building playgrounds for inner-city children? Who can object to saving dolphins from being killed by tuna-fishery operations? Who can criticize the historical founders of labor unions, who met a crying need in a time when workers had no protection against unfair bosses? Of course, no one can credibly object to those undertakings. THEREFORE, if you have something despicable in mind, you may find it useful to camouflage your despicable plan under the cover of a book for juveniles, honoring such obviously commendable activities.

This is exactly what a man called Phillip Hoose did in 1993, when he wrote a book titled “It’s Our World, Too!” His book had a reprinting in 2002, a time when hard leftists were anxious to steer America’s response to Scimitarist violence in directions which would serve the hard left. The book’s author pretended to be in awe of the innate wisdom and virtue of children and teenagers; in reality, like other hard leftists, he was EXPLOITING THE IGNORANCE AND GULLIBILITY of children and teenagers by inflating their vanity.

For instance, he praised the air-headed girl Samantha Smith, who imagined that writing a letter to Yuri Andropov would promote world peace. In concrete fact, this na├»ve child never made even the tiniest little dent in the ironclad authoritarian tyranny of the Soviet Union. But Mister Hoose absurdly pretended that she HAD accomplished something. He had to pretend this, because it was in his faction’s program to pretend that Communist tyranny was not in any way a cause of unrest in the world.

AMERICA was required to be the cause of injustice and violence.

Which brings us to the most shamelessly America-bashing item in the book: the chapter titled “The Children’s Statue For Peace.”
Already in 1993, kids were woefully uninformed about what the Second World War had been about. This ignorance has not been remedied since. The ONLY thing about World War Two that you can find out from Hoose’s book is that those mean, hateful Americans dropped an evil atomic bomb on Hiroshima, resulting in deaths of children.

The chapter dwells on how American schoolkids did such heroic world-saving projects as turning an empty missile nosecone into a flower planter, and of course campaigning for the statue the chapter is named for. Whoop-dee-doo. Lots and lots of chatter about how “war is bad”-- without one thought for the truth about WHO STARTED the war under discussion.

To get at the truth, we need to go back to history which is even farther outside the knowledge of clueless children who are manipulated by hard-leftist adults. FORTY YEARS BEFORE Hiroshima was nuked, Imperial Japan was already starting its unprovoked aggression against essentially everyone it could reach in Asia and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Chinese, Koreans, and other Eastern ethnicities who came under the Japanese heel were not merely governed by Japan, but forced to surrender their whole cultures to the supremacy of Japanese culture.  Now, leftists will manage to find it in their hearts to condemn the way the United States did the same thing to Native Americans; but NOT A PEEP will you hear, from any dedicated totalitarian I’ve met, about what Japan did.

Because Japan is not the target that hard leftists want to discredit and subvert.

AFTER Pearl Harbor was attacked (one of those trivial details Mister Hoose considers irrelevant), Japanese-Americans in the United States were interned in camps. Various other leftist authors have made this out to be one of the world’s grand-champion injustices. But those who weep and wail about the admittedly-harsh ordeal of the Nisei usually don’t care squat about how Japanese soldiers used swords and bayonets to butcher Chinese infants FOR FUN. They don’t care squat about the many thousands of girls from Korea, the Philippines and elsewhere who were forcibly pressed into service as “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers to rape. And they don’t care squat about the way Allied prisoners of war were worked to death as slave labor.

(Since writing this critique, I’ve learned that someone in San Francisco FINALLY DID create a memorial for the “comfort women;” but it sure was a long time coming, and it has yet to receive anything close to the tireless publicity given to those EEEEEEE-vil racist Americans nuking Hiroshima.)

Mister Hoose, in his “Statue For Peace” chapter, didn’t care squat about the Japanese having started World War Two (they were in the aggression game before Adolf Hitler graduated high school); one hundred percent of his indignation was aimed at the United States for being so mean and hateful as to WIN the war.

In this chapter, Hoose claimed that it was only some people’s opinion that the A-bombs shortened the war and caused a net reduction in total deaths. Well, what he labeled as only opinion, I have as fact from the testimony of a JAPANESE war veteran. Kuwahara Yasuo (whose name would be given the other way around for the American readership), was a fighter pilot in World War Two. Afterward, he wrote an autobiography titled “Kamikaze,” which I read while I was in grade school. Contrary to the claims of America-bashers that Japan was already trying to surrender, Kuwahara reports from direct knowledge that before Hiroshima, Japan intended to keep fighting to the last drop of blood. So yes, the A-bombs did reduce the final total of deaths.

I can also call a witness regarding the cultural genocide practiced by Imperial Japan: the Newbery Medal winner Linda Sue Park. Extremely well versed in her Korean heritage, she knows all about Koreans being forced, for instance, to assume Japanese names. She wrote a novel, “When My Name Was Keoko,” to help young readers understand how it was.

I conclude with one of those truths which are so screamingly obvious that hard leftists can confidently rely on people not to think about them. Phillip Hoose WAS NOT ARRESTED for publishing his book which used the standard Blame America First method. How do you suppose he would have fared if, living in the old Soviet Union, he had tried publishing a book which criticized THAT regime?

If you sincerely want to promote international peace, you just might do well to consider the significance of governments which don’t allow criticism. If totalitarian rulers are willing to persecute their own people for any act of dissent, then if they achieve "peace" on their  own terms, do you think those rulers will be MORE kindly and fair to US?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

It's A Thor Point With Me

The tidal flow of popular culture has obliged me many times to remark upon what it is doing to the male sex. The concerted effort to weaken and emasculate boys and men is producing an effect which probably will be a surprise to many advocates of this weakening, but which highly-placed culture-shapers may have desired all along.

Exactly as gun-control laws never disarm career criminals, the campaign to eliminate male aggressiveness is completely ineffective upon the worst of all males. Men of good intentions, who are accustomed to exercising a conscience, are willing to listen to moral exhortations; if they can be led to believe that becoming effeminate will make them better citizens, they will try to become effeminate out of a desire to contribute better to society. But men who don't _have_ any conscience will stay just as toxic-masculine as they ever were, while sneering at well-meaning men who timidly surrender the battlefield to the evildoers. The same feminists who have worked for decades to soften up men as a category are in for an unpleasant surprise, when they look around and see that thugs and barbarians have remained as gruntingly male as ever, while the well-meaning men have become too submissive and weak  to be of any help in keeping the feminists safe.

It took me a while to fit a certain piece into this gender-politics puzzle, but by now I’ve seen just where it fits.

Comic books.

Which male superhero in the Marvel Comics universe -- I mean the print comics, not the movies derived from them -- has been subjected to THE VERY MOST MERCILESS attack of thematic castration? Not the city-wrecking Hulk; not the homicidal Wolverine; not the cynical, chaotic Deadpool; not the gruesome Ghost Rider. Any of those could actually use a mellowing influence; but NO-O-O-O.

The hero most extraordinarily singled out for humiliation and sexual-identity blurring is the dignified, chivalrous, noble, idealistic THOR: the very character who so obviously _didn't_ need to be “cured” of his valiant maleness. It was Thor who was offered up as a sacrificial ram to appease the pop culture’s demand for un-manning. It was Thor who had his Thor-ness stolen from him and conferred on a woman. Any rationale about him having become “unworthy” was only a tacked-on excuse for what someone had really wanted to do to Thor no matter what.

Just as somebody over at the B.B.C. had been wanting to change Doctor Who into a woman.

Long before the Thor series was vandalized for the sake of political correctness, there was a She-Hulk created in addition to the original Bruce Banner Hulk. She was a separate character; she didn’t have to rob the first Hulk of his Hulk-ness, even though Bruce Banner would _rather_ have been de-Hulked. Spider-Man, meanwhile, was allowed to have a daughter who inherited his powers; but she, again, was not taking her father’s identity away from him. Nope, it “just had to be” Thor, that supremely decent and idealistic male comicbook hero, who was knocked out of the game.

This exactly fits the real-world pattern: allow bums and crazies to stay masculine, but get rid of precisely the best male role models.

Thus does pop culture help to create the very conditions described in poetry by William Butler Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst // Are full of passionate intensity.”

If comicbook heroes actually existed, I would never even consider asking Deadpool for help in any emergency, if there were an unaltered, uncastrated, unvandalized Thor to call upon. So what does the pop culture do? It offers me Deadpool -- while decreeing that I can’t ask for Thor unless I’m prepared to agree to the p.c. dogma that males are inferior and making Thor a woman was an improvement.

Now, Black Panther T’Challa is noble and virtuous and admirable; but he has his own support of identity politics to protect him from being ruined by writers. He’ll be retained. But I expect the movie side of Marvel to kill off Captain America -- which, on top of the castration of Thor on the publication side, advances the purge of maleness. We are left with an Ant-Man who in the movies has been made into a clown, a Peter Quill who is required to be inferior to his leading lady Gamora, and an Iron Man who (if he survives “Infinity War”) will almost certainly retire. Even Doctor Strange isn’t allowed to be Doctor Strange unless his mentor The Ancient One is changed into a woman.

If storytellers just made up more entirely-new characters who were impressive women, I wouldn’t be so upset. But there is something mean and spiteful -- in other words, there is something perfectly typical of recent hard-left feminism -- in this policy of preferring to TAKE AWAY whatever men have and are. Worse, to take it away only from good men.

In a world heavily supplied with Islamist predators who laugh at all suggestions that they should be soft and meek, modern women may find that they have cut off their noses to spite good men’s faces.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Sidebar for John the Baptizer, a.k.a. Baptist

   “Unless you’re a Spirit-filled believer who speaks in tongues, nothing else you do counts for anything!”

“Unless you receive all the approved sacraments from the approved sources, and recite lots of rosaries, nothing else you do counts for anything!”

“Unless you’re a FIVE! POINT! CALVINIST! --nothing you do or say counts for anything!”

It is terribly easy, poisonously convenient, for believers in Jesus Christ to indulge in a sweeping dismissal of all moral issues, in favor of the “simplicity” of arguing that _nothing_ matters even a little bit _except_ the fact of belonging to the Body of Christ-- or, more accurately, of belonging to that PART of Christendom which is favored by the person who’s talking at the time. Like many errors, this error is so damaging precisely because it is almost the truth.

It is perfectly true that, since we humans exist in a fallen state, no amount of moral activity by us can literally EARN God’s approval in the sense of God owing something to us. But the obsessive over-simplifiers fail to realize, or are unwilling to realize, that there’s more to the subject. We can’t earn salvation, ten-four, understood, awright-awready, got it; BUT in the actual experience of living, the moral choices we make become occasions for the Holy Spirit to awaken us. Our having done right in a particular situation is not synonymous with the moment of conversion, and our having done wrong in a particular situation is not (necessarily) synonymous with being a reprobate beyond all hope of salvation; but our experience of choosing and acting may produce ROAD SIGNS leading us on the way TO conversion.

A major component of the ministry of John the Baptizer was addressing, not the ultimate make-or-break decision of believing in Jesus for salvation, but a narrowly specific issue of earthly conduct: the adultery of Herod Antipas and his stolen wife Herodias. The real significance of this cannot be fully understood until we possess a certain piece of  information which is not provided in Scripture; this serves to refute those over-simplifiers who claim that there is NEVER EVER any spiritual benefit to be gained by learning facts which are found OUTSIDE the Bible. Stay with me here.

We do know from Scripture that Herodias had been married to one son of the original King Herod, and that she left this husband in favor of her brother-in-law Herod Antipas. (The fact that some sons of King Herod were pleased to have that mass murderer’s name tacked on to their own given names says much about the twisted values of the ungodly, but that’s another story.) So, Herodias and Herod Antipas were guilty of adultery; but wait, there’s more.
Herodias first was married to Herod Philip, then moved to Herod Antipas; but those who think we must never look at any non-Biblical source, never seem to ask how Herodias came ALSO to have a Herod-based name.

The original Herod was a harem owner, who begot many sons-- and didn’t quite murder all of them. One of these sons whom we don’t see mentioned in the Bible was named Aristobulus: a name handed down from the maternal side of King Herod’s family. And what do we discover if we’re willing to look at supplementary history? We discover that Aristobulus bar-Herod, a brother of Herod Antipas and Herod Philip, WAS THE FATHER of Herodias, and that’s how she came to have a Herod-based name.

Which, in turn, informs us that both of Herodias’ marriages were incest. She was married to one of her uncles, then left him for another of her uncles. (Uncle-to-niece marriages were also to occur now and then in the later aristocracies of medieval and Renaissance Europe, but that’s another story.)

Once advised of this detail in the Herodian soap opera, the over-simplifier will face a dilemma. 

On the view of over-simplifiers, as long as you haven’t spoken in tongues, or haven’t received the approved sacraments, or haven’t become a five-point Calvinist, you haven’t been converted, so nothing you do otherwise has any significance at all. Yet here we have the Herodian degenerates, already proven to be sinful by entering incestuous marriages which were forbidden by the Mosaic law; and how did John the Baptizer approach them? As far as the Bible tells us, John didn’t bother to mention the whole incest angle, though he could not possibly have been unaware of it. On a simplistic view, because Herodias’ first marriage was already innately wrong, things could not be made any worse by her moving to another incestuous marriage. “All sin is sin;” so, on the simplistic view, it was pointless for John to talk as if it would have made any difference for Herodias to stay faithful to her first uncle-husband.

But John didn’t think it was pointless. John was guided by the Holy Spirit, Who has more to offer than simplicity, simplicity, and more simplicity. The Holy Spirit provides accurate insight.
As I have said, our individual experiences of moral choice can be used by God to lead us toward Him, EVEN THOUGH those individual experiences are not one and the same thing as the moment of conversion. In “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis remarked that “Virtue, even attempted virtue, brings light.” This is true even in a state of deep ignorance. I believe that, owing to her truthless upbringing, Herodias really didn’t grasp that there was anything wrong with her being married to one of her father’s brothers; she certainly didn’t know the things we know about genetics and the passing of harmful recessive traits through inbreeding. As far as she understood, her marriage to Herod Philip was a valid one which had a claim on her. 

Therefore, even though Herodias and Herod Philip had already been in violation of Old Covenant law from the get-go, a decision by her to stay true to him would still have been a step toward righteousness from her own starting point. And God could have worked on this as part of leading her to salvation.

Thus, John the Baptizer was not wasting his breath speaking against Antipas for stealing Herodias from Philip, even though Antipas refraining from Grand Theft Niece would not have been identical to speaking in tongues or taking sacraments or becoming a FIVE! POINT! CALVINIST! God, Who remembers that we are dust, could have made use of even a highly flawed effort at moral integrity on Antipas’ part.

Dear over-simplifiers, don’t even start harrumphing at me that I’m saying Herod Antipas and those other soap-opera characters could have “earned their salvation.” I am saying nothing of the sort. What I am saying is what happens in reality: God achieves many of His goals through a process of causes and effects, not by the instantaneous throwing of an on-off switch. Even from the starting point of unlawful incestuous mating, it was possible for members of the Herodian clan to have experienced some vague notion of loyalty or affection, which God could have made use of.

Which, I am convinced, is why John DID take the trouble to address the adultery issue, even with persons who weren't in Biblical marriages.