Update on the coronavirus pandemic – with some reflections from The Anglophilic Anglican (warning: LONG!)

President Trump has announced, in a brief statement at a news conference this afternoon (Friday, May 22, 2020), that churches and other “houses of worship” are to be considered essential, calling upon Governors to allow churches to open.

The President stated that he identified houses of worship “as essential places that provide essential services” – which they certainly are! – and called on governors “to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend.”

In a statement which is certain to be controversial, he asserted that “if they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” although it is unclear by what authority or by means of what practical mechanism he would do that.

Now, I generally tend to be on the side of “States Rights,” but to be frank, many of the governors have seemed to be using their heads for little but hat-racks in this crisis, and that’s putting it as gently as I possibly can. Kudos to the President for expressing a truth which earlier generations would have held to be self-evident! It’s just a shame he had to.

He further noted that “In America, we need more prayer, not less.” To all of which I can only say, about darned time! The fact that, as the President pointed out, many governors have considered bars and abortion centers to be “essential,” but left out churches, is something that has stuck in my craw for a good while, now! Again, kudos to President Trump.

Dr. Birx: These areas still show high numbers of positive tests ...

In addition, Dr. Deborah Birk, chief of the national Covid-19 task force, has pointed out that nationwide, new hospitalizations and emergency room admissions for both influenza-like illnesses and covid-like illnesses have been declining throughout the past month, according to CDC data. In fact, across the country, she points out that we are “below baseline.”

Maryland, sadly, has been lagging behind: it remained stubbornly “orange” when most other states had turned various shades of green: Dr. Birx reports that the CDC has been “calling out” the “high plateau” in Maryland for some weeks, now. But even the Old Line State has dropped to yellow, at least, over the last week. That is excellent news! The CDC website confirms this overall improvement, stating that

“Nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) and COVID-19-like illness (CLI), as well as the percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continue to decline. Mortality attributed to COVID-19 also decreased compared to last week but remains elevated above baseline,” noting cautiously, as always, that numbers “may increase as additional death certificates are processed.”

This doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, as of yet; and of course, there is always the chance for the dreaded “second wave.” But it is certainly encouraging to see some significant progress, at long last! Other pieces of data from the CDC website: Continue reading “Update on the coronavirus pandemic – with some reflections from The Anglophilic Anglican (warning: LONG!)”

J.D. Unwin on the correlation between sexual liberty and cultural downfall

Fulton Sheen – The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood

In Sex and Culture (1934), British anthropologist J. D. Unwin “studied 80 primitive tribes and 6 known civilizations through 5,000 years of history and found a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint they observe.” Writing in his blog, “Disfigured Praise: Affliction for the Comfortable,” Jonathon McCormack comments on Dr. Unwin’s findings:

“After studying cultures as diverse as the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and dozens of other groups, Dr. Unwin found a 100% perfect correlation between the practice of heterosexual fidelity and cultural development. As Unwin wrote, across 5,000 years of history he found absolutely no exception to his rule:

“These societies lived in different geographical environments; they belonged to different racial stocks; but the history of their marriage customs is the same. In the beginning each society had the same ideas in regard to sexual regulations. Then the same struggles took place; the same sentiments were expressed; the same changes were made; the same results ensued. Each society reduced its sexual opportunity to a minimum and displaying great social energy, flourished greatly. Then it extended its sexual opportunity; its energy decreased, and faded away. The one outstanding feature of the whole story is its unrelieved monotony.

Without exception, once restrictions on sexuality are lifted, especially female sexuality, a society destroys itself from within, and is later conquered from without. When not focusing mental and physical energy on building strong families, members of a culture lose the impetus for upkeep and innovation [emphasis added – The Angophilic Anglican].”

“Author Daniel Janosik puts Unwin’s findings this way:

“If the British anthropologist J. D. Unwin is correct in his assessment of society, this present generation in the Western world may be the last one. He found that when strict heterosexual monogamy was practiced, the society attained its greatest cultural energy, especially in the arts, sciences and technology. But as people rebelled against the prohibitions placed upon them and demanded more sexual opportunities, there was a consequent loss of their creative energy, which resulted in the decline and eventual destruction of the civilization. Remarkably, he did not find any exception to this trend.”

“The fact the world’s three major religions, which date back to the Bronze Age, have been structured around the ideals of monogamy and sexual restraint for thousands of years should tell us something about tampering with the set and frame of civilization, then calling the resulting degeneracy ‘progress.’

“Unwin concluded that the fabric that holds a society together is sexual in nature. When life-long heterosexual monogamous relationship is practiced, the focus is on the nurture of the family and energy is expended to protect, plan for, and build up the individual family unit. This extends to the entire society and produces a strong society focused on preserving the strength of the family.

However, he found that when sexual opportunities opened the door to premarital, post-marital, and homosexual relationships, the social energy always dissipated as the individual focused more on self-gratification rather than societal good.”

To which The Anglophilic Anglican can only quote that great philosopher of the earlier and more innocent 1960s, Gomer Pyle:

Gomer Pyle – Surprise, surprise, surprise!


[Disclaimer: No offense to Mr. McCormack intended, but I would not have titled the linked blog-post “How Women destroy civilization,” if I had been the one writing it.

It is not women per se who destroy civilization: it is masculinized women and feminized men; it is decoupling sexual relations from the gift and blessing, but also unquestionably the responsibility, of procreation and parenthood, and especially the vocation of motherhood; it is, as the above quotes make clear, privileging personal gratification over the good of families and societies.

Women who understand their primary and proper role being to act in support of their husbands, families, and homes are no threat to civilization, but indeed, one of its most essential pillars! Feminism, not femininity, is the problem.

New psychology research finds meat eaters tend to have better mental health than vegetarians

Meta-analysis comparing 18 previous studies on the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health: “Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health.”

Source: New psychology research finds meat eaters tend to have better mental health than vegetarians

While carefully avoiding any conclusion relating to causation, this new study – which compared “18 previous studies on the relationship between meat consumption and psychological health (which was narrowed down to depression, anxiety, deliberate self-harm, stress perception, and quality of life)” and which included 149,559 meat-consumers and 8,584 meat-abstainers from Europe, Asia, North America, and Oceania – nonetheless found a striking correlation.

“The researchers found ‘clear evidence’ that those who abstained from consuming meat tended to have higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety, and self-harm compared to those who did not.”

Quite a bit higher, in fact! The Toronto Sun, in a report on this study, notes that “the study found people eating a plant-based diet were twice as likely to take prescription drugs for mental illness and just about three times more likely to contemplate suicide. It also indicated that 33% of vegetarians suffer from depression or anxiety.” That is pretty dramatic, and it is not an isolated phenomenon. As study author Urska Dobersek, an assistant professor at the University of Southern Indiana, states,

“‘My co-authors and I were truly surprised at how consistent the relation between meat-avoidance and the increased prevalence of mental illness was across populations. As we stated in our conclusion, ‘Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health,’ Dobersek told PsyPost.”

That is certainly a gentle, and politically-correct, way to express the matter! Dobersek does, however, make a significant, if carefully-phrased, recommendation:

“Our study provides further evidence that because humans are omnivores, it is illogical and potentially unhealthy to recommend “eating a varied diet” followed by a long list of foods, beverages, and nutrients to avoid (e.g., meat, eggs, sugar, salt, fat, fruit juices, cholesterol, etc.). This is especially true, as my co-authors demonstrated, when the proscriptions and recommendations are based on a ‘fictional discourse on diet-disease relations.’”

To which I would only add, in the words of the “Selkirk Grace,”

“Some have meat and canna eat, and some have nae that want it. But we have meat, and we can eat, so let the Lord be thankéd!”

 

 

“The British Church” – George Herbert (with some reflections thereupon)

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“A Distant View of Hythe Village and Church, Kent” – Arthur Nelson (c. 1767).

The British Church

~ by George Herbert (1633)

I joy, dear mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
Both sweet and bright.
Beauty in thee takes up her place,
And dates her letters from thy face,
When she doth write.
A fine aspect in fit array,
Neither too mean nor yet too gay,
Shows who is best.
Outlandish looks may not compare,
For all they either painted are,
Or else undress’d.
She on the hills which wantonly
Allureth all, in hope to be
By her preferr’d,
Hath kiss’d so long her painted shrines,
That ev’n her face by kissing shines,
For her reward.
She in the valley is so shy
Of dressing, that her hair doth lie
About her ears;
While she avoids her neighbour’s pride,
She wholly goes on th’ other side,
And nothing wears.
But, dearest mother, what those miss,
The mean, thy praise and glory is
And long may be.
Blessed be God, whose love it was
To double-moat thee with his grace,
And none but thee.

 

Nota Bene: Herbert is referring, of course, to the Anglican via media (“middle way”), which is perhaps best thought of in Aristotelian terms as the “Golden Mean” between the extremes of surfeit (too much of something) and deficit (too little). Indeed, “via media” is itself a 19th-century term for this phenomenon; earlier centuries expressed it as the mean (cf. Herbert, above) between extremes, or even, as we shall see below, a “virtuous mediocrity.” But all can be understood in fundamentally the same sense.

Herbert’s view in this poem is expressed in rather more extreme language by Bishop Simon Patrick of Ely (1625-1707), who wrote of “that virtuous mediocrity which our Church observes between the meretricious gaudiness of the Church of Rome and the squalid slattery of fanatic conventicles” – though it should be noted that, as one scholarly commentator has pointed out, “squalid slattery” fits the sectaries of the Civil War and Commonwealth period better than the sober demeanor of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of the Continent, the products of the magisterial Reformation.

And indeed, it was within that context – the era of the English Civil War and Interregnum, and the eventual Restoration, that Bishop Patrick was writing.

In any case, a love of order, seemliness, and good taste (cf. I Corinthians 14:40 – “Let all things be done decently and in order”) has led the Anglican Church along a middle path between these two extremes. And as it has furthermore been elsewhere noted, the via media meant positioning the English Church such that it could recognize not only its affinity with the medieval catholic tradition, on the one hand, but with the enduring legacy of the Reformation, on the other: a position of both-and, not either-or.

Indeed, I would submit that the Anglican via media represents the point where several axes come together, if one can visualize a multi-dimensional graph: the legacy of the medieval Catholic tradition and that of the magisterial Reformation, as noted above; “High Church” and “Low Church” liturgy and churchmanship; Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical theology; and indeed Eastern and Western forms of catholic orthodoxy.

I believe that, as a contemporary Collect for that great 16th-century Anglican divine, Richard Hooker, has put it, the Anglican via media is to be understood

“not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth.”

The challenge, and the sadness, of course, is that humans have a tendency to want to hive off into our own little enclaves, and to declare our understanding of the “truth” to be the only one that is acceptable. Anglicans are no less guilty of this than are others!

 

Greece: Angry migrants chop down 5,000 olive trees on Lesbos

Days after video footage surfaced showing groups of migrant men ignoring social distancing measures and ridiculing the police officers trying to enforce them, illegal migrants from the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos have struck again, chopping down 5,000 olive trees.

Source: Greece: Angry migrants chop down 5,000 olive trees on Lesbos

“The destruction of these olive trees, which can take 65 to 80 years to reach stable yields, is being viewed as an assault on Greek history, culture, and identity, as well as an attack against the island’s local economy, the Greek City Times reports.

“The olive tree is one of the most ubiquitous symbols in Greece and classical Western civilization… For the ancient Greeks, the olive tree was… viewed as a symbol of peace, wisdom, fertility, and victory, and was believed to have been a gift from Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.”

Furthermore,

“The island’s local economy will suffer for years to come as a result of the destruction of these decades-old olive trees. Each year, olive exports contribute nearly 650 million euros to Greece’s national economy.”

I am passionate about my European ancestry, and about the history, heritage, and culture of Western Civilization. But I am also passionate about ecology and the environment, and about local and sustainable food and farming.

This is an attack on all of the above, by vile and despicable cretins who have conclusively proven – if it were not already blindingly obvious – that they do not deserve to set one foot on European soil.

My mantra used to be “send them back.” The more this sort of thing happens, the more my perspective shifts — to “send them to Hell.”

 

Captain Tom Moore: Still serving his country, 75 years after WW II ended

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Source: British Tri Services _ The Best Armed Forces In The World.

Captain Tom Moore, a decorated combat veteran of World Wat Two (China-Burma-India Theater), has complete his self-imposed challenge of walking 100 laps of his garden – with the aid of his walker – to raise money for the British NHS (National Health Service).

He had originally hoped to raise £1000, but donations kept pouring in: more than 800,000 of them! He completed his challenge yesterday, but as of this morning his JustGiving page recorded donations of more than £17 MILLION! That is over $21M USD.

The War has been over for nearly 75 years, but he is still serving his country!

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As he completed his challenge yesterday, he was given a surprise Guard of Honour by soldiers of (the successor to) his old unit. Respectful salute to Captain Moore. Well done, Sir! Well done.

More information on this amazing gentleman is found here: Capt Tom Moore’s NHS fundraiser hits £17m, including a video of him finishing up his final lap, and receiving the salutes of his Honour Guard!

And then there is this wonderful picture, also from British Tri Services, picturing him completing his laps, surrounded by his fellow-soldiers from his old Regiment, The Duke of Wellington’s. Makes the tears come to my eyes, I must confess!

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‘We’ll meet again’ – Queen recalls WWII song in bid to lift nation in lockdown | UK News | Sky News

Source: ‘We’ll meet again’ – Queen recalls WWII song in bid to lift nation in lockdown | UK News | Sky News

The Queen’s address to the nation, the Commonwealth, and the world!

Her Majesty has outdone herself, yet again. In only the 5th such address in the 68 years of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II speaks with her characteristic mix of absolute graciousness, steely determination, and lifelong devotion to her people and her duty. As Sky News reports,

“The Queen has drawn on her experience of wartime spirit to call on the country to ‘remain united and resolute’ to overcome the coronavirus crisis. In an historic address to the nation recorded inside Windsor Castle, the monarch said: ‘Together we are tackling this disease and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.’

“In a deeply moving and personal message, Her Majesty reflected on how difficult it is for many spending time apart during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again,’ she said…

“‘While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us.'”

Her Majesty is, as always, an inspiration. God save The Queen!


UPDATE: Reports are that Britons have “flocked to Twitter” to express their support of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, following her extraordinary address.

Screenshot_2020-04-05 Queen praised by Britons as monarch issues moving coronavirus rallying call - REACTION

The Express noted that Her Majesty “provided a deeply personal address as the UK desperately fights the accelerating coronavirus outbreak,” as she asserted that “those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” and “that the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet, good-humoured resolve and of fellow feeling still characterise this country.”

“The monarch acknowledged the ‘grief’ some have experienced, the ‘financial difficulties’ many face, and the ‘enormous changes’ the country is enduring during the current nationwide lockdown to tackle the spread of coronavirus. She added in the future everyone will be able to feel ‘pride’ in how they rose to the challenge.”

I say again: God save The Queen! God bless Her Majesty, and keep her in health and safety.