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The Knights of Columbus and the Oaths We Take

No. They are not from Columbus, Ohio. They are from New Haven, Connecticut. Catholic immigrants to the United States have very little money, so when they get sick or when the main provider dies (that would be the husband) it becomes a problem for the community. To address this problem, Father Michael McGivney organizes a mutual aid society at his local parish. He calls it the Knights of Columbus in honor of Christopher Columbus. (He is also tweaking the Protestants who like Christopher Columbus, but would like to forget that Chris was a Catholic.) With few government benefits available, mutual aid societies have formed to render assistance to their membership. Usually they focus on the orphan, the widow and the elderly, providing insurance and pension plans. (Wait! They don't have government help! They'll all die! Are they insane?) No. They are not insane. They are religious people who take seriously the commandments to help the sick, the widow and the orphan. Catholics are often excluded from mutual aid societies. They are even excluded from labor unions, so Father McGivney has taken action, not by forcing Catholics onto unwilling organizations, but creating an organization of his own. The Knights grow into a fraternal order. Since the Pope has expressed his unhappiness with the Freemasons and their oaths of secrecy, the Knights of Columbus act as an acceptable alternative. They combine American patriotism with religious devotion, so naturally the Klu Klux Klan accuses them of being anti-American. Sometimes a group recommends itself not by the friends it keeps, but by the enemies it makes. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Catholics are as much loyal citizens of the countries in which they reside as any other. It might seem ridiculous in the 21st century to argue that they are a 5th-column ready to attack at the command of the Pope, but until 1870, the Pope was not only a religious leader but the head of the Papal States in what are now the middle provinces of Italy. His secular rule has since been reduced to a few acres of real estate in Rome. Stalin once smirked, "The Pope! How many divisions has he got?" The answer is zero, but I suspect that if the President of the United States ordered the carpet bombing of the Vatican, most pilots would refuse whether Catholic or not. The same goes for attacking Israel. When rumors suggested that President Obama would order US fighter jets to shoot down Israeli bombers on their way to take out Iranian nuclear facilities, religious individuals within military circles reflected on the serious nature of such an order if it were given. Oaths of loyalty had been taken, but did they override one's oaths to God? In a war, people of the same religion might fight each other, but in a war with a major religious dimension, I'm not sure what would happen. Something would have to be hellishly wrong for it to seem right. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Gay Science and the Death of God

The title of this history segment is a little misleading, but certain advocacy groups like to distort titles for their own purposes and "Gay Science" is the title THEY prefer. The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (NEE-chah) has published one of his greatest works, entitled Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (DEE FROE-lick VISS-en-shahft). Google translates this as The Happy Science. The word "gay" once meant "happy" but not any more. This is a book of poetry but it doesn't sell well. What makes the book great is what people say about it much later. From these poems we learn that the author does not believe in God. In fact, he says that God is dead and that we are His murderers. Exactly how this translates into a "happy" science is a mystery to me, but he suggests that society has lost its meaning and we have slipped into a passive nihilism. Certainly this Second Industrial Revolution is causing a crisis of the soul for some, but Nietzsche is feeling no pain. He is heavy into opium right now and writes prescriptions for himself, signing them as "Dr. Nietzsche". In a few more years the "Doctor" will be "Out". He will slip into madness and death. [11] [12]

  • God is dead.
-- Nietzsche, 1882.
  • Nietzsche is dead.
-- God, 1900.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It think that Nietzsche was an atheist, so he cannot argue both that God does not exist and that God is dead. So, assuming that he is using a metaphor, he is suggesting that the Enlightenment Movement has changed the idea of God from a moral absolute into a useful philosophy. Thus if God's word is the absolute standard, then God need not prove that He is correct. But we don't act as if God is the absolute standard. Otherwise, the same text would produce a single Church or several churches with minor differences. But there is an honest way around this absolutest argument without killing God. After all, God gave His Law to Moses, and the Law was handed down from generation to generation. All this time we have used this Law to guide us. If God wanted to direct our actions from Heaven, He would have kept the Law to Himself and issued His directives as we went along. Since He didn't do that, ipso facto, (that is Latin for, "by virtue of the fact") we assume that He expects us to draw our own conclusions from the Law without His direct guidance, which is, in fact, what we do. Some depend on experts, and others figure it out on their own, but the guiding principles are assumed to be morally correct and that is what I assume. I don't have to kill God or even risk giving Him a summer cold. However, when I turn God into a moral code equal to any other, there is nothing morally superior to my philosophy over yours... except that I'm carrying a bigger gun. Hands up. That universe is a little too loosey-goosey for my tastes so I'm sticking with God as a moral absolute with His permission to add footnotes. You can put your hands down now.

Give us your Huddled Masses, except the Chinese

The Congress, in its wisdom, has cut off almost all Chinese immigration, especially Chinese miners. The initial California Gold Rush is winding down and the Transcontinental railroad is mostly in place. With jobs drying up, competition is fierce, so the ethnic Chinese are banned from immigration for 10 years. That includes ethnic Chinese from other countries like the Philippines. California has passed state laws specifically targeting the Chinese, seeing them as a danger to good order and discipline. Plus they will work harder for less money, but that is a side issue. Let's move on. There is a general concern that out-of-work immigrants might be a burden to local communities, so Congress grants wide authority to refuse immigration for people who stand no chance of getting a job. Usually this means anyone who cannot perform heavy or continuous labor. Exceptions for skilled Chinese laborers are granted if they are certified by the Chinese government, but certifications are so easy to get that it soon becomes a worthless condition. In 10 years, the Chinese exclusion rule will be renewed and then made permanent. It will remain in effect until 1943 when 105 entry visas will be issued to Chinese immigrants EVERY YEAR! (Don't say it, Alex. Reach for your happy place. Oh crap! Where did my happy place go?) [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
There was a loophole. The law specifically talked about immigrants arriving by boat. They said nothing about immigrants going to Canada and coming over the border by train! Eventually immigration officials could exclude almost anyone for medical or mental defects, but the number turned away was 1 percent or less. The exclusion of the Chinese was the backdrop to Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Flower Drum Song (1961). A young Chinese girl and her father are stowaways arriving in San Francisco to complete a marriage contract with a Chinese-American nightclub owner played by comedian Jack Soo. But he is in love with an "exotic dancer" at his club. Love triangles abound and the song "I Enjoy Being a Girl" becomes a hit. I won't give away the ending, but the danger centers on the new bride's immigration status as a Chinese national. There is also tension between a desire to maintain Chinese tradition and the pressure to assimilate into American culture. [16] [17] [18]

In Other News

  • A comet is seen in daylight. It passes so close to the Sun that it reflects a lot of light. A month later, an aurora shaped like a Zeppelin travels across the sky. I'm sure it was just swamp gas. [19] [20]
  • Polygamy is now illegal in the USA. ITS THE LAW! Will someone PLEASE tell that knucklehead on Sister Wives? There are rules for polygamy that help one avoid the heartache I see on that TV show. The Latter-day Saints at the time were following the rules. [23]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1882, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Catholic Daughters of the Americas - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 May 2016. “Originally, the National Order of the Daughters of Isabella, the organization was very active during World War I, volunteering as nurses and clerks, hosting parties for servicemen, conducting sewing and knitting classes for the Red Cross, donating clothing for the needy and working with the blind. In 1921 the name was changed to the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and in 1925 the Knights of Columbus severed ties with the organization.”
  2. Knights of Columbus - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “As a parish priest in an immigrant community, McGivney saw what could happen to a family when the main income earner died, and wanted to provide insurance to care for the widows and orphans left behind. He also had to temporarily leave his seminary studies to care for his family when his father died.”
  3. Papal ban of Freemasonry - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “Clement XII wrote that the reasons for prohibiting masonic associations are that members, 'content with [a] form of natural virtue, are associated with one another' by oaths with 'grave penalties' 'to conceal in inviolable silence whatever they secretly do together.'”
  4. Alex Shrugged notes: My comment about push back from the military regarding any order to attack Israeli planes comes from the Glenn Beck Radio Show. The wife of an American pilot called in to say that she and her husband had decided that he would never fire on Israel due to his religious commitment as a Christian. Just FYI, the Bible does state that those who fight Israel in the military sense will be destroyed. Those who support it, even passively, will be saved.
  5. Report: Obama Threatened to Shoot Down IAF Iran Strike. Israel National News (January 3, 2015). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “The Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an has cited a Kuwaiti newspaper report Saturday, that US President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.”
  6. Obama Threatened to Shoot Down IAF Iran Strike? : UNDETERMINED. Snopes.com (March 3, 2015). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “While Brzezinski suggested in a 2009 interview that the United States might shoot down Israeli fighter jets if they entered restricted airspace over Iraq, that in itself does not mean that President Obama took such advice and turned it into a tangible threat issued more than five years later.”
  7. Did Obama threaten to shoot down Israeli planes if they attacked Iran?. Hot Air (March 2, 2015). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “But perhaps even more dubious is the timing. Having a story such as this break just as Netanyahu arrives in the United States to talk about the exact same issue – how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program – makes the story suspicious to say the least. If this was one of those 'known things' among the intelligence community and the events took place last year, why would everyone have sat on such a juicy item for all this time?”
  8. Fifth column - definition of fifth column (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “A clandestine subversive organization working within a country to further an invading enemy's military and political aims.”
  9. Joseph Stalin - Wikiquote. en.wikiquote.org (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “The Pope! How many divisions has he got?”
  10. Papal States - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “The Papal States were territories in the Italian Peninsula under the sovereign direct rule of the pope, from the 8th century until 1870.”
  11. Friedrich Nietzsche - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “By 1882 Nietzsche was taking huge doses of opium but was still having trouble sleeping.”
  12. Complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume 10: The Joyful Wisdom, The (1924). Retrieved on 30 September 2016.
  13. Immigration Act of 1882 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “One of the long-lasting legacies of this act is the undesirable category called 'likely to become a public charge.' At the time, this status could be assigned to any number of people including pregnant or single women, the disabled, the sick, or the poor.”
  14. History of Chinese Americans - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “The Magnuson Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943, was immigration legislation proposed by U.S. Representative (later Senator) Warren G. Magnuson of Washington and signed into law on December 17, 1943, in the United States. It allowed Chinese immigration for the first time since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and permitted Chinese nationals already residing in the country to become naturalized citizens.”
  15. Magnuson Act - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “The Magnuson Act was passed on December 17, 1943, two years after China became an official allied nation to the United States in World War II. Although considered a positive development by many, it was particularly restrictive of Chinese immigrants, limiting them to an annual quota of 105 new entry visas.”
  16. I Enjoy Being A Girl - Flower Drum Song Movie. youtube.com (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “This is the original most famous version of this song, which has dozens of versions on YouTube. Few know it's based on the story of Chinese families growing up and looking for love in America”
  17. Jack Soo - IMDb. imdb.com (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “A genial, laid back, slumber-eyed character player especially adept at the relaxed wisecrack or dry comment, Japanese-American actor Jack Soo was born in Oakland, California, in 1917, his real name being Goro Suzuki. In the post-WWII years, he entertained as a stand-up performer in nightclubs and had made a reasonable dent on the Midwest circuit...”
  18. Alex Shrugged notes: Some of my comments come from the memory of my reading of journal articles on early Chinese immigration and the laws restricting immigration.
  19. Great Comet of 1882 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “At perihelion, the comet is estimated to have been only 300,000 miles or 480,000 kilometres (0.0032 AU) from the Sun's surface. Subsequent orbital studies have determined that it was a Sungrazing comet, one which passes extremely close to the surface of the Sun. For many hours on either side of its perihelion passage, the comet was easily visible in the daytime sky next to the Sun. It reached an estimated magnitude of −17.”
  20. Aurora of November 17, 1882 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 16 September 2016. “The most unusual of the auroral phenomena, witnessed from Europe at approximately 6 p.m. on November 17, was later described by Edward Maunder in an article of 1916, A Strange Celestial Visitor, written for the 500th issue of the magazine The Observatory. In the article he described it as a 'definite body' with a 'Zeppelin'-like shape and pale green colour, passing from horizon to horizon above the moon.”
  21. 1812 Overture (the dramatic part). YouTube.com (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “a part of the classic 1812 overture (remixed), plus a war montage.”
  22. 1812 Overture - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to commemorate Russia's defence of its motherland against Napoleon's invading Grande Armée in 1812.”
  23. Edmunds Act - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “The Edmunds Act, also known as the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882,[1] is a United States federal statute, signed into law on March 23, 1882 by president Chester A. Arthur, declaring polygamy a felony.”

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