There once were two neighbors, both named Bob. One is an evangelical Christian, the other is gay and agnostic. They’ve lived next to one another in a duplex for several years, and have been good neighbors: getting one another’s mail when the other travels, hauling each other’s garbage cans to and from the curb, and have occasionally had a cookout together. They are friends, but they’ve never really had a discussion about their differences.
One day, during March Madness, a stiff gust of wind knocked a tree limb into their power lines, and they found themselves without electricity, five minutes before the U of L game. They wandered out onto their respective porches and decided to go to a nearby pizzeria to watch the game.
Somewhere before the end of the game, this conversation began:
Bob 1: Isn’t it surprising that we’ve become friends?
Bob2: What do you mean?
1: Well, one of us has a rainbow sticker on their bumper, and the other has a Jesus fish. According to most folks, we shouldn’t get along.
2: Yeah, I’ll admit it’s crossed my mind once or twice. Does it bother you?
1: Does what bother me?
2: Well, that I am who I am?
1: Hmmm… I don’t know how to answer that. Does it bother you that I am the way that I am?
Read the whole thing to see how the conversation continues. It’s a Rorschach test: which Bob is the gay agnostic, and which is the traditional Christian? Cosper’s point is that Bob 1 can be the gay agnostic, or the traditional Christian, and the same moral would apply. If you can’t see how either one could play either role in the conversation, perhaps you need to work on your empathy.
Interesting piece. Made me think of Pink John.
John Allen’s report on Pope Francis’s apocalyptic taste in fiction is making the rounds. The media, Allen writes, focused so much on the “breed like rabbits” quote from his airplane press conference that they missed a couple of interesting things. Excerpts:
There were two other tidbits, however, that have been somewhat lost in the shuffle, both of which are important for understanding what is more and more a defining trait of this pope — his sense of urgency.
One of those nuggets is about a book; the other, a trip.
As he has before, Francis went out of his way to invoke an apocalyptic 1907 novel by an English convert from Anglicanism called “Lord of the World.” The novel lays out a dystopic vision of a final conflict between secular humanism and Catholicism, with the showdown taking place on the fields of Armageddon.
Author Robert Hugh Benson depicts a world in which Marxism and secularism have run the table, culminating in a charismatic “savior” figure, increasingly recognizable as the Anti-Christ, who arises to lead a one-world government. Attacks on Christian symbols and believers mount, and euthanasia is widely practiced.
That’s not to say Francis believes doomsday is around the corner. However, his fondness for the novel seems to track with his belief that humanity is making some definitive choices today, from the economy to the environment, and that if we get those choices wrong, the consequences may be far worse than we realize.
Again, you don’t have to believe that there is any such thing as the End Times, in the Christian sense. But if the pope does, and if he believes they might be imminent, then that could explain some of the things he does.
John Podhoretz has a very fine review of American Sniper. I think he’s hit on why the film has been so successful. I hadn’t thought of it this way. Excerpt:
American Sniper bowls you over because it succeeds dramatically in making Chris Kyle’s story a parallel of the American experience in Iraq. The mission we see Chris embark upon is both practical and idealistic. The insurgents and their leaders are dreadful and monstrous and deserve their fates. The men on the front lines show resiliency and fortitude and immense seriousness of purpose. But the cause runs afoul of realities far above the pay grades of Kyle and his brethren. They did everything they were asked to do and more. Yet they would never taste victory.
This is the bitter truth about Iraq for all of us—whether you believe fighting the war was a mistake in the first place or you view the ultimate failure to have come about as a result of the political mishandling of the turnaround in the war’s fortunes after the 2007-08 surge. In this way, American Sniper is not only apolitical, but also antipolitical. It is the story of the effect of the war on the people who fought itand those they love—not on the country, not on Iraq, and not on America’s position in the world.
And that is one of the key reasons for the film’s astonishing and unprecedented success.
Read the whole thing. I dissent from its final line, not quoted here — and fair warning, readers: I’m not going to let the comments section on this post become another familiar argument about the Iraq War, neocons, etc. — but this review really does say something important about this movie — a film that both liberals and conservatives should see. There’s something in it to discomfit everyone, in the right way.
Well, here’s one for the misanthropy file: Chaturbate is an online service in which anyone of legal age can watch other people masturbate, or turn the camera on themselves and self-pleasure for the anonymous masses. Emily Witt writes about it for Medium (don’t worry, there are no strongly NSFW photos, though given the material, you probably don’t want to read this at work). Excerpts:
Chaturbate is a live webcam site that launched in 2011. It distinguishes itself from the many other live webcam sites by its democratic approach. It is free to watch — really free, as in no logging in or setting up passwords — and open to everyone of legal age. Its tabs offer “Females,” “Males,” “Couples,” “Groups,” and “Transsexuals.” To start broadcasting, a person has only to register a name and beam herself to the world, eating Chipotle. Total sexual anarchy is forestalled by a zealous volunteer police force of users, who operate along the lines of Wikipedia moderators, reporting and shutting down any performers who look suspiciously underage or who break one of Chaturbate’s few rules — the usual bans on violence, animals, and excrement.
Oh good, so there are some standards. Witt says she started looking into the site after an editor assigned her to do a piece on what people do in conditions like we have now, in which they have an abundance of sexual freedom. From an interview with one of the regulars on the network:
She called Chaturbate an “introvert’s paradise.” I asked her how it was that broadcasting her image to thousands of people over the internet could appeal to an introvert.
“I have complete control over the situation,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about it escalating physically. I can turn it off whenever I want. I can turn these words on the screen off whenever I want. I can kick people out. I make my own rules, nobody’s telling me what to do. Not that I’m necessarily a control freak but I’d never had that sexually. I’d never been in control of a sexual encounter until this, and I think it was something that I definitely needed.”
A Chaturbate woman named Wendy teaches Witt about the joys of “mass intimacy”:
“There’s this freedom, in that you don’t actually have to meet any of these people and they don’t actually know you,” Wendy explained. “You can be whoever you want to be. You can show them any part of yourself that you want. You can be totally open and bare and share everything without having to worry about people rejecting you or you can totally make up a new self and be someone different.”
I’d recently read an essay called “Times Square Red” by the science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany. Delany, a gay African-American man, had in the 1970s and 1980s frequented the porno movie theaters in Times Square, where he had hundreds of casual and anonymous sexual encounters with other men. He wrote that it was a shame that women suffered risks in the pursuit of similar experiences, but that also “What waits is for enough women to consider such venues as a locus of possible pleasure.”
He went on to describe the benefits of his vast experience in casual sex. The movie theaters had served as laboratories in which he had learned to discern the nuances and spectrums of his sexual desire, where sexual experimentation happened entirely outside of narratives of love or emotional entanglement. His observations about sexual attraction consistently disproved conventional notions of beauty and ugliness. (He discovered, among other proclivities, that he had a thing for burly Irish-American men, including two who had harelips.) Describing the importance of the anonymous sexual encounter, he wrote:
We do a little better when we sexualize our own manner of having sex — learn to find our own way of having sex sexy. Call it a healthy narcissism, if you like. This alone allows us to relax with our own sexuality. Paradoxically, this also allows us to vary it and accommodate it, as far as we wish, to other people. I don’t see how this can be accomplished without a statistically significant variety of partners and a fair amount of communication with them, at that, about what their sexual reactions to us are. (However supportive, the response of a single partner just cannot do that. This is a quintessentially social process, involving a social response.)
For women, the pursuit of wide-ranging sexual experience has always come with disproportionate risks and stigma. But online, in the context of what Wendy called “mass intimacy,” some of the women I spoke with were undertaking Delany’s endeavor with the risk of pregnancy, violence, and sexually transmitted infection minimized through the medium of encounter. Chaturbate and its ilk — everything from My Free Cams to the “Gone Wild” amateur porn thread on Reddit — could be the equivalent of the darkened porno theater of the 21st century, but places more welcoming to women, where women could go to consider their desires, where they could learn what attracted others to them and to discern and name what they found attractive.
So the Internet, plus the abundance of sexual freedom, is teaching everyone to live by the values of perverts who used to go to X-rated movie theaters to have anonymous sex. Wendy tells Emily Witt that to do it right, she needs to “objectify” the people on the other end of the electronic connection. One more clip:
Some people might look at Max and Harper, or anybody on Chaturbate, and disagree. They might think of clean sheets, a well-made bed, a clearly defined “partner,” and a closed door and think that they know exactly what sex is — loving, maybe; monogamous, probably; dignified by its secrecy; more authentic for not being shared; sacred because it’s not mediated through a cell phone. Spend enough time on Chaturbate and such a view starts to feel both rarified and unambitious.
Some people limit their internet sexuality to the private sphere of sexting or video chats with long-distance lovers. Others choose to meet their virtual partners in a semi-anonymous public forum. When mediated bodies can inhabit the same temporal dimension, the distinct purposes of porn, sex work, casual sex, internet dating, and social networking start to blur. Right now I see being sexual on the internet as a bold and risky form of performance. I anticipate that in the future it will just be thought of as sex.
I hope you will read the whole thing, though — trigger warning, for those who need them — the discussion, though anthropological, is fairly seamy at times. Why is it important to read? Because this loveless dystopia, this pornographic pseudo-world, is increasingly the world we live in, and in which our children are being raised. I think Witt is probably right: in the future, this will just be thought of as sex (though Witt doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with that).
Ordinary sexual love between partners as “rarefied and unambitious.” Philip Larkin got there first, with the bleak sarcasm of his poem High Windows, the opening of which I’ve redacted for use on this blog:
When I see a couple of kids
And guess he’s f—ing her and she’s
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise
Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives—
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide
To happiness, endlessly.
Our civilization is producing dead souls incapable of erotic love, only despairing hydraulics. This is what it most wrong with Chaturbate and the culture that created and sustains it. It’s not what it does to the body; it’s what it does to the soul, to the imagination, because of what it does to the body. From the opening chapter of Houellebecq’s The Elementary Particles, a novel about the total atomization of humanity in contemporary life:
The expressway back into Paris was deserted, and Djerzinski felt like a character in a science fiction film he’d seen at the university: the last man on earth after every other living thing had been wiped out. Something in the air evoked a dry apocalypse.
A dry apocalypse. Yes. That’s what we are living through. When I talk about the Benedict Option, I largely mean creating a stronghold of hope and love where the old virtues of civilization are lived and taught, and refugees from the dry apocalypse can take shelter from the chaos, and learn how to be human again.
Charles Featherstone sends in this fascinating essay by Kazimierz Bem, a Congregationalist pastor who says that churches are doomed if they don’t put primacy on how they worship. Excerpts:
The mainline Protestant churches have been declining for decades. This trend has now reached the evangelical churches, too. In a desperate attempt to stay alive, churches and their leaders are coming up with new solutions, new strategies and guesses.
New church plants are tailored for terribly busy people, giving them a brief moment of worship (with the stress on brief) “on the run.”
In one way or another, the refrain I constantly hear is: “The Church of the future is the Church of service.” It takes all shapes and forms, but it always boils down to the same thing: Don’t focus on worship — “do stuff” instead! So, a denominational leader blogs that the vocation of churches is to be local community centers, food banks, day cares, or places for diaper drives. New church plants are tailored for terribly busy people, giving them a brief moment of worship (with the stress on brief) “on the run.” Regular meals together are held where the leader says “Holy things for holy people” before the participants share their thoughts, and this is praised as new worship. My own denomination is experimenting with an online community called “Extravagance,” where people participate in worship online and then post their thoughts on Facebook. “The post was a part of her worship,” we are told.
As I read these emails, stories, and articles, I cannot help but think to myself that we should stop ordaining people to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament and instead create an office of “Community Organizer (with Brief Prayers).”
Before I became a minister in a small Massachusetts town, I was a lawyer and I worked in academia. This experience allowed me to meet people who worked in the areas of social justice, peace, and human rights. All of them went into their fields with enthusiasm, passion, and conviction. But I quickly learned that working on justice issues does not guarantee happiness, peace, or fulfillment — nor will you necessarily be working with nice and pleasant people, including co-workers.
One summer I worked for a boss who quickly turned my passion for refugees and refugee law into pure misery. Had the church I was attending that summer been a “community center” with a “community organizer” calling me to more “service,” I would have probably gone crazy. Instead, what kept me sane and grounded was what has been known as traditional worship throughout the centuries — prayers, hymns, sermons and the encounter with God in Jesus Christ.
Read the whole thing. Understand that Pastor Bem is not posing an “either-or” choice.
We spent this warm, sunny afternoon at the Baton Rouge Zoo. It was the first time I had been there in at least 40 years. We stood at one exhibit, a large island separated from the pathway by a moat. There was a rhino on the thing. I told Julie and the kids that I believe this was the chimp island when I was a kid. That was a favorite exhibit, because people would flick their lit cigarettes across the moat at the chimps. Every now and then, one of the smokes would make it to the island. The chimps would scramble for it, and whoever got it would run around smoking it, completely delighting us kids.
Now the zoo is non-smoking, and there are no chimps there. The Seventies, man. It’s a wonder any of us survived. I guarantee you that Mama, smoking like a chimney with the window barely cracked, drove us to the zoo with Ruthie and me bouncing around the back seat of the Ford LTD, unbuckled, and fighting over who got to lie on the ledge under the back windshield.
Just a short note to say what a great witness some local Catholics were to my Protestant niece on the bus trip to the March for Life. I just talked to my niece about the trip, and she was so excited by — well, she was excited about everything, but it was interesting to hear her talk about how much she enjoyed the catechetical talks on the long drive to DC. The group was almost entirely Catholic, but they were accompanied by an LSU student who gave basic talks on Catholic belief and practice, to make sure the kids knew their faith.
And they had “the coolest nun” on the bus, according to Claire: one of the Nashville Dominicans.
I had such a good feeling about all of it when I left Claire. I often point out the failures all of our churches experience regarding catechesis of the young. But it sure sounds like whoever put this bus trip together did things right.
The Boy Scouts of America continues to bar gay and lesbian adults from serving as leaders in the organization, even after lifting a ban on openly gay youth.
California’s judicial code of ethics bars judges from holding “membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”
Until this week, California had provided an exception covering nonprofit youth organizations, including the Boy Scouts, the only state in the nation to do so.
California is one of 47 states that bans judges from joining discriminatory groups, and one of 22 that includes a ban on groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
An ethics advisory committee to the California Supreme Court proposed the change again last year, saying it would “promote the integrity of the judiciary” and “enhance public confidence” in the judicial branch’s impartiality.
The only “anti-gay” organizations you may still belong to and serve as a California judge are religious ones. For now.
As ever, remember the Law of Merited Impossibility: It will never happen, and when it does, you people will deserve it.
UPDATE: A California lawyer writes:
The idea is that if a judge is a member of an organization that discriminates, maintaining that membership, taints the judiciary. I suppose the theory is that if a judge belongs to an organization that discriminates, that judge cannot be fair when ruling on matters similar to the discrimination practiced by that organization. Of course that is the ostensible reason. The real reason is to marginalize the boy scouts.
To me there are more than a few issues encapsulated by this decision.
It necessarily means that any effort by the scouts to bar gay troop leaders is irrational and hateful. I remember when Dennis Prager made the point that he wouldn’t’ want a male heterosexual scout master sleeping in the tent with his girl scout daughter and wouldn’t want a male homosexual scout master sleeping in the tent with this boy scout son.
Since even with its ban on gay scout masters, the boy scouts are currently fighting suits in many jurisdiction in which boy scouts were sexually molested by gays serving in leadership capacity with the scouts, this seems to be a pretty good rhetorical argument, unless you believe that gay scoutmasters with boys have greater control over their sexual desires than do heterosexual male scoutmasters with girls.
Even assuming the ban is proper, my thoughts have always run along the lines of better to have a judge who has some awareness of his or her personal prejudices and understands the need to take them into account in order to be fair to litigants, than someone who believes they are without prejudices but in fact has them.
Justice should be blind. That is the reason that the terms environmental justice, social justice, racial justice, economic justice etc cause me concern. Whatever judge is ruling, that judge should not be influenced by those factors. That is the reason that Sotomayor’s comments about being a wise Latina disturbed me. Is a wise Latina a better judge than a wise Latino, a wise white woman, a wise gay man, etc? All should apply the same standard regardless of their background.
In California Proposition 8 passed affirming that California could bar same sex marriages. The California Supreme Court upheld the law under the California constitution. The opponents of the law challenged it in Federal Court in San Francisco and were assigned as the judge Vaughn Walker, a gay man who was in a long term relationship. (Neither then Governor Schwarzenegger, nor then attorney general (now governor) Brown defended the law, effectively imposing an executive veto an a duly enacted intiative, something without precedent) Should Walker have been prevented from hearing the case? Can a committed Roman Catholic who doesn’t believe in divorce preside in a family law court? Can a supporter of abortion rights, rule on bills restricting abortions to early pregnancy? Where do we draw the line? On how many cases would a judge who is a member of the boy scouts face a situation where his role in the organization would prevent him from ruling fairly?
I saw American Sniper today. Good movie. Not a great movie, but a good one. I deliberately avoided reading anything substantive about it prior to seeing the movie, because I didn’t want to be swayed by the controversy. The only thing I knew about it was that the New Yorker film critic David Denby called it both a pro-war and an anti-war film.
And you know, that’s exactly what I thought coming out of the picture. I don’t get why so many people on my Facebook feed see it as a rah-rah patriotic movie. It’s not. There are a couple of moments in the film, towards the end, when characters close to Chris Kyle (the excellent Bradley Cooper) express doubt to him about his mission. His wife says that she and their children need him at home. A fellow soldier in Iraq admits to losing heart in their purpose there. Kyle reacts with empty slogans that he clearly believes because he can’t bear to think otherwise.
But it’s not a standard left-wing movie by any means. These soldiers really are going up against some evil SOBs, people who need to be killed. Evil is real in this movie, and it can’t be explained away.
In fact, I don’t know that the movie has much of a politics. The main takeaway for me was the cost of war on a soldier. It made me angrier at Bush, Rumsfeld, and the lot for putting true-believing, faithful soldiers like Chris Kyle into Iraq under false or foolish pretenses. What was that for, anyway? The movie says that you can go to war and kill evil people who need killing, and become an all-time legend as a warrior, and still end up a mess inside. I would say the film is pro-war in that it shows that sometimes evil must be confronted with nothing short of lethal force, and that soldiers often put themselves at great risk for each other. The film is anti-war in that it shows simplistic good-vs-evil narratives do not account for the emotional complexities of war, and that even the winners in a war are losers — and so are their families.
Here is the last letter home from Navy SEAL Marc Lee, who was one of Kyle’s comrades. In the film, Kyle and his wife attend Lee’s funeral, where their hear Lee’s mother read part of his last letter home. In real life, the Kyles didn’t go to the funeral, but the letter is genuine. Here’s the full text. This letter is the real spirit of American Sniper — the film, I mean, not Chris Kyle. Marc Lee’s letter:
Glory is something that some men chase and others find themselves stumbling upon, not expecting it to find them. Either way it is a noble gesture that one finds bestowed upon them. My question is when does glory fade away and become a wrongful crusade, or an unjustified means by which consumes one completely?
I have seen war. I have seen death, the sorrow that encompasses your entire being as a man breathes his last. I can only pray and hope that none of you will ever have to experience some of these things I have seen and felt here.
I have felt fear and have felt adrenaline pump through my veins making me seem invincible. I will be honest and say that some of the things I have seen here are unjustified and uncalled for. However for the most part we are helping this country. It will take more years than most expect, but we will get Iraq to stand on its own feet.
Most of what I have seen here I will never really mention or speak of, only due to the nature of those involved. I have seen a man give his food to a hungry child and family. Today I saw a hospital that most of us would refuse to receive treatment from. The filth and smell would allow most of us to not be able to stand to enter, let alone get medicine from. However you will be relieved to know that coalition forces have started to provide security for and supply medicine and equipment to help aid in the cause.
I have seen amazing things happen here; however I have seen the sad part of war too. I have seen the morals of a man who cares nothing of human life…I have seen hate towards a nation’s people who has never committed a wrong, except being born of a third world, ill educated and ignorant to western civilization. It is not everybody who feels this way only a select few but it brings questions to mind. Is it ok for one to consider themselves superior to another race?
Surprising we are not a stranger to this sort of attitude. Meaning that in our own country we discriminate against someone for what nationality they are, their education level, their social status. We distinguish our role models as multimillion dollar sports heroes or talented actors and actress who complain about not getting millions of dollars more then they are currently getting paid.
Our country is a great country, don’t get me wrong on this, otherwise none of us would be living there. My point of this is how can we come over here and help a less than fortunate country without holding contempt or hate towards them if we can’t do it in our country. I try to do my part over here, but the truth is over there, United States, I do nothing but take.
Ask yourself when was the last time you donated clothes that you hadn’t worn out. When was the last time you paid for a random stranger’s cup of coffee, meal or maybe even a tank of gas? When was the last time you helped a person with the groceries into or out of their car?
Think to yourself and wonder what it would feel like if when the bill for the meal came and you were told it was already paid for.
More random acts of kindness like this would change our country and our reputation as a country.
It is not unknown to most of us that the rest of the world looks at us with doubt towards our humanity and morals.
I am not here to preach or to say look at me, because I am just as at fault as the next person. I find that being here makes me realize the great country we have and the obligation we have to keep it that way.
The 4th has just come and gone and I received many emails thanking me for helping keep America great and free. I take no credit for the career path I have chosen; I can only give it to those of you who are reading this, because each one of you has contributed to me and who I am.
However what I do over here is only a small percent of what keeps our country great. I think the truth to our greatness is each other. Purity, morals and kindness, passed down to each generation through example. So to all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other so that when your
children come into contact with a great conflict that we are now faced with here in Iraq, that they are people of humanity, of pure motives, of compassion.
This is our real part to keep America free! HAPPY 4th Love Ya
P.S. Half way through the deployment can’t wait to see all of your faces
Did you see the film? What did you think?
That’s Bill Mefford, the Director of Civil and Human Rights at the United Methodist Church’s Washington arm. In contrast to, say, Russell Moore, a counterpart of his at the Southern Baptists’ Washington office, who went out to join the March for Life, Mefford went out to make fun of the protesters. Matthew Schmitz lets him have it. Excerpt:
I am not sure what the sign is supposed to mean, but Mefford’s blithe comparison of the moral weight of fetuses and sandwiches reflects the abortion lobby’s deep unwillingness to face facts. Time and again, they tell us not to take any of this too seriously (What about pocketbook issues?) to direct our gaze elsewhere (It’s about a woman’s right to choose) above all, to avoid considering the life that is lost. It claims the mantle of sensitivity, but the pro-choice viewpoint still leans heavily on human callousness.
As for Mefford, I cannot see how he has any business representing either human rights or a Christian church unless his intent is to drag both into disrepute. People will call for him to be reprimanded. I wonder if it not likelier that he will be commended.
Today Mefford apologized. Excerpt:
It seems my picture of me holding a sign that said “I March for Sandwiches” has been taken entirely out of context and has caused quite a stir among some in the Twitter and social media world. I tend to hate general apologies – when people say they are sorry for “whatever they may have done that offended people.” I don’t think those are very sincere.
I also want to say that when I was at the event holding my sign I received nothing but laughter and cheers. Making folks laugh was my sole intent – it really was! It was afterward when this started making the rounds on social media that the hurt and anger began to rise. I understand why people are angry.
So, I am deeply sorry for the hurt and anger that this has caused people since the event. I honestly love to make people laugh and think, and the hurt and anger that people are feeling is not something I enjoy. At all.
A reader of his named David Fischler responded:
Bill, thanks for your apology. I’m all for humor, but next time you should remember the golden rule. Ask yourself this: how would you have responded if the marchers in Ferguson or New York this past fall had been met with mockery? I suspect you would not have appreciated it. Even if one disagreed with them, the seriousness of the situation demanded respect. Same with the March for Life.
If he had mocked the marchers at either of those places, Mefford probably would have been fired.
Check out Schmitz’s update for a Twitter back and forth between Mefford and him, in which Schmitz tries to pin the Mefford down on whether or not his idea of human rights includes the unborn. Apparently not.
Anyway, I was proud that my Methodist niece, Claire, took part in the March for Life yesterday, and called her while she was on the Mall to tell her so. She went to DC with the Catholic kids from our town. She told me that the March for Life was the best thing she’s ever done. They went to mass, and she lit candles in memory of her late mother. And then they marched. “We talked about God a lot,” she told me. “It was so great.” Proud of them all, I am. And I’m proud that at least one Methodist — a teenager from south Louisiana — was on the Mall this week, standing up for the unborn.