Sunday, November 30, 2008

D'Souza knows not what he does

Shall we forgive him?

Dinesh D'Souza is promoting the new paperback edition of his apologia for Christianity (What's so great about Christianity?) and is planning a visit to San Francisco next weekend. That's probably why he deigned to say a few words to Heidi Benson, staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. The book section of today's edition of the Chronicle presents the results of that conversation. I was particularly struck by this exchange:
Q: What religion do you practice?

A: I'm a Catholic by background. I was raised in Goa, a part of India that was visited by Portuguese missionaries a few hundred years ago, which explains my last name.

My wife, Dixie, is evangelical Christian. We met in the Reagan White House, when she was a student intern. We're members of the Horizon Christian Fellowship Church.

Dixie was born in Louisiana and grew up in San Diego. The issue of me being Catholic and her being Protestant made her parents a little grumpy, but the fact that I was Indian was a nonissue.
Interesting. So Dinesh is no more of a Catholic than I am. We are both “Catholic by background,” but that's not the same as actually being Catholic. If he is a member of Horizon Christian Fellowship Church, then Dinesh has joined the ranks of ex-Catholics and become a Protestant. He should do something about correcting his Wikipedia entry, which lists his religion as Roman Catholic.

In this politically charged election year, quite a few Catholic clerics did some vigorous pulpit-pounding demanding that their parishioners vote Republican (although most were circumspect enough to say “pro-life” instead of endorsing McCain by name). Presumably this would not have bothered D'Souza, had he been present to hear any of those sermons. Given his lapses, however, he might have fidgeted a bit at demands for ideological and philosophical purity by his ostensible co-religionists. After all, Joe Biden's Roman Catholicism was frequently called into question because he supports freedom of choice. I'm sure Dinesh heard about this, even if he has been absent from the Catholic pews. One doesn't want to be ambiguous about such matters, especially if one is a self-anointed Christian apologist. People really should know what religion they belong to.

Of course, Wikipedia is a great source of information, but it's hardly definitive. Maybe it's just a mistake on Wikipedia's part. Perhaps the encyclopedists misconstrued the intent of remarks like “me being Catholic” on Dinesh's part.

But no. Dinesh himself is the source of the error. He has an official website (which is cited in the Wikipedia article). This is what he has to say about himself on the More About Dinesh D'Souza page:
“A believing Catholic but a poorly practicing one,” D'Souza said religious faith is vital to achievement.
Sorry, Dinesh, but joining an evangelical Protestant church does not make you a “poorly practicing” Catholic. It makes you an ex-Catholic. A non-Catholic. If you honestly think you're still a “believing Catholic,” then you must fear for your immortal soul (since you imagine you have one). Presumably you don't rush to your local Catholic church to attend mass after the services at Horizon Christian Fellowship Church each Sunday, which means you are in violation of a Catholic's solemn obligation for weekly mass attendance. And deliberately missing mass is a mortal sin.

Oh, oh. Dinesh is going to hell.


William said...

The part that strikes me about that passage is that he's admitting the only reason he is (or was) Catholic was that his town was visited by missionaries a few centuries ago. It plays right into Dawkins' famous point that most people acquire their particular religions due to accidents of birth rather than due to any serious consideration of the alternatives.

I've sometimes heard it argued (by Catholics) that once a Catholic, always a Catholic, regardless of your actual beliefs, unless you're formally excommunicated. Perhaps D'Souza subscribes to this.

Blake Stacey said...

It's people like Dinesh D'Souza being in Hell who are going to ruin the place for the rest of us.

Interrobang said...

The missionaries in Goa left behind more than their religion; he's paternally descended from one and has that ancestor's last name...

I'm personally of the opinion that D'Souza is probably claiming to be Catholic because it sounds more respectable to the circle of right-wingers to which he aspires (in the mould -- slime -- of Buckley and Bennett) than saying he's a fundamentalist Christian.

Peter said...

Nice analysis of Dinesh D'Souza with excellent points.

It's fair to say that it's not a general statement to say that Dinesh D'Souza doesn't know what he's doing as that is the case with almost everything of his that I've read, hear him say, or seen him utter during debates.

Human's can and DO imagine whatever they want which is why there are so many religions and other whacked out belief systems.

Obviously Dinesh D'Souza constructs his imaginary "god" and "religion" as the need arises (to keep his wife happy no doubt - which is wise if you want to keep getting some every week) so the inconsistencies you raise about his spiritual integrity are - even though accurate - irrelevant to him.

What's more disconcerting is how blind Dinesh D'Souza and his ilk are to the actual harm and damage they do to others in this very real world with their imaginary gods and demons, heavens and hells, and assorted silly notions.

Dead bodies don't rise from the dead once brain, organ and cell death have occurred. Proof enough of no god. Yet, they persist with spreading and - worse - acting upon their dangerous mythos as if it was real.

The only hell that exists is the one created by humans.

Oh, to be sure Mother Nature can rain down the worst kinds of hell upon us. In fact it is a scientific fact that the Earth is doomed. So we'll have to face whatever Nature Brings Us.

The difference with what we humans do is that we can to some degree control the hell we unleash upon others.

We can choose to relax and not bring hell to others. We can choose to not bomb those people even though a few of them might have committed horrific acts. We can treat all people of the Earth equally. We can respect each other even when there are differences.

Do I respect Dinesh D'Souza. Not his beliefs or actions while at the White House, nope. I respect that he is alive and that he has a right to be alive, and ick, to even speak his mind.

Yet it's clear that his positions are those that could very well unleash a hell on Earth. In fact his positions already do. In fact he worked in the White House supporting and actively participating in unleashing hell upon others driven by his unrelenting belief stricken delusional beliefs in imaginary alien super beings.

Dinesh D'Souza, you deserve at least a spanking for your crimes.

Anonymous said...

Likely typo:
"I'm sure Dinesh heard about this, even if has been absent from the Catholic pews."

Anonymous said...

"Shall we forgive him?"


Anonymous said...

Oh for goodness sake... Let it go. He is just like the rest of us, a bit confused in the grand scheme of things, a bit misguided by mankind, and at a crossroads in his life. Why parse through every minute detail when we are missing thwe big picture. He is just another man with his own version of the truth as it relates to who he is.

Zeno said...

I don't feel the need to extend to D'Souza the sweet Christian charity he presumes (pretends?) to espouse. I regard him as a poseur at best and a conscious fraud at worst. He is also unfortunately influential and we should not permit him to work his mischief unhindered.