culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Friday, May 19, 2006
The Opus Dei code. Opus Dei, the crazy conservative Catholic cabal, is on a PR blitz spurred by the debut of Ron Howard's indubitably idiotic film, The DaVinci Code, adapted from the novel of the same name by one of the most ham-fisted writers ever, Dan Brown.

Opus Dei is on the highest PR alert because the world is beginning to get to know its secretive weirdness. Of course the spin coming from the organization is that none of the weirdness in the Ron Howard film is actually true. And in that statement they may have it right, given Howard's shlocky approach to film direction.

But the basic problem of Opus Dei's conspiratorial weirdness may in fact be weirder than albinos and bloody cilices. Its alleged conspirators include
Mark Belnick, former Tyco counsel and former Jew and former $37 million corporate scandal profiteer, and his crazy conservative Catholic cabal recruiter Father C. John McCloskey who also hooked publishing executive Alfred Regnery up with his first Opus Dei fix.

Besides the obvious lure of Tyco lucre, McCloskey is drawn to converts of a particular ideology. His list of converts beyond Belinick and Regnery sounds like a conspiracy theorist's dream:
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, who was personally involved in 75,000 abortions, before becoming a prominent pro-life advocate with the book "Aborting America" and the stunning video, "The Silent Scream."

- Lawrence Kudlow, a CNBC economic commentator, whose career was nearly ruined by a cocaine addiction before his conversion.

- Robert Novak, a syndicated political columnist for 40 years and a non-practicing Jew, often called "The Prince of Darkness" for his gloomy presence on CNN's "Crossfire" and "The Capital Gang."

- U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Methodist and a conservative who teamed up with liberal Sen. Paul Wellstone to sponsor a law to curb sex trafficking, which brings 50,000 prostitutes for brothels in the U.S. annually.

- Judge Robert Bork, who was nominated by President Reagan to the Supreme Court, but suffered defeat in a Democratic Senate opposed to his pro-life views.
With its single-minded devotion to wealth and power, does it come as any shock that Opus Dei is a glimpse into the most craven soulless Republicanism of the American 21st century?

And McCloskey himself, where did he come from? Why surprise, surprise: he picked up his soul-harvesting tricks at Merrill Lynch, where he learned the sales techniques of the world's Number One wealth manager.

Only this time, instead of selling hedge funds, he's selling homophobia: "[A gay civil union] opens the door to anything from incest to bestiality," said McCloskey. "The whole question is: What is a family? What constitutes a marriage? There's no wiggle room, certainly, in that area." (Let's leave the intensely criminal homosexuality of Catholic clergy aside for the moment. Our theme today is cabalistic power, not institutionally-endorsed pedophilia.)

So is Opus Dei just a curious self-flaggelating cult, or is it the same old conspiracy we've grown so used to: media, publishing, finance and politics — all huddled in one sanctimonious chapel together to screw everyone else?

In its goofy sensationalism, The DaVinci Code tells the wrong Opus Dei story. The one in which its members find themselves in eternal hellfire. But, of course, that's fiction.

Greatest Hits · Alternatives to First Command Financial Planning · First Command, last resort, Part 3 · Part 2 · Part 1 · Stealing $50K from a widow: Wells Real Estate · Leo Wells, REITs and divine wealth · Sex-crazed Red State teenagers · What I hate: a manifesto · Spawn of Darleen Druyun · All-American high school sex party · Why is Ken Lay smiling? · Poppy's Enron birthday party · The Saudi money laundry and the president's uncle · The sentence of Enron's John Forney · The holiness of Neil Bush's marriage · The Silence of Cheney: a poem · South Park Christians · Capitalist against Bush: Warren Buffett · Fastow childen vs. Enron children · Give your prescription money to your old boss · Neil Bush, hard-working matchmaker · Republicans against fetuses and pregnant women · Emboldened Ken Lay · Faith-based jails · Please die for me so I can skip your funeral · A brief illustrated history of the Republican Party · Nancy Victory · Soldiers become accountants · Beware the Merrill Lynch mob · Darleen Druyun's $5.7 billion surprise · First responder funding · Hoovering the country · First Command fifty percent load · Ken Lay and the Atkins diet · Halliburton WMD · Leave no CEO behind · August in Crawford · Elaine Pagels · Profitable slave labor at Halliburton · Tom Hanks + Mujahideen · Sharon & Neilsie Bush · One weekend a month, or eternity · Is the US pumping Iraqi oil to Kuwait? · Cheney's war · Seth Glickenhaus: Capitalist against Bush · Martha's blow job · Mark Belnick: Tyco Catholic nut · Cheney's deferred Halliburton compensation · Jeb sucks sugar cane · Poindexter & LifeLog · American Family Association panic · Riley Bechtel and the crony economy · The Book of Sharon (Bush) · The Art of Enron · Plunder convention · Waiting in Kuwait: Jay Garner · What's an Army private worth? · Barbara Bodine, Queen of Baghdad · Sneaky bastards at Halliburton · Golf course and barbecue military strategy · Enron at large · Recent astroturf · Cracker Chic 2 · No business like war business · Big Brother · Martha Stewart vs. Thomas White · Roger Kimball, disappointed Republican poetry fan · Cheney, Lay, Afghanistan · Terry Lynn Barton, crimes of burning · Feasting at the Cheney trough · Who would Jesus indict? · Return of the Carlyle Group · Duct tape is for little people · GOP and bad medicine · Sears Tower vs Mt Rushmore · Scared Christians · Crooked playing field · John O'Neill: The man who knew · Back to the top

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