“Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra! Sebelius and JFK at Georgetown!

Do you remember Archbp. Charles Chaput’s great talk in Texas about then candidate John F. Kennedy’s infamous speech in which he sold out his Catholic identity for the sake of life in the public square? Do you remember that then-candidate Rick Santorum took flack for criticizing JFK’s speech?

Ah… the Kennedy’s.

You know of course that to its eternal shame the Jesuit-run Georgetown University was invited to speak even though she is the architect of Pres. Obama’s attack on the 1st Amendment and on the Catholic Church through the “HHS mandate”.

Read this to sharpen your already honed sense of irony.


May 18, 2012

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ address at Georgetown University today:

Kathleen Sebelius quoted selectively from John F. Kennedy’s 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. She said she shares Kennedy’s vision of America “where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials—and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against us all.”

This was obviously meant as a shot at those bad bishops who allegedly want to impose their will on the public.

In that same speech, however, Kennedy said, “I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”

Perhaps someone can gently explain to Sebelius why this shows JFK’s astonishing prescience.

Contact our director of communications about Donohue’s remarks:
Jeff Field
Phone: 212-371-3191
E-mail: cl@catholicleague.org

Can. 915!


PS: I always thought that the episode I cited at the top was one of the dumbest moments of the series.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, Dogs and Fleas, Religious Liberty and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. SonofMonica says:

    “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

  2. ContraMundum says:

    Truly one of your most disturbing post titles yet!

  3. Rellis says:

    Shaka, when the walls fell.

    The Society of Jesus, when the mandatum was removed.

  4. ContraMundum says:

    John, when Cerinthus entered.

  5. JohnE says:

    It’s becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference between actual news and something that would be better suited for The Onion. I’m waiting for Pelosi to say that her Catholic faith impels her to be an atheist.

  6. jmgazzoli says:

    Perhaps if the bishops would only demand her obedience under the title of Locutus of Borg.

  7. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    YES! Fr. Z just made a TNG reference. If I could give him a golden star, I would. That was a ridiculous TNG episode, btw, … a language entirely predicated upon cultural-specific analogical references.

  8. Louis OSF says:

    @ Father: Nice Trekkie reference

    @ Rellis and Atra: nicely caught! :D

  9. Louis OSF says:

    and jmgazz

    Sorry about that :o

  10. Kerry says:

    Shaka! And the masks fell!

  11. digitalcatholic says:

    Sebelius on the ocean…

  12. disco says:

    Shaka, when the walls fell

  13. catholicmidwest says:

    Don’t let Michelle see the kissing picture. She’ll lay an egg.

  14. digitalcatholic says:

    Sebelius on the ocean. Oh, if only.

  15. Alice says:

    Hey, now! Don’t go hatin’ on one of my favorite TNG episodes.

  16. Dismas says:

    “Perhaps someone can gently explain?” Canon 915?

    I’m certainly no expert, but wouldn’t the extent of the diabolical disorientation expressed by her remarks possibly indicate the need for nothing less than the care of the diocesan exorcist at this point?

  17. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    “Darmak and Jalad…”

    Captain Picard! Yes. Hated that episode.

  18. ContraMundum says:

    Picard? I thought that was a line from Murder She Wrote!

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Which of the above events in the headline is fiction and which is reality?

  20. Phil_NL says:

    Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda: couldnt agree more.

    Major kudos by the way for making TNG trekkie references; I’m amazed that most trekkie refs (generally speaking) are still to TOS. While that series is utterly unwatchable, and has been for a quarter century. Yes, we owe a debt to that series as it launched the genre, but don’t expect anyone under 40 (50 by now?) to actually sit out those episodes; they’re toe-curling on almost every front.

    (also, what happened to SF in general? Haven’t seen a good series in the genre for at least a decade, and frankly, TNG will go the way of TOS as well at some point, as most of the scripts were equally rediculous, and will be exposed as such when suspension of disbelief fails. Not to mention the episode the title refers to, that was junk no matter what. From the top of my head, only the VOY episode where they explored post-truamatic stress in veterans was clearly worse)

  21. thefeds says:

    We must also remember that, despite his British accent, Jean Luc was French! These, after all, are a people that hold the singular comedic talent of Jerry Lewis in the highest esteem!

  22. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:


    Tamarians used historical metaphors to communicate, but for those who did not know their history, Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra would make no sense. It was their way of communicating “cooperation”.

    I’m not that smart, I just googled it.

    So now, we have Sebelius and DeGoia at Georgetown.

  23. Peggy R says:

    Since you and Sebelius mentioned the Kennedy clan, I can’t say how much contempt I have for those people. The Kennedy men use and toss out women like kleenex. RFK’ Jr’s conduct toward his wife (cheating, tying her up in court, etc, perhaps driving her to suicide) and now to her siblings puts him in the same class as Michael Schiavo.

    May God have mercy on the soul of Mary Kennedy. May she rest in peace. May her children and her siblings find peace and consolation.

  24. oakdiocesegirl says:

    Diane, please don’t hate that episode. It’s one of the more sophisticated thought experiments ever shown on TV. Thanks for posting it! The episode that spawned a thousand metaphors…

  25. oakdiocesegirl says:

    I hope Mary K’s death wasn’t just set up to look like a suicide. Remember Chappaquiddick! [yes, I am a bit cynical…]

  26. A.D. says:

    That episode of TNG was the most brilliant and interesting of the whole lot. Of course, it takes a second or third viewing to understand how outstanding it was. Personally, I’m of the first generation, an original series, Star Trek convention Trekkie. Live long and prosper!

  27. Peggy R says:


    Not hard to suspect or imagine such a thing. The “curse” is on any woman who dares affiliate with Kennedy men.

    Sorry to go off topic.

  28. ContraMundum says:

    I have mixed feelings about that episode. On the one hand, it was at least an attempt to deal with the fact that non-humans would probably think in ways that would be very different from human thought, rather than just as exaggerated caricatures of the hopes and fears of Gene Roddenberry.

    On the other hand…
    (1) An allusion to an historical event only makes sense if the historical event can be told as a tale in the first place. Once the audience is familiar with it, it can be used.
    (2) In English we use phrases all the time that almost no one knows the meaning behind, such as “hoist by his own petard”. If the original meaning had disappeared, though, the meaning should have been conveyed by the universal translator.
    (3) Historical analogies may be fine for the Deep Thots (or, “What did we learn today, kids?”) in each of these episodes, but they would be completely inadequate for an engineering manual. This may have made sense if the Tamarians had been hunter-gatherers (or the cast of a reality TV show), but not if they were a species with warp capabilities.

  29. ScholaLady says:

    The Trek quote that reminds me most of the current administration is this one from Picard/Locutus to the Enterprise crew: “Why do you resist? We only wish to improve quality of life.”

  30. Random Friar says:

    Put me among the haters of that episode. They try to give a nice explanation as to how their brain functions differently from other humanoids, but language needs building blocks. It would also need to be written and defined. The Tamarian understood Picard via the universal translator. So either the Tamarian *knew* basic words, and the universal translator somehow only worked one way (seemingly illogical), or the Tamarian was not smart enough to know that cultural metaphors would be a total failure.

  31. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Laughed so hard at the title that I almost woke up the house.

  32. acricketchirps says:

    Loved the episode — simply because it always tickled me to contemplate someone at dinner asking another to pass the peas using a cultural-specific analogical reference.

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