TSA and the Christ Child

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by Dr. G.C. Dilsaver: Christians
and the Pro-life Ploy



I have the
blessing of being associated with the good monks of Our
Lady of the Annunciation Monastery
of Clear Creek, Oklahoma,
many of whose founding fathers were led to convert to Catholicism
in the late 1960's after studying in the Integrated
Humanities Program
under John Senior et al. at the University
of Kansas. This program, based on the ancient wisdom and reasoning
of the West, was extremely popular and truthful, and therefore extremely
subversive and threatening to the University's "effete-elite"
who finally silenced it; but not before it had done some serious
damage. This "damage" still lives on and is indeed thriving
at Clear Creek Monastery. Indeed, in addition to the monks, many
"off-the-grid" type families have also relocated to the

To spend some
days praying, working, and sharing meals with the monks is to spend
days being immersed in reality. Indeed, this is a cloister that
works not to keep anything in but to keep the unreal out: it is
a refuge of reality in a world of lies. But inevitably the day comes
when a visitor such as I must leave those cloistered depths of reality
to make the hour drive to the Tulsa International Airport. So after
pre-dawn Matins
and Lauds
followed by Holy Mass I bid farewell to Our Lord,
the monks, and monastery. An extern brother loads my bags into a
car and drives me past the grazing sheep and the watching Great
. We proceed down the hill and out the log gated entrance
onto the rocky back-roads of a town appropriately called "Lost

The road turns
to pavement and then to highway and eventually the Tulsa horizon
begins to slowly rise, as does a foreboding. As I am dropped-off
at the airport, I say one more slightly distressed goodbye to Brother
Driver and the monastery and reality he represents and hoisting
my bags turn to look into the craw of a twilight zone of demonic
machinations. Before entering I attempt to fortify myself by taking
one last draught of remembered monastic air bitter-sweet with incense
and vibrating with the chant of ancient Latin psalms; but instead
imbue air acrid with fuel fumes and pierced with mechanical voices
barking about terror alerts and suspicious activities and people.
Indeed, the atmosphere is foul with violent threat and paranoia
and the not so subliminal message is clear: “We’re at war so don’t
dare step out of line!”

My foreboding
this time is increased by a previous run in with Topeka TSA a year
earlier. Then I had brought home with me a piece of the monastery,
a large wheel of monk's cheese. My departure flight that day had
been delayed and I was hurriedly trying to catch an alternate flight
that was departing momentarily or face a three-hour wait. But as
I tried to pass through security I was detained. TSA agents ominously
confronted me, "Is this your bag?" "Yes." "What's
in it?" "What do you mean?" "Unzip the bag!"
By now there were four or five TSA, or KGB Wanna-Bes, gathered
around, including a supervisor in a suit who had an uncanny resemblance
to the late Gary
. I opened the bag. And there it was in plain sight,
as big as can be, a ten-pound wheel of monk's cheese wrapped in
clear plastic, with my cell phone and charger sinisterly placed,
I suppose, on top.

Commissar Coleman,
was absolutely flabbergasted! "What do you think you're doing?"
"Excuse me?" "What this suppose to be?"
The other TSA agents are starting to suppress smiles and I, exercising
prudent restraint, refrain from saying the obvious word "bomb:"
that four-letter word that would immediately get me cuffed if not
tasered. "It's cheese, monk's cheese to be exact." Commissar
Coleman's eyes bugged out even more than they were while he makes
comments that question my sanity and level of intelligence. So I
say as sardonically as I can, "I didn't realize cheese
wasn't allowed to be carried on." Commissar
Coleman looks at me like I am the lowest form of life (reminiscent
of how my Marine Corps Drill Instructors used to look at me). He
tries a few more times to provoke me and to elicit the word "bomb"
but I don't take the bait; and after taking some pictures from various
angles of "the incident" he sends me back out to check
my cheese. Of course I protest, because I won't be able to catch
the alternate flight and because there is no reason to do this;
but of course reason has nothing to do with the reasonings of the
State; and of course because I protest I am threatened by the Commissar
with being detained and not being able to fly at all.

Now in retrospect
I wish I had said something like, "Does the cheese-ban only
apply to monk's cheese or is it all-inclusive, and if so does that
even include cream cheese." Or maybe, "Now I can understand
since it is made out an unknown non-biodegradable and most likely
toxic substance that is designed to be propelled through the air,
maybe into an unsuspecting stewardess' eye." But with my anger
starting to noticeably rise above my prudence I could only utter
the feeble mocking parting suggestion — and though feeble it seemed
to push the limit — that maybe "the entrance signs should have
cheese listed as forbidden along with handguns, explosives, and
bottled water" and then skadoodled out as the oh-so-serious
Commissar glared at me with taser-like intensity.

No monk's cheese
this time around though. However this time around TSA Topeka does
now have in place the dreaded "strip-scanners:"
known to be harmful
to body
and soul. It is my first encounter and I know I should
refuse and resolve to do so as I check-in and make my way to security.
But as I wait in line I observe that absolutely no one else
in the many lines before me is selecting to opt-out! I advance in
line almost to the end and still no else has opted-out and I am
beginning to hesitate. But right before it's my turn a man immediately
before me apparently "opts out," and without any fanfare
goes through the metal detector and gracefully walks away. That
is all I needed as I confidently inform the TSA agent, or more appropriately
"minion," that I am "opting out." Immediately
he loudly informs the entire area, "We have an opt-out!"
I am herded through the metal detector and then to the public search
area. Here I am offered an intimate private search behind closed
doors, to which I respond: "Yeah, right," and "No
thanks." At this time, the pat-down was not yet the "new
enhanced pat-down," but still it was wrong and violating. As
I was being frisked the minion simultaneously swabbed me down and
then tested the swab for explosive chemicals.

And still the
whole time no one else had opting-out save myself and the guy right
before me who had sailed through. So feeling alone, somewhat humiliated,
and definitely indignant, I go over to collect my shoes, clothing,
and bag and begin wondering if I had made the right choice. "Is
this your bag?" "Yes." "What's in it?"
"What do you mean?" "Unzip the bag!" "There's
no cheese in it." "What?" "Cheese." "Open
the bag please." Before I follow orders I unhurriedly finish
putting on my shoes and blazer, which causes the minion not an inconsiderable
amount of consternation. I then unzip the bag and reach in. I always
reach in myself to retrieve whatever it is, since it is my stuff,
and I am always asked to back away, like it is not my stuff at all.
The inspecting minion, watched by other TSA minions, unwraps a gift
my family and I had been given of 14 inch figurine of the Blessed
Mother holding the Infant Jesus. The minion lifts the statuette
out, and I forcefully tell him to "Be careful!" but my
all too prevalent lower nature is urging me to say "Get your
stinking hands off my statue, punk!" And then, lo and behold,
my anger is replaced by dumbfoundedness as the minion proceeds to
frisk and swab the statuette the same way I was frisked and swabbed,
first along the figure of Our Lady and then along the figure of
the Christ Child! (In retrospect I wonder if it was just profiling:
Middle-Eastern and all that). Anyway, nothing is found on either
of them and they and I, still dumbfounded, are allowed to pass through.

Maybe I wasn't
much of a Saint Joseph in suffering fools well, be they innkeepers
(LK2.7) or gatekeepers; but at least I, like him, then took "the
Child and his mother" and fled (MT2.13). And though I still
felt the humiliation I was able to thank God for it. I knew I had
done the right thing in resisting evil by opting-out, for in subsequently
enduring being frisked and swabbed I ended up being in very good,
indeed the very best of company. And maybe that guy that went before
me was really an angel of God that didn't even need to take a plane
to fly but was there to guide me (maybe more likely but no less
providentially, he was someone more in league with the fallen angels,
like an upper echelon State minion).

But in any
case, I was confirmed in the righteousness of my resisting this
particularly sensational symptom of the ever-increasing totalitarian
state. In addition to being so confirmed, I am also informed by
the ancient wisdom and reasoning of the West (as conveyed, for example,
in the Integrated Humanities Program and as lived at Clear Creek
Monastery) that one cannot acquiesce to evil but must prudently
resist it. But by submissively going through a physically
and morally harmful strip-scanner one is passively acquiescing in
evil. That is why opting-out, though not morally mandatory, is the
more righteous thing to do even if in doing so one must face a frisking.
However, it is quite understandable, and absolutely no culpability
is entailed, if one discerns he is not emotionally up to enduring
an immodest frisking and therefore goes through the strip-scanner
under protest.

Yes, relative
to the strip-scanner an immodest frisking is more humiliating because
more personal. But because it is more personal it is also more confrontational
and hence a prophetic witness against evil. In addition, I for one
would rather see the whites of my enemies' eyes. Nor does this immodest
and dishonoring frisking render the person being frisked immodest
or dishonorable. For, nota bene, modesty and honor, like
all virtue and moral goodness, cannot be taken away but rather can
only be lost if freely surrendered. In a case like this the frisking,
and this can apply to strip-scanning as well, is a violation that
one endures but does not consent to (made manifest by stating, for
instance, "I do not consent to you touching me inappropriately
and will file a complaint and/or legal action if you do so.").

Yes, paradoxically
resistance may lead to further humiliation. But humiliation can
be the process of becoming
, and ultimately it is only the "meek and humble
of heart" (MT11.29), like the Lamb of God Himself, that will
have the courage to confront and topple pride in all its forms (even
in its nationalistic "American Pride" form); while it
is the proud and timid "sheeple" afraid of embarrassment
and censure who freely succumb to evil and degradation. I must admit,
however, that I don't know what I will do if I am subjected someday
to an "enhanced pat-down," that is, I don't know if I
will decide that the need to fly in the specific situation is a
good that entails my enduring, but not consenting to, being violated;
or, if deeming the good of the trip in question not sufficient,
I will decide to forgo the flight by simply refusing, which risks
moving up to the next level of humiliation (and as such heroism)
with the sting of the taser and arrest.

I do know that flying is expendable but modesty and honor are
not. So perhaps it is best if one finally opts-out totally by slowing
down a bit: by taking a car or bus or train, or maybe a donkey.
Or as the saintly Dominican friar and anti-state agrarianist Father
Vincent McNabb (1868–1943)

“Buy boots
you can walk in. Walk in them. Even if you lessen the income of
the General Omnibus Company [or United Airlines] or your family
doctor; you will discover the human foot. On discovering it, your
joy will be as great as if you had invented it. But this joy is
the greatest, because no human invention even of Mr. Ford or Mr.
Marconi is within a mile of a foot.”

But put our
collective foot down we must, or the jackboot of the state with
come down upon us! A blessed and peaceful Christmas to all you of
good-will and may you heed your God-inspired dreams and thus avoid
the Henchman of Herod.

25, 2010

Dr. Gregory
C. Dilsaver [send him mail],
is a clinical psychologist and the developer of Imago
Dei Psychotherapy
, a moral psychodynamic approach to mental
health based on Western scholastic anthropology. Dr. Dilsaver’s
Imago Dei Clinic is located
in Spokane, Washington, where he conducts both in person and telephonic
sessions (national and international) for those seeking an efficacious
alternative to psychotropic medication and status quo psychotherapy.
For further information visit www.idpsy.com or call 717.909.2744.
His recent books, The
Three Marks of Manhood
and Imago
Dei Psychotherapy
can be purchased on Amazon through the
Lew Rockwell portal. A selection of Dr. Dilsaver’s other writings
can be found at www.Dilsaver.org.

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