January 19, 2019

Le Marchand De Mort: French Translations Of The Death Merchant

Here are six Death Merchant paperbacks, published under Gerard de Villiers's French imprint in the 1980s.

The voluptuous, negligee-wearing, cigar-smoking babes on the covers are the very definition of false advertising. Having a woman like this appear in a Death Merchant adventure is about as likely as Richard Camellion delivering a six-page endorsement of socialism.






December 27, 2018

JRR Letter To The Editor, March 12, 1974: "Anti-Abortion Stand 'Twisted Logic'"

The Wheeling Herald, March 12, 1974:
Anti-Abortion Stand 'Twisted Logic'

Regarding Thomas H. Dittmer's letter regarding the evils of abortion, I have only one comment: here again we have the results of stupid, bigoted thinking, of half-truths and twisted logic, the worst of which is a comparison of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to the tactics of Adolf Hitler.

Unlike Hitler, the U.S. Supreme Court has not ordered anyone eliminated. The U.S. Supreme Court did decide that a woman has a legal right to decide for herself whether or not she wants an abortion. This decision also meant that no individual (take note, Mr. Dittmer), nor church, nor organization, has the right to try to cram its belief down the public throat.

Mr. Dittmer, you wrote that "The right to life is the supreme right of God to give or to take away."

Have you talked to God lately, Mr. Dittmer? Did he tell you that? How do you know what God wants, other than what you have been taught by previous know-it-alls? In the Old Testament we read how God told the murderous Jews to treat their captives – "save the virgins" but kill the soldiers, plow 'em like fertilizer.

This sort of makes God sound like a sort of cosmic Hitler to me! Of course, God didn't say any such thing, but it was a helluva slick trick on the part of the Jewish leaders who could make their people believe anything – and they're still waiting for their Messiah!

You write, Mr. Dittmer, of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!" I suggest you practice what you preach and permit others to pursue this philosophy without telling them how to do it, without deciding for them what is right and what is wrong in the mind of "God!"

Personally, I find it odd how bigoted fanatics are always convinced how "God" is on their side and/or just "know" what "God" wants!

When you, Mr. Dittmer, and your know-it-all kind are willing to take care of the thousands of unwanted children (that would be born into the world if you had your way), when you're willing to put out hard cash for the cost of their birth, for their food, clothing, medicine and schooling, when you're willing to put your money where your big mouth is – you still will not have earned the right to tell other people how to live.

I would also suggest you keep the facts straight and quit twisting the truth to suit your own hell-fire-religion purposes. Tell it like it really is: that the United States Supreme Court is not forcing abortion on any woman: the decision only permits the individual woman to decide for herself. And don't give us the claptrap what the "American people" want, because poll after poll has revealed that the vast majority of Americans – and this includes Roman Catholics – approve of this decision, in spite of the lies screamed by the Right To Life minority, which isn't fooling Congress the least bit.

Congressmen, realizing how votes are buttered, aren't about to "amend" this decision, they know that eventually all crackpots turn to other noble causes.

Amen!

Joe Rosenberger
Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Rosenberger's letter prompted at least six letters in opposition. One of them, from Patricia Nichols of Mount Prospect, included this admonition (April 8):
I am tired of your name calling. In every letter you write you must resort to childish name calling. Your last letter had such adolescent words as "stupid, twisted logic, bigoted fanatics, crackpots." I wish you could state your ideas in an adult-like manner.
Jim Peterson of Hoffman Estates offered support for Rosenberger (April 22):
... I thoroughly enjoyed and concur with Mr. Rosenberger's letter.

On second thought, I disagree when he refers to some anti-abortion views as twisted logic. I see no logic at all in their arguments, twisted or otherwise. ...

Now let me get down to the point which really frosts me. Since it is unlikely that [two previous letter writers] are going to shop around for an abortion, why must you insert your collective noses into other people's business when they wish to obtain a legal abortion?

If you are so concerned about lives, and children's lives in particular, there is no end to the need for your services.

Two thirds of the people in the world (two-plus billion) are malnourished (don't get a proper diet, usually protein deficient) and one third of the people alive in the world today (one-plus billion) are undernourished (don't get enough of any kind of food).

Furthermore, since 40 per cent of the population of the underdeveloped world is made up of people under 15 years old, these children are usually the ones who comprise the bulk of the 3½ million people who die of starvation each year (3½ million is a conservative estimate).

Granted, it would be more convenient for you to help these people if they lived next door in Mount Prospect, but I'm sure you'll understand they haven't been able to scrape together the air fare yet.

October 3, 2018

Kung Fu (Mace) #1: The Year Of The Tiger

A Big Score of "H" on the High Seas –

but the San Francisco Mafia needed a respectable boat to make the transfer. Ho Li Wing and his fishing vessel Dragonwind were picked. Too bad they didn't realize Wing had a visitor from Hong Kong – his Eurasian nephew, Mace, who was a Kung Fu Master.

When the goons strong-armed Wing, Mace warned them. When they came on strong with Mace, he pulverized them and sent them limping away with a second warning.

Then they came up with an idea they thought couldn't miss! They kidnapped Wing's wife and daughter.

Too bad they didn't understand Kung Fu . . .

Joseph Rosenberger had published six Death Merchant books when The Year of the Tiger appeared in September 1973, under the name "Lee Chang". Rosenberger also debuted another series that year, as Murder Master, hit paperback racks in November.

There are eight books in the Kung Fu series, but Rosenberger wrote only the first five. Len Levinson wrote #6 (also as Lee Chang) and Bruce Cassidy wrote #s 7 and 8 (as C.K. Fong).

Rosenberger uses a similar template to his Death Merchant books. We begin with an action scene before stepping back to lay out the plot of the book (such as it is). There are several more fight scenes before the grand finale. Similar to the DM books, our hero (Victor Mace) has super-human abilities when it comes to fighting and each battle is described in the most intricate detail.

And yet even by those flimsy standards, The Year of the Tiger barely qualifies as a narrative. It's somewhat like a boxing match, with the lengthy fight scenes interrupted by the characters going back to their respective corners and not doing much of anything until the bell rings for the next round.

The San Francisco Mafia is attempting to convince Ho Le Wing, an honest local fisherman, to let them use his boat to make a deal for $2 million in pure heroin (often referred to as simply "H") in international waters. Wing's nephew Victor Mace is visiting from Hong Kong when the goons make their first move. Mace kicks their asses. The Mafia tries another tactic a little later. Mace kicks their asses. The stubborn Mafia tries yet again. Mace kicks their asses. Apparently, Wing is the only man above suspicion with a decent-sized boat in the Bay Area.

Throughout the book, Mace recalls his youth in Hong Kong, and his years of instruction with his master, En Sheng. There are far too many of these flashbacks and they eat up a lot of pages (one even includes a six-page fight scene!).

This is early in Rosenberger's action-adventure writing career, so his sense of humour (intentional and otherwise) is everywhere in this book, in his bizarre descriptions, off-beat analogies, and graphic depictions of violence. He also throws exclamation points around like confetti on New Year's. You might think he was getting paid by the exclamation point! They are everywhere! Even on short, boring sentences! Like this one!

There is not much in the way of social and political rants, but there is some criticism of the United States' gun culture and its simultaneous exploitation of and prudishness about sexuality:
[Mace] stood there thinking of how savage and barbaric the United States was, a truly wild country in which almost any man could purchase a firearm. Such a pity that the United States was still a pioneer nation, a violent nation, a nation still living in brutality, such as existed in its days of the Old West. ...

[A fascination with brute force] seemed to be a large part of American culture and one that frankly puzzled Mace. Most nations honored their intellectuals, their poets and artists, their philosophers and scientists, according them positions of reverence and respect. Not so in the United States, a paradoxical nation where people were honored not for the quality of their minds but for their ability to throw, or kick, or bounce a ball! A childish and immature nation, always preoccupied with the sexual function in a deranged sort of way: while men and women were prominently displayed stark naked in magazines and in motion pictures, "morals squads" still spied and snooped hi public rest rooms to ensure prim and proper sexual behavior!

Poor repressed Americans ... immature and untutored in the virtues of a sane and sensible life .. . not to realize that shame is but nature's hasty conscience ...
At one point, Mace recalls En Sheng telling him that the idea of turning the other cheek is "an unnatural credo put forth by the Western Christians, who have never comprehended the nature of man."

In "An Insider's View to the Death Merchant" that ran in the back pages of some of Pinnacle's other series (The Executioner, The Penetrator), Rosenberger claimed to have "originated the first kung fu fiction books" and to have worked as "an instructor in 'Korean karate'".

Joe Kenney reviewed this book in June 2010 when his Glorious Trash blog was not even three weeks old! He stated that Manor Books was "capitalizing ... on the then-popular Kung-Fu TV series starring David Carradine". Based on the scant information online and my own research, Rosenberger treated the truth as highly elastic when it came to his own background. He almost certainly did not teach "Korean karate".

In a short interview printed in a 1981 fanzine, Rosenberger says he wrote under the name Lee Chang. He may have outed himself as Chang at that time, but I find it next-to-impossible that anyone who was familiar with the Death Merchant series would not immediately recognize Rosenberger's rather unique style.

Early in the book, Joseph Rupert Rosenberger writes that one of the Mafia goons "had the unlikely name of Rupert Rosenbacker!" He did something similar in The Devil's Trashcan (DM #43), when one of Richard Camellion's buddies makes a passing comment about "a joker I know" named Rupt Rosenberger. ... I don't know what to make of this.

Etc.:

"Mace was a man who'd hit himself over the head with a sledge hammer just to keep in practice."

"Both men might as well have tried to stop a rhinoceros with toothpicks!"

"He had all the chance of a crippled turtle trying to outrun a bolt of lightning!"

"... making suki yaki of his face, egg foo yung of his ribs and chop suey of his guts"

"as slick as a puppy's nut"

"... stalked by something gigantic, venomous and incredibly malevolent. Blackness!"

"Uncle will be surprised that we've come to the dock to see him and Jimmy leave. Then again, he might not."

"Confusion is the little brother of misery and the twin of uncertainty; yet all confusion dies before the sword of facts."

"... two moving engines of destruction, two juggernauts of pure King Fu"

"They're dangerous! They're like two cans of nitro!"

"The man went down, gurgling like a waterfall, his brain a pounding kettledrum of approaching death."

"You're so damned bright that you think Sherlock Holmes is a housing development."

"... falling the remaining 15 feet with the speed of a meteor"

Big John Jenessio could barely walk "and when he did shuffle along his battered balls became a tubful of misery".

"... the ultimate aim of Kung Fu ... is to aspire to the high grades where one's understanding and practice of the art provide the entrance to the philosophical plane where the principles of the physical practice are applied to life."

Mace: "They didn't harm you in any way ...?"
Sue: "That man Vance. He even made us a pitcher of lemonade."

"I'll get those killers if it's the last thing I do!"

"There was a quietness about the two vessels that wasn't natural, a kind of waiting malignancy that seemed to be building to an unexpected spring ... waiting ..."

"A nagging fear kept growing in Ho Li's mind, spreading with all the rapidity of a cancer."

"Mace exploded over him with all the ferocity of a spreading cancer!"

"The Pacific Ocean was a friend to no man ..."

"... his malevolent mind trying to sponge up current events"

"... hideous shock ... his think machine did what it had to do! It died!"

"... his lungs wondering where all the air had gone! They stopped wondering a few seconds later."

"The savage burst blasted the body wide open, with all the razor-sharp efficiency of a knife slicing open a hot dog! Bone, blood and grayish ropes of bowel splattered like a spring shower all over the interior of the wheelhouse. The corpse dropped to the floor. It was one helluva way to perform an autopsy!"

"The certainty of what he had to go bloomed in Mace's mind like a large flower, each petal fragrant with honor and justice."

"... multiple-finger thrusts that were constant ripsaws of justice with hatred or retribution without malice"

"... the rugged hole gaped like some metal vagina, a long slit surrounded by curled and buckled plates"

"Their only mistake was that they didn't know the depth of Mace's training! How could they possibly have known that a Kung Fu Master, while whirling and dancing and throwing, is practically superhuman, the Nage seeming to travel along unfamiliar lines of space-time. Such a man becomes pure art, moving easily in the midst of ferocious blows and flying tackles, not by opposing but by joining. He deals with the strongest attack by Nukishomen-uchi, by embracing the attack, by drawing it instantly into a wide circle of concord, which joins him with the essential unity and harmony of the universe."

"... a feeling of sadness turning the turnstiles of his mind"

"Jimmy Wing, his eyes as big and round as two small saucers ..."

Rupe was "as big as a small house"

The ship shuddered "like a sick old man who wanted to be with Jesus, but didn't want to die"

"His left ear, having been half-bitten off in a fight, appeared deformed, and it was."

"Mace's years of training now served him well, his reflexes releasing themselves with a speed that could only be explained, to an average man, as an abstraction beyond infinity."

October 2, 2018

JRR Letter To The Editor, August 30, 1973: "Suggests A Bible Ban"

Chicago Daily Herald, August 30, 1973:
Suggests A Bible Ban

I was more than just a little amused when I read that the school board of Dist. 96 was considering a policy that would apply censorship to all educational materials used in the district's three schools.

I trust that Big Brother Censors will not forget the Tarzan books, since Tarzan and Jane were never "joined in holy wedlock." Damn it! Tarzan and his broad are living "in sin" – and this is a big no-no!

I also suggest that the Bible be banned, that perennially popular book of fairy tales which is filled with sex and violence. Not only is the Old Testament filled with descriptions of orgies, but even incest, in the form of Lot and his daughters, rears its ugly head, not to mention prostitution and homosexuality.

Tch, tch. Such reading is not good for innocent children.

On the other hand, good Christians and god-hucksters on TV tell us that we should follow the "Good Book" and live accordingly. Since "an eye for an eye" and a "tooth for a tooth" is mentioned in the eternal fairy tale that never grows old (only more boring), I submit that we should toss out our hard-working, over-criticized police and indulge in our own personal, "Christian" brand of justice.

We could also revert to a plurality of wives, some good old fashioned polygamy, since King David and other Biblical characters had more than one wife, not to mention the "in" they had with the Creator.

As I see it, all this would be moral and proper for the good Christians of 1973 because it was all very moral and proper and legal in Biblical days – and if the Bible was the word of God then, isn't it still – right now?

We know all this happened because the Bible says so, stating that "God was with King David and all he did." And old King David was one helluva swinger – and so was King Solomon, who chased teenagers! Whether or not he was "wise" is a moot question.

Shucks, if we followed the Bible, we could even go about beheading those who stray off the path of Christian "morality," since we are told that God bid Moses to "take all heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord against the sun." Well, the daughters of Moab should have behaved themselves and not have been Biblical swingers. On the other hand, what was good enough for Charlton Heston – I mean Moses! – is good enough for me. After all, Moses conned a lot of people. Ask the Israelis! A lot of these dumbbells still think a "Redeemer" is going to come down out of the clouds and save them. So far, their only "Redeemer" has been the United States, with its gun and ammunition!

Yes, if we are to censor books, if we are to ban them, if we are to toss out the sandbags of common sense and soar away to an idiot world on a balloon of stupidity, let's do it right: let's follow the "Good Book," or else ban that mess of pornography!

Naturally the Bible will not be banned because the censors and would-be book burners are bigoted Puritans sick with the illness of smug fundamentalism, sado-masochists who love dwelling on "sin," fools who would condemn to their silly hell anyone who persists in thinking for himself and refuses to conform to their crazy spiritual dictatorship.

Joe Rosenberger
Buffalo Grove, Illinois



















As you might expect, there were several angry replies. (I'm guessing that provoking or offending as many people as possible was Rosenberger's goal.)
She Staunchly Defends Bible

To Joe Rosenberger:

You suggest a Bible ban for various reasons, some of which are: it is filled with sex, violence, incest, homosexuality, etc. You call the "Good Book" an eternal "fairy tale" and cite cases from the Old Testament to make your point, then call this the "Christian" way.

True, the Bible does contain stories filled with the things you mention – and more – which only proves that it is NOT a book of "fairy tales." If it were the stories would be just the opposite – showing the "goodness" of man. But, since it is NOT a book of "fairy tales" it "tells it like it is," showing the true nature of man – not his goodness, but his sinfulness.

Obviously, you have knowledge of "things" contained in the Old Testament, but you do not know the God which is revealed therein – the God who loves us IN SPITE of our sinful nature which results in the things you mention, violence, sex, etc. You do not know the God who came to earth in the person of Jesus the Christ to redeem us from this sinful nature.

You quote from the Old Testament then say this is the "Christian" way, such as "an eye for an eye . . .". It would seem that your knowledge of the New Testament is very limited – possibly non-existent, for most of the Scripture you quote is from the Old Testament.

Here is an example of the "Christian" way: In the book of Matthew, chapter five, Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say . . . if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also . . ." He tells us not to resist evil with evil but to overcome it with love. Hence, the "Christian" way is not violence but love.

A brief reference you do give to New Testament Scripture is "A lot of dumbbells still think a 'Redeemer' is going to come down out of the clouds and save them. So far, their only "Redeemer" has been the United States, with its gun and ammunition!" If, as you say, our only 'Redeemer' is the United States, then truly we ARE lost and without hope – just take a look around you!

The truth, whether a person wants to believe it or not, is that the only Redeemer for mankind has come to earth (Jesus the Christ), is living now (in Heaven), and will return to earth one day! God said it in His written word (the Holy Bible), therefore it is TRUE and man's opinion regarding it will NOT alter this Truth one iota!

Patricia A. Johnson
Palatine
September 7, 1973


Bible 'Misunderstood'

A deplorable situation is created when an individual exercises his right of free speech in blatant ignorance, such as Joe Rosenberger did in his Fence Post letter appearing in this paper on Thursday, August 30. His ironic suggestion that the Bible be banned due to its pornographic content merely reveals his own narrow-mindedness and prejudice.

To be effective, or even credible, a critic must demonstrate that he comprehends the material he criticizes, or at least he must display a working knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Mr. Rosenberger shows us he possesses neither.

His obsession seems to be exposing the horrible sins of Old Testament characters, which, given the consistency of human nature, hardly surprises anyone. Any knowledgeable Bible student who "rightly divides the Word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15) can readily ascertain that the Old Testament was given to us so that we might profit from both the good and bad of our predecessors (II Timothy 3:16). While Mr. Rosenberger is hung up on recounting the sexual delinquency of the human race through biblical history, he entirely overlooks or avoids the pertinent Grace message in the New Testament (primarily conveyed in the Pauline Epistles) which reveals God's present economy involving mankind (Ephesians 2:8 and 9, Titus 2:11 and 12). Omitting perhaps the most significant portion of a work, in writing a critique, is hardly considered equitable to either the work or to the author.

Remember, Mr. Rosenberger, that book, which you apparently deplore so greatly, was one of the foundations upon which the American Democracy was laid, by men who believed firmly in their God and his word, the very same Bible. These men were hardly the type who would "soar away to an idiot world on a balloon of stupidity" or believe firmly in "a mess of pornography" as you have labeled the Bible. And they were quite tolerant of one's "thinking for himself," as evidenced by their foresight in establishing such a system as the one which currently allows both you and I to express our opinions.

Thomas and Paula Moore
Palatine
September 10, 1973


Bible Defended

In reply to Mr. Rosenberger's letter, "Let's Ban the Bible."

No, Mr. Rosenberger, the Bible will not be banned and not because of bigoted Puritans as you stated. By its own weight the Bible will remain in existence. Peter does remind us, "The Word of the Lord endureth forever."

What book down through history has been already burned, banned, ripped and scorned more than the Bible – yet has survived intact? Obviously, it was not only divinely inspired, it has been divinely protected.

Yes, it contains sex and violence, but God does not condone everything He reveals. As the author of truth He must tell all – like it is – and the Bible is full of warnings against human debauchery.

The Bible also contains, love, peace, joy, wisdom, beauty, justice and power. It's unfortunate that so many minds are unaware of its content.

As for Christianity – many people who dismiss the Christians have never personally examined the grounds for the Christian claim. They have never read through the New Testament documents, particularly the Gospels, with an open mind.

Mary M. Wells
Schaumburg
September 13, 1973

August 8, 2018

JRR Letter To The Editor, August 22, 1973: "Pornography Foes 'Crackpots'"

From The Chicago Daily Herald of August 22, 1973:
Pornography's Foes 'Crackpots'

Mr. William D. North of Arlington Heights is to be congratulated for his brilliant analysis regarding the paradox of "pornography," his dissection of the prevailing situation clearly and concisely giving evidence to the fact that "pornography" is what any particular person might think it is.

Unfortunately, every society in all periods of history and in every nation, has had its Watchers of Morals, those "saintly" morons who try to cram their own brand of Right vs. Wrong down the throat of their neighbors. Today, we see this brand of dictatorship not only in those completely hazy areas regarding "pornography," but in all subjects with which the Know-it-Alls disagree.

Abortion, for example. Completely ignoring the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court said it was any woman's right to decide whether or not she should have an abortion, there are those who are still screaming "sin" and "murder" simply because they do not believe in abortion; and they cannot be wrong in any moral pronouncement! This is another way of saying that they would deny the rest of society the very basic freedom of choice. In short, these damn fools would deny another person the right to his own belief!

It is the same crackpots who, in their frantic effort to make the rest of society conform to their own personal beliefs, are now making a big, useless noise about "pornography," the same breed of Nut who would have the police act as Censors – and who would probably have society read nothing but the Bible. My advice to the police is to ignore these crackpots.

Should censorship ever work, what would be the next logical step? Censorship of the free press, the same free press that exposed Watergate? Or perhaps they would decide how their neighbors should vote, or the religion in which their neighbor should believe. Since they are immune to all logic, they will quickly tell you that their religion is the only "truth faith!"

Medieval Europe saw this very thing happen, and for over 200 years the arts and sciences came to a complete standstill! Why? Because they, in the form of the Pope and other crackpots, decided that all anyone needed to know was contained in the Bible! It was this same believe-as-I-do-or-else that led to the Italian and Spanish Inquisition, in which millions of innocent people – even children – were torn apart with a savagery equalled only by the Nazi sadists in Hitler's Germany.

John F. Kennedy summed it up very well when he said: "Censorship is basically against human rights. The lock on the door of the legislature, the parliament or assembly hall, by order of the King, the Commissar, or the Fuhrer, has historically been followed or preceded by a lock on the door of the printer's, the publisher's or the booksellers."

President Kennedy forgot to mention the local crackpots who watch everyone's morals but their own!

Joe Rosenberger
Buffalo Grove, Illinois

July 4, 2018

JRR Letter To The Editor, March 20, 1973: "Abortion: Both Sides"

The US Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade was announced on January 22, 1973. Less than two months later, the Chicago Daily Herald printed six letters to the editor regarding abortion. Only two of the six writers supported a woman's right to an abortion. Joseph Rosenberger was one of those two supporters.
I am getting more than a little nauseated at these smug anti-abortionists, who, with their myopic little minds, fail to understand what the entire issue of abortion is about: namely, whether or not the individual woman should have a choice in the matter. Or have they conveniently forgotten?

Deciding on a point of law, not on a point of morals, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is the right of every woman to make up her own mind as to whether she should have an abortion. All this is in stark contrast to Roman Catholics and other religious groups, who have neatly cataloged all the "rights" and "wrongs" of the human race, and who have taken it upon themselves to dictate to American society their own special brand of morality.

Sometimes these know-it-alls, these next-to-God people succeed, and when they do we have explosive situations that exist in Northern Ireland, where "good people" are slaughtering each other (and their brats) because they disagree on the various routes that supposedly lead to that Eternal Social Security Land in the Big Sky; or Ireland proper, where the Church is so powerful that we find censorship of the press, to insure that those who disagree with primitive superstition can't express their views; or Spain and Portugal, considered two of the most backward nations in Europe; or Italy, where, until a few years ago, even divorce was illegal, all of which resulted in millions of couples merely living together "in sin."

Isn't it odd that while anti-abortionists also roar and rave about individual rights in other matters, they would take away those same rights and freedoms from others by imposing their own moral beliefs on all of society, by NOT permitting the individual woman to decide the moral question of abortion for herself!

More paradoxical is the fact that these religious crackpots never even whisper the other moral aspect of the abortion question: that they are free not to have an abortion. Of course, they couldn't anyhow, or they'd go to "hell" and sizzle forever like a piece of bacon in a too hot skillet!

And isn't it odd that while they scream about "religious freedom," they assume it is their "moral" right and duty to impose upon all of society their own special brand of right and wrong.

I suggest it's time for these big mouthed know-it-alls to practice their own beliefs, which is certainly their right, and leave others alone to practice theirs.

Just for the record, lest someone blame the poor Jews for my opinion, because my name is Rosenberger, let me state that I am not Jewish (I've got more sense than believe in "redeemers").

Actually I'm from another planet, doing a survey on the various religious and mythological superstitions of Earth creatures, and find it unique how hypocrites can scream about "religious freedom" when all they do is try to dictate their own framework of organized superstitions to the rest of society.

Perhaps it's the nature of the beast; perhaps it's because even intelligent people insist on clinging to any belief – no matter how ridiculous that belief is – that offers some hope of afterdeath security. Personally, I pity such fools.

Joseph R. Rosenberger
Buffalo Grove, Illinois

June 24, 2018

JRR Letter To The Editor, October 31, 1972: "Critic Explains Letters Stand ..."

Continuing the discussion from the last Letters post, Joseph Rosenberger wrote:
Critic Explains Letters Stand ...

It would seem that my criticism of the prayer vigil held at St. Joseph The Worker Church has stirred a tornado in a thimble; it has also brought a response which indicates that some people are not too well informed about their own faith, other than believing the official propaganda with which they have been brain-washed. I refer to Mr. Thomas F. Mahoney of Buffalo Grove, who, with typical crystal ball logic, has the "ability" to read hidden meanings in apparently any letter!

What Mr. Mahoney seems to forget is that religious freedom also means the option NOT to believe in "traditional" religion, the freedom to express one's opinion, and the legal and moral right to denounce what one considers ignorance and/or injustice, whether one be a deist, an agnostic, an atheist, a humanist or a rationalist!

If the "community" and one's "neighbors" would deny any person this freedom of choice, then the community and one's neighbors would be indulging in hypocrisy and ignoring the Christian concepts of justice in which they profess to believe.

If I were so narrow as to indulge in Mr. Mahoney's kind of reasoning, I would suggest that he's advocating "when in Rome do as the natives do"! Believe as everybody else believes, don't have an opinion, and for God's sake (no pun intended) don't rock the holy boat! I can only wonder: if Mr. M. had lived in Nazi Germany, would he have bleated "HEIL" with the rest of the sheep, simply to avoid "offending the community"? Would he have advocated the hanging of "witches," had he lived in Salem, Mass. in 1692?

As for my "patent ignorance of the positive emphasis" of Catholic education, I am more than familiar with this so-called emphasis, so much so that, as a professional author, I've written books both on Roman Catholic sexual philosophy and Roman Catholic education – and all from the Catholic viewpoint, too. Writing these books was simply another job, and I was well paid for the task.

I personally fall to find any "positive emphasis" in a moral credo that, among other things, would turn a woman into a baby-making machine by subjecting her to the rhythm system, which is considered a joke among medical men, who refer to it as "Vatican Roulette!" And woe to any RC wife who refuses to play the game. She is excommunicated latae sententiae – Canon Law 2350. This is the kind of "positive" teaching that evolved and was updated from the same "wisdom" that once taught, in the Middle Ages the craziness that a male fetus acquired a soul in 40 days and a female fetus in 80 days. St. Augustine said so, and this dictum was followed by the Church for three centuries. I can also assure the "community" that this is fact, since Jesuit friends of mine, teaching at Louis University, a Catholic institution, have told me so. Needless to say, they also considered it a joke!

Mr. Mahoney also indulges in the old fashioned Christian tactic used by Apologists: That of the false analogy. In this case, since I disagree with him, there must be something wrong with me. I must have a "peculiar problem." I would suggest Mr. M. acquire a good college logic (and a Roman Catholic Encyclopedia). Then again, perhaps he has read a few lay books on psychology and fancies himself a kind of "expert" in human nature. . .

Sorry, Mr. Mahoney, but I don't have any "peculiar problem" – financially, emotionally, or otherwise. In fact, I'm quite content and happy. I don't even have the problem of being bothered by narrow-minded people who don't even know the facts about their own religious heritage. But I don't complain, anymore than I become annoyed because a baboon has no appreciation of beauty, or because an aborigine is not conversant with the finer shades of courtesy or self-sacrifice. On the galactic scale, the human race is still young, and the limitations of the contending religious systems may be but the growing pains of humanity on its spiritual pilgrimage.

Joseph Rosenberger
Buffalo Grove, Illinois
On the same date – October 31, 1972 – two letters in opposition to Rosenberger's original letter were published:
... And A Catholic Criticizes Him

I am offering my rebuttal to Mr. Joseph R. Rosenberger's article entitled: "Catholic Sex Ed Needed" in our Catholic schools. I really pity your bigotry, especially since it comes from one of the "chosen people." I'm sure you don't speak for the rest.

Yes, Mr. Rosenberger, Roman Catholic authorities and Roman Catholic parents should be allowed to teach the Catholic faith to members of our church and to our children, and without any interference from an outsider. No, Mr. Rosenberger, we are not "demanding public funds to teach our faith." It's amazing how one reads into each debate on this issue only what one chooses to. Of the hundreds of subjects taught in parochial schools, whether that school be Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish, religion is ONE subject. We only appeal for aid on busing, which the public school children have; we request aid for the purchase of secular, I repeat SECULAR, books, which public school children have; we request aid for the purchase of secular science and lab materials, secular gym equipment, etc. etc., which public school children enjoy.

How can you call our church "ostrich-headed" in its attitudes on modern sex education. You have no idea whatever what goes on in our private schools. Our sex education program can match any similar program put out by the public schools. If you wish your children to know everything there is to know and then some, go ahead and teach them; no one is stopping you. You think you're qualified in so many other facets, you certainly should be capable of teaching them the facts of life. I suggest you pull YOUR HEAD out of the sand, stop over at St. Mary's, speak to Father Duffy. He will be more than happy to give you the material we use from grades 1 through 8, relating to sex education. Then, after you have read this material. see if you still call us "ostrich-headed."

Soon our schools will be in danger of over-educating our children in matters of sex and drugs. Soon our schools, both public and private, will employ so many techniques, in over-education, that our country will lead the world in unmarried pregnant girls; we will lead the world in hard-line narcotic users. Education along these lines is of great benefit WHEN applied wisely. Certain ages and levels of maturity are capable of learning in certain stages. The parents, not the schools, know which of our children are capable of learning what things. But it sounds like you wish to push the pendulum so far the other way we will over educate. And Mr. Rosenberger, there is such a thing as OVER EDUCATION. Don't show the child the dangers of drugs, but even show them how to prepare an injection of heroin on film, so in case that child wasn't sure how to do it, after the film he will be! So the children who had no interest in drugs before the film, now had the interest perked up.

Mr. Rosenberger, the GREAT AUTHORITY on prayer! You must know something beyond us. How are you so sure prayer is a joke and does NOT help. Prayer and faith have sustained countless of generations before you were born, and it will continue to sustain countless of generations long after your passing. Don't sell the power of prayer so short! It is people such as you who make fun of prayer, that are the first ones to invoke God's name during a tragedy.

Then, your "prayer" is usually the old "gimme-and-I'll-give-ya" type, such as "Oh God, if you let Billy pull through, I'll do such and such." This "prayer" is invoked in the emotion of the moment, and the barter is usually broken as soon as Bill pulls through. I'm not saying that this type of prayer is wrong. Sometimes it takes tragedy for us to find our way to God again. But I am saying that prayer can also be: "Thank you God for my life; thank you God for my parents; thank you God for my health; thank you God for my children; thank you God for this beautiful earth." And a prayer for you, Mr. Rosenberger, "thank you, God, for the ability to be in a free nation that allows me the right to write in a newspaper expounding my bigotry."

You remind me of the little boy standing outside the candy store window, wishing he were inside with the rest of us. Well, Mr. Rosenberger, come on in – we won't charge you.

Alice Wiles
Arlington Heights

P.S. What a giant step backward you and I have token from ecumenical goats. Shame on us!
And:
Sex Ed Letter
'Unfair Comment'

I would like to support Thomas Mahoney in his reply to Mr. Rosenberger's letter on sex education, and go one step further.

Should the Rosenberger letter have been printed in the first place? This is the second time in recent weeks that the Fence Post has published letters that had no other apparent purpose than to hold the beliefs and practices of a particular religious group (interestingly in both cases, Catholics) up to scorn and ridicule. That was the case in Mr. Rosenberger's letter and that a few weeks ago, quoting scripture texts out of context to question what the author believed were Catholic practices, which he objected to.

This is hardly fair comment on current events!

In these days when concerned people everywhere are trying to build bridges, letters which tend to divide or accent differences, particularly religious differences are out of order, especially on the editorial page of your (our) newspaper.

Harry J. Walsh
Buffalo Grove
Rosenberger's letter of October 31, 1972, prompted two more replies, which appeared on November 10. The first, from the aforementioned Thomas Mahoney:
Rosenberger's Stand Is Assailed

Mr. Joseph Rosenberger of Buffalo Grove apparently discerns in my criticism of his attack upon Catholic moral teachings implications of a constitutional dimension. In no sense, however, do I question his legal right to expound his ideas, however puerile. Rather, I point only to his lack of civility. The question is one merely of manners, not of First Amendment freedoms.

Mr. Rosenberger conjectures regarding my conduct had I been In Nazi Germany. Not having been there, I cannot satisfy his curiosity. In posing the question, however, Mr. Rosenberger appears to be suggesting an equation between his own potty-spirited attack upon a prayer vigil at St. Joseph the Worker Church and high-minded resistance to Nazi tyranny. Which nonsense suggests that Walter Mitty is alive and well, and living in Buffalo Grove.

I accept at face value Mr. Rosenberger's assertion that he has written at length on the subject of Catholic moral teaching. The fact remains nonetheless that his letters on the topic disclose only gross ignorance, both social and theological. In this field, as in others, writing varies considerably in quality. It is possible that bits and snatches of Mr. Rosenberger's prose rise above incompetence and achieve mediocrity; but I doubt it. Nor is it very important; the real point at issue here is Mr. Rosenberger's bad taste.

Mr. Rosenberger describes himself as a "professional author." How then explain his reliance upon infantile invective in lieu of reasoned discourse? The answer lies perhaps in the very looseness of the phrase, encompassing as it does root only skilled craftsmen but also hacks who churn out junk ranging from third rate advertising copy to pornographic novels. In any event a more precise appellation for Mr. Rosenberger is at hand. He states he has been "well paid" for advocating a philosophical point of view, which he personally deems detrimental to the intellectual development of his audience. This by definition is literary prostitution.

Charity, as I have previously indicated, compels sympathy for such a man. Surely we can rejoice with him, not only that he has learned acquaintances in academia, but that – and more importantly, since it clearly occupies such an exalted place in his personal hierarchy of values – he has been financially successful in life. But most importantly, in the aforementioned spirit of charity, we ought, like Gypo Nolan, to tell him we are sorry for his troubles.

Thomas F. Mahoney
Buffalo Grove
Gypo Nolan is the title character of Liam O'Flaherty's 1925 novel, The Informer, which was also made into a movie by John Ford in 1935.

Joyce McCabe adds her thoughts:
Local Sex Ed Controversy Continues

I am writing in response to Mr. Joseph R. Rosenberger's letter regarding the need for sex education in the Catholic school. As long as Mr. Rosenberger is liberal enough to believe that Roman Catholic authorities can teach the Catholic faith, it's a shame Mr. Rosenberger does not take advantage of the open house at St. Mary's once a year. If he did he would be aware of how advanced St. Mary's is. He would also be aware that not only do we teach sex education but also the responsibility which goes along with sex.

Mr. Rosenberger makes the statement, "How can two priests who never had children or had to worry about paying bills impart any advice regarding the sexual function." I can speak only for our priests who have 765 children, 1,300 families and more bills in a month than Mr. Rosenberger sees in a year. If this qualifies one to impart os [?] the sexual function, then our priests are qualified.

Mr. Rosenberger also feels that prayer will not produce a normal healthy sexual urge. I think that these children who are being taught sex education along with prayer and Christian life will put a much higher price and respect for the human body than those taught strictly just the physical function of the human body.

It appears Mr. Rosenberger speaks from ignorance when he states that the church neglects the needy. He should know the functions of Catholic Charities, Bishop's Relief Fund and individual needs churches provide for needy people. It has always been the policy of the Catholic schools never to deny a child a Catholic education because of lack of funds.

Maybe Mr. Rosenberger should accept people for what they are instead of a label. We do not wish to impose our religion on anyone.

Joyce McCabe
Buffalo Grove