Monday, January 30, 2012

Irish secularist fires the first salvo

Turns out simply preaching the Gospel from a Christian point of view is considered hate speech by some.  Naturally.  Hate is, of course, a relative term.  Hence the obvious problem with labelling certain things hate for the purpose of making them illegal.  In this case, an Irish Bishop, Philip Boyce, has been accused of 'hate speech' by one of Ireland's leading proponents for the eradication of religion separation of church and state, one John Colgan.  Why?  Because, according to the complaint, the good Bishop Boyce dared say the following:

"[The Church in Ireland is being] attacked from outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture."
And


"For the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is the fact they have a future; it is not that they know all the details that await them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness."


Uh huh.  Well, if there's a better reason to come crashing down on a Bishop's right to preach within his religious community than this horrible deluge of hatred, I don't know what it is.

Again folks, it isn't like we're living in some dream state, wondering what Lennon's world without religion will look like, and being forgiven for imagining a Utopian paradise of love, harmony, Rolls Royces, and consequence-free sex.  Instead, thanks to history coming and going, we see that so far whenever atheism and the complete eradication of religion from society has been attempted as the prime directive for social order, we end up getting something like this:

Photo of a Soviet Gulag

Christians of the West be warned.

Andrew Riggio sees a sick child

And exploits her. In a sad display of political exploitation, Riggio looks at the Santorums struggling with their sick daughter and sees a chance to ramrod some personal agendas.  The usual chorus of zombies joins in (though it's nice to see some prefer to offer prayers and hope for the Santorums, rather than snicker at their dilemma for political gain).  The most chilling part of the editorial that only Himmler could love, is the continued bringing up of Santorum's anti-abortion stances.  I'm not sure how the sickness of this girl causes Santorum to be a hypocrite for opposing  woman's right to abort unborn babies.  If I try to tie the two things together, it's enough to make the skin crawl as to just what our esteemed Mr. Riggio is suggesting.  We won't even get into the hogwash of lies, half-truths, and garbage on which this stellar addition to the quality Yahoo.news has based his keen observations. It suffices to say that this prize winning piece concludes, not with actual evidence of hypocrisy, but merely the judgmental assumption that if Santorum didn't have the money he had, he would sing a different tune.  Well done Yahoo, the quality continues to amaze.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Continued shock over media censorship

Regarding the 2012 Right to Life March. It's been all the buzz. An annual event that draws more crowds a year than just about any other event, and if it's mentioned at all, we're lucky. When it is mentioned, it is downplayed, with careful attention given to showing photos that understate the crowds, or giving equal time to pro-abortion protesters who may only number in the dozens. Here at GetReligion, the examination of clear and obvious agenda driven propaganda continues.

It's not hard to believe, if you think about it. We're told that 'history is written by the winners!' That is, we can't trust history because it's written by those in power, free to manipulate and alter the data, if not outright lie, in order to make their side look good. We're told that the press was always a tool of the powerful in our country, siding with this or that group, using its power to advance agendas of empire and corruption, of white racism and prejudice. Perhaps that's all true. But if it is, how arrogant are we to assume it no longer happens just because it's our time now, or we happen to be the ones this media filled with 'winners' supports?

Anyway, it is what the media is. Never to let a little thing like reality get in the way of its established narratives, the media will plow forward, refusing to say the obvious, or continuing to say what anyone can clearly see is not true. Tuscon shooting anyone? That's what it does. That's all it does. If it wants X to be true, then despite all evidence to the contrary, it will continue to repeat X until enough of the population accepts that X is true. It puts me in mind of nothing other than this little gem from The Onion:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The type of story that you can't not get choked up about

A courageous and beautiful child, Lucas Hebree, has developed a special bond with a dog that was rescued from an animal shelter.  The big punch line?  Lucas himself is dying.  Read it, but be warned, copious amounts of Kleenex needed.  Prayers for this brave boy and his loving family, may a cure be found, wisdom and knowledge given to those who are seeking a cure and tending to the needs of Lucas, and peace and strength given to him and his loved ones. 

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them

This is simply beyond awesome.  I love how, in the comments, atheists and others rush to the platform to show that this mind-boggling interwoven complexity proves there is no God.  Especially enjoyable are those commenters who proudly declare that religion was just invented by humans. I hope they realize we have not one scrap of physical evidence showing when or where religion was invented, or by what person.  I hope they know that is a truth claim with not one piece of actual evidence to back it up, except, of course, the evidence that 'God can't exist and I can't be wrong about that, so it must have been invented.'  I guess that's worth something as evidence goes, especially if you're an atheist desperate to cover up the clear metaphysical faith claims that are made daily in the name of atheism.

That Snooki has lost weight is important

Don't get me wrong.  Our post-modern culture has its priorities after all, and we must keep up with the important things.  But it's also worth noting that, as each day watching the latest developments of the World of Snooki passes, between 100 to 200 children in the horn of Africa will have starved to death.  Just saying.

Lesbian heretic blasphemes gay gospel

Cynthia Nixon, well known lesbian and star of the family friendly Sex in the City productions, has angered gay rights activists by departing from the official brainwashing dogma doctrine teaching scientifically proven fact that gay people are only gay because there is some genetic or physiological force compelling them to be gay, which is no different than being black or being Asian.  She basically says she's gay because she chooses to be.

Of course thinking people who don't just waddle along, taking in the latest indoctrination of the sex-at-all-costs post-modern progressive movement aren't shocked.  Instinctively, by simple acknowledgement of the complexity of the human person, most realize that the factors which can lead a person towards homosexuality are no doubt complex, varied, and personal.  But never to let a little thing like the obvious get in the way, most who support the simple 'God put a gene in me that made me gay' mantra, for what ever reasons they accept it, have made a mockery of the claim that ours is the really, really, super-duper smart and enlightened generation in history.  Kudos to Ms. Nixon for stepping out and calling a spade a spade.

Friday, January 27, 2012

To fail on Wall Street

Is to succeed beyond your wildest dreams in the real world.  Why do people have hard time just outright condemning the Occupy Wall Street crowd?  Because of stories like this, that's why. 

Sentenced to death

So the man who committed one of the most vile acts of violence in recent memory, has been sentenced to death.  No shock there.  I have long had a problem with the death penalty. Primarily because I don't believe that any justice system, in its best days, is infallible.  Nonetheless, there are times when that gut feeling arises that justice demands more than simply life in a tax payer supported luxury hotel while honest people go homeless.  And I suppose that's why there are some who still think the death penalty is proper.  I know the Catholic Church has been making baby steps toward just chucking the death penalty altogether.  But crimes like this go far toward preserving some idea that the sanctity of human life demands a higher penalty for its taking than opponents of the death penalty seem prepared to offer.

Oliver Stone hearts Ron Paul

Oliver Stone says he would support Paul over Obama.  Yeah, that Oliver Stone.  Mr. 'I hate - HATE - America, the most stupid and evil country in the history of the human race that is the singular cause of all suffering in the world...excuse me while I cash my million dollars I got from living there' Stone.  Why support otherwise conservative Paul?  Easy. Paul's mantra is nothing less than 'the only reason there are problems in the world is because America screwed everything up!'  That appeals, as I've said, to one particular segment of the American population.  When it comes to hating on America, some folks who do just can't get enough of Paul.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More bad news for conservatives

Turns out that a quality, objective research project has shown that ignorant people and conservatives tend to be more prejudiced.  There's a shock.  Of course one can't help but wonder, does this include prejudice against religion?  Against religious people?  Against Americans?  Against whites?  What about scientists and scholars of yesteryear who promoted racism against Blacks, Jews, Homosexuals, Women?  Were they all by default conservative and/or ignorant? This is the sort of thing that makes me wonder just why we take such obviously agenda driven and biased propaganda in research drab seriously.  Well, because every now and then someone gets it right, that's why.  But boy do we have to plow through the fertilizer to find it.

FWIW, if you read the story, you'll notice that, as usual, the headline says more than the story.  You'll discover that the researcher himself, one Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia, is far more subdued about what the results indicate than the headline suggests.  You'll also find the obligatory qualifier, buried down toward the end of the story, suggesting that the entire project is baseless and proves nothing at all (though even there, the rebuttal was careful to avoid suggesting that conservatives and/or ignorant people aren't obviously more inclined to be prejudiced). 

Mark Shea speaks the truth

I'll admit the overall tone of the political discourse on Mark's blog, Catholic and Enjoying It, in recent months hasn't been to my liking.  Some pretty scary stuff floating around and appearing to be tolerated as long as it isn't advocating a GOP candidate or promoting abortion.  With that said, there is some truth and wisdom to Mark's continual appeal to consider the ramifications of how we vote. 

Now, in recent days, the usual pummeling of the GOP has suddenly taken a back seat to the stunning realization that the Obama administration has just come out and, for all intents and purposes, given a one year extension on the freedom of religion and conscience.  Stunning isn't even the word.  It has sent shock waves through the media world, or at least that media not dedicated to reelecting Obama at all costs, which may very well be thrilled at the idea of religion bound and gagged and forced to conform to the dogmas of post-Christian progressive belief. 

Yet before we run and say 'I'll vote for anyone to stop Obama', it's worth reflecting on just how we came to this point, what we've been willing to do to allow it to come to this point, and just what obstacles exist for anyone who hopes to avert the coming storm.  Mark's piece here does a nice job summing up, pointing to a few Obama supporters who have become concerned themselves, and generally reminding us of the gravity of this turn of events. Well done.

A song dedicated to Newt Gingrich

Since he's promising us the moon, perhaps it's worth keeping things in perspective. There were other, better copies, but the first touching comment on YouTube is a heart breaker, so I used this one.  As songs go, this little Henson ditty has more soul, depth, and meaning that the sum total of our presidential race from both sides of the aisle.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If you missed coverage of the March for Life 2012 rally

Don't be ashamed, it was tough to find. Once again, hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates braved freezing temperatures to march for the right of unborn babies, over a million of which by the end of the year will never know the experience of life.  Here's a Washington Post story, in the Post Local section, about six or seven links down the Google Search, unpacking the youth involvement, avoiding any final numbers for the march as a whole, and mentioning that attendance was down this year due to weather.  Eh.  You can't be picky. 

Know what I'd like to see?  Just once I would like to see a newscast begin with something like, "Hello, this is the nightly news.  We're about to lie to you.  Really.  We're going to lie, suppress the truth, ignore facts and data, and do whatever we can to push an agenda into this society by way of brainwashing and indoctrination."  If they actually said that, I might respect them more. 

I'm not a Daniel Radcliffe expert

But I have a feeling he is going to take just about any part under the sun in order to separate himself from the (relatively) clean-cut image of post-modern hero of goodness Harry Potter.  A shame really.  But not unusual, especially on the other side of the Atlantic, where endless waves of entertainers feel they must follow the 'finger in the eye of traditional Western culture' path, missing the fact that the modern status quo has been built on 'finger in the eye of traditional Western culture.'   I still think he's a good actor, but hope he doesn't go down the road of cheep and desperate attempts to be relevant by conforming to the anti-conformity crowd.  That's always a sad turn when it happens.

ABC News says Obama right about everything

Or just about everything. Now, you could get this piece confused with an editorial, but it's ostensibly a 'Fact Check' article that finds Obama's State of the Union address to be, well, right on!  Why, just about everything that oozes from the mouth of He-Who-Wants-To-Crush-Religious-Liberty is nothing short of gospel truth.  Oh, there are a few glitches here and there, but nothing - NOTHING - compared to the GOP.  Why, just not being the GOP seems enough in this editorial fact check piece to warrant praise for the grand accomplishment that is Being Obama.  Geesh.  And again, the reason people take the Propaganda Ministry News Media seriously is what?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Behold!

The power of Snownan the Barbarian and the sword of power!




OK, that was stupid.  I'll stop now.  Goodnight everyone, I'll be back tomorrow or the next day.  Till then, blessings and prayers be with you all.

Frostgar the Snowman

In lieu of two eyes made out of coal, our intrepid snowman builders decided to take a different path, obtaining some armor and a knight's helmet to turn our normal creation into 'Snow Paladin'!  Here they are, proud of the results of their day's labor.    

Snow Knight creators and proud of it!

Citizen Ron Paul

Whenever I come close to thinking about supporting Ron Paul as a candidate, I think of this episode of the sitcom Frasier:



To me, Ron Paul appeals to four basic types of folks.  One, the type that is fed up with everything in our government, our society, our country, and feels betrayed by either party's lackluster attempts to hold firm to those values we share as believers in Christ.  Two, those who just hate America, including those in America who hate it all the while sucking from the bloated tit of American prosperity and freedom, while laughing all the way to the bank at Paul's relentless insistence that America is the prime cause of problems and evil in the world.  Three, those - particularly young people - with a culturally imposed tendency to want a 'rage against the machine' candidate because, well, raging against the machine is always good. And finally, young people and older ones who appreciate the 'right to hedoism' that libertarianism promises, most prominently manifested in Paul's desire to legalize drugs.

For me, it's easy to see his appeal in a country that is unraveling, shredding its Christian roots, and becoming increasingly hostile to the Faith of my fathers.  Still, I also have to keep things in perspective.  Paul lives in an world of self-isolation.  To him, he alone (and possibly his son, Rand), are the only ones in Washington who aren't screw ups causing all the problems.  That's not a firm foundation for sound leadership.

In addition, many of his takes on history, such as his support for Southern State's Rights [to own human slaves] or how the Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved, verge on the fantasy and certainly have no place in the world of reality.  And a person who bases his solutions on events that didn't occur the way he insists they did, is begging for trouble.

In the end, when I consider Paul, a man who obviously believes what he says, and think about supporting him, I think of the above clip.  I imagine hiring a person to drive a school bus.  I consider the idea that one candidate is a child molester, another a convicted felon, and yet another has a dismal driving record of citations and accidents.  I then consider a fourth candidate, one who loves kids, has a clean driving record, and an impeccable character.  I then imagine asking him how he has kept such a perfect driving record.  Then I hear him saying, 'It's because I'm careful, I drive defensively, and besides, all the elves that control the traffic lights are on my side.' 

Would I still hire him, knowing the safety of dozens of children were in his hands?  Probably not.  Perhaps I would hire nobody.  Or perhaps I would give the felon with a clean driving record who has paid his debt to society a new chance.  But just because I could cleanse my own conscience by not hiring others with obvious character flaws would be no reason to set loose a bus load of children with a driver whose mental grasp of reality was seriously in question.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An evolution shaped hole in our hearts

Must be what leads some to accept evolution.  This, according to one really sloppy and silly non-story news story.  Basically it's the same old, same old.  Evolution is true so all of the problems we have proving it must be summed up by something in evolution causing it.  I've no problem with evolution as a concept, as a basic theory.  There's enough evidence.  The Darwinian spin begins to heap tons of 'fill in the gap with your favorite subjective belief system', and other, modern approaches verge on the quasi-religious in their explanations.  So while no problem with that vague and overused term 'evolution', this article, and many like it, goes a long way toward showing why I usually come way from such ideas with a hint of 'I smell a rat.' 

Tyranny takes a holiday

Yes, it's painfully obvious that the postmodern juggernaut is itching to spring its trap.  President Obama, a willing participant in the erosion of religious liberty, has been waving the banner for the post-modern progressive secularist dream: A nation where non-conformist religion is banished to the ghettos and the catacombs, and all are forced to conform to the post-modern dogmas.  This has found its greatest expression in the health care mandates, particularly those mandates forcing even religious based non-profits to offer birth control coverage, though it be against their religious beliefs.  But being a beneficent lord, Obama has granted a year reprieve for religious organizations to get their act in gear.  This is only the beginning.

Murderers for Jesus

On a blog dedicated to the eradication of the same.  I like Mark Shea's blog.  I enjoy his writing style.  I appreciate that he has a keen grasp of theology, though he has no formal training.  He's fun.  There are times I disagree with him, or wouldn't say things the way he would, but that's part of being human.

Still, there have been some cards pass through that blog over the years.  One I remember went a long way toward living up to the stereotype that Catholic salvation is all about logical adherence to philosophical algorithms.  Yet another was someone involved in military intelligence, who believed that never once did a person who failed to live up to Church teaching accomplish anything good or even effective.  Eh.  Blogs, what are you going to do!

But this one took me by surprise.  It shouldn't be shocking to know that many who follow Ron Paul tend to take a dim view of America.  Paul himself sees the problems of the world firmly planted at America's feet.  OK, I disagree.  But I've noticed that blogs that support Paul, as Mark Shea's clearly does, tend to draw out some of the more radical elements, those who are seriously into hating on America, Protestants, anything traditional and not Catholic. 

So one fellow, apparently with racial sympathies toward the plight of the American Indian, and known for his contempt and loathing of everything that America has done in who knows how long, and who I believe is proud to say he moved away from the US to live (I think) in Australia, was commenting on a thread to do with America's treatment of American Indians.  Of course, he gave great praise to the Catholics who never, ever did bad things like that.  It was all those rascally Protestant English settlers who were the mischief. 

Well, being a descendant of Cherokee Indians myself, and being married to a woman who is not only descended from Native Americans, but also from the famous Jenny Wiley, I tend to take a balanced approach.  I don't buy into the old time cowboy and Indian stereotypes, but I don't subscribe to the Dances With Wolves narrative either.  So I merely mention that the clash of cultures that occurred between the two people was a tragedy, a shame, and sadly what results when complex issues occur.  I tried to tie it into the problems we are having today. 

And then lo and behold, our good friend swoops in, throws a jab at me, then trashes my notion that the European (English Protestants) were anything short of genocidal murderers.  I retaliate explaining that on the ground level, where the settlers were, they were just folks trying to eke out a living.  They were immigrants plain and simple, trying to find a way to live, and many were slaughtered by the American Indians for their trouble. 

I was then reminded it was in self defense, besides it was their land.  So I merely asked if the Church suggests indigenous people can slaughter immigrants?  We finally spun off into a discussion about Jenny Wiley.  She was a frontier woman who saw first hand the dark and ugly side of Indian culture and behavior.  She saw why tens of thousands of European settlers would die at the hands of Native Americans.  She watched in horror as the children of her family, including her own newborn, were butchered by the Indians who took her captive before trading her like a slave before she finally escaped.  Pretty dark stuff.  Pretty horrifying.  Especially on a blog all about life, precious life.

And yet here is the response:

The Bench, or maybe Glass, I’ve heard both, spared her life, as she was a Cherokee woman by birth.
If she hadn’t been part of an invading army, she’d have had a larger family.
I’m done here. I lack the stomach to read more moral equivalence of Neolithic pagans and modern Christians whose technology was orders of magnitude greater.

First of all, she wasn't spared, she escaped.  If she was spared, it was to be part of the tribe who captured her.  But notice the next line: "If she hadn't been part of an invading army, she'd have had a larger family."   Invading army?  He means, a white settler.  In other words, she was because of who and what she was, simply part of the overall enemy.  And she got what she had coming to her.  More than that, the children got what they had coming to them.  Yeah, I know.  Pretty blood chilling.  Especially on a blog where this kind poster, along with many others, spew unending streams of contempt and loathing on the modern GOP and its followers for such things as cheering about the death penalty in Texas, or consequentialism, or unjust wars, or bombing civilian targets, or any one of a thousand things America has done in its history.

Fair enough.  Many of those things bother me as well.  But notice this.  Is this any better?  I know from other posts that this individual would come down like a ton of bricks on someone who said children in Afghanistan had it coming, or Japanese children in WWII, or any such thing.  Again, he hates with the white hot fury of a thousands suns the US and everything about our country, and tends to feel comfortable that his Catholic faith validates this.  But still, it's chilling.  Chilling to see just how easily we can notice the sins of others and yet miss them in ourselves.  Or as Jesus would say, how easily we notice the splinter in America's eye, or the eyes of the GOP, or anyone else's eye, and yet miss the murder excusing log that's in our own. 

A little lesson on a late night of insomnia.

Chess on steroids

For Christmas we received an extremely cool version of chess.  Four player chess.  It just looked so much fun, I imagined the three older boys playing it along with me and voila!  There we were.  It was tougher than it looked.  It actually ended up going fast since the three oldest of us spent so much time focusing on each other we forgot to watch my 11 year old sneak in and take us out one at a time.  Well, I took out my 16 year old, only to see that I was pretty much five moves from checkmate any way I turned.  All this after I fell victim to my youngest boy's two and a half year old chess moves earlier in the day!  Fun stuff!   

This is not chess for the faint of heart.

There I am without beard, watching the slow onset of defeat.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why we must indoctrinate our youngest children

Into the glorious dogmas of non-heterosexual normality.  Turns out that kids at a young age have a tendency to look at a family with two 'moms' or two 'dads' with a degree of skepticism.  They also used words that must be banned by our Big Politically Correct Brother.  They must be corrected!  When it comes to Mother Earth, we must have hands off.  But when it comes to human nature, there's nothing we won't distort, contort, bend, maul, warp, or twist.  Especially if the rest of us can feel somewhat justified in our own little secret dalliances outside the boundaries of traditional sexual morality. 

There are questions to be looked at of course.  And there's nothing wrong with fighting bullying, even when it doesn't pertain to sexual orientation.  It's also worth asking why homosexual and lesbian kids who are bullied are more likely to commit suicide.  This is true in other countries where the lifestyles are more than condoned.  Likewise, bullying due to overweight is still one of the main reasons for bullying, and just about every media outlet and government agency has jumped on the bandwagon.  Yet those children aren't inclined toward suicide, even though society, many parents, and most kids are united in their present day disgust of their overweight predicament.

So should we look at this?  Sure.  But methinks the purpose of this study is not to learn.  The purpose is, as the purpose is with so much 'research' today, to arm oneself in order to justify the desire to impose one's value system on the rest of the country, starting with indoctrinating our youngest and most impressionable.

Well done film critics

According to George Lucas, it was the unrelenting criticism of his cinematic trash heaps known as 'The Prequels' that prevented him from doing more films.  Whew!  That was close.  So in the name of all the memories and all the magic from that summer in 1977 that changed movies for ever, thanks to everyone whose screams of indignation finally broke through to the only man who could save us from the unending terror of future prequels. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fundamentalist Christians find non-Christians to be less spiritual

Not shocking is it?  No.  I don't know if they do, but if I said so, I doubt anyone would be surprised.  Therefore, we shouldn't be surprised that an organization made up primarily of professors and academics who tack far to the left, in a university that, like most universities, tacks far to the left, has done an official study and concluded that - hold your breath - Fox News viewers are the least informed viewers out of some pool of viewers.

The quality Cutline on the equally high quality Yahoo News publishes this report.  Like most left leaning studies, and perhaps most people, it defines well informed by seeing things the way they see them. Those who don't must either be stupid or evil.  Most post-moderns, being a charitable lot, are willing to concede that those who don't conform to their dogmas are simply stupid, and not evil.  Though there is always the possibility of both.

All in all, not really a study or a story.  Just trying to round people up into the indoctrination camps.  I'm no fan of Fox News, but I can smell a rat when I smell one.  FWIW, I chuckled at Fox's retort:

Michael Clemente, Fox News' senior vice president of news editorial, responded to a New York Times piece on the report: "The latest Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland among the top schools for having 'Students Who Study The Least' and being the 'Best Party School' — given these fine academic distinctions, we'll regard the study with the same level of veracity it was 'researched' with."

Monday, January 16, 2012

A day of real research and quality scholarship

Brought to us this Wednesday by the good people of Wikipedia.

Only if it is cheap exploitation to send kids to lobby for their gay parents

If it's shameless when Occupy Wall Street protesters use kids, or gay parents use kids, or pro-choice women use kids...wait. That wouldn't work.  What would the pro-choice kid say? Gee, thanks for not taking me out, too?  Anyway, you get the point.  I'm not a big fan of using kids to drive home a point.  But then, I'm not a big fan all the time, not just when it's a point of view I disagree with.

Rest in Peace Tripp Roth

May the arms of our Savior Jesus Christ welcome you into an eternity that will make up for your brief time on earth.  May God grant peace and strength to your family, and especially your brave Mom who gave up so much to care for you, and may God bless you and the family who showed so much love.  This is for you and all the little ones who suffer beyond our ability to do anything but love. 

On the Feast of St. Martin Luther King

We pause.  I'm OK with him, really.  I think he was a great and courageous man who gave the last full measure of devotion to a noble cause.  I just, well, have hard time getting into the King worship of it all. I think it's my age.  I am just old enough to remember the bricks of Traditional America being dismantled based on, among other things, the idea that it was soooooo unenlightened for nations to make gods and heroes out of old dead guys.  That's what the unhip generations did before ours came along.  That's why no small amount of time was taken unpacking the sins, failings, and flaws of those other guys we used to look up to, like Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt (take your pick).  Fair enough.  If we want to move on, let's move on. 

So it came as quite a shock when many of the most fervent disciples of 'we're so beyond that' thinking were the ones who turned around and helped make Dr. King into the closest thing to a god this country has ever had.  Really.  In grade school, my kids would start learning about him on the day after Christmas Winter Break, and would spend the next month learning about him, singing songs, doing plays, making art, giving speeches, community service, you name it.  We never spent that much time on Christmas even in the early 70s.  It's certainly the only holy day that our increasingly secular nation will allow to be venerated in a proper spirit, and not the spirit of the See of Wall Street.

So forgive me if I seem somewhat blasé about it all.  I just have this thing about taking people at their word.  If one of the reasons why we had to stop all the hero worship America used to indulge in was because that's just so medieval, then let's do it.  I would hate to think all the lofty ideals of those progressives were really a ruse designed to throw down the establishments they disliked in order to replace them with their own.  Nah, I'm sure it wasn't that.

Phil Lawler holds up a mirror

And asks gay rights activists to take a look.  Indeed, who is the extremist in the debate?  Our cultural narrative says evil religious types are trying to take away the right of anyone to get married, that they are against 'marriage equality.'  Truth be told, Santorum was onto something when he pointed out, in so many words, that unless you support any combination of adults getting married for any reason whatsoever, you are also against marriage equality for all.  You're simply trying to impose your values of who should and shouldn't be able to be married on the rest of the country.  Since this is actually true, and flies in the face of national pro-gay indoctrination, the MSM and other pro-gay outlets pounced.  Here's Phil Lawler, taking a good look at the entire hypocrisy and laughable narrative of modern 'tolerance'.

Vatican spokesman looks at Islamic Extremism

And laments the increasing persecution of believers in the world.  Since it's just Christians being persecuted, it's not big deal.  Nice to know Catholic news is on top of what the rest of the MSM seems uninterested in covering.

Remember all those decades

Where we were told that children had to have both parents?  Where, in answer to the rising problem of the dreaded 'delinquent dads', survey after study after research project confirmed that children had to have both a mom and a dad, a male and a female presence?  Where to deny children that most needed attribute of family life was the most heinous act a person could commit?

Well, looks like they were wrong!  Guess what?  You might want to sit down for this, but it turns out that gay parents are really the best parents of all!   Sure, they could miss out on that whole male/female presence thing, but does that even matter?  Not according to our latest incarnation of proven fact. 

Not only are homosexuals typically better paid, more intelligent, more caring, better lovers, and more sophisticated than their heterosexual counterparts; not only has persecution of homosexuals been one of the driving forces of history, homosexuals are really among the main contributors to all that is good in history, the Holocaust was aimed at homosexuals, Jews, and some other people, and science has proven that if God exists, he put a gene in people that makes being non-heterosexual the same as being black or Asian - but turns out for twenty to thirty years, we really didn't hear that kids needed both male and female presences in their lives at all!  Where, oh where, did you ever get the feeling anyone ever said that?

This is why, kiddies, I look at most 'scientific' research, especially that which is clearly biased and agenda driven and willing to manipulate facts and data to drive home a subjective belief, with all the respect that folks used to have for traveling medicine shows.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

That was yesterday

Or yesteryear.  Has it really been that long?  Thanks to my awesome new computer (ostensibly purchased for job searching) that actually works, I can go back and find things I haven't been able to access for some time.  These were pictures from back in the day, in the first months and year after our fourth boy was born.  Wow, time does fly when you're around kids.  The bitter mixture that is being a parent, knowing that as your children grow into adults, the children they were are gone forever.  Sigh.  Still, we have these pictures, including some from video that our new - did I mention it's awesome - computer can play around with.  Just for the memories I guess.


The older three at COSI to give them some fun after the crazy days of welcoming a new brother

Our youngest buying his first pumpkin, and as cute as one, too!

Our normally understated second son, obviously finding something amusing.

His Cross Country meets don't always go that well, but here's our oldest with great form at the head of the pack.

This and the next two are from a video of our third son playing soccer...

The kick...

And there it goes!

Strait of the blue dolphins

Looks like the US Navy has a double secret plan for protecting our interests in the Strait of Hormuz:

Dear Catholic Blogosphere

I just thought I would pull this little bit out of the Catechism.  I don't think anything needs to be said.  It speaks for itself:

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.277 He becomes guilty:
- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;278
- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. and if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.279

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

2480 Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another's vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Atheists continue to amaze

Just when you think atheists have made atheism into a joke as much as possible, they drop the bar even lower.  Naturally, the esteemed David Silverman misses the irony.  You see, he and other atheists are pissed that Tim Tebow keeps winning continues to publicly display his religion.  Not that atheists have a problem displaying their contempt for religion in general or Christianity in particular, no sir.  They can say anything they want in any manner in any tone about their contempt and hatred of religion, and that's as it should be. And, of course, for many decades Christians have been bamboozled into thinking that somehow they should keep the light of Christ under a bushel while atheists, secularists, and various Christian and religion hating types run amok smearing elephant dung on what we consider holy.

I know, it's unlikely the Patriots will meet the Broncos with the same stone dead arrogance that the Steelers displayed. So it's unlikely that the Broncos will win.  And no matter why they lose, if it's because of a thousand fumbles, a lackluster defense, a failed special teams unit, all blame will fall fully on the shoulders of our young Mr. Tebow, who is doing much to show that Christians are a hated people today, and hating them is all the vogue, not unlike other groups being hated in other times in other places throughout history. 

Worried the Peter Jackson will mess with The Hobbit?

Well my friends, worry no more.  There is nothing, absolutely nothing that he could do to change The Hobbit that would equal this:



I'm really at a loss for words.  I'm sure there is something, somewhere that says A for ingenuity, or effort, or imagination, or something.  But right now I'm still trying to make sense of it all.  I'm thinking it might be a put-on, but still not sure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Supreme Court stands by the Bill of Rights

Well done SCOTUS.  Naturally some are crying partisanship, despite it being the rarest of events in these divided days - a unanimous decision.  This will go ill for post-Christian and post-modern progressives, who were having wet dreams over the thought of finally being able to force all religions to conform to their dogmas or face the consequences.  Barry Lynn is, naturally, crying the blues.  He's been one of the proudest proponents of the new Values Based Bill of Rights (if you don't obey liberal values, you don't have rights). I have no doubt that future attempts to crush the freedom not to be progressive will be made, but the unanimous nature of the decision will make it tough.  That's just so not-what-happens today.  That shows just how out of step such farce organizations as Americans United for Oppression of Non-Liberal Religions Separation of Church and State are from what the Constitution and the traditional rule of American law intended.  Again, well done SCOTUS.  Way to stand up for religious liberty and freedom of belief in an age where so many want to end both.

I'm finally part of something

Looks like my wife and I are part of the legions of middle class Americans who have fallen down, down, down the ladder while multi-millionaire bankers and CEOs cashed in and turned millions into billions, our political leaders made plenty of money from the mess, and entertainment and media moguls continued to insist we follow the doctrine of narcissism, hedonism, and living for today with nothing to kill or die for.  Nice.  Glad to see we Americans, smart since we have them fancy Ipads and all that knowledge from the Internet, are learning our lessons.

Hooray for Global Warming

Or climate change, or climate disruption, or whatever else they are calling it.  All along I wondered why we automatically assumed the world getting warmer was a bad thing.  I know, melting glaciers and stranded polar bears.  But still, time and again our old history books pointed to warming trends as moments when humans were able to grow more food and cultivate more land for livestock and agriculture.  Still, the really smart people in lab coats insisted that the very presence of humans and cow flatulence was hurdling us toward a global disaster of biblical proportions.  Except, apparently, when Global Warming is actually saving us.  So there you go.  Everything that happens proves Global Warming, and Global Warming causes everything to happen.  How can sane men ever argue?

Meanwhile

Over in our public schools, a new set of sex indoctrination guidelines has been proposed. With thoughtful input from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, and the Planned Parenthood Federation, kids will now be able to identify a penis or vagina by the ripe old age of 7, and know the difference between wanting to have sex with a girl from wanting to have sex with a boy, or any combination thereof, by the age of 10.  Yep, we have to prepare them.  After all, any would-be porn stars by that age will need to understand why our sexually free society is now passing laws forcing them to wear something on their bodies if they want to work in a sexually liberated industry.

The History Channel is to history what the National Enquirer is to Journalism for a reason

Mark Shea found this perfect plea to the thing that used to be the History Channel. 



That's good as far as it goes.  Once it decides to get back to history, then it's time to actually make sure the history is right, and not something mixed with post-modern punditry and Hollywood sensationalism.

The last dying gasp of the sexual revolution

Has just been drawn.  The promise of the post-Christian revolution of sexual promiscuity was that since humans are nothing but animals, and sex is natural, let's throw out all those silly laws and rules and just do whatever feels good.  A decimated social fabric and tens of millions of AIDS victims later, the manufacturers of right-think have slowly, and subtly, changed that premise to be 'as long as you don't think sex has to be within marriage between a man and a woman, that's all that matters... now here are the following fifty-thousand rules, practices, safety precautions and demands that you must follow.'  Somehow, seeing that Los Angeles lawmakers have just passed a law that will force pornography stars to wear condoms is, to me, the quintessential example of the lie and joke that was the promises of post-Christian sexual liberalism.  In all things sex, drugs, and bathroom humor freedom, in everything else government control, censorship, oppression, and bondage.  Of course, as this shows, maybe not even that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ron Paul defends Mitt Romney

Not surprisingly, he defends the one area of Romney's record and positions that most Americans are the most turned off by. For some odd reason, I'm not at all surprised that he would choose to defend Romney's oft criticized business record.  It's actually quite consistent with Paul's politics, his take on Ayn Rand, and his libertarian ideals.  The irony is, how many Catholics who have trashed the Ayn Rand approach to our economic system, or have spent the last couple years attacking Capitalism and the Free Market for its rather Darwinian tendencies, see Paul as a knight in shinning armor.  Oh, they admit he's not perfect, but my how they trash anyone other than Paul for holding in moderation many of the views that Paul holds in the extreme.  Politics does create strange bedfellows, that's for sure.

Speaking of aloha

Does anyone remember the old 1970s TV movie of the week Aloha Means Goodbye?  It starred Sally Struthers.  I remember a scene of her running for her life down the beach on an advertisement, and someone saying, "She's allergic to her own blood chemistry!  That's as fatal as" something like a gunshot or similar.  That's all.  Don't know why it came up, but when I wrote 'aloha' down there in the last post, that came to my mind.  Ah, the mind of Dave - it explains much!

As we move into Ordinary Time

And say aloha to 2011's Christmas festivities, a final farewell and see you next time from the boys. 

Fr. Barron has come challenging things to say about the late Christopher Hitchens




For me?  I was sad when he died.  We prayed for him when he died and when I learned that he had cancer.  I had prayed for him before and encouraged my sons to do likewise.  I sometimes enjoyed listening to him.  But I leave it there.  I think sometimes we recognize past hate through the clear lens of history better than present hatred through the cloudy mirror of the present. 

Was Christopher Hitchens passionate?  Sure.  Did he have a sense of Justice?  Seems to have had a sense of justice for someone.  Was he an interesting person?  Yeah, anyone with a British accent scores 10 bonus points on the interesting scale to an American. 

But he was part of a movement that increasingly took the same hate and rage and contempt that we so easily condemn in others - Nazis, puritans, witch trials, whatever - and applied it to a new round of folks today.  Just because someone is hating on the latest, hippest, doesn't mean we should shrug our shoulders and say 'oh well'.  Just because Hermann Göring loved model railroads and making model ships, doesn't mean we overlook the other parts of his life. 

I get what Fr. Barron is saying, and in some ways agree.  But I was also a little hesitant to join the 'we love Hitchens - what a great guy!' bandwagon that followed his death.  In that we are called to love our enemies, I can say I tried to love Hitchens.  But no matter how well he wrote, how witty he was, how interesting he appeared, I never, ever forgot that I was trying to love an enemy.  

Living large on Pennsylvania Avenue

Turns out while millions of Americans were wallowing in poverty, recession, and foreclosures, the current head of the party of the poor was living it up with Hollywood multi-millionaire celebrities, enjoying all that unending wealth and prosperity can bring.  For the kids?  A Halloween party put together by no less than Tim Burton and visited by Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. 

Ooops.  The White House take is that they didn't try to hide this from the people.  Probably true.  The White House doesn't have to manipulate the media - the media gladly does what it can to help.  I have no doubt most Washington journalists heard about this, but like most things today, they suppressed the story, lest it leak out and make President Obama look bad.  Another in a long list of reasons I distrust the media.

For me, it just shows the rank hypocrisy and double standards of the post-modern left.  Anyone my age remembers how the Democrats once proclaimed their party as the party of the poor.  Anyone my age can remember the reaming Nancy Reagan got when she held lavish parties with Hollywood big shots like Frank Sinatra.  Personally, that's what comes of wealth.  It didn't bother me then, it doesn't now.

I just like how the media obviously runs tackle for the White House, and how the Democrats themselves are not even trying to pretend anymore that they are anything other than just one more party of the rich and famous.  And more to the point, how the ones who once slammed Republicans for living high on the hog are now defending the same.   Ah, such is politics. 

As we leave Christmastide

The most awesome nativity scene at St. Mary parish

A few reflections.  Neither my wife, nor I, have what is commonly known as 'gainful' employment.  My wife was let go from her position at McGraw-Hill when a computer in New York cut her position along with hundreds of others three weeks before Christmas.  Meanwhile, I have been working for the American Family Life Assurance Company, otherwise known as Aflac (you know, the duck).  It's a good job and a great product, but make no mistake - if you don't come into it with a book of contacts and networks, or if you don't live in an area with endless millions of businesses, it will likely take a few years to get on your feet.  With my wife losing her job and soon neither of us having steady - if any - income, we don't know what the future brings. 

In addition to this, of course, we've dealt with the loss of my Dad, my Mom moving in with us, severe family problems with which my sister has had to contend, and problems in our schools regarding our sons, particularly our 13 year old.   Long story short there, he's obviously a very gifted student, scoring among the top in his grade in science among others, but due to bureaucratic red tape and arbitrary guidelines, he has continually been cast out of the advanced classes despite scoring better in tests and getting better grades than some other students in the classes.  All of our objections have been for naught.  For a while we considered homeschooling, but just before we sent the documents to the school system, my wife's job was terminated.

So at this point we have no clue what the future holds.  We pray that we will have the faith and good graces to accept whatever door is opened for us, and that a door is indeed opened.  What the future holds, we can't even come close to guessing at this point.

All this is to say that, despite it all, we tried to make this a fine Christmas for all.  Our oldest sons are aware of the circumstances and, naturally, can't help but be a little worried.  But for it all, we stretched the season out, thanks to the Catholic tradition of actually celebrating Christmas for 12 days after Christmas, rather than stressing and straining in the weeks leading up to the 25th, and then tossing it all aside the next day.   We also partook in the lovely generosity of some anonymous parishioners who heard of our plight and added some material joy to the mix.  When it was all done and over, I think, as Dickens would say, we kept Christmas well. 

Our prayer is that by the end of the year, we will know for what it was for, and how the paths of our lives were to find their purpose and God's plan.  Here is the family, the last night of Christmas Season proper, regaling any passersby with our rendition of the greatest Christmas Carol while enjoying our little lights display one last time until next year.

video

Monday, January 9, 2012

Just when you thought defenders of the GOP were bad

Leftists slamming the GOP sink to new levels.  Mark Steyn rightly puts them in their place.  How dare they be so pompous, so judgmental, so self-righteous, so condescending toward those who fail to live their lives in conformity to their absolute moral standards to which they demand conformity.  It happened to Sarah Palin, and now it will happen to Rick Santorum.  Not that I'm a fan of the former or would vote for the later, but I certainly would draw the line at sexist rants and slams against developmentally disabled babies.  Needless to say, I wouldn't judge a person for how they dealt with the most devastating event a parent can face - the death of a child.

But true to post-modern form, both Alan Colmes and Eugene Robinson felt the need to jump on Santorum and call him 'crazy' and 'weird' for how Santorum and his wife chose to deal with the death of a newborn baby.  Well, that's what comes from putting the rights of a woman above the life of a baby.  That's what comes from adopting a philosophy that ultimately see babies as a disease, a bunch of snot-nosed brats who should be aborted lest they get in the way of better orgasms.  That's what comes from a lifetime of defending abortion rights.  When a parent doesn't demonstrate the same contempt for the unborn - and for that matter, the newly born - expect those who have developed such an attitude to lash out.
Shame on them both.  How dare they.  At least, how dare they strut like peacocks under the self-applied title of liberal when their calloused appraisal of a parent in the most dire circumstances is more reminiscent of the Fred Phelps of the world.

I don't know which makes me want to cry more

The fact that the press office of the Vatican took biographies of the 22 new Cardinals straight from Wikipedia without proper attribution, or the fact that the press office of the Vatican took biographies of the 22 new Cardinals straight from Wikipedia.  At least the article speaks as though the official biographies have more credibility to them.  But then having more credibility than Wikipedia is like having more talent than a reality television personality. 

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chávez agree with Ron Paul

The biggest troublemaker in the world today is the United States.  When my sons ask me why the country they are about to inherit is going to hell in a hand basket, and they're going to get the screwing of a millennium as a result, I tell them the honest answer.  The answer is, the only thing that has united Americans for the last 50 years is the belief that America is the most stupid and wicked country in the world and it is the fault of everyone else.  When that's your country's unifying principle, don't expect happy days to be here ever again.

The Pope has said gay marriage threatens society

This ought to be good.  I hope - I really, really hope - that the Pope, the Vatican, and any number of bishops and cardinals and other leaders, don't tuck their tails in when our Big Politically Correct Brother demands an apology.  It happens too often.  We'll see if this little kernel of obviousness sticks, and our Catholic leaders stick by it.

And just because I can finally post in less than five hours

I give you this, the Beatles at their poetic best, and their psychedelic weirdest.

If you have ever wondered what it would be like without gravity

Wonder no more!  Of course we all know that gravity exists.  After all, without gravity, how else would the universe have come into being out of nothing?

Ron Paul says not to worry

So that's good enough for me.  After all, how can you argue with a man who not only is the only politician in Washington who isn't part of the problem,  but is the only politician that people who say all politicians are crooks and liars will listen to?  So despite yet one more headline to the contrary, I'm sure all is well.

My new computer

It took me all of about 30 seconds to get this post up.  With the old computer, just this would have been at least 5 to 10 minutes.  Hence another reason that posts have been few and far between.  Perhaps this will change things around, you never know.  But for now, the reason for the computer purchase is to get my wife into the workforce, and that will be its number one purpose.  Just thought I would express a little happiness for a computer that works.  Someday that will change, but for now, I'll enjoy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Congratulations Broncos

That's right, not Tim Tebow - the most loved and most hated person in sports.  Sure, he deserves his credit, but it was a team effort.  It's always a team effort.  Yes, there are reasons why a quarterback who is better than some, not as good as others, nonetheless dominates the sports world at this time.  There are reasons for this, and at some point I may toss out a post on my reflections.  But not now.  For now, a simple congratulations is in order for the underdog Broncos who upset the defending AFC champs.  The Steelers played hard, the Broncos played hard, and Denver did something you usually don't do on the first play of overtime, which is why they won.  It took longer to hear the rules of the overtime than the overtime itself.  But Denver won.  The Steelers didn't.  It wasn't supposed to happen that way, but it did.  Tim Tebow, in a touch of class, explained that it was his teammates who made him look better than he is.  Maybe.  But no matter what, they won, and congratulations are in order for this, the most watched first round playoff game I can remember in some years.

Fact checking fact checks

So ABC has its typical 'Fact Check' article after the latest GOP debate.  I don't have access to everything, so it's tough to say.  I've noticed a trend, though, throughout the years.  According to various 'Fact Checks' that crop up around election time, Republicans are almost always less accurate than Democrats, and statements that hit at a GOP candidate's weak spot are almost always at least (mostly) accurate.  Not a fact, just a trend I noticed.

But nevertheless, I thought I would read through this one, especially since Rick Perry called out the Obama Administration's more recent moves that have many people of faith, particular Christians and especially Catholics, a little worried.  He called it nothing less than a war against religion in our country.  I've seen that phrase used more recently than I have before.  Much of it has to do with forcing organizations, even religious ones, to adopt certain practices that might otherwise be against the dictates of their religious conscience, especially where sexual identity or abortion and contraception are concerned.

Of course ABC feels this is not accurate.  Or does it?  Here's the whole section:
"Rick Perry accused President Obama of battling religion — Catholicism in particular — in tonight’s debate, saying those battles would “stop” if the Texas governor is elected president.
In particular, Perry cited the Obama administration’s decision in September to deny funding to Catholic charities for victims of sex trafficking. Perry opined that Obama did so because he disagrees with Catholics over abortion.
The Christian Post wrote that the Obama administration made the decision “because it does not provide clients with access to abortion and birth control services.”
“This administration’s war on religion is what bothers me greatly,” Perry said at the debate.
Perry’s rhetoric might be an exaggeration, though it’s certainly reminiscent of an ad he released in which he said: “You don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion.”
Most respondents in a poll by Yahoo! don’t agree with Perry’s assessment of the White House’s stance on religion. Out of nearly 20,000 votes in a real-time poll conducted by Yahoo.com during the debate, 58 percent of voters said they didn’t agree with the Texas governor."
You get that?  Where was the "Fact Check"?  According to a Yahoo Poll?  Are you kidding me?  And 58% of 'voters' taking part in this vast scientific survey on Yahoo.com,  58% said they didn't agree with Perry?  So what the hell does that mean?  And what of the 42% that did!  So when only 42% of people thought gay should marry, it was obviously OK that they couldn't?  42% of Americans who think the highest office in the land has their religious beliefs in the cross hairs is a pretty damn significant story, if you ask me.

Naturally, and I hate to break the news, but online polls aren't the most accurate.  Second, the demographics are far from representative of the nation as a whole.  Plus, of course, you can have party splits there.  You just don't know.  But what I do know, and to me what is telling, is this.  First, ABC had nothing to lean on to 'refute' this 'fact' of Perry's charge other than a Yahoo poll.  That screams something right there.  Second, some 84,000 out of 200,000 think the highest office in the land is casting aside the Bill of Rights to attack their religious freedom.  If that's the best ABC can do to suggest I shouldn't worry, I think it might be prudent for people who take their religious faith seriously to start worrying.

Another thing.  I operate on the 'fool me once, shame on you' philosophy.  That's why I don't put much faith in the media.  I don't think all journalists are liars, agenda driven pundits manipulating facts to ramrod some ideological perspective down America's throat.  I just don't know the ones who do from the ones who don't.  Likewise, I don't know that every show on the History Channel is crap.  There might be some about topics I know nothing about that are pre-post modern scholarship level.  But since I've seen stories in the news and shows on the History Channel about topics I do know something about, and found them wanting at best, I have to be suspicious about the ones I don't know anything about. 

Same here.  I've never put much trust in 'fact checking' like this.  Especially in our society which, as I've said before, is based on pundits, not principles.  But seeing a farce like this, and seeing such a lame and transparent attempt to hide the obvious fact (one it was otherwise unable to refute) that Obama's Administration is pushing legislation that could jeopardize religious freedom, I think from now on I'll have even less concern about what the latest journalist's fact check has to say, and more concern about the religious rights of Americans.

Happy Epiphany part deux


Technically, Friday the 6th of January was Epiphany, the Christian celebration of the Magi's journey to the child Jesus, replete with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The Church, always willing to be somewhat flexible, and understanding that we no longer live in a Catholic society, has moved the actual religious observance to today.  That is, this is really the 12th day of Christmas, even if our calendars suggest it should be the 14th.

That's OK.  We've gone ahead and spent the extra days with a little more feasting, a little more fun, and a whole lot of reflection on our lives.  We wish and pray for all who visit this blog, and the the overwhelming majority of humanity that has no idea this blog even exists, that this feast of revelation, when pagan astrologers found what so many had missed, is a year in which we will find that heart's desire.  That in looking for what ultimately matters - our reason for being - we will all come a little closer to the goal, if not actually find it.

It's somewhat fitting that I had a dream that my Dad was in the kitchen.  Real life stuff.  Even in the dream, I shook my head and tried to convince myself it was only a dream.  And then for one brief, albeit wonderful, moment, I became convinced that he was really there.  There he was in that old dark gray jacket, wearing the gloves he refused to part with toward the end of his life, and looking at me.  I ran around the bar and gave him a big hug, just before the dream faded and against my wishes, I began to wake up.  But I felt the hug, and it was a bittersweet feeling, but one I'm glad I had.  For it will be the first year without Dad around, and I miss him something awful.  I hope he felt the hug, because I did.  And I hope my prayers for him are as effective as his for me, and that together we help the family through the storms and stress of the coming months.
  
It was a bittersweet time for Mary.   A sword would pierce her heart.  Great things were going to happen with her boy, but it wouldn't be easy.  It never is.  So may God help all of us through the trials of the future, as we seek that meaning we've been placed here to find.  God bless all.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rick Santorum the Catholic's president?

It sure looks like it from this glowing report on Santorum's sudden rise in the wake of Iowa.  Apparently, he has won the endorsement of Catholicvote.org.   Yet, on the other hand, we find out why such is evil and demonstrative of the horrible corruption and anti-Catholic sin in America, that Catholics would support this lover of Human Cloning, unjust wars, and torture. 

That, kiddies, is why I don't get too involved in politics on this blog.  It's too easy to lose perspective - one way or another. I've known of Santorum for many years.  Personally, he seems a decent fellow.  I agree with him on many issues, disagree with others.  I am troubled by the thought of America 'offically' endorsing what we used to condemn when the Vietcong, the Gestapo, or the KGB did it.  I've also noticed a tendency Santorum has for looking the other way when it comes to helping those diametrically opposed to his foundational morals just because they're from the same area, or he likes them, or whatever.  That's an issue, and suggests a lack of firmness in those convictions, or at least a willingness to compromise them at certain moments.

Doesn't mean I don't like him.  Doesn't mean I think he's some 'torture luvin' scum.  My stomach churns at descriptions like that, especially of a brother in Christ, a Catholic brother no less.  From the MSM's take, his views are 'extreme', 'radical', 'wrong', 'evil', and 'stupid' - all words used on MSNBC and CNN to describe those views he holds in allegiance to the Catholic Church.  As good and righteous as it makes me feel, I'm not going to hand one of my own over to the grinding mill since I don't see him giving the Church a big middle finger, as much as I see him disagreeing with certain interpretations of the Church teaching.  I think he's wrong.  I can't help but wonder if he's just twisting it for political expediency.  But right now, since the Church has refused to make an according to Hoyle definition of Waterboarding being torture, and therefore sin, that's not going to hold the same for me as a Catholic politician proudly dismissing the Church's teaching on abortion, or homosexuality, or care for the poor.

Which brings me to Ron Paul.  Ron Paul is an anomaly in all this.  Like many his age, he adopts the America Sucks approach to history.  To him, the reason there are problems is because America got in and screwed everything up.  He is a staunch libertarian, a staunch non-interventionist (which is just a euphemism for what used to be called isolationist, but since the term carries so much negative baggage, we prefer non-interventionist), and a lover of Ayn Rand.  His whole viewpoint is that as long as the Federal Government is out of the way, everything is fine.  Sure, there may be suffering and dying, but that's a small price to pay for my freedom, Freedom, FREEDOM from the Federal Government. 

Of course, his views are out there.  Really, really out there.  His views are extreme, often based on tortured interpretations of history and reality, and he tends to gather advisers and supporters from as many fringe sides as possible, while appealing to young people's natural post-Boomer tendency to support anyone 'raging against the machine.'

The support of Paul in light of opinions that flow against traditional Christian social teaching, is one of the more disturbing phenomena that has occurred in recent years.  I have no problem with a person that supports Paul.  If you are willing to look away from the evil he would allow, fine.  In a fallen world, we'll all have to hold our noses at some point.  Coming into the Catholic Church during the high point of the priest abuse scandal, I had to do some nose holding myself.  It's what comes from dealing with people.

What I can't abide is those supporters of Paul who dismiss or ignore or even defend those positions which clearly fly in the face of Christian Social Ethics, while then condemning with near hatred those who support any other candidate.  But it's a dangerous temptation, to begin looking at a candidate and reshaping our faith to fit him, even if we're sure we aren't.  To be so obsessed with not being part of a political team, we become part of one despite our best efforts, and end up being twice the zealot in defending its own problems.

For me?  If I vote, it will be for someone who either asks me to vote for a person who advocates grave evil somewhere, or one who asks me to ignore grave evil.  Since the opposite of supporting grave and intrinsic evil is NOT ignoring grave and intrinsic evil so that my hands won't get dirty, it's doubtful I will feel 100% comfortable with the choices.  There are a couple I wouldn't vote for, and if it comes to it, I might take the extraordinary measure of not voting.

But since the Bishops have said that, when faced with a choice between the lesser of two evils, I can choose the one I think will advance the most good and do the least evil, then depending on the final choices, I will go there.  I won't condemn those who disagree with my choice.  And I certainly won't insult and call those candidates I didn't support nothing more than human excrement scraped from Satan's rectum.  Such is unbecoming of a Christian, and nothing more than rank fundamentalist-style self-righteousness in Catholic garb.  Even Paul, who is probably a decent sort with whom I strongly disagree, wouldn't find me insulting him or his supporters.  It would simply find me taking the extraordinary step of being unable to vote for him.

Tolkien the racist

In the wake of the anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien's 120th birthday, we had the usual debate over Tolkien's racism.  Of course, racism is the sin of our age.  If you can link something to racist ideologies, that's it.  Which is why we tend to see Hitler as only evil, while Stalin or Lenin or Mao were, well, bad guys and all, but...

Of course it could be argued that some of the ways Tolkien saw the world were products of his time in history, and those as defined today could amount to racism.  Whether that makes The Lord of the Rings or any other such book a 'racist' work will probably say more about the person's definition of racism, and how one views modern morals vs. the morals held by other before us.

Most of it, of course, centers around the idea of Orcs being intrinsically evil creatures, unable to come to redemption, and the men of the South - dark skinned and swarthy - being shown as servants of the Enemy.  Personally I don't think Tolkien a racist, nor do I see racism in the works.  I see a man writing a mythology where that is how it would have looked to those writing the mythology.  Did some of it echo that European scientific racism of the 19th and early 20th centuries?  Perhaps.  I wouldn't slam someone who saw that.  But it can also be overplayed, as racism in our culture often is.  The most ludicrous charge being that the Scourging of the Shire was an anti-semitic chapter.  If I wanted to see it that way, I couldn't.  And that shows the flip side of the charge of racism.  If racism is evil, the charge should be made on an absolute 'without a doubt' basis.  Not one that almost insists I have to believe it without evidence in the first place, then go and look for it.  Because charging racism without solid evidence is, in my opinion, as bad as denying it when it's obviously there.

Oh, and for what it's worth, looking to someone like Philip Pullman for a critique of Tolkien is like looking to Rush Limbaugh for a critique of President Obama.  Pullman, like many new atheists, doesn't hide the fact that he hates - HATES - all religion with the white hot fury of a thousand suns.  So it shouldn't be shocking that a work so infused with religious philosophy and reflection as Lord of the Rings, would not find a fan in Pullman.      

Anyway, the debates can be found here, here, and here

Also, just as an add on, it's common in some circles of Tolkien fandom to almost apologize for liking the work.  Many take on his prose and poetry.  I, for one, love his prose.  It is what it is.  He's writing in a way that suggests a work written before the modern age, but more accessible than a work written before the modern age would be.  He writes a story, but the way he wants to write it.  A combination of Thomas Kinkade and Pablo Picasso.  That's one of the most endearing qualities in the work, at least for me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy twelvity birthday Professor Tolkien

Yes, it was the 120th anniversary of the birthday of J.R.R. Tolkien.  Not a big fantasy fan myself, and I admit I've read the Hobbit just to say I've read the Hobbit.  But his masterpiece, his magnum opus, his work considered by many one of the greatest contributions to literary fiction in the 20th century, still holds me in awe.  How a person can write in such a way, a way that makes you think if anyone else had done it that way, it would have been laughed out of the book stores, is beyond me.  He says it without saying it, and yet says it well. 

He was both deep and thoughtful, wise and intelligent, witty and whimsical, a lover of ancient languages and academic exercise as much as a good pint of beer and a pipe with friends in the neighborhood pub.  He suffered loss and heartache, experienced the horrors of industrialized warfare, and yet never lost his love for growing things, natural things, beautiful things.  And somehow, like all of the great ones, he combined it all in a mixture of unparalleled quality and impact.

The Beatles didn't make it all up, but they took the influences and combined them in a fresh and revolutionary way.  Orson Wells didn't pioneer everything on the set of Citizen Kane, but he took what was done and mixed it together in a way that changed cinema.  And Tolkien didn't invent fantasy, dragons, or even orcs, but the shadow he cast over the genre, and the influence he has had on a generation of authors, filmmakers, musicians, and readers, places him on the same plane as those others, and many more.  So for all the memories, all the fun, and all the pipeweed everywhere, thanks Professor Tolkien for the memories, and happy Twelvity, may there be many more who follow the joy of your creation while you take in that eternal evening rest from a troubled world.

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.