Sunday, October 31, 2010

There's something wrong with a society that treats children like a disease

The contempt for life and unwarranted feeling of superiority that our current cultural manufacturers convey is staggering. Any student of European history cannot possibly fail to see parallels between our modern disregard for the sanctity of life, and that which followed in the wake of the 19th century philosophies of Europe. How easy it was to conclude some humans, being nothing but glorified animals evolved, were worthy of life while others were not. How easy it is now to conclude that almost all humans are nothing more than a festering malignant blight upon the earth, and except for one's own little circle, worthy of abortion, euthanasia, or worse. The genocidal slaughter that is heading our way, compliments of all the enlightened thinking c. 2010, will make the 20th century look like a tea party with Mary Poppins. And because we should know better, having the last century to learn from, we will be doubly condemned - and justly so. These are the things that cry out to God for vengeance. The flagrant disregard for life based on mere convenience that drove the prophet Jeremiah to say that this is something so heinous, it never even entered the mind of God.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why would a private firm install high speed Internet access on Mount Everest?

Because it's there! Heh. I hope you enjoyed laughing at that as much as I did, which was pretty much not at all. Anyhoo, I have much to do today, despite what the presence on the blog today would suggest. I've got to help boys get through their last day of the semester, take kids to football practice, carve four pumpkins, and get ready for a weekend of ghost walks, scary games and movies, apple cider and apple fritters, and of course the spooky culmination of Trick or Treat, which always includes family visits and marathons of old, silent movies (like Phantom of the Opera, Lon Chaney style, or the ever popular Nosferatu).

Anyway, whether in all of this I can return or not before next week, I'll have to see. But the numbers of visitors and readers is growing, and I'm encouraged for such a new blog. Please feel free to comment, though I know that the comment box isn't quite as easy and straightforward as I would like, it's not so bad. As long as folks play nice, they can say what they want. I won't swoop down on them and run them out of town for the sin of disagreeing with me and all the hip people I know. If I'm back soon, I'll see folks accordingly. Otherwise, have a happy and ghost filled Halloween. Next week, we'll actually pick up on some of those other holidays (or Holy Days), like All Saints Day, that our culture has long forgotten.

Speaking of reposting, here's one of my first posts I thought of as I look at the window at the magnificent October clouds rolling by

I suffer from terminal nostalgia. I don't know why, but I've never been able to shake the tendency to see in every picture, commercial, or movie, or hear in every song, or see in every cloud or tree or rock something that makes me think of times gone by. For instance, one October evening the first year I was in college, I drove to meet up with a friend of mine. He was Catholic, though the extent of his devotional life was never apparent. Nonetheless, he found employment that fall by mowing the yard of the parish rectory. Not that I, a burgeoning agnostic, had any idea what a rectory was. It was just the place where the priest lived, situated next door to the modern styled Catholic church sitting in the middle of sparse woods and vast corn fields, now harvested and bare. His mother told me where he was - this being before cell phones - and I drove out to meet him.

He was just finishing up. The parking lot was empty. He had been dropped off. I guess he either expected me or a drive home from his parents. It also was a Friday night. In those parts, that meant high school football. Even though we were college freshmen, our connections to our high school Alma mater were still strong. We quickly made some plans to see if there was a home game.

Then, as we were getting into my truck, he paused. He turned around and pointed to the sky. It was one of those fall skies with heavy, billowing gray clouds that just inch across the landscape. I never had really paid attention before. But he said, as he looked up at the sky, 'I love it when I see clouds like that. It's so October, so fall. I just love it.' Now he was never one prone to poetic musings or deep reflections. So his little statement caught me a bit off guard. I looked up and agreed. Then we got into the car and drove somewhere and did something that has gone into the long list of forgotten memories.

I will never forget that moment, though, that scene in my life; that evening, standing in the empty lot surrounded by barren fields and staring at a chilled, gray autumn sky, will stay with me as long as I live. I never see a cloudy fall day that I don't, at least for a minute, travel back in time and remember that instance with a friend long gone in a time long past. It's for that reason I say I suffer from terminal nostalgia. Perhaps, in the overall scheme, that's not bad. After all, remembering is a fine thing, and one that helps counter the tendency today to see everything beyond last Thursday as irrelevant. And while we don't want to look back after putting our hands to the plowshare, we don't want to focus only on the future and forget all that has come before us, and all that God has done.

Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth... Psalm 105.5

Where did Halloween come from anyway?

An interesting little article that relates the history of Halloween, from a decidedly Catholic point of view. Of course one could find another hundred histories that seem to contradict some of what is said. History is the perfect storm. Everything that happens does so because everything needed for it to happen, happened. Just why and how Halloween came to be what it is today can be generalized, but even then there is room for interpretation. That's because the real reason Halloween came to be what it is has to do with the millions of incidents in the billions of lives that make up the human story. We can narrow things down. We can say, with confidence, that Napoleon commanded the French forces at Waterloo. We can say the Washington was the first American President under the current constitutional government. We can make some basic claims. But there are so many things in history we can never grasp - we will always know less than there is to know - we can only generalize, and sometimes speculate. And of course, in the course of speculating, we fill in the gaps where we aren't sure with the various beliefs, priorities, passions we have of which we are sure. So read and enjoy. Probably closer to the truth than others you'll read, but no doubt much mystery that will never be known.

No Riddler?

Christopher Nolan seems pretty amazing. In a field of movies that produces such mile wide and inch deep fare as Avatar, the holder of the best overall blockbuster to date is able to play cat and mouse with the growing anticipation over what the Dark Knight sequel entails. The title, The Dark Knight Rises, sounds like a great start. Confirming that the Riddler will not be the villain also opens up speculation, with a growing chorus of fans believing Cat Woman will step in, filling both villain/love interest voids established by the last movie (or at least the tragedy surrounding Heath Ledger's death). We'll have to see. Not being a comic book fan, I defer to the experts. But Nolan has been able to make some pretty impressive silk purses out of the cinimatic sow's ear that has become the Summer Blockbuster genre.

Oh, and bonus points. How cool is it that he refuses to go 3D? Thank goodness.

I learn more from reading Get Religion for a day...

Than I do watching television news for a month. Truth be told, I learn more about how to watch the news, or more importantly, how to read the news. Not that I consider myself a journalist by any means. I am but a mere peasant in the world of a thousand media outlets, so it's good to be informed.

For instance, something to watch out for, as in this case of Mormons are scared, or even killing themselves, because of the anti-homosexual teachings the Mormon faith. If a story says there are legions of individuals doing this, or saying that, see if the story actually bothers to quote one, or at least give a specific example. In fact, while this story gives a few anecdotes, none of the examples appear to have anything to do with Mormonism. Moreover, not one person who committed suicide or appears to be frightened is ever identified as being Mormon. Nor are there any hardcore stats to back up the story's main claim. In short, it claims there is overwhelming evidence to support the growing mantra that 'religion is killing homosexuals', then proceeds to do nothing to support the charge. And example of a non-news story.

Things like this are worth watching out for. Especially as our media, like our academic institutions, have thrown away all pretense of neutrality and have embraced a flagrant agenda that rests largely on, among other things, the eradication of the Christian faith from our public forums.

Trick or Treat tip #7: Don't park under 1200 pound pumpkins

For my money, nothing invokes the spirit of Halloween more than seeing cars demolished by giant pumpkins dropped from a crane.

Muslim Students trash a New Testament

And apart from crickets chirping, no one else is making any noise about it. Of course these students must be terrorists, since apparently the entire Islamic world is divided into two groups: terrorists who really don't represent Islam anyway, and the other 1.5 billion Muslims who never seem to do anything wrong. No doubt many Muslims would probably condemn such behavior. I would like to think so. Even if they didn't condemn it, there probably would be some who didn't approve. But the single biggest fact ignored in our modern debate is that between terrorists and Muslims who want to get along and live freely with their non-Muslim neighbors, is a large variety of Muslims, many of whom would never embrace terrorism, but think nothing of beating other religions or ideals into submission, or attacking them outright for not being Muslim. When we, including Muslims who want to live in peace, admit this, then the dialogue has a chance of producing real fruit. Until then, denial makes for bad solutions.

By the by, I know why there is silence. Despite the insistence of such notables as Rosie O'Donnell and Tavis Smiley, Christians aren't known for roaming the countryside, slaughtering and butchering their way through the human population. As such, there isn't too much of a security risk that Christians will rise up, burn embassies, blow up Mosques, and shoot Imams as a result of this action. Once again, our actions and reactions show what we really believe, as opposed to what we say we believe.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter on Joy Behar

Would someone tell me how Joy Behar, who makes Glenn Beck look like a Rhodes Scholar, commands so many high quality guests? I know, Jimmy Carter, despite his attempts to the contrary, will always be remembered as one of our worst presidents. Even though a few left wing think tanks and some media outlets will try to paint a different picture, anyone over the age of 40 will remember those bleak, gray days of hopelessness under his lack of leadership. Nonetheless he is a former president, and Behar is, well, thin between the ears to be charitable. Here he is insisting that Obama's chances for reelection will improve because of those rascally Republicans and their obstructionist ways. For my part, I didn't realize Obama's chances for reelection were in danger, it not being past the midterm elections yet. But this is the age of the 24 hour news cycle, where politicians have to be in perpetual campaign mode, which in all likelihood has helped bring our country to the place it's at today.

Obama and Jon Stewart

I'm not sure which I find more troubling, that our president's evaluation of our country leads him to think Jon Stewart is so influential that appearing on his cable comedy show will make a difference. Or that he is probably right.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exploiting Clint McCance

Clint McCance is a man whose name will soon enter the post modern lexicon. It will be under 'evil', or 'bigot', or 'hate speech', or possibly 'censorship'. Though that later designation is unlikely. Fact is, Mr. McCance is guilty of a horrid scree of hateful bilge aimed not only at homosexuals in general, but children who identify themselves as homosexuals. Since we've worked feverishly over the decades to get kids to think in sexual terms, and we've also made sure that any child who even has slightly mixed feelings about boys or girls should understand they are homosexual from day one, Mr. McCance's tirade could impact a great many young people. For that matter alone, his position as a school board vice-president is questionable.

After all, it's one thing to say one disagrees with homosexuality, or finds no natural basis for it in terms of human behavior, or has religious beliefs that are in conflict with the gay rights movement. But when you wish harm and death on people, especially young people, and you hold a position of importance in their lives, it might be time to consider a different vocation. It might also be a great time for people who don't conform to the dogmas of the gay movement to rise up and condemn his rant for what it was: a sin filled, violent, hateful rant against fellow human beings. His opinions could have been given with dignity, and respect, and in Christian love. His decision to say it the way he did not only failed each of those tests, but also tarnished the very Faith upon which he claims to base his beliefs.

With that said, I no sooner hear of this than I'm watching CNN with Anderson Cooper. Now Mr. Cooper is fast becoming CNN's answer to Sean Hannity, or Rachel Madow. His biases are becoming clearer, and his contempt for those who don't hold his views more obvious. There are no doubt programing reasons behind this, but that's for another post in the distant future. For now, it's worth noting that Anderson's opinions and beliefs are no longer a separate element from the rest of his show.

I've noted already that a result of this has been the somewhat shameful exploitation by CNN in general, and Mr. Cooper in particular, of the recent suicides of certain young people. These deaths were, for the most part, the result of their being bullied for being gay. Even though some were no more than eleven, they had been bullied 'for years' due to their sexuality (see our desire to indoctrinate our children into a culture of hedonism, above). Of course there are millions of children bullied. The most common reasons due to things such as being overweight, being from a poor family, being small or unusually large physically, and other classic reasons for being picked on. Yet CNN, and MSNBC, and several other left leaning news organizations, along with endless amounts of private, hard left groups, have focused exclusively on the gay suicides.

Their conclusions have been as frightening as the hate filled rant of Mr. McCance. Bullying has to be stopped. What exactly bullying is has yet to be defined. I've heard interviews where it can include anything: criticism, disagreements, dislike of this or that lifestyle choice, and opinion about a hair style. In addition, bullying should be seen as dangerous and hateful. And we all know that today we expect our government to have no patience for hate filled anything. And naturally, dangerous behavior and attitudes should also be controlled. Therefore the not too subtle agenda emerges as 'it's time to regulate speech that we deem to be hateful.' And what is hateful? Apparently disagreeing with the gay rights agenda, or any one of a thousand various left wing dogmas.

The funny thing about this was the first Cooper episode I watched about this issue came right after a CNN segment detailing the pandemic of obesity that plagues our nation. It focused on overweight people's drag on our economy, our health care system, and our national welfare. That some may not be able to help being overweight, that some may have certain physiological conditions that predispose them toward being overweight, was irrelevant. The unflattering pictures and clips shown during the segment made it clear that those who were obese were a problem needing fixed. Their own feelings, insecurities or sensitivities were completely ignored. It affects our wallets, therefore they must change.

The fact that 1 in 5 male homosexuals and bisexuals in America have HIV - that's a higher rate of infection than smokers who will get lung cancer - is completely beside the point. That it may cost millions, if not billions, in lost productivity, health care cost, or general economic burden is never mentioned. Certainly not on CNN. Rather, CNN adopts a purely one sided approach to the issue in light of these recent events: There is no other option in dealing with homosexuality. You will conform. Any other attitude is nothing less than hate and bullying. And since we know these things can cause young people to commit suicide (apparently there was in none of these cases any other issue in their lives), the conclusion is obvious: it's time to regulate any speech deemed threatening or dangerous by our big politically correct brother.

Whether Americans wake up and say they reject such hate filled rants as Mr. McCance, but also reject exploitation by movements such as CNN to impose dogmas and strip away liberties, has yet to be seen. We'll just watch and wait. But take note it's coming. It's coming fast.

Abortion: A compromise?

No news link. It just dawned on me, as I was sitting under the rolling clouds watching my boy practice football, that the main bone of contention for those who advocate for the right to choose abortion is the ever famous rape and incest scenario. Added to that is the case in which the life of the mother can only be saved by abortion. Okay. Let's do this. For now, and understanding that there is still much to discuss when it comes to abortion, not the least of which is how we approach the somewhat nebulous definitions of human life, could we do one thing. When I worked for an insurance company, there was one simple rule: Everything - Every Thing - was based on medical necessity (well not really, abortion was the one glaring exception).

But that's the point. Since the entire discussion for maintaining our current approach to abortion rests on saving those women whose lives and mental health depend upon aborting their unborn children, can't we just ask that the doctors who perform the abortion sign off that it was, in fact, based on medical necessity. Restrict all abortions to that criteria, and then insist that the doctors performing the abortions signify by oath that it was only done because it was medically necessary. Fair enough? Since no matter how much pro-life advocates try to focus on the overwhelming majority of abortions that are done purely for reasons outside of the physically or mentally necessary due to rape/incest, couldn't we at least insist the records show that abortions being done are only those most needed? After all, certainly we aren't a society willing to play so fast and loose with the very foundational definition of human life simply to have better sex lives or faster career options...are we? So that seems like a fair call to me. Now let's kick it around.

Rhode Island to change its name

The official name of Rhode Island includes the word Plantations. And we all know what that word means. So Rhode Island will in all likelihood drop it from its official name. Nothing much to see, except how I remember the olden days of liberalism, when we were taught to scoff at the old timers who used to obsess about such things. How small minded they were when they wouldn't let someone say this, or say that. How not in tune with the heart and soul of the First Amendment were those who insisted on some lofty moral standard by which all Americans should be measured. For me, that's the funniest thing about post-liberalism. We are doing the very things that the forebears of the post-modern left had once railed against as part of the move to tear down the foundational fabrics of American society. Having torn them down, of course, it is time to rebuild in the manner of our brave new world. So things like this, because it offends the new moral standard by which all Americans should be measured, must change. History, you just can't help but repeat it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

China's emerging strength: Nothing to see here folks

So China is displaying even more of its powerhouse industrial and technological might. Nothing to worry about. Other places are trying to do similar other parts of the world. Any notion that we need to fear or worry is, of course, mindless fear mongering. We are assured of that. Of course we haven't really done anything to wow the world recently, have we. We stood down the USSR in the Cold War, but most people give the USSR credit there, and blame us for the troubles anyway and said we screwed up how we did it. The last really big building project was the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, but they're not around any more. Our bridges collapse, our levees break. We can't seem to get ourselves out of financial trouble without asking for money from, well, China. That's the same China that continues to wow the world with its accomplishments, the same China only fear mongers worry about. I wonder if folks in Europe, who pointed to the United States in the early 20th century and said, "They'll be running the show soon," were smacked down as fear mongers. I wonder if we assume that if China does emerge, things won't be any worse than they were under the Evil Empire (that'd be us). Sometimes I wonder what historians of the world powers will say about our country a hundred years from now. Moreover, I wonder what language they will be writing in when they say it.

Jon Stewart is the most influential man of 2010?

According to a survey in AskMen, yep. That might say more for the sorry state of America than anything else. Of course, it could just speak for the sorry state of AskMen readers. The fact that, of the top ten names I recognized, all flew far to the Left suggests a decidedly biased undertone. But then, I didn't recognize them all, and didn't care enough to read the others to get to President Obama, who wasn't even in the top 20. I guess if I'm interested in who is influencing what in our country, I'll pick other sources. But altogether, this is the type of keen insight I've come to expect from the Internet Generation. And AT&T says the Internet makes us smarter. Bwa Ha Ha Ha Ha!

There's a storm coming

As we are reminded of from not only the Weather Channel, but also 1984's The Terminator:

I always loved that scene. It was soooooo early 1980s. We had been assured by the liberal press, intelligentsia, and political machine that if Reagan was elected, our days were numbered. It was no longer that would could be vaporized in a nuclear holocaust, but that we would be vaporized in a nuclear holocaust. Glad to see they were wrong. And the sense of imminent doom that infected a generation began to turn around, as can be seen by the sequel Terminator 2. Of course, some would argue it has returned again, as can be seen by the sequel Terminator 3. But that's for another post. Hopefully, the storms will pass with no injury and little damage. But just in case, I'll be gone today battening down the hatches.

And just a little more fun, the storms might pass. But there are still bigger storms to think about. One is our horrifyingly bad take on history, as President Jimmy Carter demonstrates in an interview. He believes that back in his day "we had almost complete harmony with every nation on Earth" while he was president. Uh huh. Of course the above clip speaks of the silliness behind that statement. But he's trying to change the general perception that he was one of America's worst president after all.

So if folks believe that sort of thing, even if the storms come and go today, there will be more storms yet to come. Till next time.

How united are we?

One of the nice things about America has been that our elections, as passionate as some are about politics, are usually the peaceful transference of power from one person or party to the next. Unlike the wars and revolutions and slaughter fests that happen in so much of the world, and throughout so much of history, ours are relatively bland. America has a right to be proud of this record. So it would be nice to keep it that way. The divisions in our country are becoming serious, and getting worse. Despite the horror that ideological warfare presented in the last century, most Americans today are lulled by historical ignorance to believe that hating someone because of race or sexual identity is terrible, but hating someone because of what they believe is A-Okay. As a result, the growing anger, and even hatred, witnessed in our public discourse may soon boil over. Perhaps a nice history lesson from outside our modern academic institutions (dedicated to the proposition that traditional values have to go) might help us avoid any escalations beyond this rather sad display.

Liberalism: Out of the closet and breathing free

Last night I was channel surfing a bit. I saw the following: On CNN, Larry King was interviewing a long lost former girlfriend of Clarence Thomas. It didn't look pretty for Thomas. On MSNBC, a special film entitled 'The Assassination of Dr. Tiller' was played, the purpose of which was to lionize the abortion doctor who was murdered by a mentally unstable killer, and demonize all pro-life activists as sadistic fanatics. On PBS, the American history lesson continued as we move into the 19th century, where racist imperialist Americans continue their genocidal extermination of wonderful, perfect, honest and beautiful Native Americans. All of this in about fifteen minutes. This, of course, doesn't count the multiple networks and their programs, all of which speak from a decidedly left leaning POV. If anyone still clung to the hope that liberalism does not dominate the modern media culture, those fifteen minutes alone should throw water on the theory. At this point, I don't think there's even an attempt to hide the fact.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Woman to marry - herself

In the usual post-liberal 'I don't think we need to care about anything, except for all the things I think are important and we should care about because I think they are important and we should care about them' mode of thinking, a bride marries herself. For the last sixty years, the West has brought an approach to the world that feels uncomfortably like a bunch of teenagers in their parents' home while their folks are away on vacation. No responsibility, just hedonism, narcissism, and lots of parties. But like those teens who eventually become adults, like so many who grew up in the 70s and 80s in the wake of the Boomer generation, there will be a time when the world realizes it is no longer funny. We have to grow up. When and how that happens, I can only guess. But hopefully it will happen while those of us who have screwed it up are around to fix it, and not when it's our poor children who will have to do the fixing.

New York Times Praises Bigotry - and gets called on the carpet (about freakin' time!)

Like a breath of fresh air, Archbishop Timothy Dolan has given the appropriate smack down to the New York Times. Now it's no secret, or shouldn't be, that the post-liberal Left hates Christianity. It loathes it. It despises it. And combine that with the age old Protestant, and later secular, nature of America and its traditional hatred of the Catholic Church, and you get a double whammy whenever issues of the Catholic Church come up in the modern PLL press. So a blasphemous play, that treats the Catholic Church with all the love that Nazi propaganda films treated Jews in 1930s Germany, is praised by the NYT reviews. Just as, no doubt, the NYT would praise a Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda film, or a KKK anti Martin Luther King, Jr. bio. Of course not. That is so far from reality I actually felt stupid writing it. Yet the bigotry against Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, is palpable in our culture, particularly in our academic and media institutions. It's good to see the Archbishop, known for his calm and gentle demeanor, finally step up and call bigotry for what it is.

Abortion: The Modern American Shame

Abortion continues to be that thing which will be condemned by future generations in the same way we condemn slavery, or racism, or any one of the thousands of things for which we condemn our ancestors. Yet there is always hope, and here is a good story about women coming forward and admitting what common sense dictates: that when a woman, whose body is one of the miracles of the universe in that it can produce a living human being, terminates that being (and the overwhelming majority are done for convenience, not the fabled rape/incest that dominates 99% of the debate), expect there to be some emotional and psychological consequences down the road.

As a pastor, the number one single issue that I counseled women over was abortion. That is, women who had abortions and later regretted it. Despite the different stories, they were all the same: Never a holiday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, family gathering went buy that they didn't look at that spot at the side of the table and wonder just who could have been sitting there. Of course in Christ we are always forgiven when we seek his loving embrace. God is not the god of wrath waiting to smite us with a well placed lightening bolt. God actually cares for us, and desires all to come to repentance. So difficult that it could be, I always had the Gospel on my side when it came to helping them through their guilt and bereavement.

It's nice to see women coming out and admitting it. Now let's clear our TV schedules because no doubt our wonderful MSM will be spending weeks to come delving into the implications this might have for rethinking the current approach to abortion rights.

If the Catholic Church were a business, it would have gone bankrupt ages ago.

If the Catholic Church is one thing, it's inefficient. Always has been. Owing to the fact that it's so large, and encompasses so much. In recent years, one glaring problem has been Catholic ministries, including schools and universities, that seem dedicated to the single endeavor of giving the teachings of the Catholic Faith the high middle one. Notre Dame is a prime example. While Catholic, it seems far more interested in adhering to the more important doctrines of the Left. Why this is, I can only guess. But this is starting to backfire. Of course there can always be problems with this approach, and we don't want to become Catholics who sound like the Pharisee in yesterday's Gospel reading - thank you Lord that you didn't make me a faithless Catholic like those people over there! But there is something glaring in the piss-poor witness that comes from ministries associated with the Catholic Faith who have little public concern about adhering to the teachings of that same Catholic Faith.

Christians seize a Mosque in Pakistan

Not really. You see, if that were the case, I wouldn't bother posting it. The media - or as I like to call it, the glorious ministry of propaganda for the advancement of secular progressivism - would be plastering it all over the airwaves. Specials would be run. Round table discussions. CNN would have a series documenting the growing violence by Christians against Muslims around the world (whether there was any other example or not - remember all the violence back during the NYC mosque debate that never actually seemed to find references to substantiate?). In short, it would fit the narrative of the Left (white, European and American heterosexual Christian men are the incarnation of evil and the singular cause of all human suffering in the world), so they would run with it until there was no steam left upon which to run. But this, a mere story in which Muslims overtake a Christian church, causing peaceful protests, and despite it being a growing trend across the Muslim world, is not even mentioned - yet. Perhaps I'll be wrong. Perhaps it may be mentioned. But if it find its way into the American press, I'll bet ten to a doughnut that it will be an aside, and not the media frenzy we've seen when the blame can, or even might, fall toward the aforementioned bad guys of history.

Where are the pictures?

As some may have noticed, when I began the blog a couple months ago, almost each and every post was accompanied by a picture. Sometimes the picture was of an individual discussed in the story, other times it was some bizarre, abstract thought I had that linked to some part mentioned in the blog (sort of a 'figure out what the heck the picture has to do with the post' game). But recently, the pictures have dropped to almost nil. There are a couple reasons. First, pictures take up memory. While my blog is a mere pup, I may do this for a long, long time. Might as well not establish the tradition now. If, in years to come, it's popular enough to justify more that would include room for endless numbers of picture posts, then fine. We'll wait and see.

Second, it takes time. Most of my posts are, quite frankly, written off the top of my head. If I have a second, I'll do a spell check. But they are usually something I noticed, think about, see, or read that I say 'that would be interesting', or 'I wonder if I'm the only one noticing this?' I sit down and type it out. Since I type around 75 to 80 words a minute, that takes a couple minutes tops. That's fine, since I'm not a full time blogger, or writer, or anything where spending hours at a blog would be justified. But add the element of the picture, and suddenly the amount of time spent per post increases exponentially.

Finally, I'm trying to gauge the success/failure of my blog. I have stats I can read to see how many are visiting. I can see where they come from. I notice that some of the visits are from folks who, apparently, saw a picture and clicked on it - the same way I do when I was looking for images. They weren't really 'visiting', they simply came here by accident. Maybe they liked what they saw. Maybe they're one of the repeat visitors. I just know that when I'm looking at a picture, there is only about once in every thousand clicks that I will bother to actually read the site in question. So it helps eliminate those who came by accident from those who came by topic or repeat business.

Oh, and there is the problem of copyrights. Most net images are probably safe to use on a blog. But I don't have time to get into the legal nitty-gritty, nor do I want to be blindsided in the future. If there is an image I think would really help the post, I may go ahead and go the extra mile. If the blog grows, and more people visit (and quite frankly, more comment - the visits are pretty impressive from what I can tell, but while quality counts for something, it would be nice to see more folks feel comfortable commenting, that's where I get to learn from others), then I might change. But until then, expect few if any pictures unless they are sure to be free of charge, are obviously adding to the blog, or are of my most wonderful wife and kids.

Christophobic bigotry

Will not be the assumption carried in the headlines. Of course, it looks like a mental disorder played a large part. So in this case, it is probably fair to note that the cause of the attack, at least on the surface, appears more psychotic than agenda driven - not that it matters to the victims. We could, however, find out later that some axe to grind or grudge against the Church played a part.

I note this to point out that, had it been a Mosque, Synagogue, gay bar, or just about anything else, the first and only assumption would have been a hate crime based on bigotry. The attacker could have been stark raving insane, foaming at the mouth, but the emphasis not only would have been on the bigotry behind the attack, but what bigotry was already in existence that influenced the attack. Of course, even if there was no connection at all to any bigotry, the narrative would continue and we would be treated to weeks of the MSM hosting specials on the rise of hate crimes, and more importantly, the need to have the government step in and doing something about it.

My Children of the Corn

After watching that 1984 blast from the past, we decided the appropriate response was a nice outing to the local pumpkin farm and corn maze. Here our youngest stakes a definite claim to this future Jack O' Lantern:

And then navigates his own maze, fit for munchkins (he did very well):

Meanwhile his intrepid older brothers dared the possibilities of a knife wielding Malachi, not to mention impending rain storms as dark, billowing clouds rolled in:

And afterward emerge victorious, if not shaken from the experience of seeing a flock of crows suddenly fly overhead heralding the coming storm:

Fun stuff indeed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wikileaks does it again

The founder of Wikileaks has, against the wishes of our military, released 400,000 classified documents. Just how it got hold of those classified documents is not something I understand. Because we heard so many people run to the microphones to condemn pastor Terry Jones for threatening to burn the Koran, largely on the strength of the military's concern it could jeopardize our soldiers, I have no doubt that the media rush to condemn Mr. Julian Assange. As for those who are sure America is just being it's usual genocidal, corrupt, imperialist self in the whole Iraq enterprise, and this is the bold, brave stuff that Truth (TM) is made of, that depends. If these documents, which the same military that concerned itself over pastor Terry Jones assures us could jeopardize lives now, show some horrifying new revelation - some policy of child killing, murdering the first born, systemic rape or human experiments, then fine. But only if. If the docs end up doing no more than telling us what we more or less already knew, and they do nothing but stir up the same stories we've already heard, while jeopardizing the lives of innocent people, then our dear, bold, brave Mr. Assinge would, IMHO, have their blood on his hands.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's about that time of year again!

The decorations, the trees, the wrapping paper, the mistletoe and holly, the bows and ribbons, the Santas and snowmen - all of this can only mean one thing: Halloween's just around the corner! You know what I would like? I would like it if stores would stop putting seasonal decorations out four months before the given holiday, only to start taking them down more than a month before the day actually arrives. Try to find Halloween decorations now. Of course it was only Christmas decorations being stocked. I'm surprised they aren't making room for Valentines Day.

Dan Savage illustrates my point

Savage is running around assuring us that there is no disagreement with gay rights: You agree or else. No room for debate. No tolerance for diverse opinions. No willingness to assume that the gay rights movement is anything other than 100% sure that it is 100% right. Along with CNN and other left leaning outlets, the push to eliminate any rejection of homosexuality is growing strong. Utilizing the recent suicide of certain teens, some of whom were gay, the steps are:

1. These teens died because they were bullied.
2. Bullying therefore caused their deaths.
3. Because of this bullying has to be stopped.
4. To do this, the causes of bullying has to be stopped.
5. People who oppose homosexuality or criticize it in any way are causing bullying.
6. We have to stop letting people openly oppose or criticize homosexuality, whether in the workplace, schools, or any other public arena of debate.

The mathematics of tyranny and oppression. I've long said that homosexuality, not abortion, will be the hammer with which the Left uses to smash our right to be non-liberal. The recent push to see this through does nothing other than support my theory.

Juan Williams forgets who we are supposed to hate and fear

Get Religion smells a rat. Apparently NPR has canned Juan Williams. Juan Williams, besides working for NPR, also contributes to FOX News. Yeah, FOX News. One of the token liberals. Anyway, he was fired for a discussion he had on Bill O'Reilly in which he said the following:

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”
Mollie Ziegler dares to point out an interesting fact. Both NPR, as well as The View (the controversy around which Williams' interview was based), frequently cite the Christian culpability behind Timothy McVeigh's Oklahoma City Bombing. A simple Google Search will reveal, of course, that McVeigh was an agnostic. Yet from the View, to MSNBC, to the Huffpost, to Newsweek, to NPR, we continue to hear about how gracious they are for not blaming Christianity for the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Since McVeigh is on record as professing agnosticism, would someone please tell me why we would even assume Christianity is to blame? Of course this makes me think of nothing so much as this:

I know, there's something special about being able to witness one of the most asinine statements in human history. But that illustrates the problem and the power of the Super Narrative. Why do media outlets continue to invoke McVeigh as proof of Christianity's culpability in the Oklahoma City Bombing? For the same reason that Mr. Smiley insists that Christians are the most violent people in the world, shooting, blowing up, and murdering people everyday. It's the power of the Super Narrative.

If nature abhors a vacuum, the Secular Left abhors the traditional Christian faith. The cultures tied to Christianity - Europe and America - are equally culpable. In fact, little good comes from the history of those cultures but that which can be severed from any ties to Christianity (whether the ties were actually there or not).

The problem is, the Left hates Christianity, and either knows it's lying about such things, but says it in order to whip up hatred and fear of the Christian faith, or it's simply so immersed in its own ideological dogmas - many of which presuppose a hatred of Christianity - that they naturally assume anyone not purposefully professing another identity who has done something bad must be Christian. And if they do profess something else like Islam? Doesn't matter, we can still insist the only reason they did bad was because Europe/America (influenced by the traditional values of Christianity) must have been the cause.

So you see, like Rick Sanchez, Smiley has been fired because of who he spewed intolerance against, not because he spewed intolerance. The very outlets that condemn what Juan was fired for have no problem with those who say the same thing about Christians. In fact, so comfortable are we with the Super Narrative of Christianity's inherent evil, both NPR and PBS, which host fine quality programs that help perpetuate these and other fine anti-Christian myths, are supported by our tax money. Makes me proud to pay taxes.

Looks like the class of 2013 may have to hunker down after all

Apparently the hype over the Mayan calendar could be wrong. It may not be 2012 after all. We may not know when it will happen. It may have already happened! What will John Cusack say? Another fun conversation topic ruined by persnickety scholars. Alas.

More fun with Atheists

In looking over the NYT article on the gathering of Atheists yet again, I saw a couple other things worth kicking around. First was this quote:
The largely white and male crowd — imagine a Star Trek convention, but older — came to hear panels that included several best-selling atheist pamphleteers
Out of curiosity, does this indicate racism or some form of racist tendency among the atheist crowd? After all, with little more than a few extreme examples, the Tea Party continues to be hammered for being racist. Though the NAACP's attempt to call them so met with criticism from CNN and Anderson Cooper. If you're the NAACP, a left leaning organization, and CNN gets on you, you've done something wrong.

But many MSM stories on the Tea Party racism have focused on the overwhelming 'whiteness' of the movement. MSNBC has had legions of commentaries pointing out that it's mostly white folk who attend the meetings - therefore obviously on the weight of that observation alone there's some racist tendencies. about this? Any reason why the MSM shouldn't ask the question of modern atheism and its racial makeup? Or at least if modern atheism is so limited that it may only appeal to a very narrow demographic (not to mention the age of the participants).

Another quick observation came from a quote I posted below:
[Sam Harris] traveled with bodyguards because he receives death threats from both Christians and Muslims.
As I said, anyone in the public eye gets death threats. Especially today where you are exposed to the entire planet. Out of six billion people, you're going to get a few loonies. In addition, if your basic message is founded on 'time to eradicate those pesky beliefs I don't like', the vitriol might occasionally stimulate the bad in a few more than the usual loons. No matter what, when the media emphasizes death threats, it often shows a particular sympathy on the part of the media.

But I wondered about the statement that the threats were from both Christians and Muslims. From where? Here at home? Abroad? Did the threat makers sign their names as Muslim or Christian? Did someone say 'in the name of Jesus I threaten you'? 'In the name of Allah you're toast'? Did the NYT, who put that snippet in parentheses, ask for some evidence? Not saying it didn't happen, or that the threats aren't what the article says. But it was a strange and obvious 'look how evil they are, I told you they're evil' aside I would have liked the NYT to back up a little more.

After all, Harris, like most militant atheists, calls for nothing less than the elimination of religions he doesn't like. Someday, they have got to go. So if a member of the KKK says black people threaten him with violence, I have to be honest and admit there might be some bias on the part of the KKK member who makes the accusation. And since Harris is basically taking a similar approach - if not less violent then no less provocative - toward religions he doesn't like, founding his argument on the proposition that religion is the mack daddy cause of human violence, I would have to entertain the thought that he might not be reading the tea leaves without a tad bit of bias himself.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fun with Atheists

Some snippets from the NYT piece on the Trekkie styled meeting of radical atheist zealots. By and large, the NYT seems almost puzzled by the meeting. As I read the piece, I noticed a couple things. First was this:

Sam Harris, who wrote “The End of Faith” and is a rock star in the atheist world (he traveled with bodyguards because he receives death threats from both Christians and Muslims).

Harris was the place kicker for the modern atheist movement. A movement that basically says all the hate you read about from days of yore is actually good, as long as you hate the right things. His tendency to dogmatically believe that dogmatic beliefs are the problem shows the glaring blind spot that is common in this movement. That he needs body guards isn't uncommon. Just about anyone in the public eye gets death threats. While I don't condone violence or threats of violence, it's equally hard to have sympathy for a man who can't handle the same hatred and loathing he levels at half the world's population when it is thrown back at him.

For my money, he does little to encourage open dialogue or tolerance on the part of believers. After all, a primary point of The End of Faith was the call to end religious tolerance. If that's the reward religious believers have for tolerating atheism, then I don't much blame them if they would prefer to continue any intolerance of the non-religious that might exist.

Another interesting quote was this:
Mr. Myers is way out of the closet as an atheist — proudly, outrageously so. We’re here, he’s saying. And we don’t believe. And we have science and reason on our side. Get used to it.

A commenter on my very own blog made this observation:

P.Z. Myers says he has reason and science on his side? Does he mean science has proven atheism is true? That's news for Richard Dawkins. And if it isn't, does he understand the limitations of the scientific method?

That caught my attention as well. The science vs. religious people who hate science is one of many ridiculous ideas promoted by our new atheist friends. The fact that many scientists have some belief in religion, and historically a great many scientists were serious about their faith, appears to escape them. Like so many things, it really isn't true. It's not meant to be. It's only meant to be cheerleading for the team. Truth be told, religious believers don't 'hate' science so much as they distrust the exploitation of science to advance non-religious and anti-religious philosophies.

Now I have zero respect or regard for Myers. I see him and I think of the old B&W pictures of Nazis throwing bricks through synagogue windows. I find it interesting that he didn't desecrate a Torah. Like most things born of evil, the modern atheists like Myers picks and chooses who and what to hate. If he had any guts or balls, he would have done the same and risked the wrath of the Jewish community. But he's no fool, and knows when to reign it in.

Generally the strength in the modern atheist movement is found in a sympathetic media, a secularized academia, and an ignorant population. Anyone with philosophy, theology, or history 101 knows that their take on religion and religious history makes your average Creationist's take on science seem credible. But their arguments aren't really meant to persuade. Hoping that their liberalism regarding sex will attract yunguns to the cause, many of whom have spent their entire lives being indoctrinated into the dogmas of the secular movement, the MAs don't sweat credibility. Knowing that there is no accountability of secularism or progressivism since most of the principle institutions of learning and communication are in the same bed, they have little incentive to change. And beyond that, the bulk of their word drool is simply preaching to the choir, knowing that no matter how ludicrous their charge, or baseless their arguments, the faithful of the movement will cheer them on.

There are so many things worth laughing about with the new atheists. But there is some concern. The biggest cause for concern being the eerie similarities their rhetoric has with so much of that spouted during the later years of 19th century Europe. Beyond the contradictions, shallow thinking, and general bitterness and lack of contributions to the human condition and experience, the growing tendency to invoke a sort of mental master race theory about themselves, with calls for the extermination of all those religious thoughts they don't like, should give anyone pause. Hopefully, it's just that they know not what they do.

There is no media, only propaganda.

In this strange piece, we are told of Virginia Thomas's political activism, with attention to the fact that she is a conservative activist. Why? Because with her call for an apology, the entire Anita Hill chapter has been reopened. Yet according to this piece, her call was the same day as a NYT article documenting her activism. Like a medium awakening a dormant spirit, could that piece have awakened bad memories for Mrs. Thomas and caused the call? I don't know. She hasn't said and I can only speculate. But this is not good timing. The press, always eager to set the narrative, has tried to convince people that all the bitterness and anger in our current political climate is because of the Tea Party, right wing talk radio, and the Bush era Republicans. Having the rather embarrassing Anita Hill testimony brought up reminds the forgetful that it actually predated these things by some time. Also, it reminds us of the basis upon which the Bill Clinton sexual harassment investigation was launched, and how the credibility of feminism had been so badly mauled by the Clinton administrations CYA approach to governing. Expect more dirt on Mrs. Thomas in the future.

The EU: Silently working to offset the disastrous legacy of a post-Christian society

The EU has voted to extend maternity leaves to 20 weeks. No small reason for this is to offset the demographic train wreck that has occurred as a result of Europe's insistence that sex is merely a recreational activity that shouldn't be burdened by the inconvenience of a human being that is no more than a festering malignant blight upon the earth anyway. Of course, once again progressives get it wrong and fail to grasp what your average caveman figured out. Not that progressives will admit that their glorious positions could be flawed. At best, they will simply move to right the wrongs, but never, ever admit they were wrong to begin with.

The Forgotten Media Sexual Abuse Scandal

Continuing to exploit young people for our own sexual designs, the show Glee - a program dedicated to indoctrinating young viewers into the mindset of unrestricted debauchery and selfish narcissistic hedonism - posts a photo shoot that even has TMZ taking notice of the debate. Parents groups who still harbor the outdated notion that we should care about our children protest. But between the Secular Progressives, who dangle the promise of unrestricted fulfillment of endless sexual fantasies in order to push the rest of its enslaving doctrines, and the Hollywood Industrial Machine which makes oodles of money by exploiting the hormones and immaturity of young people, there's little hope anyone will listen. Certainly the MSM, which stands to benefit from both sides, will do little to speak up in outrage.

Sometimes I wish we home schooled

Yesterday the loudspeakers at my oldest boy's school projected a request that students dress in purple today in order to show solidarity with homosexual teens. Never mind defining teens by their sexuality. In a culture dying to define people by their sexuality as soon as possible, that debate is probably over. My question was, how about all the other teens bullied to the point of suicide who aren't gay?

He was disturbed to say the least. After all, this was nothing other than an official call to show support against belief systems that fail to conform to the dogmas of the Left, in this case the Gay Rights Movement. Now I'm the first to say I don't want any teen to be hurt, bullied, or pushed around. But that door swings both ways. The story, as carried in McPaper, indicates a free support on the part of the media for advancing the agenda. Given that it gives a blank check to organizations such as 'It Gets Better', which defines entire regions as hateful and bigoted for failing to conform to the homosexual gospel, it's difficult to even care what the MSM has to say on the subject.

My boy didn't wear purple. I told him if there was even a hint of intimidation or negative reactions to him for failing to conform, to let me know. Hopefully all will be fine. Who would have thought 50 years ago Christians would have to wonder if their kids would be pressured for holding to traditional Christian values? I guess all those old yarns about a tolerant and diverse society were just lies. Oh well. Live and learn. Next time a movement that promises hedonism and narcissism in the pursuit of tolerance and diversity comes along, we might be more skeptical.

Atheist fundamentalists on how to proselytize

Modern atheism increasingly looks more like a personality disorder than an intellectual movement. Unlike the secular philosophers of old, who at least bothered to grasp the fundamentals of the religion they rejected, many today have little to no grasp of the basics at best, frequently site contorted or distorted 'facts' to justify their beliefs at worst. Add to this the type of evangelistic zeal that, when practiced by fundamentalists of a religious nature, is immediately condemned with scorn and ridicule, and you have a group of people guaranteed to make your average flower wilt from the weight of their lack of self righteousness. Not that there aren't good, thoughtful, insightful atheists. There are. They just don't have the best selling books and, lacking the hatred for the right religions to hate, fail to get the appropriate media attention. Nonetheless, when you read about atheists trying figure out in a calm manner just how obnoxious they should be, it must be clear that we're dealing with a group that sounds great to itself, and stunningly unaware of itself to everyone else.

Learning what cavemen knew all along.

You can tell an enlightened society, because it considers itself a mere dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants. Our society, that enjoys patting itself on the back for our advanced intellect and unsurpassed cultural sophistication (though looking at the produce of our own cultural institutions I'm at pains to figure out why), tends to imagine ourselves as giants looking down with sneering contempt on the dwarfs who came before. The result, of course, is where such arrogance always leads, and that's a well placed bullet in one's foot. So after decades of being told that humanity has to be thinned, we overlooked a valuable lesson that your average Neanderthal was able to figure out - that if you don't have babies, your civilization won't last.

As Europe implodes under the weight of, among other things, catastrophically low birth rates, and only through immigration is America kept afloat, some are questioning whether population growth will even happen, or if it's all been overstated. Others are begrudgingly admitting that low birth rates may not be that great after all. Something that most of the world throughout most of time happened to agree with the Catholic Church about. In fact, the viewpoint that having babies is good is hardly a Catholic teaching, though many label it as such. Up until our super-sophisticated generation of smart people, that was merely common sense.

The American Holocaust

Not the one against the American Indians. As I've posted elsewhere, the 'Genocide of the Native Americans' is historical spin to the tenth power. No, I'm talking about abortion. It looks like people are all aghast over Missy Smith's pro-life campaign. Turns out, she's using pictures to show what abortion really is, and really does. I admit, I'm the first to say such graphic images can be disturbing. But then, so was seeing photos of blackened, sickly lungs that were used to show us the evils of smoking. I never cared for those either. Yet many who argue that is different are at pains to explain why. My guess is, they know why.

Abortion is, at the end of the day, the deliberate murder of an unborn baby. We can twist terminology around all day, and it remains the murder of an unborn baby. While the MSM, in its quest to promote the Secular Left, would have us believe the crux of the debate revolves around cases of rape and incest, or the life of the mother, the fact is that the overwhelming number of abortions are for pure birth control. It's the playing with human life in order to have a more vibrant sex life with potential for financial advancement.

When we see pictures like those being shown, it twists our guts. We damn well know what abortion is, but don't want to admit it. And being like people have always been, we're more than happy to support those who will help us sweep the truth under the rug. As Paul tells the church at Ephesus, everything exposed by the light becomes visible. And so desperate are we to indulge in the ugliest aspects of our freedoms, we fight like mad dogs to keep from being confronted with the obvious. We wish the evils to be kept in darkness, so that we won't be hindered by the innocent blood that screams out to heaven for vengeance. Well done and kudos to Ms. Smith.

As a side observation, it's worth noting that the Republican Party in D.C. has NOT endorsed her. This is because, at the end of the day, the Republican party cares about power for the wealthy, a warped and perverted Darwinian Capitalism that favors their own interests. The whole spiel about caring for abortion or gay rights is simply that which religious traditionalists are told every couple years to keep them on the reservation. But that's for another post.

Epic fail

A woman reportedly loses control and stabs her classmate in an anger management class. The instructor might want to rethink the curriculum at this point.

Political Circus redux

Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has asked Anita Hill to apologize for the accusations she made in 1991. From a 'History of Modern American Politics' perspective, this has potential. It certainly reminds us of the foundations upon which the accusations against President Bill Clinton were made, and how the feminist movement was subsequently sacrificed on the altar of Clinton's insatiable libido. But for my money, it should help to remind those under-25s who are in college that all the political muckraking and dirty tricks they believe began when GW Bush took office actually predated the 2000s by quite a bit.

A New Design

My blog, being only a couples months old, is still a work in progress. Please bear with me. I've adjusted the color (I just didn't like the blue) and expanded the margins. This will allow me to leave the fonts larger. The fonts had to be so small I couldn't read them. So hopefully this will work. Tune in for more changes as they happen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Looking for the puppets

James Maliszewski is a good read. He has a blog called Grognardia. I'll leave folks to figure that title out on their own. It's dedicated to all things Role Playing, particularly the history of the hobby as well as various products, influences, and other subjects of interest. I have to admit that entire libraries could be filled with books containing what I don't know about the hobby of Role Playing Games. Beyond Dungeons and Dragons, I would be hard pressed to name three more of the genre. Plus, I'm neither much of a sci-fi fan, nor a fantasy fan - my fantasy interests beginning and ending at the door of Bag End.

But I stumbled across his blog a year or so ago, searching as I was for some information on J.R.R. Tolkien. Since then, I've been happy to return, and every now and then Mr. Maliszewski bats one completely out of the ball park. Today was no exception. He posts on a book recounting the production of The Empire Strikes Back. You know, that movie that President Obama keeps mentioning.

Anyway, he reflects on how the movie was made sans CGI. He goes on to lament the current obsession with, and reliance upon, CGI to solve our modern movie making dilemmas. It's a feeling with which I wholeheartedly agree. I have yet to see Avatar, and from all I've heard, it's a movie a mile wide and an inch deep that's more or less a superficial Dances With Wolves and Video Game combination. I also agree that CGI heavy scenes, even in such noteworthy films as Lord of the Rings, can't help but look dated in only a few years. If not dated, they look sallow, stale. Only those movies that used CGI sparingly to enhance and add to, rather than substitute (and cheat) - like the original Jurassic Park - maintain any sense of freshness. But again, they relied upon real places, people and things rather than a mere computer keyboard.

In his post, as he unfolds a growing frustration and general malaise regarding modern movies, Mr. Maliszewski writes this:

Human beings are rightly enamored of technology, but it should always be used as a tool with which to create, not the creation itself.
And that kiddies is why I keep going back to his blog, novice though I may be. We are enamored of technology, and if I may add an observation, often end up venerating science simply because it makes such technology possible. But technology should ever and always be a mere tool to be used, not the end all creation itself. Brilliant. Wonderful. I wish I could have insights like that. Someday I might. Right now I'll be content to advise folks to follow the link and indulge in a little nostalgia, and maybe even a few keen insights.

The media rushes to assure us what the First Amendment really means

Christine O'Donnell is, if nothing else, a headline grabber. In a simple question of the obvious - where exactly does the First Amendment say Separation of Church and State? - we see damage control rushing to make sure no one is fooled by the fact that it really isn't in the Constitution. In this article, the MSM confuses interpretation with fact; including the assumption that the founding fathers insisted no creationism would ever be able to be taught in our schools (though at the time the Bible was one of the text books used), and that teachers would never be able to teach their faith (unless apparently that is a Muslim, liberal, progressive, atheistic, or other non-Christian faiths).

Essentially the 1948 decision did capture part of the spirit of the Founders' intentions, but at the sacrifice of the greater whole. The purpose was to avoid the situation of England and much of Europe, where state and church were one and the same. Where being on the wrong side of the state's religious viewpoint could get one ostracized at best, thrown into the dungeons at worst. The First Amendment was to prevent that from happening. One, by making sure the government would never form or officially support any one faith confession. There would be no Church of America. On the other hand, the second way to oppress and control religion was also prevented, and that is allowing the free exercise. Lest any clever folks say 'we're not respecting an establishment of religion, we're just banning all other religions we don't like', the second clause was inserted to make sure the true heart and soul of the First Amendment was understood: The need for religious liberty. It was never Seperation of Church and State that was at the center, but the need to protect a man's personal religious liberty and freedom. A man could believe anything and come to the American table, including the presidency, congres, the court. He could bring his faith with him no matter how unpopular. The government could not hinder him by favoring another faith over his, nor could it outright banish or punish him for the wrong ideals.

In 1948, the Supreme Court, with wisdom reminiscent of Dred Scott, decided that this really meant that the State and Church should never touch, and most importantly, the Holiness of the State must never be tarnished by the infection of the Church. If that means the second clause must be sacrificed for the sake of the first, so be it. If it means the free exercise of religion can no longer be allowed, tough. If it means all religions be banished to the ghettos, oh well. That would have been bad enough. But what we now see, promoted by groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is that this is no longer applicable evenly. While the ACLU chases any and every vestige of Christianity from the public forum, schools are taking field trips to hear the Dalai Lama, or learn about Islam. While liberal religious leaders petition Congress to rule according to their values, Conservative Christians are being told theirs is a religion of hate that has no place in our modern society.

Maybe it's because I'm not a lawyer. And I'm no journalist. But I get the impression that no matter what the Founding Fathers meant, religious liberty or Separation of Church and State, they sure as hell didn't mean an establishment of a singular super-ideology by oppressing and banning all other beliefs, including religious beliefs, that fail to conform to that super-ideology thereof. And since that seems to be the fruit that the tree of the Separation of Church and State interpretation has born, I can't help but question the soundness of that fateful 1948 decision.

D'oh! Indeed

It turns out the Vatican newspaper says Homer Simpson is Catholic. Despite the fact that their priest has a well documented daughter. Oh well. We must remember the Vatican newspaper isn't holy writ. The more it attempts to make inroads into a hostile popular culture, praising questionable programs, it makes me wonder about some of its other insights. Hopefull there's more to the story than that which is being carried by the American press. In the meantime, I won't have a cow man.

Dead Sea Scrolls online for free!

Looks like everyone will be able to see the Dead Sea Scrolls if this story is on the mark. For free no less. Of course the scrolls were a fascinating discovery, but the hype and the frenzy, and the myth that remains in the minds of some, turned out to be a dud. Much to the disappointment of many, the scrolls merely showed a remarkable accuracy rate for ancient texts, especially when set in juxtaposition to the development and transmission of other ancient writings. Many had hoped it would prove, once and for all, that the Bible had been so manhandled that if you could find ancient copies, it would prove that half the stories had been turned upside down. Not so much. The Dead Sea Scrolls showed that the Hebrew scriptures had been copied and transmitted with as much love and meticulous detail as the New Testament Scriptures. And despite what some, such as Bart Ehrman, would have us believe, that is an amazingly accurate track record that our own modern times would do well to emulate.

Christians persecuted in the Middle East

Because they're just Christians, and it doesn't fit the narrative of the post-modern Left, our always reliable MSM has yet to discuss this particular problem. Perhaps because many in our current MSM would hate for people to become confused as they push to eliminate the ability of Christians here at home to have the freedom to challenge liberal dogmas. Who knows? But this is a story worth reading and praying for if you are a Christian, or even of person of decent heart.

I love it when reality breaks down a good media stereotype

The media would have us believe everything is black and white. Or gay and straight. Or male and female. Or liberal and conservative. Or Christian and Jew (or Muslim, depending on the issue at hand). Or any split where one group is at war with the other, and everyone is defined by stark contrasts and blind alliances to a singular viewpoint. Even Religious and Secular is given that treatment. Naturally, as I mentioned in my reflections below on the PBS show, it isn't difficult to see the allegiance of the media outlet. Yet in real life, things simply aren't that cut and dry, never have been, never will be. We're at our best when we remember that, at our worst when we forget. So Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, praises his meeting with the Pope. Just when the popular culture and the a few secular fundamentalists that the popular culture seek to appease, would have us believe it's all warfare and hatred between the two groups. Is there bitterness and strife among some? Sure. But among many others nothing could be farther from the truth. May we continue to ignore the shallow and superficial portraits painted by our vendors of media culture in exchange for the real hope and promise that comes from real people living real lives.

France is learning a valuable lesson

When you build a society upon a foundation of narcissism, it won't last longer than the need to ask for something in return. Hedonism is the carrot that the Left has used to lure people into its embrace, narcissism is the natural tendency it has fed. But now we're realizing it's not so easy to maintain a society where the motto is 'what have you done for me lately.' Or, in the almost words of the late President Kennedy: 'Ask not what you can do for your country. Rather, ask what your country should do for you.' France isn't the first to see the fruits of the tree of modernism rot and fall. The question is, will Americans see the folly in time, or continue down the path guided by those who see a secular, liberal European socialist state as the ultimate prize to be won. We'll see.

A song worthy of the season

For my readers who must labor through my contorted prose and wandering reflections, I offer this respite. Possibly one of the best songs written by Disney in his day - and that's saying something. In a song only Der Bingle could have mastered, Brom Bones sets up Ichobad in preparation for their climactic confrontation :

A Hobbit's Holiday

Count me in that group who has only a slight affection for Peter Jackson's vision of Lord of the Rings. So I'm only half enthused at the idea seeing what Jackson will do to The Hobbit. I feel that Jackson is a superficial filmmaker at best, who reduced Tolkien's magnum opus to a buddy flick where two pals overthrow the bad guy, and the youngsters rail against the cranky old folks who don't get it. Perhaps Jackson will allow someone else to write, and stick to producing (he appeared good at setting an overall vision). Then it might have a chance to capture more of Tolkien's magic. Otherwise, at its best it won't be any better than the Rankin/Bass animated special of the late 70s. At its worst, it will be another slide down to the pits of Arwen, elf warrior princess.

Hour of Power no more?

The Crystal Cathedral is going bankrupt. Financially that is. It had already hit bankruptcy, theologically speaking, some years ago. When Robert Sr., who distilled the Gospel down into a modern American Zig Ziglar seminar, canned his own son for daring to suggest they should spend more time focused on what the Bible actually teaches, you knew it wasn't long for the world. The article suggests other mega-churches are having the same financial problems, though doesn't give any particulars. Not surprising. But the Crystal Cathedral, standing as a testimony to the inevitable decline that the essence of Protestantism seems destined to follow, has finally seen its finances go where its message went sometime ago.

Monday, October 18, 2010

PBS: Our tax supported propaganda arm for the secular left?

Having just watched two shows on PBS, After the Mayflower, dealing with King Philip's War, and God in America, tracing religion in American history, I've concluded that historical studies are dead. At least as PBS produces them. These specials apparently were not sweating accuracy. Compared to After the Mayflower, America's history books a hundred years ago were fair and balanced in their takes on the European conflicts with American Indians. We won't even discuss the God in America series. Both are obviously slanted, both obviously concerned with indoctrination and even brain washing. Watching how Jews were treated in German cinema in the 1930s seems almost level compared to how the English settlers were treated in this fillet of fact disguised as a history show about early American conflicts with the Indians.

I know that all of history is based on one's perspectives. But the bias often has been innocent, the factor of one's geographic limitations or the mere boundaries drawn by ignorance of the facts. But the pieces today are deliberate; the refusal of After the Mayflower to name even one Indian atrocity, to show a single dead English settler by reenactment, while giving long and tortured accounts of atrocities done to the Indians, including heart wrenching portrayals by the actors, can only mean one thing: the viewer is meant to hate the Christian English settlers, and celebrate the heroic and perfect Native Americans. Add to that the overall narrative of the special that assumes the American Indians were always good, honest, trustworthy; all of the English were lying, corrupt, racist, and imperialist, and there simply is no other choice. In God in America, the same is true. Only this time it is any attempt to hold to traditional Christian values and world views that is to be hated, and those kind and compassionate non-Christians who only yearn for a society of tolerance, peace, and John Lennon songs are to be cheered. Our tax money at work. Well done PBS.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The first chink in Multi-Culturalism's armor

So Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has said multi-culturalism has failed. Granted, this is a different understanding of America's educational approach to multi-culturalism. In America, MC simply means teaching that everything in the history of the world is superior to the traditional Christian western civilization and its values. Anything done in Europe is seen through the worst possible lenses, every atrocity condemned outright, every act of barbarism loathed with self-righteous condemnation. Any culture outside of the historic Christian West is, at best, approached from a purely neutral point of view. At worst, it is celebrated as something unique and wonderful to that culture. Even human sacrifice, ritual torture, and systemic rape is swiped aside and excused. The kicker, and the biggest problem, is that despite this disparity between the approaches, it is seen as ethno-centric and racist to even think that this means the Christian Western tradition is in any way superior. That because of this higher standard, we are implying a higher quality. No. All are equal, or actually equally superior to anything of the Christian Western tradition.

The MC that Merkal is talking about is from the same mental mold, but nonetheless a little different. Not being in Germany, I can't tell if it's worked beyond the assumptions that Germany itself will not be around much longer.

Wisconsin messed with the Vest

In a begrudging, but all too expected, follow-up post, I admit that Wisconsin was a better team than Ohio State. But alas, this is what happens when you're half way done with the season, you have played possibly one challenging team, and your starting quarterback has yet to play an entire game. Perhaps we will start scheduling some challenging games earlier on. We'll see. One things for sure, we're not #1 anymore.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Don't mess with the Vest!

Jim Tressel's pretty cool. Turns out his sweater vest is becoming quite the fashion trend. He's a good fellow, and a good Christian. Nice to see that level of quiet decency in sports when there's so much bad for kids to witness. Doesn't hurt that he's on his way to becoming one of the most successful coaches in college football. Of course, that will only get you so far in the eyes of Ohio State fans!

A tale of two trees

"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree."

Well, you won't see a tree lovelier than this beauty I found standing sentinel among the markers of our dearly departed:

A little reminder of God's knack for creating for the pure enjoyment. Trees didn't have to look that good as they shed their summer attire. But they do. The contrast between its vibrant colors and the somber collection of reminders that we are mortal is striking. More striking, however, was another reminder that even the stateliest entity eventually follows the path that all living things must trod. Standing before a tall monument to some former life is this tree:

The silhouette adds to the eeriness. Behind it, barely visible, a cherubim on a pillar reminds us that someone wanted more than a mere plaque to commemorate their life's accomplishments. Yet the tree in the foreground says we end up at the same place no matter what. Whether kings or princes, powerful or nobodies, from dust we were made and to dust we will return. This tree, no doubt in its day looking as radiant as our friend above, is left an empty shell. Hence the part of life so many today forget, that for all our worries and strife, we have bigger issues to remember. The biggest of all is not how this momentary blip of our existence will turn out, but how the greater portion of our eternity will unfold once we have joined that broken husk standing lonely in a place to which we all must journey.

Meménto, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Halloween Haunts!

As the boys explore a local cemetery, complete with spooky trees, walled up mausoleums, and a special crypt that holds a local Revolutionary War Veteran. I love their personalities coming through in these pictures. Obviously our third son is not exactly shaking in his boots. Fun stuff!