Friday, September 30, 2011

Youcef Nadarkhani needs our prayers

Iran is, as of this writing, planning on executing Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for having converted to Christianity.  Once again, the Religion of Peace has produced what appears to be a growing number of extreme cases in which pre-modern death and murder is the way to deal with disagreements. 

Unlike Troy Davis, however, the list of civil rights leaders, Christian clergy, and A-list celebrities is rather short in terms of those calling for his release.  I've not found an example of Pope Benedict jumping on the bandwagon either, though he was reported to have thrown his support behind Troy Davis.  Some have pointed out that our illustrious media continues to focus more on Chaz Bono and the romantic plights of Ashton Kutcher than on this man, or focus more on Troy Davis for that matter.  Perhaps it's due to a general lack of interest on everyone's part.

Why?  I can only guess.  Trashing America is very much ingrained in the 21st century mindset.  About 3 or 4 generations have now grown up on the mantra of 'America is the alpha and omega of all Suck.'  Other cultures and civilizations are, of course, more than happy to agree.  Or it could be that in America, we know that crying, bitching, and yelling can still have an impact - at least once in a while. 

Another reason could be that we're just scared to death to offend Islam.  Whether all Muslims are violent or murderers is not the point.  Those who are have possibly impacted the debate more than we care to admit.  They have, after all, been in complete control of the last 10 years of American history.  And let's face it, when it comes to not offending Muslims, there's no censorship we won't embrace to keep them happy.  And we'll do it even if Muslims themselves have not requested it. 

It could be a combination.  That same combo that caused media pundits to remind us that Pastor Terry Jones just goes to prove that all Americans for all time are a bunch of racists in a racist nation, while tens of millions of Muslims who openly support terrorism and the slaughter of non-Muslim infidels just goes to show you how rotten America is for making them hate us so much.  I have a feeling the future generations are going to have to endure a long, cold winter compliments of us.  Because I can't help but think it's not by accident no matter how far from the mark my guesses are:

"A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. There is no hope left in Elves or dying Numenor. This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it."
For my part, if this is true, I will do all I can for Youcef Nadarkhani and that is pray.

California teacher embraces his inner Orwell

And demonstrates why so much of post-modern secularism and skepticism is more akin to a personality disorder than an intellectual movement.  Naturally, it's all about converting the students to conform to his values system and beliefs.  Unlike Christian Evangelists, who have been maligned for decades for daring to persuade people that their religious beliefs are wrong, modern secularists are fine with bypassing persuasion and going straight to the crushing iron gauntlet of censorship and oppression.

Dumbest quote?  From Mr. Cuckovich himself:
“When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body. So they were saying, ‘god bless you’ for getting rid of evil spirits. But today, I said what you‘re doing doesn’t really make any sense anymore.”
You get that?  I guess anything that happened before yesterday is no longer valid because?  Why?  People believed something then and maybe don't now but we still use the term or phrase?  Wow, I'll bet that's the only time that has happened, with regards to 'God Bless You' when someone sneezes.  Can we go through and begin to discard any other saying that is based on things we don't suppose to be true?  Or just those things that the esteemed Mr. Cuckovich deems not to be true?

Only post-modernity could produce a person proud of their intellectual superiority who thinks and behaves in such a way.  Or maybe not.  Truth be told, people have been behaving like this for eons.  Non-religious people, too.  And it seems to be the goal of modern secularists and post-Christians to forget that little lesson, or perhaps, to ignore it.


Meanwhile, a New York coach who took his floundering team to a cemetery to attempt to bolster their devotion to the sport, has been suspended.  Yeah, it was a little heavy handed, I'll grant you.  But think of that.  Look at how quickly he has been suspended for daring to use strong tactics to punish.  We don't use strong tactics unless it's to punish kids who oppose gay rights, or similar outbursts.  But a teacher who is using tax supported class time to demand conformity to his post-religious beliefs has been slapped on the wrist, and is still going strong.  More to the point, he's said he will continue his crusade to proselytize his students. 

Anyone else missing the signs of the times?  Anyone?  Anyone at all?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Well met at the Ohio Renaissance Festival!

This last week we spent a beautiful autumn day wandering about the Ohio Renaissance Festival.  We've gone many times before, sometimes the weather worked, sometimes it didn't.  This year it was as close to as perfect as we could have hoped.  I'll probably get more pictures up eventually, but couldn't resist this one:

Bold and stupid men...and mentor!
That's 'Dirk Perfect' (aka. Douglas R. Mumaw) of the legendary The Swordsmen: Bold and Stupid Men!  They are the celebrities of the event, and the seats are always packed.  Catch them if they're ever in your neighborhood.  They combine humor, swordplay, and general clowning with plenty of self-deprecating humor (they're itinerant artists, and putting some. money in the basket will help keep them that way, and away from your schools!). 

Lot's of fun overall, plus it was our youngest's first Renaissance Festival!  Note he holds his sword well, no doubt due to the sage advice given by a professional swordsman!  The other three looked poised to do, well, something. We don't get to go every year, but this year, we're glad we did.

Dear Francis Scott Key: The answer is No

Ever notice that the words of the Star Spangled Banner are a question? 

"Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o're the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

Well, I'd have to say no.  With growing calls to celebrate the Glorious Censorship, it's not hard to see we're creating a culture that believes the best way to deal with differences is to call for oppression and elimination of bad-think.  Sometimes it's little, sometimes it's around bigger issues.  But it's clearly the go-to tactic now when we don't like something that someone else is doing and saying.

I'm not suggesting it's one side or the other.  I'm just noticing it's the common way to go about dealing with disagreements.  See, back in the 70s and 80s, we were supposed to be getting past all that.  Such behavior was the stuff of bigotry, intolerance, and general unenlightened culture. We were to be open, free, respecting diversity of opinions and celebrating different lifestyles and choices. 

Well, no more.  Labelling things hate, offensive, and any one of a thousand euphemisms for 'stuff I don't agree with', we're shuffling off the inconvenient burden of a free and open society.  No, we're just in a mad dash to see who gets to make it to the top of the American heap before freedoms are all gone.  Stories like this are just the beginning.  Freedom for me, not so much for everyone else.  That's more or less the answer to the question Mr. Key. 

Homosexuality leads to censorship every time

Or so it would seem.  It's getting difficult to keep up with stories like this.  In the US, we have people going through our schools, yearning to make bullying [of homosexuality] a crime (bullying in this case meaning anything that doesn't glorify the Gay Dogmas).  Overseas, where freedom of speech and religion are not so enshrined, cases like this are becoming more frequent:

Yes, it's worth noting that the police may have acted in haste, and  potentially could be punished.  Could.  We don't know.  But what's noteworthy is that a single costumer complained that the Bible verses were homophobic, and hence they should be censored.  And more to the point, based on a single complaint in the name of gay rights, the police responded.  Just like the removal (albeit temporary) of Ken Howell.*  The speed with which pro-gay rights activists see that they can simply point a finger and bring punishment is telling.

Only a liar or idiot can deny that homosexuality is the club with which the post-modern, secular left wishes to bludgeon the rights of people not to conform to leftists good-think.  It's simply not an argument any more.  There is no 'could it happen.'  It's happening.

*I linked to a story from the leftist Huffington Post to illustrate the point.  Beyond reading the reaction of the student who wanted Dr. Howell fired, read the comments.  Again, anyone who doesn't see the Left as wishing for censorship and oppression and demanding obedience to its dogmas has got to be an idiot.  Case in point:
Freedom of speech means he has the right to say or express his views without the threat of being arrested and thrown in jail. Constituti­onally he is protected from being incarcerat­ed, but his employer has their constituti­onal right to fire him for his homophobic remarks.
Remember, that means if a person is fired because they support homosexuality, then all is well.  As long as they aren't arrested.  I get the feeling that this gem of a thinker doesn't mean that.  What he means is censorship is fine, as long as it's to force conformity to my dogmas.

Prayer request

I received a prayer request for a young baby named Oliver.  His mother Erin and her husband tried for a long time to have a baby.  Now that Oliver has come, it turns out there are some developmental problems with his legs.  His bones have not developed and there is talk of needing to do a double amputation. 

Please, God, have mercy on this family, these parents, and most of all young Oliver.  All life is precious and all humans a gift born in Your image. And while difficulties and trials can shape us and mold us into the people You would have us be, we can't help but pray that You intervene, give insight and skill to his physicians, and bring about a healing that will help Oliver begin his life without such a grave and debilitating start to the path You have set for him.  We pray You  will give peace, strength, and endurance to his parents, and that You give a double dose of peace and comfort to Oliver whatever may come.  We ask this, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Your Son.  Amen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vanderbilt University embraces the Glorious Censorship

For the Advancement of Post-Modern Tolerance.  I've seen several stories on this, and keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It always seems as though there is something missing, something that makes the story seem less inflamed than headlines and cable news reports suggest.  But so far?  Nope.

It looks as if Vanderbilt - perhaps from stupidity, perhaps self-righteousness, perhaps because of a deep hatred of non-Secular Leftist religious belief, perhaps because of all three - has basically said Christian groups must disband or eliminate the provision in their constitutions that say leaders in their [Christian] groups are expected to lead prayers and Bible studies.  Supposedly this is to protect all those atheists, non-Christians, and others who want to be officers in those groups but who don't want to be forced to pray or lead Bible studies.

I know.  That's idiocy.  Well, it takes idiocy for political correctness or any censorship to gain a foothold.  It also takes prejudice and bigotry.  Given the state of our higher educational systems today, I'm not against allowing for any of those possibilities.

Nevertheless, so far Vanderbilt has been slow on taking to the microphones and explaining just what it going on here.  It answers in typical, shallow talking points, a few mantras of PC era group think, and that's about it.  If all Vanderbilt has to say is what I've read and heard, it's clearly a case of singling out a lone religious tradition and invoking censorship in the harshest and most flagrant manner imaginable.

Of course smart 21st century enlightened information highway thinkers should rise up in one voice and condemn such flagrant oppression and Marxist (heh) style punishment of wrong think.  But I'm not optimistic about that.  Given the tenor of today's debate, I fear there are many who will cheer such maneuvers.  Either they don't care and are happy to see such heavy handed oppression of not-them type people, or they've bought into the LIE that the First Amendment says 'Congress shall establish a secular leftists state of conformity to good think by brutally oppressing and censoring any religious thought or practice that fails to conform to the Glorious Dogmas thereof.' 

My real hope is that there is something in the details we haven't heard that will explain it better.  Either it was a mistake on Vanderbilt's side, or there is some trivia not yet heard.  But Vanderbilt's own silence and sparse responses make that less and less likely with each telling of the tale.

Young people might prefer sex the natural way

Of course that could never be the reason that a growing number of youth around the world are opting for less artificially obscured sex.  Nope.  According to an organization that exists to promote post-traditional notions of sexuality, the reason is a lack of education.  Because apparently young people today just aren't exposed to proper sex education.  Despite the fact that even pornography is using condoms as a matter of indoctrination, and condom use is the magic bullet promoted across our entertainment and media cultures, these kids just aren't getting it. 

Now, there are several things here worth unpacking.  First, of course, is the fact I've long maintained that no matter how much you try, young people having sex for the first time lack the same discipline and rigorous will power that such contraceptive methods demand. 

Second, when it comes to condoms at least (the only savior for AIDS and other STDs we tend to forget), they just aren't fun.  Years ago I heard some wag describe using a condom as being akin to eating a nice sirloin steak with a mouth full of Novocaine.  You might get the nutritional value, but you miss the flavor.  And while those ultra-disciplined young people might be able to pull off the mathematical discipline needed to use a condom in such a way as to reduce its error rate to a paltry 1%, eventually at least the guys are going to yearn for something a little more intimate; a little more spontaneous (despite Hollywood attempts to the contrary, there is nothing spontaneous about using a condom).

Of course this is part of the great LIE of the age.  Remember when the sexual revolution was all about the fact that sex was natural - like eating and breathing - and therefore why should we burden it with archaic rules and regulations like waiting until you're married?  No, sex is natural.  We should just rip off our clothes, grab the nearest person, and do it the way animals on National Geographic do. 

The funny part?  When was the last time an animal used contraception?  A condom?  Had to go back for frequent blood tests to check on potential HIV or other STD infections?  When was the last time an animal had to do any of those things?  Not to mention suffering the emotional and psychological problems known to accompany many who live a life of sexual deviancy? 

I know, I know.  The argument is that nobody who is living that way ever says it bothers them.  They are fine with it, so what's the problem.  Stupid response.  Just because a corporate CEO can routinely screw his own employees, exploit third world workers (those not in the US) while robbing the consumer blind with over priced and sub-par products, and sleep well at night and feel good about himself, doesn't mean it's OK to do those things.

And same with sex.  Not just the emotional, psychological problems, but the physical problems as well.  Even if you could find someone who has no problem seeing everyone as a slab of meat for his or her own sexual gratification doesn't make it right.

Oh, how long will we continue to deny the link between a pandemic driven mostly by drug use and sexual promiscuity and a generation that continues to insist that unlimited sexual experiences enhanced by certain drugs is the ultimate meaning in life?  How long will we ignore that we've sold ourselves a sham, insisting that endless worry and stress, use of artificially manufactured synthetic products and hormonal manipulation of our bodies for sexual gratification is the natural way?  How many more lives must be lost, ended, ruined, and destroyed? 

As for the article, I got a chuckle out of this little bit:
"The results show that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or STIs (sexually transmitted infections),"
You get that?  Have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners!  Wow, that really brings the natural elements of sexuality home to the heart, don't it?  What a laugh.  What a sad, sad joke.  The saddest part?  People keep believing this mind-drool.  Not because we actually believe it of course.  But because we want to, betting the farm that we can exploit the benefits of a sexually corrupt era, while holding our breath that one of the millions and millions of casualties of this brilliance won't be someone we know and love.  And certainly hoping it won't be us.   May the Lord bless our world with a generation that resists the hedonism, narcissism, and idiocy of the last couple generations to trod this unhappy world.

Khan wins, Columbus loses

So I was watching Fareed Zakaria the other night when he pitches a book about Genghis Khan called Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.  Turns out, according to Mr. Zakaria, that the book paints Mr. Khan as quite the civilized man of progress.  He was no barbarian after all.  Of course history seems to think that Khan spent most of his life butchering, slaughtering, conquering, and pillaging - but hey!  Was he white?  Was he European?  Was he (gasp) Christian?  I think not. So there you have it.  As long as you aren't those things, you can rape, pillage, murder, conquer to your heart's delight.  Even if the body count is in the millions. You might even be a progressive.

Of course our good friend Christopher Columbus doesn't warrant that same consideration.  Yes he did enslave some natives and yes he did open the flood gates for the conquest of the Western Hemisphere.  But was there ever really a genocide?  Or was it conquest born of a clash of civilizations?  Did those Europeans bring plagues on purpose?  Or were they ignorant of such things as disease and immunity when they came ashore (and if Chinese did come to the Western Hemisphere first, why weren't there similar pandemics?)?  But then, does it matter?  After all, Columbus's answer to those pivotal questions is yes, yes, and yes.  And in post-modern, post-western scholarship and thinking, that's all it takes.  The verdict can only be one: Guilty.  Guilty by religion, guilty by race, and guilty by region. 

So don't expect any giant statues of Christopher Columbus coming to your town any time soon.  Statues of Genghis Khan?  You never know.  Maybe next to that statue of Lenin in Seattle (who gets a pass in post-western circles for answering 'No' to the crucial Christian question).

The previous snarky post was just a reminder that the Christian Western tendency of self-abasement and self-criticism is unique to the Christian West (and generally a mark of post-modern, secular, and progressive thinkers).  Other cultures have their murderers, genocides, imperialism, conquest, and attrocities just the same.  But don't hold your breath waiting to hear many from those cultures focus on such things.   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Mr. Hamill

A long time ago.  So it is, when you read that Mark Hamill has turned 60.  Was it really so long ago?  Are we really getting that old?  Does time actually pass that quickly?  One minute you are a boy collecting newspapers in order to make enough money for the long awaited arrival of a summer blockbuster that is changing (for good or ill) the way movies would forever be made.  The next minute you're in your mid-40s, remembering.

Thanks for the memories Mr. Hamill.  To a generation of kids roughly my age, there was nothing to compare to the excitement of Star Wars.  Oh sure, Harry Potter has the money and the records, and it has achieved a level of its own influence with the modern generation.  But nothing in Harry Potter was ultimately new.  Think about it.  The whole could have been Harry Alias, since it was a hodgepodge of fantasy tropes, cliches, and themes mixed together and repackaged.  Not that it wasn't done well, but it was merely that which had been done before.

But Star Wars, in the summer of 1977, was new.  As Steven Spielberg said, after the first seconds of the movie's opening, when the Star Destroyer had just passed overhead, he knew movies would never be the same.  If the elements of the story were remade from old 30s matinee faire and war films, the technology, art, and design had never been produced to such an extent.  Never had special effects been so groundbreaking and at the same time treated so mundanely.  Almost every scene had something in it that was new, and yet at almost no point was that the focus.

So great was its groundbreaking achievements that we can sometimes forget the actors.  And one was a 25 year old who most of the world had not noticed before.  But for me and many others, he was a hero, if only for a short time.  So for your part in the memories, thanks.  And have a happy birthday and blessed year.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Attention Catholic Combox warriors

Pope Benedict offers some praise and compliments to Martin Luther during his visit to Germany.  Many CCWs tend to join some Protestant Clergy Converts to Catholicism by trashing, hashing, and rehashing the rehashed trash over Martin Luther.  Their treatment of him, like their treatment of many Protestant thinkers and heroes, approaches the same graciousness and love that one gets for Rick Perry while watching MSNBC.  I believe the only hope for Protestant Christianity is ultimately to rejoin communion with the Historic Faith.  Otherwise it will continue to splinter, fade and die in the way it currently is, leaving us with some vague Oprah-like self help reality show based loosely on John Lennon's gospel of God being an abstract concept by which we measure, not our pain, but our self-focus.  Pointing fingers and calling names will likely have less of a positive impact than approaches demonstrated here by Pope Benedict.

In other news, the sidebar articles show that there's no better way to approach the child abuse scandal than to exploit it to attack the Church on a range of ideological and social issues.  I've said before, IMHO, that a person who exploits racism for political or personal gain is as bad as a racist.  Likewise, a person that focuses on the sexual exploitation of kids in order to further agendas and grind axes is only a slight step above those who abuse kids in the first place.  Like so many things, the solution would be easier if there weren't so many salivating along the sidelines eager to exploit those who were already exploited. 

A new model is supposed to end the 9/11 truther movement?

No, it won't.  Truthers, like any other grand conspiracy theorists, are self-sustaining.  All evidence proves they're right, and any contradictory evidence or lack of evidence is simply the result of the grand conspiracy.  Just like those who insist the moon landings were a hoax, Barack Obama is really a closet Muslim, George Bush planned 9/11, Kennedy's death couldn't be the result of an angry leftist, FDR was behind Pearl Harbor - they aren't looking for evidence.  The verdict was already guilty.  Like too much in modern scholarship (and boy do I use that term loosely), facts are incidental to what we already know to be true.

This also proves what our cultural narrative seeks to deny: that Leftists, progressives, and liberals are just as prone to have nuts, loons, crazies, and morons in their folds as the Right is able to produce.  Are their nutty conservatives?  Sure.  But how can anyone listen to Joy Behar, Bill Maher, Rosie O'Donnell, or heck, Joe Biden and not realize that stupidity is in no way confined to a singular ideology.

Larry Flynt

A man who acts as though he never made it past emotional puberty.  I'm in  no way sold on Rick Perry.  But whenever Flynt takes an action like this, I'm reminded that one big - BIG - problem in our culture is that folks whose maturity levels sink beneath your average 6th grade locker room continue to hold disproportionate levels of influence. 

Woman sets up cross in her own yard

Post-moderns cry foul.  On one hand, I can see their point.  That is, from the post-war tendency to put things above people.  It's nothing new.

"Let the kids have a little basketball park to play and recreate."

"No!  It will make our beautiful neighborhood look bad!"

"But we should let them have a place to go and do things so that maybe they will stay out of trouble."

"Screw'em!  I love my home values!"

So this isn't anything new.  We put far more value on things than people, unless there's a natural disaster or tragic event that suddenly injects that God perspective on us about people being, you know, valuable.  So in one case, I can see that people wouldn't want a huge cross in a nearby yard.  Though the fellow bellyaching that it looks like there's a church on the street is telling.

But as usual, what gets me is the combox responses.  It's not just because of the superiority of property over people that many jump on.  It's the 'religion is evil and stupid' meme that they advance.  My favorite was from a young lady who says the parable of the Good Samaritan proves Jesus is a racist, so she's glad he's dead.  I suppose that means if she thinks a person is a racist, she hopes that person dies.  But far more stupid is the fact that the parable of the Good Samaritan has always been pointed to as an example of Jesus smacking at the prejudice and bigotry of his day.  That a Good Samaritan would be an oxymoron in Jewish circles is exactly the point of his parable of just what is someones neighbor.  And so blinded is she by her faith in faithlessness, she misses it by a mile.

Again, anyone still laboring under the delusion that to reject religion is to be intellectually superior must have been on an island out of contact with people who have rejected religion.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

File under poetic justice

Looks like Julian Assange, of 'Wikileaks releasing unauthorized secret documents to the world' fame, is rather upset that he was unable to prevent the release of an unauthorized autobiography (for the record, I didn't know there was such a thing as an unauthorized 'auto'biography, but I guess it's possible).  If I remember correctly, the only thing to worry about is if anyone gets hurt or killed.  Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with releasing anything.  He who lives by the sword, you know.  FWIW, normally I would sympathize with a person who feels they were being wronged by someone releasing a book about them such as in this case.  But it's very, very  difficult to forget his self-righteous arrogance back when people were begging him to have the same considerations he has now demanded for himself. 

A headline that parodies itself

Ted Haggard and Gary Busey join "Celebrity Wife Swap."  The only thing more disturbing than the headline is the fact that some network's research indicates there would be an audience for this.  The ghosts of medieval peasants continue to laugh.

R.E.M. is breaking up!

I didn't know they were still together.  But then, they were never my cup of tea.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why I love the fall

Because of this:

This is a picture of Kenyon College in Ohio from a Forbes article on the most beautiful colleges in the world. Kenyon ranks #1! How cool is that? But notice the picture chosen. A fall picture. Doesn't it just evoke? Who doesn't think of college and remember days walking through the leaves, the chill autumn air, the football games on Saturdays (OK, anyone who went to school in the Southern portions of the country, I know). But when Hollywood wants a college for a setting, as often as not they go to one in the fall in the north. And not because colleges have to be associated with fall, it just makes the whole look better. More beautiful. Fall is God's own fireworks display. It's when we are reminded of just how much fun God must have had creating the universe, and how much fun we are supposed to have enjoying it. Sure, there are other parts to fall. The energy that must be ingrained in us from a lifetime of going back to school, meeting new friends, the anticipation of the fun, the homecoming parades with cider and apples, the field trips to orchards and pumpkin patches, Halloween... And right around the corner Thanksgiving and then the granddaddy of all holidays: Christmas! There is just so much to love about the fall, and God gave us the pleasure of such a wonderfully eye pleasing backdrop against which to enjoy it all. No wonder St. Francis's day is smack in the middle of Autumn! Who else but one who enjoyed everything God created with such zeal:

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, honor and
blessings. To you alone, Most High, do they
belong; no mortal lips are
worthy to pronounce Your Name.

We praise You, Lord, for all Your
creatures, especially for Brother Sun,
who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with
great splendor, of You Most High, he bears your likeness.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister
Moon and the stars, in the heavens you have made them
bright, precious and fair.

We praise You, Lord, for Brothers Wind and
Air, fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.

We praise You, Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night.
He is beautiful, playful, robust, and strong.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister
Earth, who sustains us with her fruits, colored flowers, and herbs.

We praise You, Lord, for those who pardon,
for love of You bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
by You Most High, they will be crowned.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in their sins!
Blessed are those that She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.

We praise and bless You, Lord, and give You thanks,
and serve You in all humility.

Science in a Wikiworld

Michael Flynn has written one of the best pieces on our modern abuse of science that I've read.  Read it here.  It is so, so true.  Science is used as a club by various segments of our society to win arguments, often when I'm not 100% sure those using the club have any more grasp of the science than I do.

I've said before that I'm a skeptic when it comes to science.  I believe that just like a thousand years ago, the bulk of the things we think are true today will either turn out to be false, or will be entirely reinterpreted when humanity has its next great 'Scientific Revolution.'  Not that we throw the baby out with the bath water.  To me, though, it's worth remembering, especially as the current mantra of modern 'science' is the evils of Global Warming, due largely to all the pollutions that came about when we used old time science to invent all those swell things like cars and trains and washing machines.

But that is where Mr. Flynn tackles a history of how science was treated, and how it was approached.  And why when folks today appeal to airplanes or air conditions to prove their points, it might just be that they are missing the entire meaning of what science really is, and what it isn't.  Read the post, it will be well worth your time. 

Sam Harris makes me chuckle

Like many post-moderns, Mr. Harris saw in the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks a chance to advance his ideological dogmas.  Here's the whole piece if you can't find any other comedy routines to enjoy.

Here is the part I liked.  
“Whatever else may be wrong with our world, it remains a fact that some of the most terrifying instances of human conflict and stupidity would be unthinkable without religion. And the other ideologies that inspire people to behave like monsters—Stalinism, fascism, etc.—are dangerous precisely because they so resemble religions. Sacrifice for the Dear Leader, however secular, is an act of cultic conformity and worship. Whenever human obsession is channeled in these ways, we can see the ancient framework upon which every religion was built. In our ignorance, fear, and craving for order, we created the gods. And ignorance, fear, and craving keep them with us.”
Look at that again.  Notice the bold print.  In other words, in a way reminiscent of Christopher Hitchens and other Atheist zealots, he has said that religion is the cause of evil in the world.  And more to the point, evil that isn't the result of religion looks an awful lot like they were treating things like religion when they did their evil, so that goes to show you religion is the cause of evil in the world!

I know, most thinking people would laugh their gourds off at logic like that.  Religion is evil because all the evidence proves it, and evidence that doesn't support it doesn't count since we've already concluded religion is evil.  Uh huh.  If Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin or Pat Robertson said something like this about any other topic, folks would blow beer out their noses in laughter.  It's a testimony to the fact that both our modern journalism and higher educational institutions are in such a mess that he isn't whipped off the stage with chords of contempt and derision.

Instead, he's a darling of the Atheistic zealotry movement that has found its niche since 9/11.  Cheered on by the media, embraced by academia, and generally seen as a god-king for informing us that his dogma regarding the evil of dogmas is eternally true, and that we must eliminate all the religious traditions he hates, Harris continues to demonstrate that compared to a 21st century Western pundit, your average peasant in the Middle Ages is beginning to look pretty darn smart.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Infanticide isn't really that bad?

Apparently in Canada it isn't.  This little gem of a story has made its rounds, as one can expect.  Now, that a mother can go crazy and slaughter her children is all but an accepted part of modern life.  How common it was in the not-too-old days is hard to say.  But after so many cases, we've come to realize the sympathies, while reserved in some parts for the young victims, tend to lie heavily with the mothers in question.  So it's no shock to see the judge say this:
"This is a classic infanticide case — killing a newborn after a hidden pregnancy by a mother who was alone and unsupported."
This little bit of clinical observation coming in the story after this paragraph:
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Joanne Veit said the public naturally grieves for the dead baby boy.
"But Canadians also grieve for the mother," she said.
You see, there is some grieving for the dead baby boy, but hey, let's not forget Mom!  I give you one of the tragic byproducts of radical feminism.  Not that there isn't a place for the mentally insane who would do such things, and even a place for forgiveness.  But the idea that the grief for the mother deserves to be within a million miles of the grief for the innocent baby, is part and parcel of feminism's mantra of 'equality always whenever convinient', and the second mantra no less important than the first: 'women matter, everything else?  Eh.'

But even that isn't what has sent people over the edge.  That comes from another part of the decision regarding the case:
“The fact that Canada has no abortion laws reflects that ‘while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childrbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support,’ she writes.
The judge noted that infanticide laws and sentencing guidelines were not altered when the government made many changes to the Criminal Code in 2005, which she says shows that Canadians view the law as a ‘fair compromise of all the interests involved.’
It's that comparison to abortion that has many on edge.  Now some have tried to put a positive spin on this, suggesting that the comparison at least admits what abortion is: the slaughter of an unborn child.  But me?  I'm not so sure.  I think it is the logical consequence of our post-Christian narrative.

You see, the post-Christian, post-modern, progressive narrative goes something like this:
Once upon the time cavemen created God because they couldn't figure out why the sun rose and set.  Meanwhile, humans being nothing more than glorified animals, lived in harmony with nature, relishing equality, women's rights, gay rights, and the wonders of socialized medicine while making love in the green grass behind the stadium without nary a consequence. 

Of course, then came the dark days, the age of the Christian Faith.  From here the world was taught intolerance, sexism, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and a hatred of science, learning, intelligence, and socialized medicine.  Over the next two thousand years, it was 'a never ending symphony of villainy and infamy'*, until, finally, the Renaissance happened, enlightened men stopped believing in God, invented science and learning, brought back tolerance, equality, diversity, free and inconsequential sex, and of course, socialized medicine.  As soon as we've swept away the last relics of that ancient force of stupidity and evil, the world will right itself and we'll truly enter into that Utopian paradise of sex, drugs, bathroom humor, government censorship for the glorious tolerance, and socialized medicine.
Well, that's fine as far as it goes.  But there is, and historically had been, a different view.  That view is that despite its flaws and failings, the ideas of the dignity of the human person, equality of the human person, and fundamental rights to be enjoyed by the human person came as a result of, not despite, the Christian contributions to Western Civilization. 

Outside of this tradition was a world of barbarism, slaughter, rape, incest, human sacrifice, ritual torture (some of which found its way into European civilization), infanticide, matricide, patricide, and every other -cide you can think of.  The strong dominated and consumed the weak, and that's how it was because that's how animals do it.  But it was the Christian faith as much as anything - so the old stories went - that put an end to many of these terrors.

For decades we've denied that, suggesting that such tales were fanciful propaganda by the Church (you know, THAT Church), in order to justify its corruption and lust for wealth, power, and world conquest.  While most enlightened thinkers knew that our only hope for a world of peaceful chanting of John Lennon songs was to uncover the veil of deception, and release humanity to our pre-Christian enlightenment.

But there are a few problems with this little tale of Christian horrors.  One, archaeological evidence continues to show us that some of those old tales of human sacrifice and brutal, barbaric living might have something to them after all.  Second, the progressive mantra that 'White European and American heterosexual men are the manifestation of sadistic evil and the singular cause of all human suffering in the world' might be a bit of a stretch, especially as we notice other cultures doing bad things, or controversial things, no matter how much we try to blame the aforementioned.

Finally, there is this story.  For all the decades and even centuries of promising us that to rid ourselves of religion would bring peace, love, and harmony...has it?  The 20th century was the least religiously driven century in history.  A time of peace?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Is our culture thriving?  Are we growing in tolerance, joy, happiness, and togetherness?  Or are things like this - a mother slaughtering a baby and society saying no problem - proof that when we toss out the Christian, we don't get Utopia, we get what was there before: a barbaric, kill or be killed, eat or be eaten rape, pillage and murder world?  Not because its values call for better though its adherents fail, but because that is exactly what the values end up promoting, just as they did before the light of enlightenment came, not in the guise of science and secular philosophies, but came through the stubble and straw surrounding a baby in a manger so many ages ago.   Food for thought, at least IMHO.

*From the lyrics of one absolutely cool and enjoyable song from the movie 'Scrooge'.

Clint Eastwood reminds us that Conservative is a relative term

'Republican' certainly is, as Mr. Eastwood reminds us his concerns for such things as Gay Marriage runs far closer to the more progressive than the traditional Christian.  Many confuse the terms Conservative, Republican, and Christian, as if the three are interchangeable.  They're not.  There is an entire swath of secular Conservatives who are no less impatient with traditional Christian (and other religious) believers as their secular leftist counterparts.  Others tolerate the traditional Christian insofar as they may help at the ballot box.  Still others go even further, and can appreciate the unique contributions that Christian heritage gave to Western Culture, which they value.  They see traditional religious values, particularly Christian values, as more or less something that goes with traditional Americana, somewhere between apple pie and baseball.  Just which group Mr. Eastwood falls into is beyond me.  What is clear is that his Republican identity is in no way linked to a traditional, conservative Christian identity or set of priorities.

Of course his rather eloquent take on the issue, suggesting that anyone should be able to marry anyone, would be better if it were put in context.  Does he mean adults can marry children?  Adults can marry animals?  Adults can have multiple spouses?  Is he really for complete equality for all people, or is he just one more person disguising his prejudices against certain adults by making it sound like support for Gay Marriage is the only true litmus test for absolute moral superiority, tolerance, and enlightened diversity?

Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio, not to be outdone, jumps in with a post-modern version of Archie Bunker's famous 'case closed' brand of arguing:  
"That's the most infuriating thing -- watching people focus on these things," DiCaprio told GQ. "Meanwhile, there's the onset of global warming and these incredibly scary and menacing things with the future of our economy."
Spoken like a true sage.  What I would love to do is say, "You're right  Leo, let's just accept gays can't be married and drop the whole issue and focus on those other issues you say are threatening our lives."  I can't help but think that's not what he means.  Of course he doesn't.  What he means is obvious.  Problem is, like so many progressive values and standards, it's telling it like it ain't, in the hopes that nobody cares enough to notice.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today, just remember the events, the victims, and those who have died to keep us safe

When we knew everything had changed

The forgotten attack that we sometimes overlook

The sorrow and pride in the first Americans of many more who would die trying to save our country

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A headline for the Internet era

Note the headline:

Rich Perry Sex Tape Video Scandal

That's all that anyone needs.  Until you read and discover that the whole thing is done tongue-in-cheek.  There was no sex tape scandal at all.  There is mention about some of the other 'scandals', meaning controversies, or in the case of his religious meeting, meaning failing to conform to secular post-modern dogmas.  But that's it.  This is how you start an Internet rumor: put a headline out, someone googles, sees the headline, and voila!  You've got Perry in another sex scandal that proves all of those religious types are a bunch of hypocrites.  And within days, you'll have folks in comboxes insisting that this is as true as the invention of the wheel.  Nicely done Yahoo News, way to plant the seeds.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Working for Aflac

Is a busy proposition.  I have no doubt it can be a rewarding career, as most who have been there for more than a half dozen years or so love it, make tons of money, and seem happy.  The trick is, making it a half dozen years.  To do that, one has to accept the more or less Darwinian approach that new agents must endure.  An approach that more or less treats one like a sea turtle: you're born, now make it to the ocean, try not to get killed, and survive.  Because of that, my days, nights, and many weekends have been spent trying to keep up.  The fruits have yet to materialize, and I know I can't go on forever pouring out thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars in expenses. 

But I'm ever optimistic.  It is a good company, has good products that do what they say, and it does take care of its employees (those who survive).  So I'm still going to be swinging that bat and hoping for some home runs.  As a result, posts will come in bursts, and then pass for many moons.  In the meantime, enjoy this awesome, and I mean even more awesome than beanie-weenies awesome, picture of Saturn.  So beautiful it almost looks fake, and almost perfect enough to make you think someone may have planned it all (enjoy those on the comments box who were able to take this and make it a debate between the religion of God and the religion of the atheist's intellect). . 

Gibson to make movie about Jewish Warrior

Oh the scandal.  You talk about something that just reeks of 'everything is bad.'  I mean, this was what old gray haired conservatives yelled about back in the day.  Or so the popular narrative of the time suggested.  Now everyone yells about everything.  Everyone is offended.  We attack and accuse.  We condemn.  And we wonder if we learn anything from history.  Much less those who seem hell-bent on insisting we learn and never forget.  How strange.   Does that mean I can be offended if Jewish directors portray the Christian faith in a bad way?  And if I am, should anyone care?  I doubt it.

Clash of the 60s Titans

What with the web buzz about Martin Luther King's potentially embarrassing marital infidelities (in which we are assured it was no big deal since he didn't seem to make an issue of such things anyway), we are hit with another potential Scandal.  John Kennedy, the Messiah for the 60s generation has been found to have blasphemed the same generation's Holy Prophet, St. MLK. 

I look at things and just shake my head.  The generation that took great glee in tearing down the icons of old - Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson (except his whole banish religion stuff), Religion, Jesus, Moses, God, you name it - is now watching the godlike icons it tried to thrust upon us come under the same cynicism and love of scandal it wielded to do its dirty work.  Live by the cynicism and die by the cynicism.

Now, had it been a Billy Graham, or a Reagan, or a Nixon who was found to have said such a thing about King, you can bet your bottom dollar that there would be horror and outrage and your usual 'told you those religious conservative types are a bunch of racists!'  But now, it's Kennedy.  Even though most younger folks seem to see him as more hype than substance as a president, and one around whom scandal flew like crows, the old Boomers still look to him as the real King Arthur of Camelot. 

What will be the reaction?  What will be the controversy?  What will be the conclusion?  I'll bet nothing that has to do with liberals, Democrats, or any post-Christian ideals.

It figures

Multi-millionaire's son wins Mega-Millions lottery ticket. 

Yep, and there's a mocking laughter in it all that makes commentary more or less worthless.  But my favorite:
'Thanks again universe, always looking out for the little guy.'
Naturally at this point the winner is committed to spending the money on ... himself.