You're either FOR the terrorists or AGAINST the terrorists
I just love how people can take a difficult decision, like the one to go to Iraq and boil months if not years of data input, debate and difficult moral calculus down to a simple slogan.
Its a wonder we have wars, after all you are either RIGHT like me (and thus the height of GOOD) or not me ... and thus evil. I think its time I burn your mailbox down .... terrorist.
I guess the "logical" response to this is
You're either FOR killing or you're AGAINST killing.
Reprogramming method of stem cells a step in the right direction
Vatican approves growing stem cells from skin: report
I am cautiously optimistic. Never underestimate the need of evil to twist the facts to let us know that embryonic stem cells are a BETTER way than this reprogramming method. "They're cheaper" will be the first battle cry provided they can attach some arbitrary high expense to the PROCESS of reprogramming. Sooner or later they will come up with some toned down term to associate the "killing babies" alternative: Something like "envigorated stem cells" vs. "reprogrammed stem cells" ... You know, kind of like "death with dignity" has come to be the preferred term for the process of eliminating those undesirables who are feasting on our hard earned Social Security dollars.
In the mind of the world, the end justifies the means.
OK ... you might call me a pessimist after that blurb .... at least this morning.
Ron Paul talk ... or why not Rudy part II
Astonished, Yet at Home!
and Mark Shea
both reference Joe Healy's Evaluation of 2008 Presidential Candidates Against US Bishops' Criteria
The purpose is to quantify stances of presidential candidates that line up with the bishops criteria. The final analysis (see the points awarded below) is as follows ...
1. Ron Paul (R): 99 points
2. Alan Keyes (R): 70 (not on the ballot in all states)
3. Mike Huckabee (R): 69
4. Duncan Hunter (R): 50
5. Tom Tancredo (R): 48
6. John McCain (R): 36
7. Chris Dodd (D): 25
8. Dennis Kucinich (D): 22
9. Mitt Romney (R): 10
10. Joe Biden (D): 5
11. Fred Thompson (R): 4
12. Hillary Clinton (D): (-11)
13. John Edwards (D): (-13)
14. Bill Richardson (D): (-15)
15. Barack Obama (D): (-15)
16. Rudy Giuliani (R): (-28)
The bishops produced a massive tome regarding Faithful Citizenship
during this upcoming voting year. As a man who has a hard enough time putting 5 lines on my blog occasionally it is a daunting task to get through it. I hope to in the next year or so. Still, the points are summarized in Healy's analysis.
The "intrinsically evil" (10 points each) issues were: * Protect all unborn (no exceptions; unborn protected under the Constitution) * Oppose Euthanasia * Oppose Research that Results in Embyonic Destruction * Oppose all Human Cloning * Oppose targeting of Noncombatants (Use of nuclear weapons or landmines) * Marriage is One Man, One Woman; Oppose "domestic partnerships" * Oppose Use of Torture * Oppose Racism
The other issues (1 point each) were: * Oppose the Death Penalty * Support a "Responsible Transition" in Iraq & Afghanistan * Work to avoid war and promote peace while dealing with terrorism * Ethical treatment for undocumented immigrants & family reunification * Temporary worker program with clear path to permanent residency for immigrants * Secure borders from illegal immigration * Support responsible use of media * Affordable health care * Health policies allow for conscientious objection * No contraceptive or abortive mandates in health programs * Choice in education * Support for religious schools * Support fair wages & programs to decrease unemployment * Support affordable housing * Welfare should reduce poverty & dependence * Support good social security program * Support sustainable agriculture & food security for all * Good environmental policies that respect God's creation * Support faith-based groups * Work to alleviate global poverty * Promote religious liberty and other basic human rights worldwide * Peaceful resolution in Israel, support Palestinian State & Lebanon's sovereignty
This seems to give some good support to the Catholics for Ron Paul
movement. What I find even more interesting
in this simple exercise is that it demonstrates quite clearly how a level headed orthodox Catholic could REALLY contemplate the idea of voting for Hilary over Rudy Giuliani. It isn't enough to say that she is THAT BAD when the Republicans actually have the capacity to put forth a worse candidate. The R behind his name isn't going to automatically get my votes -- as Astonished Yet at Home so hilariously labelled, I am not a follower of Jesus W. Christ, R-Nazareth
-- I am a follower of Christ and His Church. The response to "you can't seriously expect me to vote for Hilary" might be "Umm, yes" -- Vote for Hilary as the lesser evil or join the new movement "pro-lifers for being quantified in the third party vote" this election. Then wait for 4 years until the Republicans put up a candidate worth flipping the switch for.
Of course some of the more important "1 point" issues in the above post, as a parent, revolve around freedom issues regarding the decision to educate your children. Ron Paul is right up my alley on this. Rich Leonardi posts a quote from Thomas Woods in A little something called subsidiarity
On education and home schooling, Ron Paul is the clear winner. Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Duncan Hunter all voted for the execrable No Child Left Behind Act, and Governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have both come out in favor of it. Ron Paul – as did the Republican Party itself not so long ago – opposes any federal role in education, which is the responsibility of parents and local communities.
In other words, Ron Paul believes in a little something called subsidiarity, which happens to be a central principle of Catholic social thought. Subsidiarity holds that all social functions should be carried out by the most local unit possible, as opposed to the dehumanizing alternative whereby distant bureaucratic structures are routinely and unthinkingly entrusted with more and more responsibilities for human well-being.
This makes Ron Paul and intriguing candidate at the minimum.
And another Episcopalian bishop to Rome
Oh that wonderous modern music in our liturgy
Why Gregorian Chant is Making a Comeback
The renewed emphasis on chant in liturgy is a call for humility above all else. Musicians are being asked to serve rather than perform.
I brought my children to the cathedral a couple of weeks ago. The music was gorgeous and even included some chant. Humility is certainly the virtue on display from those performing the music. When you compare that to your average mass littered with odd works from the 60's and 70's ... well ... it just doesn't compare. Modern liturgy, especially the music, drudges up the most comical aspects of the 60's and 70's. The problem is, I don't want to be reminded of those decades. The abuse of children in the Church was at its highest. The attitude of free sex was rampant and the clothing was ... lets just not go there (language alert)
. I just can't stop thinking of 70's sitcoms. "The Brady Bunch", "Taxi" and "All in the Family" during mass
For example (example from DCF
Here I Am, Lord (Dan Schutte)
Sing it with me -
Here I Am, Lord
It is I Lord
And I'm bringing up two very lovely girls.
I hope I haven't ruined it for you.
I liked the 80's though. That was my childhood. Still, I would never recommend stacking 30 synthesizers behind the altar an belting out the best in 80's synth pop riffs covered by the latest verbage in fad theology. Its just not right (logistical issues aside). Even as much as I would think that an interesting novelty, I too need humility ... and the sublime lifting towards heaven. That is why I want a return to traditional music. Because I need it as well. Must ... stop ... thinking ... about .... electronic ... mass.
My children want to return to the cathedral regularly. There is something magical to them about it ... and trust me, its not just the donuts after mass.
See also: Sacred music safeguards tradition of the Church and is of greater value than any other art, Pope saysNote: I realize it is an act of humility for me to work through my strong dislike of music in modern liturgy ... At times I used to not receive because liturgical abuse or bad music put me in a state unworthy to receive. I feel I have made great progress here ... but I still yearn for better music.
Pope gets radical and woos the Anglicans, Vatican-Orthodox commision agree on primacy of Pope
A favor from those stopping by
You may not like my taste in music ... BUT
Anyone stopping by, can you scroll down and click on the radio play button under the "Listening to .." section and let me know whether or not it plays for you or if it just sits there?
A simple yes or no in the comments will be sufficient.
Fine line between burdensome and helpful
Originally posted July 21, 2006
I have been drudging through some thoughts upon reading an article recently that was cited by Mark Shea (Shopping for God - Dwelling in a Land of Converts
The opposite tendency, of course, is the more widely noted phenomenon of converts becoming the greatest zealots. Diving into the deep end of the religious pool can be as problematic as skimming the surface, however. William James famously described conversion as “the process, gradual or sudden, by which a self hitherto divided or consciously wrong, inferior, and unhappy becomes unified and consciously right, superior, and happy.” It is a short step from there to triumphalism, and too many converts seem ready to take that step, perhaps in part out of a desire to compensate for their delayed enlightenment by trying to prove that they are purer in their beliefs, more Catholic, one might say, than the pope. This can produce all manner of tragic results, as each day’s news bears witness to.
The more common problem with the zealousness of the converted, I think, is that it is often rooted in a narcissistic desire to be right, which is then camouflaged as a proprietary monopoly on universal truth. One can believe in something that is true without being correct about everything else in one’s life. The humility required by the great religious traditions would never sanction the egotism of identifying one’s personal wishes with the universal truths of the faith. Separating the two is perhaps the greatest spiritual challenge for the deepest religious believers.
Anyway, here goes.
The biggest problem I have seen with people who clearly love the Church is the instant need to tie heavy burdens to men. It gets daunting when people expect perfection from people who are on a journey towards perfection. We aren't there yet. None of us are. It gets to the point of even trying to specify that lifestyle choices (such as homeschooling, breastfeeding, mothers staying at home etc.) are very nearly as un-Catholic to disagree with as the Trinity or Immaculate Conception. I call it "Dogmatizing lifestyle choices". Not everyone is going to immediately convert to Catholicism and shift their lives into perfect accordance with the will of God (or in many cases a perceived will of God). St. Francis De Sales sums this up quite well in his Introduction to the Devout Life
The soul which rises from out of sin to a devout life has been compared to the dawn, which does not banish darkness suddenly, but by degrees. That cure which is gradually effected is always the surest; and spiritual maladies, like those of the body, are wont to come on horseback and express, while they depart slowly and on foot. So that we must needs be brave and patient, my child, in this undertaking. It is a woeful thing to see souls beginning to chafe and grow disheartened because they find themselves still subject to imperfection after having made some attempt at leading a devout life, and well-nigh yielding to the temptation to give up in despair and fall back; but, on the other hand, there is an extreme danger surrounding those souls who, through the opposite temptation, are disposed to imagine themselves purified from all imperfection at the very outset of their purgation; who count themselves as full-grown almost before they are born, and seek to fly before they have wings. Be sure, daughter, that these are in great danger of a relapse through having left their physician too soon. "It is but lost labour to rise up early and late take rest," unless the Lord prosper all we do.
In assisting others along the path of Christian life, we have to remember where we have come from and take great care not to be the type of people who tie heavy burdens, but rather, be those that edify and assist people to discover the deep truths of the faith by the grace and timing that God expects ... Many examples in Scripture and in the lives of the saints can be pointed out to show that Gods timing is more patient than we are. After all, His patience is perfect.
One more entry ... GO DAWGS!!!
Opinionated Catholic is a man of high character. In this world of bandwagon hoppers here we have a man who roots for his alma mater over the team he blogs about the most.
A toast to you ...
And as a believer in miracles (as that is about what it will take to beat LSU) I hope we are rewarded for our faith. Besides, it would be fun to screw up that #2 ranking yet again. :)
In the near future I am going to write a criticism of the Tyranny of Perfectionism OR the Lifestyle Choices as Dogma crowd.
The short version of it is that we have chosen to put our kids in school for the remainder of the year. As it is, there are actually good reasons not to homeschool. If you scroll down a few posts you can see that this was likely a difficult decision for us. It was.
Nevertheless, we have made the right choice for our family.
To some we are failures. For those who hold that opinion, in the immortal words of Johnny Bravo
I'm over it ....
Not hiring people because of their lifestyle choices ....
You Might Lose Your Job If You Smoke or Eat Junk Food
Some people I know are up in arms about this ... I guess I'm a jerk but this doesn't bother me in the least.
Discrimination laws tend to focus on things people have no control over (gender, race etc) and that is as it should be. We should protect the right of people to be employed based on things they have control over. Outside of that the law should leave it alone. If you apply for a job and are rejected because you smoke, you have two choices: quit smoking or find a job with someone who doesn't care that you do (trust me, you'll be happier anyway). Its the right solution. No law to force companies to hire you for your lifestyle choices is necessary.
When you aim to protect persons based on lifestyle choices you are opening a can of worms you don't want opened. Take it to its logical end. If you seek the state to protect lifestyle choices as a form of discrimination then taking it to its logical end (especially these days) might dictate the state in the future can force you to hire practicing pedophiles, polygamists etc (provided "individual rights" continue to creep the way I expect they will). After all what they do at home is their choice right? Never mind that my company, for example, might be a group that fights against those lifestyle choices. Never mind that I see it as a character issue that is indicative of someone who might cause problems on the job. What you are saying here is that individual choices trump corporate rights and that I have to hire people that I feel will willingly undermine my purpose. Where is the freedom in that?
I am by no means saying that the state should mandate something like this. If that were the case I would be as up in arms are you are. We are saying that corporations should have the right to screen individuals they feel are best suited to help them succeed and that includes making judgment calls on their lifestyle choices.
I want to make one final thing very clear. I think its stupid to not hire smokers to shave a few bucks of health care costs. I think there are far better solutions and MOST companies will come down on that side of the fence. You are leaving out too talented a subset of employees to tie yourself to these standards. All this shows me is that some companies feel these lifestyle choices are contrary to their mission (a right I think we should support whether we like it or not) ... Of course it could be that their HR people are woefully ignorant of modern health care possibilities.
So my wife was confronted about homeschooling
... again ... We are thinking about making a little laminated card to hand out with
1. our 15 reasons for homeschooling ... which will bring up the flip side addendum
2. what about socialization ... other reasons will reveal that we're Catholic, which means we need to hand out
3. our reasons for being Catholic ... that will expose that we believe it ... which will bring up contraception requiring we hand out
4. a defense of NFP and why it is not contraception .. which might bring up birth requiring we hand out
5. a short primer on natural birth ...
6. defense of having more than 2.3 kids ...
7. the population myth ...
8. why annulments are not "Catholic divorce"
and on and on and on ... welcome to our lives
I am thinking of making another 15 reasons to homeschool thats a little more humorous ... something like this
1. My kids can bring guns, knives, swords and Chinese throwing stars to school
I can mix those in every 5th laminated card or so. That should get some entertaining looks ...
Given the propensity of cynical people to dress as a Catholic priest for Halloween ...
Would it be wrong of me to dress as a public school teacher
, Anglican clergy member
or Protestant pastor
I am not sure the AP's big public school abuse expose will get anywhere. They are about three years behind the times
and it didn't go anywhere then.
Its about time we as a society stop pretending this is just a Catholic problem, or that married priests would somehow solve the problem of child abuse in this country. Its also time to stop pretending its just a religious problem as well. Its a SIN problem and for the sake of children something should be done about it.
Two very bright and very balanced graduate students at my university (one a former columnist for "Commonweal") have told me that they are home-schooling their children, which leads me to wonder what information is available about this phenomenon, which, I think, is now some twenty or thirty years old--who are choosing to home-school? why they choose to do it? what have been the results? the effects? what state-regulations govern it, if any? Etc., etc.
Has "Commonweal" published anything on it? (source) HT: Heart Mind Strength weblog
Because we all know the only people choosing to homeschool are wacko extremists. I am bumping my 14 reasons and adding a 15th. It will be located just below this post.
A not so short list of reasons why we have chosen to homeschool
originally posted April 21, 2006
I plan to expound on these later, more or less to develop a defense for our choice. If the public thinking I do on the matter helps anyone else to come to this decision, then great. Some things may be italicized as topics for me to go into greater detail on later.
1. The type of education we want for our kids is not affordably available in our area. The two schools closest to our criteria are pricey and do not have the full package. One is not a classical school and the other is not a Catholic school.
With homeschooling we can have all of our criteria met. Why classical? Academic defense of homeschooling ... What do the numbers say?
2. We believe that within the family is where a substantial majority of quality time should be spent during the formative years of life. The most deeply secure people we know were homeschooled and solid family life is at the heart of that security. We further believe that the primary objection offered by homeschool detractors -- that of socialization -- can be readily dealt with, especially in light of the increase in homeschool familes and outside activities available to children and teenagers. So what about socialization?
3. We believe that the primary goal of education is the final goal of eternal life thus religious formation is serious business and best delivered by parents who have a tremendous desire to see the salvation of all of their children attained. What does the Bible say about this? What does the Church teach about this? What about Catholic schools and CCD?
4. We care more for the well being of our children and are more capable of responding to the unique needs of our children than any teacher, or village for that matter, ever will.
5. Kids in school situations suffer from a lack of prolonged contact with nature, especially in the younger years and especially boys. Boys were not meant to sit still in masses of desks for long periods of time. The natural exporation built into young children needs an outlet. Furthermore, at least within public schools, physical education and exercise is becoming more and more limited in order to meet academic requirements dictated by local, state and federal law.
6. Homeschooling kids have an advantage when it comes to knowing what day to day family life is about and how to deal with it when they are grown and have families. Daily living and basic tasks are skirted in the school systems. I know they taught us how to balance a checkbook in public schools but that is about a thousandth of what goes on from day to day in a family.
7. Homeschooling increases family unity. Quality time is undeniably increased. There is no way a school situation can compare. It also creates a habit of helpfulness. The sacrifice of making a homeschool work requires all children in the family working as a team to ensure the continued learning of the other members of the family. In every essay, article or book I read on the topic, the one thing I always come away with is the understanding that sacrifice is involved. This nurtures selflessness and results in adults who are constantly looking outwards (servants of mankind).
8. Physical development, especially in the middle school years, is best kept at home.
9. Bullying is detrimental to proper emotional development. Before criticizing the idea of keeping kids away from bullying, consider the following -- How many bullys do you encounter in the workplace or in everyday adult life? How much of dealing with actual confilct in life is not possible within the confines of typical sibling rivalry? It is not normal behavior and outside of your sphere of influence there is far less that you can do about it. Within the home and within the neighborhood the communication lines are more transparent and things can be done to minimize children spending inordinate amounts of time worrying sick about going to school the next day. School is for education, not for learning how to suck it up.
For that we have sports and sports parents :)
10. Homeschooling allows for flexible scheduling and an increased ability to incorportate extracurricular activites. About all that wasted time in school...
11. Furthermore, extraordinary talents can be developed at the level required to reach the level of mastery. For example, concert pianists do not become great in 30 minutes a day after school.
12. MOST IMPORTANTLY (from a Catholic perspective) - Regular incorporation of sacraments into daily life
- daily mass
- weekly confession
- celebration of feast days
- increased devotional life
The domestic church is allowed to flourish at a high level with this flexibility.
13. You can further immerse your children in languages, fine art, classical music and classic literature than the school system will allow. Greek and Latin are not available at most schools.
14. Homeschooling is conducive to fostering a true love of learning and tailoring encouragement of such to meet the need of each individual child. In my experience, many teachers wanted to get through the day. It was the extraordiary one that fostered that love. I learned more at home than I did in school because my parents encouraged a "lifestyle of learning". Homeschooling is that lifestyle full time. I loved to learn as a child but public education sapped that desire from me until recently. Thank the Lord for my conversion process. I have read more in the past few years than I read in middle and high school combined. I had to regain what was taken from me in school but what my parents imparted to me as a child.
15. (added Oct 19, 2007
) Our rights and responsibilities as parents are least infringed upon by the choice to homeschool. See my Parental rights
post. A parent who sends their child to school suspends parental rights (control) of their child while in that environment. This opens their child to bad information, poor nutrition etc. This is true of all of society actually but if a parent wants to retain more control of this aspect of their lives in the formative years, homeschooling provides the avenue of least resistance.
I want to make it clear that this is our decision and we REALIZE that it is not a decision that everyone should make. Taking this path may reveal that we shouldn't either. We do not feel that schooling is such a detriment to a child that it will render him or her incapable of acheiving the final end that is the primary reason for our homeschooling. In our unique circumstances, we feel it is the best option. There are doubtless many people in heaven that went to school. If I thought that to be a fatal blow to anyone I would give up now. School is, after all, my heritage.
This is in reference to birth control being handed out to middle school kids in Maine.
My wife and I put our child in public school for two weeks. The principal got up and said "while your kids are here, we are their mommies". That comment made my skin crawl BUT she is right. They ensure they eat. They make sure they go to the bathroom. They have a nurse on staff to deal with cuts and bruises. They deal with psychological issues. In some places they hand out inappropriate sex surveys and contraceptives and this is all within the law, or so it seems. They assume the role of parent during that time frame and we, by virtue of handing our children over to them relinquish those rights during that time frame. For the law to extend our parental rights is to invent rights that are not in the constitution. It would become a logistical nightmare for the public school system to have to police dictations from the parents on every matter that they consider their right."You cannot teach my kids evolution" ... "You cannot teach my kids about sex" ... "You MUST teach my kids about sex" .. some parents will lose those battles. You can be involved but ultimately your control on some matters is handed over to committees, PTA groups and the system.
Consider the argued right in the Nov 2005 "sex survey" case “to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs”
The Ninth Circuits ruling contains the following conclusion
.... We conclude only that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject to their students in any forum or manner they select.
Now I know the 9th circuit being who they are is easy to dismiss but what shocked me about this case was strong commentary from the other side of the political aisle that could find no real hole in the decision. In fact many people calling themselves "strict constitutionalists" called it the right decision. Their beef was with the 9th circuits selective application of their reasoning.
The court even went through the unusual trouble of rewording the decision to eliminate some of their more extreme statements knowing they have a good chance, should this come before the SC, of standing and becoming precedent for future rulings along these lines. I don't see this as an obscure matter of if. I see it as a matter of when.
Read what Amy Welborn has on her site ...That 9th Circuit Decision
The best comments from that time frame that helped me were
Again, I think that he reaches the right decision based on the law, but I also think that he is disingenuous when he states that the court makes this decision based on law rather than policy preferences. Based on the rank inconsistency in Judge Reinhardt's Substantive Due Process jurisprudence, the only reasonable conclusion is that his decision was predicated specifically on his liberal policy preferences.
I suspect that if this ruling came from the 5th Circuit, the initial reaction here would have been somewhat different.Ultimately we hold the highest right and that is to get your kids out of public schools that do not abide by the wishes of parents. I think that it is of vital importance for parents to understand that their rights *in* the public school system are not as supreme as they think they are.
That being said, I think the court ruled correctly, and, I might add, conservatives should applaud the resistance by the court to once again expand these unwritten rights to privacy. Should schools notify parents when these subjects are being taught? Yes, but it's not unconstitutional if they don't. Vote out the school board members, or explore other options to prevent this from happening again.
This case should be used by conservatives as Exhibit A in the case for vouchers. Parents should be able to opt out of schools where the administration clearly don't care what parents think.
Fighting spam on your blog
Spam fighting tactic #1
If you can change your permalink URL then you will likely get rid of a lot of spam. I have found the easiest way to control it on my blog is not through anti-spam images and whatnot. The easiest way is to delete the instance and then resubmit the entry it was posted on changing the time stamp. That way it cannot be referenced again through it the same permalink. It has worked so far. Lets see if it works this time.
Three things my parents did right
See Group Writing Project: What are three things your parents did right?1. Encouraged a love of learning
From when I was a young child my parents taught us our letters, numbers and many interesting facts about the world. When we listened to music it was classical. When we watched television it was Sesame Street, Electric Company or some documentary like Wild Kingdom, Jacques Cousteau or the Cosmos series with Carl Sagan. Most importantly they taught us to read at a very early age and encouraged us to read things that we were interested in. I developed the standard love for dinosaurs that all young boys have through reading. I learned about tornadoes the same way. That love of learning is a substantial reason my reversion to the faith was possible. I had a lot to read and loving to dig deeper was a gift my parents gave me. 2. We knew our parents loved us.
My parents operated in a way where there was no doubt as to how they felt about us. We played the role of prodigal son quite frequently and they were always there with the fattened calf when life had dealt us the discipline and humiliation we needed to learn lessons in life the hard way. My mother told my wife and I when we got married that we were going to screw up as parents. That part, she said, is certain. She then followed by saying "if you do it with love you will make all the right mistakes". No wiser words have been said to us about parenting before we got married or since. 3. Taught us enough about the faith to give us the tools to return to it
I won't say my parents were the best examples of living the faith in our lives especially when we were really young. What they lacked in zeal they made up for with action. Later in their lives they returned to the pews. Still, reading the children's Bible with us had an effect. The few periods in our childhood where we did attend mass regularly kept me wondering throughout my life why people did that. As imperfect as it was, it was enough to work for me and as I saw my parents return to the pews when they got older their newfound zeal had a direct effect in my returning to the Catholic faith.
This is by no means all the things my parents did right. They did a lot more. These are just three. For those things I am thankful. I am even thankful for the mistakes they made that ended up being all the right ones.
Unprecedented Muslim call for peace with Christians
Unprecedented Muslim call for peace with Christians
Pope Benedict sparked Muslim protests last year with a speech hinting Islam was violent and irrational. It prompted 38 Muslim scholars to write a letter challenging his view of Islam and accepting his call for serious Christian-Muslim dialogue.
Benedict repeatedly expressed regret for the reaction to the speech, but stopped short of a clear apology sought by Muslims.
The new letter argues in theological terms, giving quotes from the Koran and the Bible that show both Christianity and Islam considered love of God as their greatest commandment and love of neighbor as the second greatest.
"The basis for this peace and understanding already exists," it said. "It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the one God and love of the neighbor."
Say it with me -- "Regensburg Effect
" -- This is what happens when you are not afraid to talk about what you really believe rather than pretending unity can be achieved by ignoring our differences.
See also Vatican official welcomes Islamic initiative
Originally posted Nov 2, 2005
Last night my wife and I set up to hand out candy to little children at our apartment complex. After about 15 or 20 minutes it became abundantly clear that nobody was set up to hand out candy to the two kids who were running around the complex. OK, fine ... most people living in apartments are single so they are somewhat removed from the celebration of kids holidays.
To solve this unwelcome problem for our little volcano, Mikey Mouse and ballet dancer we decided to take them to the neighborhood we will be moving into (provided all goes well) in a few weeks. It was most disappointing to see the number of people who had closed up their homes to protect themselves from the hordes of scary little children roaming around the neighborhood. After all, we know that Halloween is the most dangerous of all holidays ... or is it? Halloween is one of the most American of holidays
An article titled "Primeval terror"
summarizes some of the more recent scholarship on the history of Halloween as it pertains to how it is celebrated in this country and why. It is quite clear that the tradition of trick-or-treat is of relatively recent origin and the association of the holiday with the macabre is even more recent. The problem however is the widespread belief that Halloween is a pagan holiday and thus since its roots are tainted, it too must be fully rejected.
This falls squarely under the Pagan Influence Fallacy
which Catholics should be quite familiar with.
The pagan influence fallacy is committed when one charges that a particular religion, belief, or practice is of pagan origin or has been influenced by paganism and is therefore false, wrong, tainted, or to be repudiated. In this minimal form, the pagan influence fallacy is a subcase of the genetic fallacy, which improperly judges a thing based on its history or origins rather than on its own merits (e.g., "No one should use this medicine because it was invented by a drunkard and adulterer").Christmas and the pagan tradition of wedding rings
Very frequently, the pagan influence fallacy is committed in connection with other fallacies, most notably the post hoc ergo proper hoc ("After this, therefore because of this") fallacy—e.g., "Some ancient pagans did or believed something millennia ago, therefore any parallel Christian practices and beliefs must be derived from that source." Frequently, a variant on this fallacy is committed in which, as soon as a parallel with something pagan is noted, it is assumed that the pagan counterpart is the more ancient. This variant might be called the similis hoc ergo propter hoc ("Similar to this, therefore because of this") fallacy.
When the pagan influence fallacy is encountered, it should be pointed out that it is, in fact, a fallacy. To help make this clear to a religious person committing it, it may be helpful to illustrate with cases where the pagan influence fallacy could be committed against his own position (e.g., the practice of circumcision was practiced in the ancient world by a number of peoples—including the Egyptians—but few Jews or Christians would say that its divinely authorized use in Israel was an example of "pagan corruption").
Of course, as mentioned, the refutation of the pagan influence fallacy is to point out that one could reject a whole host of commonly accepted things on the same basis. According to Catholic Encyclopedia
"the well-known solar feast ... of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date." Similar logic would require one to reject the celebration of Christmas on the grounds of its pagan influence.
The same holds true of wedding rings whose use is also of pagan origin and recent note of this has even sparked a number of Protestants to reject this tradition.
The Church has, as is well pointed out by our fundamentalist brethren, intentionally fixed specific feast days in proximity to pagan holidays in order to offer a wholesome alternative to the common celebration of the festival. Halloween has a far longer Christian history than that of the recent negative aspects of the holiday. Today is All Saints day and the vigil of this feast has been commonly called Halloween for quite some time. The negative effects of Halloween and how to neutralize them
With studies out showing that horror has lasting negative effects on children
, one certainly must be careful about how Halloween is celebrated. If you are afraid of the occult influence of typical Halloween costumes involving witches and goblins one might find better use with a innocuously secular choice, or even better, a blatantly Christian one.
For example, modeling a costume after a popular icon of St. Athanasius would result in a quite interesting garment and a costume that might generate conversation.
It is also careful to note that the traditional scare around the
time of Halloween is that of people tampering the candy they are giving your children. It should calm your nerves however to get the facts on things like pins, needles, and razor blades
in candy and on Halloween poisonings
.The primary positive motivation for participating in Halloween
In this busy work-centered world it is a rare opportunity that you encounter more than just your adjacent neighbors. This raises an increasingly difficult problem in developing long term relationships with neighbors and in developing trust within parents in the neighborhood. This was a given when I was a child and it has rapidly disappeared because neighborhoods are largely uninhabited during the day. By the time people do get home they have no interest in doing anything but winding down. Halloween might be better termed meet your neighbor day. A failure to witness --- or --- to hell with all my neighbors
It is our job, as Christians – especially Catholics – to take back Halloween. This by no means prevents us from participating in what has become essentially a child’s opportunity to get out and participate in something fun. The kids get to meet other kids. You get to meet your neighbors.
One of the most positive things we saw when we went from house to house were happy people. One of the most pleasant experiences that we had was meeting a young man and his wife. He was clearly a Christian and he made a very positive effort towards being welcoming and polite.
There are practical ways to limit the overtly non-Christian elements of Halloween. That is the path we should take as Christians. Withdrawing from the world on any day is like saying we give up Satan … you can have that day. Taking Back Our "Holy" HalloweenReclaim the Celebration of All Saints
2007 McDonalds rare piece list
I did this last year so I will do it again. source WikiPedia - McDonald's Monopoly
Reading your keyword results
I just wanted to point something out ...
Below is a list of keyword searches that have resulted in multiple hits on my blog in the last 500 visits in order from most to least
napoleon dynamite - full circle - tiber river - louisiana state capital - www.earlychurchfathers.com - vatican rebuts euthanasia charge on john paul ii - negative point of homeschooling - dauphine street new orleans church - fullcircle - full circle meaning - steenson - guy with no dating experience - cora and isaac cline - st. teresa of avila catholic church new orleans - psalm 127 introduction - jp2 euthanized - discussion of lord i life your name on high - regain inc. - mcdonalds monopoly truths - ecclesiastic mosaic studios of ireland - 1938 talbot-lago t150 - how to create artificial stem cells - take up your cross and follow me luke 9:23
This points out a few things to me.
1. Fresh topics in the news are important for everyone to post about
vatican rebuts euthanasia charge on john paul ii
2. My post on a "negative aspect of homeschooling
" continues to be one of my most popular hits on this blog. It is a recurring theme. Many people are looking for actual criticism of homeschooling rather than just drinking the cool aid and going forward as if there are no negatigve aspects to it ...
negative point of homeschooling
3. I need to post more on marriage and dating
. It is a topic I am interested in and I have written a good bit on it and every once in a while I get a hit on something that I have in scare quotes somewhere. You people need my help :)
guy with no dating experience
4. Local interest is important. This is something I think OpinionatedCatholic does really well. His Louisiana summary and his posting on LSU and Louisiana Tech keep me going back daily.
dauphine street new orleans church
st. teresa of avila catholic church new orleans
louisiana state capital
5. Personal interest items having nothing to do with my Catholic faith or the name of this blog or web site have are about 20% of where my hits come from. Your blog cannot get so focused on a single topic that you forget to let your personality out some. Oddly Napoleon Dynamite is my top persistent hit getter. Others have gotten me more hits in short periods of time but this one takes the cake in keeping people cominn by month after month? Why? Its an image search hit. The moral to that story is simple. Host your own images AND name them well.
cora and isaac cline
mcdonalds monopoly truths
1938 talbot-lago t150
Anyway, that is just a quick review of what people have been reading recently on my blog. It is also a quick note for people who blog to review what is interesting to people and ensure that you include something for everyone who might be interested in the things you write about.
Why I will not vote for Giuliani vs. Clinton
Since everyone is weighing in, I figured I would put my two cents up
I decided last week to give a little thought to the idea that Republicans should not jump ship just because the party jettisons its support for the pro-life movement and offers up Rudy as a candidate for president. I have grown more and more weary of the Republican party and this greatly informs my current position. Critics of my position say that Rudy has stated that he will appoint "strict constitutionalists" that will be the type we need to overturn Roe. v. Wade.
I don't buy it ... and here is why ...
First off, you are asking me to trust the word of a politician and one with a history of contempt for the pro-life position. Think about that ... just for a moment. If George Bush the elder let conservatives down when he caved in against his now famous "read my lips, no new taxes" line, how am I supposed to put a tremendous amount of faith in what clearly seems like a 5 pound test life-line thrown to pro-lifers SOLELY for the purpose of gaining their vote? After all "Hilary is worse" right?
Second, you are asking me to trust that these mythical nominees will make it into the court through a currently more liberal congress. Just as with recent nominations, they will be asked about Roe, and they will have to give some vague notion that they will not upset the status quo in order to make it to the bench.
Third, you are asking me to trust that Republicans, an institution of men with varying religions and often contradictory political objectives, are willing to put the right Christian moral perspective in place with full knowledge that a subset of moderate pro-life voters that vote Republican with their noses held almost solely on this issue will stop voting Republican once their goal is accomplished. You are asking me to see the Republican party as "holy and blameless" and not the pile of hypocrites they, along with the Democrats, are. They are a political party that seeks to promise things that appease 51% of the population. Votes are their target. Their platform is just what they sell. Without the base of religion there is no such thing as "Republican values" .. parties change with the wind. We should be ever diligent in understanding that.
Fourth, you are asking me to trust that these mythical, possibly personally pro-choice "strict constitutionalists" are going to be the type of logical stalwarts that are going to suspend their personal beliefs long enough to overturn a ruling they might "personally" agree with. Why, pray tell, would they even vote to hear the case? Why would you expect them to think like a pro-lifer thinks on these constitutional issues when they very well might not be pro-life? After all they think abortion is legal and -- hey law ain't perfect -- why change a situation am I not really all that upset with?
Finally, the Republican party has to earn my vote. They don't get it just because they have gotten it in the past and they certainly are not going to get it just in case some unlikely series of events occurs and 3 justices are turned over in the next 4 years, and a pro-choice candidate suspends his support for the culture of death to promote judges that both I am comfortable with along with a more "culture of death" leaning congress. I will win the lottery before this scenario unfolds.
Basically I think this "You MUST vote Rudy" scenario is one cooked up by Republicans who are having a hard time seeing that their party, just like the Democrats of 30 years ago, is suffering from a drastic increase of the non-religious voice within the party. Democrats back in the day conceded to that influence and look at what they have today. The increasing number of people holding my opinion on this matter should serve as a wake-up call to Republicans who care about winning the next presidential election. If Rudy is nominated, the ship is sunk because changing the minds of large numbers of moderate disgusted pro-life voters who happen in large numbers to be opposed to this war is a recipe for LOSS in 2008.
Like the Democratic party left Reagan, the Republican party is leaving its religious base. No sense in holding hands with a party whose platform is but a mere image of what it used to be and who offers us mere table scraps in support for a position that is becoming clearer and clearer they never intend to change.
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The nanny state is watching you
Doc, what’s up with snooping? - BostonHerald.com
Yes, I fear the nanny state. ---
This isn't a shock to me although I certainly think it is a very disturbing trend. Increasingly adults are not having children so they see "bad parents" as more of a problem than parents do.
Homeschooling has been questioned with the line of questioning that "what, are the public schools not good enough?"
Nanny state favoring non-parents want the children of the nation to be indoctrinated with the moral relativism of modern thought and its so-called tolerance. Thus the crowbars to pry at the foundations of parental rights are of little or no concern to them. The ends certainly justify the means. What is at stake here is not the intollerence of my children infringing on individual rights but my right as a parent to educate my children as I see fit.
The state wants to teach my children from a perspective of no religion with the grand idea that legislating the moral idea that any infringement, dare I say criticism, of the lifestyle choices of others is the way to a modern utopia. It isn't. I want to teach my children from the perspective of Christ and His Church and my faith teaches me that it is merciful to let you know when you are on the path of wickedness.
To take this even further, our birth choices have been questioned under the thin veil of accusations of us being "bad parents" because we wanted to choose the route that statistically speaking produces the healthiest outcomes. Bad patient!
Doctors have aksed to us (is it a law or something?) with stunning similarity each time we have a child whether or not we would like to stop polluting the earth with our cabon dioxide producing, diaper using kids. "So which type of birth control will you be using?" .. or the ever so compassionate of our dire need to end this madness "Do you want your tubes tied?"
I have ranted here before that secularists will EVENTUALLY lose ground to those who are having children. After all, they tend to be of more conservative values. The only way they can stem the "disturbing" trend of morally conservative youth is to prevent conservatives from doing what they know is best for the future; having more kids. The fact is though that the secular liberals are up to the game. Their solution is the nanny state. I expect greater persecution of homeschoolers in the future. There is nothing more dangerous to the future of secularists than parental rights. How soon is it before we have federally mandated child care starting at 6 weeks? With the increase of hate crime legislation how soon is it before certain things are exempted from "free speech" because of perceived infringement of "individual rights" of others? How soon is it before we are legislating that religions have to hire based on the same principles as businesses? I know a lot of people have faith in the US Constitution to protect us from ourselves. I don't have that faith. It is a document subject to the whims and interpretations of men.
We see where that has gone with some interpretations of Scripture. Why would we expect an institution not guarded by the Holy Spirit not to go off the rails eventually? Laws and elections will not save this country. Only Christ will.