"Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq.". . . and during the standing ovation that followed, and looking quite disgruntled . . . Hillary Clinton stood up.
Friday, January 23, 2004
[Dr. Robert P. George is George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and earned his doctorate in philosophy of law at Oxford University. He currently sits on the President's Council of Bioethics and is author of numerous books on constitutional law and jurisprudence. And for any intellects dim enough to require an explanation, the foregoing statement is not intended to be taken at face value, but as a parody and reductio ad absurdum refutation of the fallacious reasoning employed pervasively by proponents of a "pro-choice" position favoring "abortion rights." ]
I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go as far as supporting mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even non-judgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity--not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately 'pro-choice.'"
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Despite this, the onslaught continues. The January 18th, 2004 issue of the New York Times, in it's Arts & Leisure pages, featured a malicious piece of mud slinging by Frank Rich, with the innocuous-sounding title, "The Pope's Thumbs Up for Gibson's 'Passion.'" While admitting that he has not seen the film and doesn't know if any of the charges against it are true, Rich impugnes the motives of Gibson and those involved in the promotion of "The Passion," derisively maligning their use of the Pope's personal remark after a private screening of the film, that "It is as it was." Rich writes:
From another quarter altogether, Rabbi Daniel Lapin has warned that the glut of ill-advised attacks that have come out of Hollywood and the East-coast media establishment are not only unwarranted but mean spirited and may backfire on the Jewish community. Not only does he believe that the charges of anti-semitism made against Gibson's film have been utterly refuted, but he worries about the integrity of those raising such charges:
What can be said without qualification is that the marketing of this film remains a masterpiece of ugliness typical of our cultural moment, when hucksters wield holier-than-thou piety as a club for their own profit. For months now, Mr. Gibson and his supporters have tried to slur the religiosity of anyone who might dissent from his rollout of "The Passion."
Again, Rabbi Lapin questions the motives of those-- especially Jewish critics-- who have been attacking the Gibson film:
As an Orthodox rabbi with a wary eye on Jewish history which has an ominous habit of repeating itself, I fear that these protests, well-intentioned though some may be, are a mistake. I believe those who publicly protest Mel Gibson's film lack moral legitimacy. What is more, I believe their actions are not only wrong but even recklessly ill-advised and shockingly imprudent. I address myself to all my fellow Jews when I say that your interests are not being served by many of those organizations and self-appointed defenders who claim to be acting on your behalf. Just ask yourself who most jeopardizes Jewish safety today, people acting in the name of Islam or Christianity?
For the full article by Rabbi Lapin, see his article in National Review (September 26, 2003), entitled Protesting Passion".
I believe the attacks on Mel Gibson are a mistake because while they may be in the interests of Jewish organizations who raise money with the specter of anti-Semitism, and while they may be in the interests of Jewish journalists at the New York Times and elsewhere who are trying to boost their careers, they are most decidedly not in the interests of most American Jews who go about their daily lives in comfortable harmony with their Christian fellow citizens.
I have often wondered about the proper balance between decorum and honesty in language, whether it's possible to be honest yet tactful and decent, without losing the substance and force of what I want to say, or whether I must consign myself to forever surf the cusp of the curling wave between accuracy and decency, never saying quite exactly what I mean in the interests of civility, if not congeniality. Most of us are well acquainted with the experience of the husband who is called upon to respond to the wife's question: "What do you think of my new dress, honey?" Few of us, even if we thought it, would likely respond: "My dear, at best it looks the color of rotting algae, at worst like the vomit of a sow who's gorged herself on spinach."
Recently Dale Vree, editor of the New Oxford Review, has suggested that in view of some of the disgusting acts homosexual men involve themselves in, we ought to quit abusing the otherwise denatured and erstwhile cheerful word "gay" in our references to them and just call them "fags." Vree even did a sort of brief etymological analysis of the term to justify his usage of it, as I recall. Anyway, we all know how completely horrid such words sound in our ears when we hear them. Vree's question, however, was one about accuracy and honesty.
I had a friend in grad school who always said that honesty was an "overrated virtue," arguing that a bit more mendacious side-stepping of the truth might help us get along better and smooth things out with those who don't quite think alike. He may have a point. Nevertheless, the issue raised its head yet once again in a recent Reuters News article about an eighty year old Belgian Cardinal, Gustaaf Joos, who insists, as the banner headline of the article declares, "Most Gays Are Perverts." Says the Cardinal: "I am willing to write in my own blood that of all those who call themselves lesbian or gay, a maximum of five to 10 percent are effectively lesbian or gay. . . . All the rest are just sexual perverts." Not shy about stepping up to the plate and batting his opinion out into the grandstands, the Cardinal declared: "I demand you write that down." According to Joos, "real homosexuals" don't wander in the streets in colorful suits, but are people who have to live with a serious problem and need help. "We have to help these people and not judge them," said Joos. (For the full article see Reuters report).
It is true, as Joos says, that the Catholic church rejects homosexual practice, but not the homosexual person. It is also true that the Church has been far too lenient, if not cavalier, in its screening procedures for admitting men into the priestly ministry, allowing pederasts and other perverts into the sacristy. It is also true that the vast majority of sexual abuse cases in the Catholic priesthood have been between homosexual priests and young men, and that this fact has never yet been faced squarely by the public media for fear of the "gay lobby's" influence.
On the one hand, I find words like "fag" and "pervert" tactless and offensive, and I doubt that I would ever want to use them as ad hominems. On the other hand, after spending a semester in England amidst the oppressive "propriety" and ubiquitous "understatement" of the Brits, and amidst the pussy-footing political correctness of our own media spokes-HUMANS, I have to admit that a part of me admires an 80 year old curmudgeon who can say to hell with his reputation and call a spade a spade.
Monday, January 19, 2004
- Christianity is no better than any other faith. All religions lead to God.
- Why should I believe the Bible? The Old and New Testaments contradict each other countless times.
- I don't need to confess my sins to a priest. I can go straight to God.
- People's memories of their past lives prove that reincarnation is true...and that the Christian view of Heaven and Hell is not.
- Properly interpreted, the Bible does not condemn homosexuality.
- If the Church truly followed Jesus, they'd sell their lavish art, property, and architecture, and give the money to the poor.
- Catholics should follow their conscience in all things...whether it's abortion, birth control, or women's ordination.
- Dissent is actually a good thing, since we should all keep our minds open to new ideas.
- There's no such thing as absolute truth. What's true for you may not be true for me.
- I don't need to go to Church. As long as I'm a good person, that's all that really matters.
- Natural Family Planning is just the Catholic version of birth control.
- Someone can be pro-choice and Catholic at the same time.
For answers from Crisis magazine's editor, Deal Hudson, click HERE.
- The Garden of Eden was in the area now called Iraq (though, of course, it sure doesn't look much like Paradise on earth today, thanks to Saddam)
- Mesopotamia which is now Iraq was the cradle of civilization!
- Noah built the ark in Iraq.
- The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.
- Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq.
- Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor which is in Iraq.
- Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.
- Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq.
- Assyria which is in Iraq conquered the ten tribes of Israel.
- Amos cried out in Iraq.
- Babylon which is in Iraq destroyed Jerusalem.
- Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq.
- The 3 Hebrew men thrown into the firey furnace were in Iraq (further, if you accept the interpretation that the 4th person mentioned in the firey furnace was Jesus, then you can say that JESUS has been in Iraq too !)
- Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in
Iraq (as Saddam probably did too).
- Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Children of Israel captive into Iraq.
- Ezekiel preached in Iraq.
- The wise men were from Iraq.
- Peter may have preached in Iraq.
- The Babylon described in the Bible was a city in Iraq, as you have probably heard before.
Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq, means country with deep roots. Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very
significant country in the Bible. Here's why:
- Eden was in Iraq--Genesis 2:10-14
- Adam & Eve were created in Iraq--Genesis 2:7-8
- Satan made his first recorded appearance in Iraq--Genesis 3:1-6
- Nimrod established Babylon & Tower of Babel was built in Iraq--
Genesis 10:8-97 & 11:1-4
- The confusion of the languages took place in Iraq--Genesis 11:5-11
- Abraham came from a city in Iraq--Genesis 11:31 & Acts 7:2-4
- Isaac's bride came from Iraq--Genesis 24:3-4 & 10
- Jacob spent 20 years in Iraq--Genesis 27:42-45 & 31:38
- The first world Empire was in Iraq--Daniel 1:1-2 &2:36-38
- The greatest revival in history was in a city in Iraq--Jonah 3
- The events of the book of Esther took place in Iraq--Esther
- The book of Nahum was a prophecy against a city in Iraq--Nahum
- The book or Revelation has prophecies against Babylon, which was the
old name for the nation of Iraq--Revelation 17 & 18
No other nation, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated
with it than Iraq.
Friday, January 16, 2004
- the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on
- over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.
- nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.
- the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.
- on Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts-exceeding
the prewar average.
- all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are
nearly all primary and secondary schools.
- by October 1, Coalition forces had rehab-ed over 1,500 schools - 500 more than scheduled.
- teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.
- all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.
- doctors salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.
- pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons
in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
- the Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccinations to Iraq's
- the Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large
and small, as part of a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq.
For the complete report, click here.
"A small chapel at Murtosa, in northern Portugal, is the only Roman Catholic church where it is acceptable to drop your trousers and show your bum. The reason? The local saint, Goncalo--a colorful 13th century priest--has a reputation for curing hemorrhoids. All you have to do is show him the affected region, say a prayer and, according to locals, the pains disappear. Now, here's a saint who gets to the bottom of things."