Sunday, January 30, 2005

Let's Remember Where Teddy Put His Faith

Today, Ted Kennedy’s faith crumbled under the weight of (not his belly but) the truth! As one listens to the reports of the overwhelming success of democracy in Iraq, the echo of Ted Kennedy’s bitter words of last week should be noted before they fade in the biased memory of the left leaning media. Kennedy put his faith in the failure of the Iraqi elections. He claimed the mission of American troops had failed, and that they (our warrior heros) had become "part of the problem" in Iraq. A problem he did not define.

Ted Kennedy is hoping for another Vietnam - and this time he hopes that when American fails, its enemies will succeed. He is hoping for the failure of freedom so he can vindicate his politically driven refusal to support freedom in the past.

In the 1970's Ted Kennedy put his faith in Communism. He lead the charge to desert the people of South Vietnam. Confident that once American troops left that war torn country the "social wonder of Marxism" would build a super world of prosperity and peace. As President Nixon observed in No More Vietnams, "Communism brought peace to Vietnam - the peace of the grave." The "bright Communist future" of Kennedy's faith crumbled under the weight of mass murder, slavery, and poverty. When Communism collapsed, Kennedy's faith was crushed.

Now Ted Kennedy has put his faith (and the hope for the future of the Democrat Party) in the failure of freedom in Iraq. He put his faith in terrorists who have declared war on Democracy; terrorists who use murder and intimidation to gain power and control over the minds and souls of men and women; fellow humans who, although they may be from Iraq not Boston, have the universal and unalienably rights offered by God to all. Teddy put his faith in the failure of Iraq’s electoral process. If the elections had failed he would have said, "I told you so."; his faith vindictated. His faith in the terrorists is a dream of justifying his failed faith in the communist conquers of South Vietnam. Where freedom to fail it would salve his guilty conscience for having deserted freedom in the past. Thus Ted Kennedy puts his faith in any force that might show freedom unworthy of faith.

He was wrong before - he is wrong now. The truth about Vietnam did not shut him up; we have little hope that he will admit the triumph of freedom now. But today’s truth has once again crushed Ted Kennedy’s faith in freedom’s foes.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Gay Marriage Settled

How to deal with the "question" of Gay Marriage:

I am looking forward to the first Sunday in February. In a church meeting, surrounded by priests and high priests and probably a bishop, my grandson will be given a name and a blessing Were he a Catholic or an Anglican he would be christened. Where he a Jew he might even have been circumcised as part of a religious ceremony. When I was in Japan I saw some wonderful Shinto naming ceremonies complete with beautiful silk kimonos for mother and child. It was a beautiful and meaningful ceremony to all who honor the teaching of that ancient religion, but like all of the ceremonies referenced above, it had absolutely no force of civil law. Almost two months ago my grandson was already given a name. It was chosen by his parents and will be printed out on his birth certificate. Along with the name he got his social security number and all the rights and privileges of American citizenship. Why the two ceremonies and the redundant certificates?

I was baptized into my church years ago. There was not official government document, but I didn’t feel badly about that. My baptism was sacred sacrament of my religion; the state had no business there. My Catholic friend did not consider me baptized and he told me I would end up in Hell, but I didn’t care. I didn’t believe him or in his particular version of baptism. I know many people who were never baptized and frankly they don’t care that many "religious" people think they are somehow incomplete with out the process. And the government of my country takes no note of either condition at all.

I see in this separation of church and state the perfect solution to the "question" of gay marriages now dividing America. Get the state out of the marriage business. Let the state sanction civil union contracts only. Such unions would follow all the same legal forms and standards as what is now called "marriage" but would require only government documentation or certification or whatever now puts into place the legal obligations of man, wife, and parent.

Now turn marriage ceremonies over to religions institutions or party caterers or wood elves. I suppose that since the Pope does not recognize the priesthood of the bishop presiding at the "blessing" of my grand baby, he is not officially named in the view of the Catholic Church. I don’t care, my grandson wasn’t named as a Jew or a Shinto either. I don’t think that will ever bother him But he has a name on the records of the Government of the United States. And civil unions could serve the same purpose in uniting people under law who want to share their lives together. If ones church doesn’t want to marry gay people they will never be required to. And all who believe that gay marriage is a sin will be able to know in their hearts that gay people cannot be married in the church the people who don’t believe in gay marriage belong to. The same thing will then apply to gay people who want to get married. They can find plenty of churches or party caterers or wood elves to preform the ceremony for them. If the gay couple is motivated by the protection of their union and not by the desire to "in your face" people who they don’t agree with; they should be satisfied. Everyone will be happy, everyone will have the privileges and responsibilities now required of men and wives under the obligations of the government and everyone will be satisfied that their sacred ceremony of marriage has not been violated.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Is America a Chirstian Nation?

Sometimes I lead a Sunday discussion for all the "old men" in my neighborhood. (High Priest Group) Believe me, age wise, this bunch is way past the village elders. I turned down my AARP membership some years ago but I am usually the youngest in the crew of white and balding heads. This past Sunday the lecture was titled: Jesus Christ: "the Way, the Truth, and the Life". As I read the "lesson" material the question: Is America a Christian Nation?" came to mind.

At the first opportunity I asked the class if American was a Christian Nation.
I received the Universal mummer of yes and the wagging of many snow covered brows.

"Why?" (the trap question)

"Because we are founded on Judeo-Christian teachings, on the Ten Commandments!"

"Oh really? Tell me which of the Ten Commandments American laws enshrine?"

Nervous silence

"What laws support the "No other Gods command?"

Nervous laughter.

"How about, "No graven images"?

This was getting serious. I went on.

"How about "No taking the name of the Lord in Vain"? In which state is that law enforced?’

"Are we required by law to "Keep the Sabbath (Saturday) Day holey"? I don’t think so.

"Honoring father and mother? This commandment might have a promise, but there is no statute to back it up."

"Thou shalt not steal? Well finally, and there are laws against murder too, but I think Hammurabi beat Moses to the punch on those. I"ll bet these "natural" laws were in force in the caves of the Neanderthal."

"As for the rest - "False Witness", only if your in court, under oath, and not a popular Democrat President."

That one got a few laughs!

"And as far as Coveting goes - I dare say it’s part of our Puritan Ethic."

Well, by this time the Ten Commandment line was about spun out so one eager participant explained, with great patience to the delinquent discussion leader (me), " that America was a Christian Nation because the majority of the people in it accepted Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the World."

I replied that, "Satin and all his devils know that Jesus is the Christ. Did that make Hell a Christian Country?"

By this point they were thinking, and this is were the real advantage of discussion things with a group with real wisdom pays off.

Some old fellow spoke up,"We are a Christian nation because we follow the example of Christ."

The claim was followed by a flood of supporting evidence. Americans feed the hungry (think the Tsunami victims) Americans shed blood to bring freedom to others (think Iraq) Americans take care of the orphan and the poor (think our government and private assistance programs). It was pointed out that in America private donations to aid South Asia exceeded US government ones. Even government donations are from the taxes Americans pay to care for their fellows. We discussed how a Christian nation would not persecute those who held different beliefs. HOw such a nation would love the turth, and freedom, and justice. Someone mentioned the story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate that those who follow Christ can not be bigots. Thus the discussion moved away from the tense first few minuets into a discussion of how we individually and collectively need to live Christlike lives if we are to be a Christian Nation.

At this point I ventured that Christlike did not mean only church going. "I’ll bet the priest and the Levite that walked past the suffering man at the road to Damascus were regular church attenders." All agreed; Christian meant the way we lived our lives, not the things we said or the meetings we attended."

I was reminded of the question that every teacher - perhaps particularly history teachers - get asked so often; "When am I ever going to use this stuff." The stuff we learn by attending church meetings and reading scriptures is useless unless we live by what we learn. That is the whole purpose of studying - to learn what to do. There is no sanctity in the study, only in the application of lessons learned.

And so we ended our discussion with another question. "Are we a Muslim Nation, a Buddhist Nation, a Hindu Nation, a Stoic Nation, a Taoist Nation?"

The answer: "Only by being truly one can we be the others!"

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A Speech for Today,a Speech for All Time

Here are my favorite quotes from President Bush's Second Inaugural Address. I think it was wonderful - full of absolute truth. I will not comment now. Tell us what you think.

1. "For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder - violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat."

2. "There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom."

3. "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

4. "American’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one."

5. "From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth."

6. "Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation."

7. "The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations."

8. "The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it."

9. "We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom which is eternally right."

10. ". . . yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed."

11. "In the long run, there is not justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty."

12. "We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery."

13. "By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."

14. "Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself - and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character."

15. "That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the Varied faith of our people, America moves forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever."

16. ". . . always remember that even the unwanted have worth."

17. "And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time."

18. "From the view point of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of Freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?"

19. "We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul."

20. "When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" - they were acting on an ancient hope that is to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty."

Friday, January 14, 2005

Promises, Prayers, and "The Dog in the Manger"

There was a time when the soldiers of Rome would gather to swear allegiance to a new emperor; investing in him, by the strength of their swords, the power proffered by the Senate and the people. Next Thursday, 20, January, 2005 the "most powerful man in the world" will swear his obedience and devotion to the Law. George W. Bush will take an oath in the name of God to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The Inauguration of a President is not a celebration of election victory; not a glamorous gloat. It is a sacred ordinance whereby WE THE PEOPLE are promised the rights endowed upon us by the Creator.

I find it telling that the days leading up to the Inaugural ceremony are filled with court battles over prayer. Mobs of malcontents are amassing to practice their right to make fools of themselves by pouting and ranting against the will of the majority and the Constitution. They claim the "constitutional" right to pout before the world, but they, with shrill protestation and frivolous suits, attempt to muzzle the prayers of their countrymen and debase the celebration of the supremacy of Law. Their lawlessness and lies will pollute the airwaves and foul the highest mass of our nationhood. With thoughtless demonstrations of discontent they will attempt to drown out the rights of others in an obscene misexercise of their own. Theirs is the same chop logic that condemns the burning of a cross as hate speech but justifies the burning of a flag as free speech.

Aesop tells the fable of the "Dog in the Manger." The dog, shirking his duties, finds a comfortable bed and sleeps the day away curled up on the soft hay of the ox’s manger. As darkness falls the weary ox returns from his day long labor at the plow looking forward to his supper. But when the ox approaches his rightful feast, the dog snarls and snaps driving the poor beast away. The snapping dog will neither eat the hay nor allow the hungry ox to do so. Curled up on the cozy nest of their Constitutional rights the snarling dogs of the left neither support the Constitution nor allow others to partake of their rights therein.

A majority of Americans support President Bush. He was elected by a clear majority and chosen according to the dictates of the Constitution. Those who hate President Bush have no real love of the Constitution. They are not interested in justice; only in their own desires. They let the Law labor for them when it serves their need but disdain it when it inconveniences their agenda. Like terrorists everywhere, the sore losers of the 2004 election are snapping and snarling like angry dogs. Having lost their legitimacy, they must usurp attention by violence and intimidation. On the day when all mankind should celebrate the sacred miracle of government of, for, and by the people; their whining and barking will disrupt the peace. These unworthy acts will show the "protesters" for what they are. Their barking and whining will not dim the wonder for those who are wise enough to ignore the dog sounds and listen to the prayers and sacred oaths of a noble, just, and honorable servant of the people.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Grima Lives!

J.R.R. Tolkien said his books were not allegories, rather fantastic histories. One purpose of history is to help us recognize situations, elements, and forces that might occur again. The Good, as it has always been, is locked in conflict with evil. Tolkien said he was inspired to write the Lord of the Rings by the Lords Prayer - specifically the line, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." From this plea he recognizes two basic forces of evil, that within - temptation, the power of the ring to corrupt its bearer, and that without - evil to be delivered from, the dark lord, Sauron.

Many who now oppose the war fail to grasp this important lesson from the "history" of Middle Earth and good news of the New Testament. They see only the evil within and admonish us to live like the hobbits of the Shire, kept safe by simplicity. But the Evil that threatened Middle Earth would have brought destruction to the peaceful as will as the valiant. And those who have read the whole story will know that even after Sauron had dissipated into the void, evil seized the Shire; bringing death, destruction, and slavery.

Now to Grima Wormtongue; Wormtongue is one of the most effective of the servants of Sauron, one of the most effective weapons of the Evil without. Long trusted, he brings decay before death, corrupting while pretending to support. Like his master Saruman, "the big spider who manipulates the little one," Grima weaves webs of deceit that clog and darken the wisdom of those who’s action will be necessary to end evil. Gandalf recognizes the voice of Sauron in that the words of Saruman and Wormtongue, and move to counter disaster. Before Theoden can rise up to play his part in the salvation of Middle Earth, Grima must be relieved and the pollution of his deceptions washed away by the light of truth.

More and more the Media and academia are filled with smooth- tongued councilors that clog, enfeeble, deceive, and pollute. It would be well to catalogue such subtleties. It was only when they were recognized and unmasked that Saruman and Grima could be defeated.

Some poison from the New York Times:

"Washington’s New Year War Cry: Party On!" Frank Rich, January 2, 2005:

"Ordinary people beyond Washington, red and blue Americans alike, are feeling the a disconnect more and more. . . . ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 70 percent of Americans believed that any gains in Iraq had come at the cost of "unacceptable" losses in casualties and that 56 percent believed the war wasn’t "worth fighting"

Can’t you hear Grima telling Theoden that war is too difficult and we should stay home and die?


"Such is the disconnect between the country and the war that there is no national outrage when the president awards the Medal of Freedom to the clowns who undermined the troops by bungling intelligence (George Tenet) and Iraqi support (Paul Bremer)."

In this attack on the heros who brought safety to our homeland and freedom to millions, can’t you hear the voice of Grima calling Gandalf - Strom Crow?

"Promoting Torture’s Promoter", Bob Herbert, January 7 2005: (an attack on Alberto Gonzales)

"His [Gonzales] judgments regarding the detention and treatment of prisoners rounded up in Iraq and the so-called war on terror have been both unsound and shameful. Some of the practices that evolved from his judgments were appalling, gruesome, medieval."

Here, Grima (Herbert) attacks Eomer (Gonzales), vilifying the very hero who loyally stood by our faltering nation in its fight for survival. Herbert goes on to make more unsupported and untruthful claims about things Mr. Gonzales said and the effects his actions had. Herbert gives comfort and ammunition to our enemies and spins a web of glum about the heart of a nation that needs all its strength to survive. Without a single fact to support his subtlety he hisses:


"Americans have tended to view the U. S. as the guardian of the highest ideals of justice and fairness. But that is a belief that’s getting more and more difficult to sustain. If the Justice Department can be the fiefdom of John Ashcroft or Alberto Gonzales, those in search of the highest standards of justice have no choice but to look elsewhere."

Even as Tolkien’s Grima sowed the seeds of doubt in the justice of the cause against evil his king and country so desperately needed to fight, Herbert and an army of "real world" Grimas are poisoning America’s spirit of resolve. They fill our minds with self doubt and breed contention within while the evil without grows stronger day by day.

I could go on - every news broadcast; every editorial page is full of the whisperings and deceits of those who, beneficing from the protection of our great country, are in league with those who would destroy it. I will end my list here hoping that others in the Agora can present examples. Perhaps there are those who would defend Grima and explain how our nation would be better off listening to "his" advice.