Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and looting

We’ve had hurricanes before, but in the history of the United States we've never seen anything like this on our shores…hundreds of thousands of people have lost everything: homes, jobs, businesses, and even loved ones. They say 80% of New Orleans is under water and more is pouring in from broken levies, raw sewage is beginning to pollute the water, and drinking water may not be available for weeks. Over a million people are without power, and without power it’s pretty hard to boil water for drinking—especially when there may not be a dry place around to start a fire. Officials are concerned about alligators and poisonous snakes that may be infesting the water. In fact, someone even reported seeing a shark at an intersection near a shopping mall (that almost sounds like a punch line to a joke, but for those in the area it is no joke). But the damage is not just on the coastal cities, it extends hundreds of miles inland. The storm caused power outages as far away as Memphis Tennessee. Many Louisiana and Mississippi towns look like they’ve been hit with a nuclear bomb.

As I write this, MSNBC is showing video feed of people who are shopping at a Walmart in Louisiana--dozens of people with shopping carts filled to the brim and with armloads and bags full of clothing. Only, the Walmart is not open. The shoppers are looters. Most were not taking water, food, or basic necessities. They’re pretty much grabbing whatever they can get their hands on including games, baby dolls, sports stuff, TV’s, fishing poles, etc. One officer said he saw about 80 people raiding an Athletes Foot shoe store—hardly a center for the basic necessities of life. The TV caption says “Lootings in some Gulf states said to be “out of control.”

So while many people are literally risking their lives to rescue and assist storm victims, many storm victims are gleefully ripping off their neighbors! Looting is like seeing your neighbor lying on the sidewalk, bleeding and incapacitated...and you walk up and kick him in the teeth, because you think you can get away with it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Much was made of the fact that Hurricane Katrina was downgraded from category 5 to category 4 just before landfall, and that it veered to the east and avoided a direct hit on New Orleans. This was very good news, but should not distract us from the fact that the devastation left by this storm is nothing less than catastrophic! There are estimates of 1.5 million people without power. Homes in Louisiana and Mississippi are under water up to their rooftops. People are trapped on roofs or in attics. As I understand it, water in New Orleans will not drain off (New Orleans is below sea level), it must be pumped off. How do you restore electrical power to pumps that are under water? How do you get rid of the water without the pumps? Hundreds-of-thousands of residents who evacuated have been told not to return home for up to a week or more...but then they may not have homes or jobs to return to! Dozens of people are known to be dead so far, but the counting has not even begun.

Certainly a lot of prayer and help is needed. If you can help financially, Samaritan's Purse (Headed by Billy Graham's son), Operation Blessing, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Christian Disaster Response, are among the organizations providing aid for this disaster. If you know anyone living in the area and need shelter contact information, see Charity Wire. For additional news on the aftermath, click here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Pray for the people of Louisiana and Mississippi. As I write this, Hurricane Katrina is hammering those states, especially the area around New Orleans. Some are saying that it has the potential of being one of the most devastating storms in U.S. history. For local info, see WVUE TV; WGNO TV ; in New Orleans.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Richard Sternberg and Intelligent Design

Richard Sternberg committed an unforgivable sin! Dr. Sternberg holds two doctorates in evolutionary biology, worked at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (part of the National Institutes of Health), and was editor of a scholarly scientific Journal called the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. Dr. Sternberg committed his unforgivable sin in August of 2004 when he allowed an article to be published in the journal that advocated the theory of Intelligent Design (gasp)! Intelligent Design argues that the scientific evidence does not support the idea that the origin and evolution of life happened by chance alone.

Even though the article had been peer reviewed by three other scientists, and even though Dr. Sternberg himself is agnostic about Intelligent Design, the discrimination and hostility by his employer and colleagues was so great that Dr. Sternberg filed a complaint with the federal Office of Special Counsel (The Special Counsel’s office agreed with Sternberg)!

I’m just wondering, what are these scientists so afraid of? Are they really interested in the pursuit of truth, or just the “truth” that fits within their pre-determined philosophical and ideological box? In my not-so-humble opinion, the hostility against Dr. Sternberg is not about science at all, but about scientific dogma. The attitude of the scientists who attacked Dr. Sternberg is really not much different than that of the priests who attacked Galileo is it?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Osama Ben Laden and anti-war protesters

According to Inside 911, a two-hour TV program produced by the National Geographic channel, after Osama Ben Laden came in on the winning side in Afghanistan’s war against the Russians, Ben Laden became convinced that he could defeat America also if he could fight us on his own turf. According to the program, even before the World Trade Center attack, Ben Laden was anticipating American retaliation for the attack, which would allow him to fight America in his own back yard. If the Inside 911 program is accurate, it would appear that our invasion of Iraq, therefore, played right into Ben Laden’s hands and was exactly what Ben Laden wanted.

If this is true, however, it would now seem to be the anti-war protesters who are playing into Ben Laden’s hands. If we pull out of Iraq before securing their freedom, Ben Laden will conclude that he has beaten America just like he beat Russia. If Ben Laden can defeat us in Iraq, like he defeated Russia in Afghanistan, he will undoubtedly conclude that nothing is beyond his reach, he will be emboldened to expand his war even more (if that is possible), and our national security will be in even more jeopardy than it is now.

My question is this: why does Iraq’s defense have to fall almost entirely on our shoulders? Have we asked (or pressured) our supposed allies, like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey replace our troops in order to secure Iraq? This would take away one of Ben Laden’s main pretenses for fighting this war (i.e. American troops in Iraq), it would hopefully secure Iraqi freedom and allow the democracy we started to continue, and it would allow us to get out of Iraq without a Ben Laden victory. Everyone wins, except Ben laden. What am I missing?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Multiculturalism and Alvin Schmidt

Alvin J. Schmidt is a professor of Sociology at Illinois College. He was born in poverty and moved to America with his parents during World War II. He spoke only German and experienced ethnic bigotry and discrimination by Americans who hated Germans. Although an immigrant, he is very hard on multiculturalism in America. One of the points he makes in his book, The Menace of Multiculturalism; Trojan Horse in America, is that multiculturalists generally focus almost exclusively on the evils of America while ignoring the social evils of other civilizations.

Schmidt points out that multiculturalists have often criticized early settlers for such things as using stocks to punish criminals, but they almost never mention American Indian faults. For example, according to Schmidt, the Mohawks, Sioux, Minitares, Pawnees, and Iroquois would all eat their prisoners! Iroquois sometimes cut off their prisoner’s fingers “and make them eat their own flesh.” America is constantly attacked for slavery (and rightly so!), but multiculturalists fail to mention that it was African tribes who sold the slaves in the first place, or that the Illinois Indians, Ottawa Indians, Iroquois, Pima, Apache, and Yuma are all among the tribes that engaged in slave trade too! America is often criticized by multiculturalists for being environmentally insensitive, while American Indians are lifted up as great conservationists. Schmidt provides evidence, however, that not only did Indians kill far more animals than they needed (contrary to popular myth), they often set huge fires to destroy thousands of acres of forests in order to make hunting, and fighting enemy tribes easier.

I did not provide this summary because I have anything against Indians (I don’t), or because I think my ancestors are any better (I shudder to think of all the atrocities committed by my Viking ancestors)! The only point I am making is that Schmidt has done an excellent job documenting that fact that multiculturalists regularly and viciously attack America, while ignoring the fact that--as Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger puts it-- “All major races, cultures, nations have committed crimes, atrocities, horrors at one time or another”(Disuniting America, 93). In my opinion, nothing could be more “American” than pointing out the evils in American history--but to constantly engage in a one-sided harangue against America while ignoring the atrocities of other nations and cultures, is often nothing more than anti-American bigotry!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Multiculturalism and Arthur Schlesinger

Arthur Schlesinger is a Pulitzer Prize winning historian from Harvard University, one time special advisor to President Kennedy, and life-long civil rights advocate. Dr. Schlesinger once wrote an outstanding book called The Disuniting of America. It is a “must read” for anyone interested in multiculturalism. Some of his comments are:

“The best way to keep a people down is to deny them the means of improvement and achievement and cut them off from the opportunities of the national life. If…[a leader of] the Ku Klux Klan wanted to devise an educational curriculum for the specific purpose of handicapping and disabling black Americans, he would not be likely to come up with anything more diabolically effective than Afrocentrism” (94)

“The cult of ethnicity exaggerates differences, intensifies resentments and antagonisms, drives ever deeper the awful wedges between races and nationalities. The endgame is self-pity and self-ghetttoization (102)

“The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all…would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality.” (Theodore Roosevelt, quoted in Schlesinger, 118).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Multiculturalism and relativism

There are actually people in America who cannot bring themselves to call terrorism, or the attack on the World Trade Centers, evil. They believe that we need to understand the terrorists better because all values are relative and all cultures should be valued. A person who wanted to argue for this point might say, for example, that it is not evil to murder someone if that murder would save 100 innocent people. Many people have bought into this line of thinking, but some people have gone even further to conclude that we should not, therefore, judge any other cultures, religions or behaviors because everything is relative.

This is not only illogical, it is shear nonsense! For example, even if you believe that it is morally justified to murder one person in order to save a hundred innocent lives, that would not automatically make it morally right to murder one hundred innocent people in order to save one murderer. In other words, even if ethical relativism were legitimate, that would not justify all behaviors or make all cultures equally valid. Even ethical relativism doesn’t exclude to possibility of evil and judgment.

It appears to me that many multiculturalists are terribly inconstant in this regard. On the one hand, they seem to think that passing judgment on other cultures is wrong, but on the other hand many of them rightfully condemn racism and oppression of women—even though these attitudes that are thoroughly ingrained in many, if not most of the world’s cultures.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Illegal Immigration

The governors of New Mexico and Arizona (both Democrats) recently declared a state of emergency in their states over illegal immigration. On CNN recently, Lou Dobbs condemned President Bush for not doing enough about illegal immigration. I must say that I agree with Dobbs and the governors on this one. I do not think the President is taking illegal immigration anywhere near as seriously as he needs to. For example, President Bush provided funding for about 200 new immigration officers. Is he kidding? 2000 wouldn’t even make a dent! Don’t misunderstand. I’m not against immigration, I’m against illegal immigration.

A recent survey showed that roughly 40% of Mexicans would like to move to the United States, and you can’t blame them—with all the poverty, corruption, drugs and kidnapping going on (a news show last night called Mexico City the kidnapping capital of the world)! So let’s help more honest and law-abiding Mexicans move to the United States—but legally! We have to take more action to slam the boarder shut for illegal immigration. I agree with Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth, it’s a matter of national security.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan and anti-Semitism

Last night on Hannity and Combs, Alan Combs was talking with G. Gordon Liddy and Elanor Clift when Liddy made reference to something Cindy Sheehan (the mother protesting at President Bush’s Texas ranch) said about getting the Jews out of Israel. Liddy said that statement was anti-Semitic and I almost fell out of my recliner when both Combs and Clift disagreed! If someone were to say something about getting all the blacks out of America, virtually everyone would immediately recognize how racist and despicable such thinking would be—and yet Combs and Clift could actually deny that a call to get Jews out of Israel was anti-Semitic?! Unbelievable!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Two perspectives

Depending on who you listen to, you might almost conclude that there are two entirely different wars going on in Iraq. At the risk of over generalizing, the “left” seems to treat the war as if it was an invasion from an evil, imperialist regime that intends to colonize Iraq and steal its oil. They seem to endlessly emphasize (not just report) every bombing, every person killed, every hardship, and every grieving mother, (OK, so I’m exaggerating a bit). On the other hand, the “right” treats the war as a great liberating force bringing freedom and prosperity. The “right” likes to highlight freedom from a sadistic, brutal dictator, freedom to vote, new schools, new hospitals, grateful Iraqis, etc.

While it is true that a lot innocent Iraqi’s died in this war, it is also true that a lot of Iraqi’s died before the war, not only being massacred by a brutal dictator, but also because of UN, French, German and Russian cooperation with Saddam in the oil for food scandal. It is also true that freedom rarely comes without a high cost in blood--our own freedom was won by a very bloody war (those who say war never accomplished anything good are exposing their own ignorance).

Frankly, I have often wondered, “why Iraq, rather than North Korea, Syria or Iran” and, “couldn’t we have eliminated the threat with surgical strikes rather than by taking over the entire country”, but in the end I supported the war—not because I hated Muslims (I don't) or wanted to steal their oil (I don't), but because 1) for (10?) years of negotiations Saddam Hussein had illegally thumbed his nose at the UN sanctions imposed because he invaded his Muslim neighbors in Kuwait 2) nearly everyone (even democrats) seemed convinced at the time that Saddam had WMD’s and was a direct threat to our national security, and 3) because of all the rapes, tortures, and mass murders that Saddam Hussein and his sons were committing against innocent Iraqi’s (I thought, “If my family and I were Iraqis, I would pray to God that someone would come in and rescue us”).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cindy Sheehan and anti-war protesters

There is a big anti-war protest going on near President Bush’s Ranch in Texas, led by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier killed in action in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan and the protesters apparently want us to pull out of Iraq. It seems to me, however, that if we pulled our troops out of Iraq now, there is a strong possiblity (if not virtual certainty) that Muslim “insurgents” would soon take over the country and re-impose an oppressive dictatorship.

Back when Saddam Hussein was in power, the U.S. supported Iraqi Kurds in their efforts to undermine Saddam Hussein’s oppressive government. Then, for some political reason, the U.S. suddenly cut off all support and left the Kurds hanging out to dry—and my understanding is that Saddam Hussein slaughtered them by the hundreds (if not thousands; while we sat by and did nothing)! Of course, Saddam Hussein is no longer in power, but can anyone seriously doubt that if the insurgents re-gained control of Iraq, a blood-bath could follow as they exact vengeance on those who supported democracy? (If you question this, just remember that the “insurgents” have no hesitation at all about blowing up innocent women and children).

If this happens, all the American blood shed over that country might just as well have been flushed down the hopper for all the good it would have done! We can’t let this happen! We simply cannot tuck tail and run again as some seem to want us to do. We must stay long enough to give the Iraqi’s an honest chance at freedom.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The ELCA and literal interpretation

During the August 9th meeting of the ELCA (the largest Lutheran denomination) Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson issued a call for Lutherans to join with Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans to fight against literal interpretation of the Bible (click here to read more). The attack was apparently directed against Evangelicals. Most Evangelical scholars believe that authors usually try to communicate something when they write, so Evangelical scholars, therefore, want to understand what the authors of the biblical writings were trying to communicate. To do this, they study biblical texts, taking such factors into account as historical and cultural background, grammar, literary genre, and figures of speech. Evangelicals insist, for example, that we should not interpret poetry or music as literally as we would interpret a letter or historical narrative. Evangelical scholars fully understand that the Bible contains numerous figures of speech. For example, there are no Evangelical scholars who think “the trees of the field” literally “clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12). Evangelical scholars may not always agree on what was intended as a figure or speech or metaphor, but they do not deny that the Bible contains such literary devices.

Admittedly, “literal” (as opposed to allegorical) was probably not the best choice of terms for this view of interpretation, but it is certainly shorter than “grammatical-historical hermeneutics” which is a more scholarly designation. Besides, other religious scholars know very well what Evangelicals mean by “literal interpretation.” So why do these religious critics mock “literal interpretation” when they are fully aware that Evangelicals don’t take everything in the Bible literally? The fact is that the religious leaders who mock “literal interpretation” simply don’t believe much of what the biblical writers were trying to communicate. Many of them probably don’t want to come right out and tell their congregations that they don’t believe the Bible, however--this might invite questions about why they continue to be religious leaders if they don't believe their own religous text. Not only that, but some in their congregations may leave for other churches, taking their offerings with them!

The solution that some religous leaders have chosen is to interpret the Bible in such a way that it doesn’t matter much what the authors were trying to communicate—only what the reader wants to find in the text (Marcus Borg calls this “metaphorical” interpretation). This allows religious leaders to present the allusion that they still believe the Bible (just not the “literal" interpretation). This method also frees them from annoying biblical rules and commandments, and allows them to create a new, more politically correct “Christianity” that is more in line with whatever happens to be socially acceptable at the time. The biblical name for this is "idolatry." In America these people certainly have the freedom to imagine their own religion. I just think religious leaders should stop pretending that what they are proclaiming is still Christianity.

Friday, August 12, 2005

NARAL and lying propoganda

I don’t mind honest disagreements and I don’t mind honest mistakes (I make more than my fair share) but my blood boils when I hear what appears to be blatant lying or deception for propaganda purposes. It sure appears like this is what NARAL has done in their efforts to smear Judge Roberts, the Supreme Court nominee. See Fortunately, the news this morning is that NARAL has agreed to pull their misleading ad.

Excuse my cynicism but I doubt that NARAL executives suddenly realized, "oh my goodness, this ad is misleading, we should pull it." I suspect, rather, that they pulled it because the outcry against their blatant deception was so great, they realized that the ad would do more PR harm than good.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Science and intelligent design

The theory of “Intelligent Design” teaches that both the universe and life are entirely too complex to have originated by purely by chance, and that some kind of intelligence is the best explanation. This has some in the scientific and educational world up in arms. They argue that that science, by definition, only allows for natural explanations. Although the theory that life originated and evolved purely by chance is so statistically improbable as to be virtually impossible, still, it simply must be true since any alternatives which postulate divine intervention are ruled out by definition.

But hypothetically speaking, if the universe was designed by some intelligence, these scientists would never know it because such a possibility is ruled out by the way they define “science.” When your professor, therefore, tells you that science has ruled out the existence of God, you should understand that God has been ruled by definition, not by science!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Darwinism and PBS

Over 400 scientists from such universities as Princeton, Cornell, Berkeley, UCLA and others, have signed a statement expressing skepticism about the “ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.” Mathematician and philosopher David Berlinski said, “Darwin’s theory of evolution is the great white elephant of contemporary thought,” adding, “It is large, almost completely useless, and the object of superstitious awe.” Contrary to a the PBS “Evolution” series which said there were no scientists who disagreed with the Darwinian version of evolution, Dr. John West said, “The fact is that a significant number of scientists are extremely skeptical that Darwinian evolution can explain the origins of life.” To view the entire article as well as the list of scientists, click here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Planned Parenthood and violence

The “Superhero for Choice” is a cartoon character who drowns an evil abstinence educator in a trash can, boils a conservative U.S. Senator and blows up Christian pro-life advocates (or just makes them disappear…its not entirely clear). We might dismiss this as a tasteless joke if it was a skit on Saturday Night Live, the Daily Show or on some radical web site, but this video is on the official Planned Parenthood Golden Gate website! Actually the video is not nearly as violent as it sounds and the only thing Planned Parenthood is probably guilty of is producing poor quality, cheezy, propoganda.

But in defense of their video, Planned Parenthood would probably cite the acts of violence committed against abortion clinics by “Christian” fundamentalists. In my lifetime I’m sure I’ve come in contact with thousands of Christian fundamentalists. To my knowledge, not a single one of the fundamentalist pastors, professors and Christian leaders I’ve known has ever supported violence against abortion clinics. In fact, of all these fundamentalists, the number who I know to have intellectually supported violence against abortion clinics could be counted on one hand (I say intellectually supported, because if I knew they were actually contemplating such violence I would have turned them in to the authorities a heart-beat)!

Although those who advocate violence against abortion clinics are a relatively tiny misguided fringe group, it is an important pro-abortion strategy to portray all pro-life Christians as radical, extremist, violent, gay-bashing, abortion clinic bombing nut-cases! Apparently, Planned Parenthood must think this gives them justification for producing a cartoon depicting violence against pro-life Christians. My guess is that if an organization like Focus on the Family had produced a cartoon even jokingly depicting violence against pro-choice advocates, they would be charged with hate speech and condemned by nearly every media outlet in the country.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Social Security and congress

We've all heard about how the Social Security system is in trouble because the baby boom generation is about to retire. But this large baby boom generation has been paying in huge amounts of money for--well, in my case--nearly 40 years! If I could have put all that money in an interest bearing retirement account, I could have retired early with no help from the government. So why isn’t there an astronomically huge Social Security fund? Because, as I understand it, for all these years, after Social Security has paid for current benefits, any surplus has been turned over to congress to spend however they want. Congress gets the money, Social Security gets the IOU’s. In other words, rather than investing the surplus to pay for future retirement needs (your retirement!), our elected representatives have apparently spent it all on other things (If this had happened in corporate American, wouldn't some executives be looking at prison time?). If this was just a democrat thing or a republican thing you can bet that one party would be condemning the other for robbing Americans of their retirement. So why is neither party complaining? I suspect it is because both parties are guilty.

Fortunately some in congress are now trying to correct this problem. It’s called the Growing Real Ownership for Workers (GROW) Accounts Act. The act ensures that Social Security surplus is used only for Social Security and not for other government programs. If you think you might like to support this legislation, click here.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Islam and tolerance

I am against Islam. I do not believe Mohammad was a prophet of God, I do not believe the Qur’an was inspired by God, I do not believe Islam is a way of salvation, and I do not even believe that Islam is a “great” religion (unless we’re just counting numbers). In case this sounds terribly intolerant, don’t forget that Muslims have the same kinds of views toward Christianity. For example, according to the Qur’an, those of us who believe in the Trinity are blasphemers”, (Sura V.72) and those who reject Islam will be “Companions of Hell-fire” (Sura V.10). As an American, I respect Muslims’ right to disagree. In fact, I tend to respect peaceful Muslims who think I’m going to hell, much more than I respect those who call themselves Christians but deny virtually every fundamental tenet of the Christian faith (e.g. John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and many others in mainline denominations).

But while I am against Islam as a religion, I love Muslims as individuals. I have never treated a Muslim with anything but kindness and respect. If I had Muslim neighbors, I would go out of my way to respect their views, to be kind and compassionate, and to assist them in personal needs. Not many years ago this would have been called “tolerance.” Unfortunately, tolerance now seems to have been redefined as a willingness to accept all views as equally valid and true, resulting in a refusal to judge other views as wrong. Some have actually carried this relativism so far that they refuse even to call Hitler or Saddam Hussein evil! This is not tolerance. This is absurdity! The fact is that the advocates of the “new” tolerance are usually only tolerant about those things that do not directly affect them personally. For example, if someone were to pour a pot of boiling water on them, they would be quite sure that was evil!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

NEA and social agendas

I am still incensed at the idea that a school system is teaching about sexual issues to kindergartners (see yesterday’s post)! Is it any wonder that so many parents want to homeschool or send their children to private schools? An even bigger question is, why doesn’t the NEA (National Education Association) seem to understand this? Could it be that they really do understand but are more interested in indoctrinating our children in the latest social agendas than they are about educating our children? Is this the real reason they fight so hard against homeshooling and private schools?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Children and homosexuality

Hey, did you hear the one about the father who insisted on being notified before his son's kindergarten class was taught about homosexuality? He went to jail. No, its not a punch line, it really happened. Of course there is more to the story than this, but it is enough to make one's blood boil. Click here to read more.

Teaching about homosexuality to 5 years olds?!!! Those responsible should be charged with child sexual abuse!

Tolerance and Christianity

When I lived in Tennessee there was a high school that always started their football games with prayer. The following is my summary of what one high school principal said to a crowd, explaining why they could no longer pray before sporting events:

While it has always been the custom to open *** High School football games in prayer, I am now told that this is against the law. As I now understand the law, I can use the facilities of this school to approve sexual perversion and call it alternative lifestyles, I can promote sexual promiscuity and call it “safe sex”, I can promote the killing of unborn babies and call it “birth control,” I can designate a school day as “earth day” and praise the goddess, “mother earth,” in the name of ecology, and I can allow our teachers to publicly ridicule anyone with traditional Christian values. If any of this offends anyone, they’ll just have to get over it. But if anyone uses this school ask God to bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, that’s against the law! Tolerance apparently applies to everyone except Christians.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hate speech and freedom of speech

England may soon be joining Canada and Australia in passing anti-hate legislation. Just last month (July 11) the British House of Commons passed the "Racial and Religious Hatred Bill" designed to curb hate speech. This may sound like a good thing--I mean, shouldn’t there be a law against bigoted artists, filmmakers or authors who mock Christians? And I, for one, am certainly opposed to the use of insulting or threatening speech against people just because of their race, national origin, sexual orientation or religion (though I must admit that my attitude and words have sometimes been less than kind toward those who do things like raping women, molesting children, blowing people up, or throwing feces on guards, etc. But I digress).

Unfortunately, “hate speech” is capable of a wide variety of interpretation. For example, Muslims in England were rightly concerned that a “hate speech” law could make it illegal for Muslim clerics just to publicly read portions of the Qur’an that promote violence against infidels. And in Australia, pastor Danny Nalliah and a colleague face possible prison sentences for just teaching parts of the Qur’an that put Islam in a bad light. The fact is that anti-hate laws are being used to curb dissent and even intellectual discussion. Anti-hate speech laws sound good in theory but in practice they are anti-free-speech laws.

The new hate crimes bill in England now goes before the House of Lords (CNS News)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Multiculturalism in Canada

Detective, Theressa Kelm of Ottawa, Canada has the job of teaching various groups the boundaries between acceptable behavior and harassment. After the third sexual assault by Ottowa taxi drivers reported this year, Detective Kliem said, “Some of this behavior may be acceptable in the countries they are from…Our message to them is that it’s not acceptable here, and it won’t be tolerated.” Her statement was called racist by Yousef Al Mezel, the president of the Ottawa taxi drivers union, “because it implied the Canadian culture was superior to that of other countries in terms of its attitude toward women” (Canadian Culture Clash, July 19, by Scott Norvell, Fox News).

Some purveyors of multiculturalism apparently want us to believe that all cultural values are relative and that we should be tolerant toward all cultures. Yet our culture (Canada and the U.S.) affirms the rights, equality and dignity of women. So which is it? You simply can’t affirm the rights, equality and dignity of women AND the equality of all cultures at the same time.