February 13, 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury In The Hot Seat

William Rowan has caused quite the stir by saying last week that adopting certain aspects of Sharia law into the United Kingdom cultural function is unavoidable.

Dr. Rowan is the Archbishop of Canterbury. Upon further examination of what he said, it is not as obtuse as how it is being portrayed by the news outlets but it is plenty disturbing. Williams said, referring to the 1.5 million Muslims who now reside there, the "UK has to 'face up to the fact' that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system."

According to the BBC, "Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion. For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court. He says Muslims should not have to choose between 'the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty'". Rowan also said, "An approach to law which simply said - there's one law for everybody - I think that's a bit of a danger."

If there is to be controversy and a fuss coming forth, it ought to be pertaining to that last phrase.

So what does this all mean to Jews for example, living in a country dominated by a supposedly "Christian" concept of justice. Should Jews have the right to Jewish courts where the Jewish concept of "Lex Talionis"--or the Law of Retribution holds sway? (Actually, the U.K.'s "Beth Din at Finchley in north London already handles a wide range of cases for Jewish adherents including divorce settlements, contractual disputes and tenancy disputes" according to Orthodox Jewish law.)

Should Christians for that matter, have the right to demand a Christian system of justice rather than the offensive imposition of secular law? And where does it stop? The Hindu could insist that our Western world view--grounded in an "either/or" philosophy is incompatible with the Eastern World view which is grounded in a "both/and" philosophy necessitating their own legal system to accommodate them. What I fail to see is how this--as Williams contends--"help maintain social cohesion?"

If Sharia law is brought into the U.K. as an Islamic concession, what happens when you have two parties in the same issue who need a legal ruling where one is Muslim demanding Sharia and the other is non-Muslim demanding another system?

At the end of it all, none of this promotes cohesion in the culture but polarizes it even further. I think the Archbishop needs to rethink this one for a few more years.

Parent's Rights--and Sound Medical Practice--Both Trampled in Maine

After my last little tirade concerning the poor leadership of Maine's legislators, I have to mention this latest affront to parental rights and respect for law as it is hot off the press.

This past summer the King Middle School gained national attention--the only time Maine grabs national attention is when it is something bad is this limelight was no different. The King Middle School board decided to slap parents in the face by approving a resolution to disseminate birth control--including prescription contraception, to children as young as 11 years old without parental consent or knowledge.

Irate parents raised their voices over concerns about THEIR children and for the second time, the Maine House of Representatives (now there's a misnomer for you) spit on parent's rights once again.

75 House members, violated every sense of decency and voted against the right of parents to know that their little children are receiving prescription drugs. How that can possibly be legal is beyond me. Not only are prescription drugs highly regulated requiring a physician to see and dispense the recipient (felony number 1) and it is statutory rape for a child of 11 to be engaging in any kind of sex. But now the public school becomes the facilitator and willing accomplice of this crime and parents ought to file suit.

Birth control pills are NOT safe! What will happen when Suzie comes home with a headache only to find that she has a blood clot--one of the many side effects of hormonal birth control pills, and the school issued them to her? Will the school be liable? You better believe it! There is currently a class action lawsuit already playing out filed by hundreds of women who have suffered clotting/stroke episodes due to birth control pills.

And what of the increased risk of breast cancer--the top killer of women over the age of 40--and what about the STD's that surely WILL follow the sexual activity of these naïve, little children? Will the public schools be liable? You better believe it and honestly I cannot wait until the first lawsuit gets slapped against these arrogant individuals who so brazenly usurp a parent's right to govern their child's welfare.

What carnage lies ahead and all thanks to the people who keep being elected to make such decisions for you. We have choices and choices have consequences!

Maine's Law Makers Are Destroying Us

Note--This is a RANT!!!

As I write this I am seething with anger. My anger is on so many levels I can't even identify them all. While it may seem like a sweeping generalization, all one need do is consider every major area of importance to successful survival in this state, and it is clear that the Maine legislature, from the top down, operates in a realm of reality that is inexplicable.

If I wanted to keep the people of a state oppressed and depressed, I don't think I could make as consistently poor decisions to accomplish this if I tried my hardest. From the way this state spends money it doesn't have, to the abundance of restrictions that are contrary to successful survival in a state that is out of the way, it seems like the "leaders" of Maine have a goal of making it a full blown welfare state existing on the sole good graces of a Federal bureaucracy that enjoys throwing money at all things impoverished.

When you think of Maine, what industries do you think of?

Tourism? The money invested in tourism by our "leaders" is paltry and it seems no law aimed at discouraging people from vacationing in Maine is ever shot down.

Lobstering? This used to be a major cash cow but of course Augusta has placed so many restrictions on lobstering that lobsterman have left the industry out of necessity. When you have a nation just to the north and a state just to the south with vastly different, and accommodating laws, it doesn't take much of an IQ to know that the industry will collapse. It is well underway!

Fishing? Did you know there are only two--count them TWO--fishing boats remaining working out of Portland? Because why? Because of the prohibitive laws placed by Maine's law makers. They have left the state moving to Massachusetts where they can still earn a living.

Timber? Same story--laws, laws and more laws.

Small business? It's too costly to do business in this state, because why? Because of taxes, worker's compensation; health insurance and more restrictions than anyone can afford.

So if a bona fide welfare state--a ward of the federal government--is the Way Life Should Be--then everyone in Augusta deserves a hearty WELL DONE. And they will be reelected again and again.

My hope is not in government; never has been, but that gives me no justification in bailing out of the processes by which people make decisions to ruin the respectable life that could be found here. Apparently, not many think like I do. And we are all paying the price.

February 12, 2008

"Empathy Babies" May Be Coming To A School Near You!

"Bullying in schools has been a problem for decades, despite attempts to thwart it." writes Jessica Blanchard for the Seattle P-I. She is reporting on an innovative program--read that--"hair-brained" and a giant waste of money.

Such is the case with a Canadian born program which uses babies in the classroom to enhance "emotional literacy." This in turn is supposed to cut down on bullying. If you're not dizzy, you're not listening.

Here it is in a nutshell in their own words: "…if children can learn to identify and understand how other people feel, and better communicate their own feelings, they'll be less aggressive and less likely to bully other students."

A baby attends a classroom with one of its parents and a certified instructor (that lends credibility I guess) urges the students to "monitor the baby's development, watch how it responds to different situations and"--my favorite part--"try to interpret what its feeling."

In one session a father with baby in tow, passes a new diaper around the circle of kids for students to examine and touch. The children talk about the diaper and ask why disposable vs. cloth; how much do diapers cost; how does this dad know his baby is comfortable in his diaper?

This valuable use of class time of course takes away from less important issues like reading and language arts, math and science and things that old fogies like me remember. After all, if a child doesn't "feel safe", he can't learn well…

I suppose the reporter is right saying bullying has been a problem for decades but only barely. See in the 70's we had bullies but then the bullies had bullies and so on. It was called a pecking order; welcome to the world.

But when bullying got out of hand, as it did one day with me and Phil Radtke, having taken all I could take, I strolled across the street on my way home from school and cold- cocked this bully. Old fashioned fisticuffs--well, rolling on the ground more than anything--ensued and lasted about 10 minutes. At the end it was a draw, but amazingly a year of Phil's bullying and taunting me came to an end.

Sometimes turning the other cheek is just plain stupid but honestly, is it the school yard bully who Jesus had in mind anyway? But now babies in school are supposed to do what families are designed to do in shaping the "emotional literacy" of their children. But not in today's world; not when we have a government that chisels away at parental rights and responsibilities keeps pushing for a "Nanny state." Hip, Hip Hooray!

Sen. Specter (R.-Pa.) Out of Bounds?

Is anyone else disturbed at the intrusion of the Federal Government into the workings of private business? It doesn't seem so. We in New England are keenly aware of the cheating scandal with New England Patriot's coach Bill Belichek.

The NFL investigated, pronounced judgment and issued punishment. At the start of the season, the Pats were caught using some kind of video taping equipment to obtain the play signals of the New York Jets in the season game opener at giant's Stadium. The Patriots and Belichek were fined ¾ of a million dollars and had their first round draft pick (the real punishment) yanked. Case closed--or at least it should be.

As far as everyone knew it was a done deal. Until Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) decided some way or another that it was the role of government to stick their nose into the machinations of private business. If there is law on the books that permits that, then fine; but I am struggling to understand what that law might be other than a senator with a loss of his boundaries and role as a United States senator.

The NFL--a private business--took care of an internal matter--period. So what right does the federal government have demanding further investigation and trying to obtain tapes that been destroyed? Would you hiccup if Uncle Sam decided it wanted to see your records for disciplining an employee who violated one of your policies? Remember we're not talking about a lawsuit here; we're talking about unilateral initiative on the part of a government official.

Everyone gets all worked up when the President wants to have the right to wire tap foreign terrorists. They cry invasion of privacy into the lives of private citizens when it has a legitimate interest in national security yet there's not a peep when the government really does over step itself in this matter of a private corporation.

So what gives? Sen. Specter is also heading up an antitrust suit against the NFL but at least that is a legal proceeding. Still is it a coincidence or has someone in the NFL ticked off the Senator and he is using his office to seek vengeance? It's just a question but when we cease to question our "elected" leaders we are only a beret away from a government that resembles something more of a banana republic than American democracy. Someone needs to ask some questions or your employer--or YOU--could be next.

The Unbeatable... Were Beaten

How could it be? How did it happen? They were 18 and ZERO; undefeated; the undisputed heavy weight champions of the grid iron setting their spikes into the sod where no other teams had trod. So how did a skin-of-their-teeth wild-card team do what couldn't be done?

I'm sure you have your own speculations but from my humble seat of the Monday morning quarterback, Bill Belichek was out coached. The unbeatable quarterback didn't have time to think, time to move, or time to throw and when it was all over--well no need repeating what we all know.

Coaching is under appreciated in any professional sport. But think about it, they don't make multi-millions per year for doing what anyone can do. Great coaches are worth their weight in gold--literally-- because a great coach can take merely "good" players and make a "great" team.

On the other hand, a merely average coach even with great players is only likely to make a "good" team at best.

So what does a coach do? The late great, Tom Landry said a coach is someone who makes a person do what they don't want to do in order to become what they want to become.

When I think of the all-important arena of family, moms and dads are the coaches--or at least are supposed to be--but more and more, these coaches are abdicating their God given assignments and allowing surrogates--to do the job. The result has not been good and it is getting worse.

The Superbowl is a flash in the pan entertainment event that has little impact on the shape of the world yet the coaches of the NFL invest their time and energy studying, viewing, listening, strategizing, planning and rehearsing its players so they will all know what to do no matter what--or who--comes at them. And all for a piece of metal that we know is going to melt into nothingness. So--are you coaching your children, preparing them for whatever or whoever may come at them? The stakes are a lot higher than some entry in a record book believe me.

February 01, 2008

Tightly Knit Packages Tied Up With String; This Is Just One Of My Favorite Things

"…the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes." Daniel 4:25

This phrase occurs four times in the short book of Daniel. If there is a recurring theme in the whole Bible it is that God is God and we are not. I know that comes as a shock to some but truth is TRUE. Never-the-less, the longer I live the more of a Calvinist I become which is not to say that I am a Calvinist. And I am certainly no Arminian in the camp of the Free-willers who place any confidence in the inherent goodness, wisdom, and discernment of mankind. Calvin's first petal of his "t-u-l-i-p"--total depravity--is the most consistently demonstrated characteristic of humanity of any I can enumerate.

True confessions--I find the longer I live, the more I study, and the more I experience and get to know God, the more "complex" He becomes. I often think I "knew God" better as a young Christian than I do today.

The reality of that statement is absurd but it sure seems that way. Everything was pretty cut and dry. That is no longer the case and honestly--I am very comfortable with not having all the answers; not having a perfect theology and not even having a perfect consistency in my understanding.

But for some Christians their theological packages are so neatly jammed with tight little containers of this truth and that truth that anything with a little bit of bulge to it or a corner that isn't exactly square brings out the sweats as anxiety mounts.

I am quite fond of tightly packed packages but I have found they eventually explode under the pressure of their own forced tidiness. For just when you think you have everything in its place, God does something unexpected and there you are trying to fit another container into a box in which there is no room.

So, I have grown to be at peace with a Potter who cannot be fully comprehended by a lump of His clay and at peace with a Potter who sometimes even seems to contradict Himself. But in those moments I have the faith to believe that such contradiction lies in my puny understanding and not in the character of One who is infinite.

So I have no problem believing that sovereignty and free will are two parallel lines that somehow meet in the mind of God. And personally, with that I am very content.

Planned Parenthood Thanks You For Your Support!

I've never quite understood the cliché "It's like the pot calling the kettle black." But I think this fits. Planned Parenthood--or planned barrenhood as some like to call it, is all in a snit over a radio ad because it is pro-life.

The ad is scientifically factual with the sound of a fetal heart beating in the background and then various statistics are given concerning a woman's right to choose to terminate her baby's life.

Planned Parenthood is trying to force the ads off the air claiming the ads spread lies and gross inaccuracies. The fingerprints of Satan are truly all over this organization which receives millions (170 million to be more specific) in federal funding which comes directly from you and me.

Now let's consider another ad. This one is produced by the San Francisco chapter of Planned Parenthood. Set to air on MTV, VHI, Comedy Central and TLC, this disgusting ad shows a very effeminate, male, flight attendant flamboyantly parading up the aisles of the airplane encouraging sexual activity by distributing all manner of devices supposedly promoting safe relations. (Understand I have cleaned this up for the listening audience.)

Planned Parenthood said the ad is meant to stress the importance of sexual health in a "creative way and one that breaks free from the old ineffective paradigm."

So there ya go! The ad by the pro-life group, which is scientifically factual and very pro-life, should be pulled and the disgusting and perverted ad by the largest purveyor of abortions in the nation is a public service.

What can I say that I haven't said so many times before? Thus is what the world has become and thus is why the world needs the truth and the hope that only comes through knowing the Savior of the world. It is this unto which we have committed ourselves whether the world desires what we offer or not.

California Is Operating Under the Influence...

The Berkeley City Council--that would be the Berkeley, California City Council--as if I needed to specify that after you hear the rest of this.

So the City Council had a problem on their hands; an unwanted "business" in their fair city. Now I have been a part of a concerned citizenry when a topless bar wanted to come into our town. You can bet I had something to say about it. Other towns also have protested their town fathers to put restrictions or prohibitions on seamy businesses like porn shops or massage parlors wanting to establish themselves. But what happens when the town fathers--read that, the government--decides to organize and sponsor protests against legal "businesses" that exist to protect the very nature of government that is trying to evict them?

You see the Berkeley City Council voted 6-3 to tell the U.S. Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

It not only informed them they were not welcome but they organized the stellar group, Code Pink, to protest their office and impede their efforts. (Sounds like a hate crime to me!) I think we need a buffer zone around recruiting stations like the one courts imposed on pro-life groups surrounding abortion clinics.

These anti-American miscreants then proceeded to vote 8-1 to give Code Pink a special parking space in front of the recruiting station for six months and a free sound permit for protesting.

California is a renegade state that is out of control in many ways and the Republican Governor needs to be held accountable. The buck stops at his office and he is singularly responsible for ungovernmental conduct. How bad is tit becoming? His state is currently, in flagrant violation of federal law allowing vending machines on the streets dispensing marijuana. This is only for medical purposes of course none of which matters as this is clearly a violation of federal statute.

Frankly, as much as I am opposed to more government infringement on state's rights, the constitution clearly demands that a national defense be established and sustained. What the Berkeley City Council did should be against federal statue as well. This sort of anti-American anti-constitutional nonsense needs to be outlawed.

It is time for the land of fruits and nuts to join the United States of America or declare their independence--and all that, that means!