Thursday, May 29, 2008

Religious Beliefs vs Capitalism?


OK, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that might be a stretch, but not much of one, if the obvious inferences can be made from reading about the latest California Supreme Court case to make the news.

According to a story by Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times today, the Court seemed disposed to rule in favor of a lesbian who is suing a fertility medical organization because doctors refused to inseminate her because their religious beliefs "did not approve of lesbians having children."  (Of course, DGR(s), there's much more to the story, and you are encouraged to go online and read it for yourself.)

One of the Justices who voted in the negative in the recent marriage case left this impression on Dolan:  "Justice Carol A. Corrigan, who voted against same-sex marriage, appeared strongly in favor of [Lupita] Benitez's right to medical treatment." 

Capitalism enters the discussion because Corrigan framed her questions with "business" in mind.

Maybe it's time for religious leaders to take stock of their dogma.  Andrew Sullivan has written a brief history of the religious teachings about "sodomy," and it's worth noting that the legal definition has changed over the past 1,000 years, and that legal definition hardly existed prior to that.

All this brouhaha about "the Bible" tells me so, is just that.  Brouhaha.

The Deity might, indeed, be immutable; our understanding of it, though, is constantly evolving.

What an interesting quandary for the current Republican crop of neo-cons--which takes preference in a contest between religious freedom to discriminate and the level playing fields of capitalism? 

Time to reconsider some religious practices, guys.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Silence of the CAIR


NPR's Morning Edition reported, earlier this week, that over 140 women in Basra were killed last year by Islamic extremists because they wore makeup or some sort of feminine attire which offended their peculiar sense of Islamic propriety.

Where,then, one asks, are the spokespersons for Council for American-Islamic Relations denouncing this outrage against their fellow Muslims--fellow female Muslims?

It's hard for someone who isn't schooled in the "peaceful" aspects of the religion to understand how Islam can be "peaceful" and life affirming, yet not condemn these atrocities and disdain for a fellow creature created by God. 

Speak louder, CAIR.  Your silence is inadequate.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

War? What War? 5.09.08


Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), it's 5 years and 8 days since "Mission Accomplished," and it must be over. 

It must be over because the first  mentions of the Iraqi/Afghanistan military missions in major English language papers here in the Coachella Valley occur on Page A8 of The Desert Sun, Page A7 of The Press-Enterprise, and Page A6 of the Los Angeles Times.

So it must be over, right?

American service personnel being shot at, dodging IEDs and mortars, and suffering other dangers isn't important enough for the managing editors and publishers of these newspapers to mention on page A1. 

Over 4,000 dead, most after Mission Accomplished.

Trust, but verify.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Alvin, Audie, and...John? Really?!?

One of the nicer truths, Dear Gentle Reader(s), about having a small, loyal (thank you), readership, is that it is possible to put forth an idea or two and know it will cause little more consternation than a rolled-eye or two.  Hence, today's trepidation infused steps into a popular phrase.

Over at The New York Times, DGR(s), you might read about a dilemma facing the Republican party this year:  party members crossing over to participate in the Democratic primaries.  While that might usually make a progressive smile, there was one quote which stopped this progressive in his metaphorical tracks:  “Much as I like John McCain as a war hero..."

War hero?  John McCain?  Um...

Alvin York (or at least Gary Cooper), was a World War I bona fide war hero.  Audie Murphy was a World War II war hero.  They both were extraordinary men in very extraordinary circumstances and they set a standard of behavior which many have sought to emulate.

Another war hero lost his life recently--David McDowell--had been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq seven times.  McDowell might never be the subject of a movie, but he certainly qualifies as a war hero in this progressive's book.  Imagine being a 30-year-old father of two and dutifully returning to Afghanistan for a seventh tour in that benighted area.

Not to diminish Senator McCain's military service one iota--he trained, he deployed, he flew, he was shot down, he was captured, and he endured years as a prisoner of war, including horrific treatment at the hands of his captors--but his heroism is of a more personal nature than the sort of heroism we usually associate with war efforts.

Alvin, Audie, and David are men who are war heroes in the truest sense of the word.

John is a man of personal courage.  He never claimed to be a "war hero."  He's correct.

War Hero should be saved for those men and women who perform extraordinary feats on the battlefield.  Let's not cheapen the phrase just for political gain. 

Trust, But Verify.

n.b., DGR(s), should you google McCain War Hero, you'll discover several hundred thousand entries.  "Yes.  No.  Maybe so.  Certainly."

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