In Citizen Tom’s blog, he wrote a post entitled “Three Things You Probably Don’t Know about Islam.” In the discussion that followed, Citizen Tom wrote:
What makes the Bible different is that it promotes freedom of religion. Jesus told us to render unto Caesar what Caesar’s and God what is God’s. The Bible says that what we each believe about God is a personal responsibility. Those on a quest for power hate that, of course. That’s why Christianity is so unpopular with power-hungry politicians.
A decade ago, the ACLU threatened suit against the county of Los Angeles because they had a tiny crucifix visible on the county’s official seal. That had to go. The county caved in, despite thousands in the street protesting the rewriting of this bit of history. (By odd circumstance, I was briefly part of that crowd.)
In the discussion on Ayn Rand’s works, the Lady Rowyn sagely suggests:
There are a lot of authors worth reading whether or not you agree with their conclusions. And whether or not people make fun of them.
Indeed. I’ve read much of Karl Marx, and am amazed that he has any followers at all. Especially women, but really anyone who thinks the notions through.
Marx is worshiped today in academia; Rand is reasonable, which lets her out of that club. I’ve got a college textbook next to me called The Critical Experience (edited by David L. Cowles), an analysis of techniques of literary criticism. The great majority of them are Marxist, or spin-offs of Marxist techniques. (Amusingly, Google Books helpfully suggests that a “related work” to this textbook is The Communist Manifesto. No surprise.)
By one page into the Introduction, the textbook is complaining that literary criticism was dominated by “white, male, American, Protestant, upper-middle-class, and highly educated.” They have been successful in reducing each one of these, I think, especially the highly educated part.
The writers of this college book are effusive in their praise of Karl Marx, granting only the possibility of Charles Darwin having greater influence upon “history and thought.” This was written (or at least published) in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union:
Marx’s contributions to the political philosophy that bears his name are well known, but his writings have also influenced such diverse disciplines as history, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, theology, and literary criticism. The proliferation of Marxist theorists in in dozens of academic fields has given rise to a number of diverse scholarly traditions…”
Feminist Theory, Reader Response Criticism, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, Pluralism and others all are described as having Marxist roots, so that everything can be read in terms of the class struggle, substituting gender or whatever for the oppressed class. (In Feminist criticism, we are cautioned to avoid “rigid phallogocentric” ideas, an odd sort of double meaning under the circumstances.)
But the glow when Marx is mentioned practically radiates from the page. They like him, they really like him.
I do not.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
Barack Obama claims that he was prevented from solving the economic crisis be the fact that he was opposed in Congress.
Congress was, of course, run by Democrats in the Senate, and Democrats in the House, for Obama’s first two years. And yes, they did not vote to pass a budget — at one point, Obama’s offered budget proposal got exactly zero votes from Democrats.
This is the third in a series of Sunday posts related to the Food for Thought award from Citizen Tom:
The Bible’s New Testament includes the same story of Jesus told by multiple authors, Matthew, Mark and Luke. These are called the “synoptic Gospels” where “synoptic” means “same view” (usually rendered as “seen together). Here is a diagram I’d not seen before of how much the three stories have in common:
One part of this shared story, which I first encountered in Matthew 19, has always struck me as a rich harvest. It’s more frequently referenced, perhaps, in Mark 10. (St. Augustine considered Matthew to be the original, but others now disagree. I will have more to say about St. Augustine next week, and some writings of his I enjoyed.)
A rich harvest
From the words in this one moment in the life of Jesus, we’ve created well-known songs and derived many familiar expressions. Remember Peter, Paul and Mary’s wedding song “There Is Love”? It is one of my favorites, as it is for my Lady Anne as well:
A thoughtful post from a friend of a friend has me thinking about the issue of torture. Is it permissible? Is it moral? Is it right? Not quite the same questions, and I wrote a sort of a rambling reply to her about a framework for considering this unpleasant topic:
In this instance, it isn’t my own verse involved. My humble online digs were just nominated for a “Food for Thought Award” by Citizen Tom. I recognize that this is a small thing, this award, but I am nonetheless flattered and accept in the spirit that it was given. And I am more than a little surprised, as I am apparently the only non-religious recipient of the award.
As Citizen Tom puts it, “I suppose many people will find this nomination inexplicable, but here is the basis for it...” He’s just added an additional comment expanding on his rationale a bit.
In any event, thanks! Here’s a long and rambling beginning…
I was asked yesterday about the “surly bonds of Earth” reference in the post about Neil Armstrong’s death. There is indeed a story behind that and a very unusual young man.
John Gillespie McGee Jr. was born in Shanghai to a US ambassador, thus was American. His initial school was in Shanghai, “The American School” there — no doubt he was fluent in multiple languages by the time he left around age 10. As a boy in the US in the Rugby School, he became fascinated with poetry. And when war broke out in Europe, he was ready — but the US was not. In 1940, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and wound up eventually in the UK flying Supermarine Spitfires protecting London from bombing attacks.
On December 8, 1941, the US joined World War II officially after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Three days later, McGee and two squad mates were diving together through an opening in the clouds near London, only to have a trainee suddenly appear in their path. In the collision, McGee’s aircraft was badly damaged, and he was unable to get out before the craft struck the ground. Witnesses suggested that he’d just gotten the canopy open. He was 19.
Weeks before, across the back of a letter to home, McGee had scrawled this text after a particularly inspiring flight:
Neil Armstrong, first human to set foot on another world, passed away today.
I hope all of you in the States have a meaningful American Independence Day, and that those from other lands have a safe and warm day even if it’s just a Wednesday where you are.
For those who can stand poetry, I’ve put a piece I wrote called “Independence Journey” at the end here. In the meantime, I can’t help being somewhat amused at Google. Let me explain.