Two aspects of this article about former NY mayor Bloomberg struck me: First, he asserts (and the news media blithely accepts) that you build a “grassroots movement” by spending tens of millions of dollars to finance it. Second, his relationship with God is discussed. (There’s a nice write-up of the article at The Truth About Guns.)
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. Continue reading
The estimable and devout Catholic Biltrix has a post up discussing abortion. It’s worth a look. I replied there:
As a lifelong non-theist, I don’t have the “moment of conception” notion with regard to the beginning of life. For me, life is continuous for the past roughly 4 billion years, and that moment business is complicated because it can be tinkered with or even triggered artificially.
But death is not continuous. And at some point, a few weeks after conception, a human fetus has an impulse-sensing brain and a beating heart. Since we use brain death as an end-of-life measure, it seems reasonable to me to argue for brain-birth/formation/first signals as a beginning-of-life measure.
Thus, I am on your side when it comes to late-term abortions; these are indeed killing humans.
You voiced a rhetorical question: “How many women were killed by botched abortion procedures last year?” But there’s another aspect to this question, since about half of the <i>successful</i> abortions kill women, too. They’re just younger than the others.
I don’t think this should be decided at the federal level, as we don’t in general decide murder and self-defense at that level. But states can and should make these decisions, and in my state I would vote against late-term abortions, with “late” being defined as post-brain-formation.
(After my comment, another commenter put up a link to a non-theist who does argue that life begins at the moment of conception. Here is that link.)
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
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.) Continue reading
Why can’t we all just get along?
People are quick to blame “Islamophobia” for attacks on the US. If we would just accept that the Islam culture is different, they’d just leave us alone. Somehow, terrorism is the fault of Americans. Religious Americans, of course. (This is, oddly, the approximate position of Ron Paul as well: That American activities are the cause of jihadist attacks, and that they’d leave us alone if we “pulled out of their countries.”) A commenter on Citizen Tom’s fine blog seemed to evince such a belief: Continue reading
It’s Christmas time! A holiday, and holy day for many
Others faiths have different days, but atheists haven’t any
But certainly that doesn’t mean we cannot share the spirit
Someone calls “Merry Christmas!” I, for one, am glad to hear it.
For people, when they say this, aren’t “forcing their belief”
Or proselytizing, traumatizing, causing pain or grief
It’s just a greeting, woven in with larger, warmer feeling
Accept it! Smile! Return it! All the different faiths need healing.
The same with “Happy Hanukkah” or other well-meant greeting
I bounce them back as best I can, take pleasure at the meeting
I’d even answer back if I should hear “Happy Agnostica!”
(But I’ll decline and pass on celebrations with a swastika.)
The most important thing is: Let your soul be thus uplifted
By friends, and by your loved ones, for it’s by those we are gifted
To every island, every continent and every isthmus
I wish you all the best, and to you each a Merry Christmas!
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
A brief note on a telling dichotomy:
When the left describes something they don’t like about Christianity or Judaism, they are not shy about it. They’ll even pin bombings or shootings on “Christian terrorists” or “Tea party” people ( which to many on the left seems synonymous), before any evidence is in hand at all. But they are often strangely gently and circumspect when it comes to handling Islam: Continue reading
(Hat tip to Marmoe who alerted me to the Congressional report.)
The Obama administration has pushed its intelligence agencies into purging their training materials of “anything that might be offensive to anyone, particularly anyone of Islamic faith” (a quote from the purge order).
So what, exactly, would that amount to? Apparently, any reference to Islam at all in connection with terrorists. Even calling jihadists “terrorists is” offensive to them. Continue reading
I mentioned a purge of material relating to jihadism yesterday, undertaken by the US defense and intelligence agencies in response to complaints from terrorist-linked organizations. Here is a piece of it. Continue reading
(Over at Citizen Tom‘s, he and I have been engaged in a discussion related to his “Speaking Truth to Power” posts, including the follow up. One aspect of the discussion in that follow up is worth pointing out separately, I believe. I wrote, in part:)
There is, as we’ve discussed before, a distinction between the “public personae” of political figures, which have generally been quite overtly religious, and their private philosophies which are sometimes less so. This is not always different; Ronald Reagan, for example, was quite devout both privately and publicly. But for years — centuries, really — it was necessary to be publicly religious in order to be seen to be fit as a leader in the US. You would not be criticized for being Christian here. The newer sort of evangelical faith was accepted by both political sides; our first evangelical president so far as I can recall was Jimmy Carter (for whom Pat Robertson campaigned).
This attitude is being replaced, in recent decades, with a media-led outright hostility to Christianity. And in a curious juxtaposition, the modern trend is one of supplanting it in some respects with Islam as the protected faith. We now have officially appointed US Attorneys (such as William Killian) warning us that we are subject to prosecution if we write comments on social media considered demeaning to Islam. This was not something ever officially sanctioned by the US when it came to Christianity. In the described presentation, the US Attorney in Tennessee makes the assertion that posting something that is offensive to Muslims violates their civil rights, and is subject to prosecution. An excerpt:
“We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected.”
Killian said Internet postings that violate civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction.
“That’s what everybody needs to understand,” he said.
There is now a “civil right” against being offended discerned by the current administration, exactly in accordance with Sharia (and United Nations) principles. Interestingly, Killian makes quite a few false statements in his presentation, if he is quoted accurately. Most are aimed against Christians. It is interesting to speculate whether US Atty Killian is subject to prosecution for violating the “civil rights” of Christians with his offensive statements.
Ah, but do not hold your breath while waiting; Christians are not afforded such rights by our uneven current government. The change in attitudes means that professing a Christian faith is becoming more and more risky. Thus, in many circles, you are at risk of being ostracized for your beliefs just as I am in other venues. Would that this was not a part of America’s modern culture (and government) for either of us!
And it brings me back to your central topic: We are hamstrung, those of us concerned about the rise of jihadism as a threat to Western civilization, by an ever-increasing environment of rules and attitudes that make it dangerous to speak that truth to those in power — or publicly at all.
You mentioned “many strange ‘isms” and I completely agree. You’re familiar, I think, with the short film Make Mine Freedom from 1948 that touches eloquently on that topic. In that post, I wound up in a lively discussion of racism — because the film showed black and which schoolchildren together in 1948. But its message about “isms” is an important one, and needs to be spoken, even if the “power” (from government to bureaucracy to most of the media) seems thoroughly infected with them.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle