Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Church must speak about the devil.

A good many people who are not well versed in the history and traditions of Christianity mistakenly believe that Halloween is a holy day, of sorts, for Satanists and Devil worshipers.Folks who have grown up in a Protestant culture- or even a secular one- often don't realize that many of the customs of Halloween come from the observance of the two holy days; All Saints Day and All Souls Day. (November 1 and 2).
However, in keeping with talk of the Devil that goes on this time of year, I've copied and pasted an article written by Cardinal Georges Cottier, O.P., the former Theologian to the Pontifical Household, before he retired from that position.
The following is a translation of Cardinal Cottier’s introduction to the book "Presidente degli Esorcisti — Esperienze e Delucidazioni di Don Gabriele Amorth" which was posted at Zenit.org on January 22, 2006:

The Church must speak about the devil. Though he sinned, the fallen angel has not lost all the power he had, in the governance of the world, according to God’s plan. Now he uses this power for evil. John’s Gospel calls him “the prince of this world” (John 12:31) and also in the First Letter of John, one reads: “The whole world is in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Paul speaks of our battle against spiritual powers (cf. Ephesians 6:10-17). We can also refer to Revelation.

We must fight not only against the human, but also the superhuman, forces of evil in their origin and inspiration – suffice it to think of Auschwitz, of the massacres of entire peoples, of all the horrendous crimes that are committed, of the scandals of which little ones and the innocent are victims, of the success of the ideologies of death, etc.

It is appropriate to recall some principles. The evil of sin is committed by a free will. Only God can penetrate the depth of a person’s heart; the devil does not have the power to enter that sanctuary. He acts only on the exterior, on the imagination and on feelings of a sentient origin. Moreover, his action is limited by the permission of Almighty God.

The devil generally acts through temptation and deceit; he is a liar (cf. John 8:44). He can deceive, induce to error, cause illusion and, probably more than arouse vices, he can support the vices and the origins of the vices that are in us.

In the Synoptic Gospels, the first apparition of the devil is the temptation in the desert, when he subjects Jesus to several incursions (cf. Matthew 4:11 and Luke 4:1-13). This event is of great importance.

Jesus cured sicknesses and pathologies. Altogether, they refer to the devil, because all disorders afflicting humanity are reducible to sin, of which the devil is instigator. Among Jesus’s miracles are liberation from diabolical possessions, in the precise sense. We see in particular in Saint Luke that Jesus orders the devils who recognize him as Messiah.

The devil is much more dangerous as tempter than through extraordinary signs or astonishing external manifestations, because the gravest evil is sin. It is no accident that we ask in the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation.” Against sin, the Christian can fight victoriously with prayer, prudence, in humility knowing the fragility of human freedom, with recourse to the Sacraments, above all Reconciliation and the Eucharist. He must also ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment, knowing that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are received with the grace of Baptism.

Saint Thomas and Saint John of the Cross affirm that one has three tempters: the devil, the world (we certainly recognize this in our society) and oneself; that is, self-love. Saint John of the Cross maintains that the most dangerous tempter is oneself, because we alone deceive ourselves.

In the face of deceit, it is desirable that the Catholic faithful have an ever-more-profound knowledge of Christian doctrine. The apostolate must be promoted on behalf of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is of extraordinary usefulness to combat ignorance. The devil perhaps is instigator of this ignorance: he distracts man from God and it is a great loss that can be contained by promoting an adequate apostolate in the media, in particular television, considering the amount of time that many people spend watching television programs, often with contents that are culturally inconsistent and immoral.

The action of the devil is also unleashed against the (priests) of the Church. In 1972, Pope Paul VI spoke of the “smoke of Satan that has entered the temple of God.” He was alluding to the sins of Christians, to the devaluation of the moral law, the growth of moral decadence (consider the history of the religious orders and congregations, in which the need for reform to react to decadence has always been noted), to yielding to the temptations in the pursuit of a career, of money and of wealth, in which members of the clergy themselves can participate, committing sins that cause scandal.

The exorcist can be like a Good Samaritan — but he is not the Good Samaritan — as sin is a graver reality. A sinner who remains set in his sin is more wretched that one who is possessed. The conversion of heart is the most beautiful victory over the influence of Satan, against which the Sacrament of Reconciliation has an absolutely central importance, because in the mystery of the Redemption, God has liberated us from sin and gives us, when we have fallen, the restoration of his friendship.

The Sacraments have a priority over the sacramentals, the category to which exorcisms belong; these are requested by the Church, but not as a priority. If this approach is not considered, the risk exists of disturbing the faithful. Exorcism cannot be considered as the only defence against the action of the devil, but as a necessary spiritual means in those cases where the existence of specific cases of diabolic possession have been confirmed.

It seems that the possessed are more numerous in pagan countries, where the Gospel has not been disseminated and where magic practices are more widespread. In other places, a cultural element endures where Christians conserve an indulgent tendency in regard to ancient forms of superstition. Moreover, it must be considered that alleged cases of possession can be explained by present-day medicine and psychiatry and that the solution to certain phenomena may consist in good psychiatric treatment. When a difficult case is manifested in practice, it is necessary to get in contact with a psychologist and an exorcist; it is advisable to make use of psychiatrists of Catholic formation.

A course on these topics has recently been instituted in the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum. It also seems opportune to include such formation in seminaries, in a balanced and wise dimension, avoiding excesses and constrictions.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Jack-O-Lantern.

Growing up,I never gave a lot of thought about some of our Halloween traditions.If I'd ever asked my parents about why we carve Jack-O-Lanterns, I'm sure they wouldn't have known.It was just something we did.
My son will be turning two in a few weeks and I carved his first Jack-O-Lantern a couple of nights ago. Of course, at two, he's too young to be asking questions about it but I thought I'd read up on the tradition so I'd know what to tell him when the time came.
According to most of what I've seen online, the Jack-O-Lantern came to the U.S. with the Irish immigrants who came here to escape the potato famine. The Jack-O-Lanterns in Ireland had originally been made from turnips.The immigrants began fashioning the lanterns out of pumpkins because the squash was cheaper and more abundant here than the turnip.
The story as to why they carved Jack-O-Lanterns goes back to an old legend of a man named Stingy Jack. The man in the story was called that because he was a tightwad and very stingy with his money.Not only was he cheap, but he was a drunkard as well. But, unlike a good many drunks, he did not become freer with his spending when he drank.
One Halloween, Stingy Jack was spending the evening at a local pub....getting drunk as usual. He struck up a conversation with a stranger who turned out to be the Devil himself. Seeing a chance for a free drink, Jack made a bargain with the Devil; his soul in exchange for another drink. When Jack had finished the drink, the Devil changed himself into a silver coin so Jack could pay the bar keep. Instead of giving the coin to the bar keep, Jack put the coin in his pocket. Unfortunately for the Devil, Jack had a Rosary in his pocket and the crucifix made the Devil powerless to change back. Jack agreed to release the Devil on condition that the Devil not collect his soul for ten years. The Devil agreed and he was on his way back to Hell.
Ten years passed. It was Halloween and Jack was making his way home from another pub when the Devil appeared to fetch Jack's soul. Jack asked the Devil if he would allow Jack to have an apple before they left for Hell. The Devil saw no harm in that and climbed to the top of a nearby apple tree to get an apple for the poor man. When the Devil reached the top, Jack took out his Rosary and wrapped it around the base of the tree and trapped the Devil. Jack told the Devil that he would remove the Rosary and free him if the Devil would not take his soul. Again, the Devil had no choice but to agree to the bargain.
When Jack finally died of old age, Saint Peter refused him entry into Heaven because of his drunkenness and because he had been too stingy on Earth to help the widows and orphans and others in need of charity. Not knowing what else to do, Jack went down to Hell, but the Devil was so angry at having been tricked by Jack that he would not allow Jack to stay in Hell. Jack was condemned to spend eternity walking the face of the Earth. As he walked away, the Devil threw him an ember from the fires of Hell. Jack carved out a turnip and put the ember inside to make a lantern.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Who Ya Jivin' With That Cosmik Debris ?

I was looking around for a video of Zappa doing Zoomby Woof to continue my Halloween theme. Found one of Dweezil and Steve Vai doing it...but I couldn't embed the better version. So, in it's place, I've posted Zappa doing Cosmik Debris.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Halloween Phone call to Philippines.

Before meeting my wife in 2003, I had traveled to Philippines a couple of times; specifically, to the island of Siquijor. For those of you unfamiliar with the country, Siquijor has a reputation of being an island of shaman ( AKA " quack doctors" ) voodooesque shenanigans and an assortment of things that go bump in the night. Having once had a friend living there, I've spent a fair amount of time on the island.

I've had experiences with a quack doctor which I went into in an earlier post [ A visit with a quack Doctor in Siquijor ] so there's no need to go into that again here.

It was Halloween 2002. It was still early morning here in Georgia. It was, however, early evening in Philippines when I called my friend for a chat. Her teen-aged sister answered the phone; I was fond of the sister and decided to talk to her for a few minutes. I asked what she was doing that evening and she replied that she was putting onions in the window. I wasn't quite sure what to make of that but, knowing her as I did, I suspected it was Halloween related.

"Why are you putting onions on the window?" I asked. She said she wasn't sure of the English word....but it was because of the "dead people who aren't really dead".
Obviously, she could not see me smiling and my voice did not betray me when I said I had heard of putting garlic in the window for protection but never onions. There was a pause. She asked something of someone in the house with her and then told me that the English word for the thing in the window was indeed garlic and not onion.....she had made a mistake in translation.

That was basically, the end of our conversation. I went on to talk to her older sister but I forget now what that particular conversation was about.

Now, five years afterwards, I'm wondering which "dead people who aren't really dead" she was referring to. Two things come to mind.It could be either zombies or vampires. I'm not really up on my Philippine folk lore and I don't know of any Filipino zombies.

The only vampire I know of is called the Manananggal .According to Wikipedia :

"A manananggal is described as being an older, beautiful woman (as opposed to an aswang), capable of severing its upper torso in order to fly into the night with huge bat-like wings to prey on unsuspecting, pregnant women in their homes; using an elongated proboscis-like tongue, it sucks the hearts of fetuses or blood of an unsuspecting, sleeping victim. The severed lower torso is left standing and it is said to be the more vulnerable of the two halves. Sprinkling salt or smearing crushed garlic or ash on top of the standing torso is fatal to the creature. The upper torso then would not be able to rejoin and will die at daybreak. The name of the creature originates from an expression used for a severed torso: Manananggal comes from the Tagalog, tanggal (cognate of Malay and Indonesian tanggal) which means to remove or to separate. Manananggal then means the one who separates itself from its lower body."

Also from the same article:

"Superstitious folk in the Visayan provinces still hang cloves of garlic or onion around windows, doors, etc. with the purpose of repelling this creature as well as the aswang.".......Siquijor is in the Visayas so, it actually could have been onions after all that girl was putting in the windows.

I know some of you may scoff, but, nothing happened to anyone in the household that Halloween. No one was attacked by any sort of vampire or zombie or even werewolf. Whatever it was....garlic or onions.....they seem to have done the trick.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halloween Colors

The traditional colors of Halloween are orange and black.Black, I suppose, represents Death and mourning while the orange signifies the colors of the falling leaves of Autumn.Now, a new color has been added.....green, as in environmentally friendly "green".
Actually, I guess I'm not really talking about the greening of Halloween so much as I am the greening of something associated with that day. Namely, funerals and burials. You know, the whole disposing of the dead sort of thing.
Burials, like everything else we do in the United States is no longer suitable. We just can't get anything right. Now-a-days, if we want to show how enlightened and progressive we are, we must make plans to have our final remains taken care of in a eco-friendly way.
You have two basic choices: You can opt for the eco-burial in an eco-cemetery. There, your corpse is laid to rest without the use of that nasty embalming process. Of course, there's no metal casket. As one website put it: "The body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried in a simple shroud or biodegradable casket that might be made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper, perhaps even decorated with good-bye messages from friends." Oh, isn't that a lovely thought.....being buried in a casket made of recycled paper with my dear friends and family drawing little smiley-face designs on the outside. :)
The cemetery will forever be kept.....or rather unkempt....in a "natural state". No cutting the grass or removal of trees.
Your second option for a greener hereafter is cremation. After your corpse is cremated the ashes are put into the handy-dandy bio urn. Made from compacted coconut shells mixed with a layer of organic fertilizer, the bio urn also contains a tree seed which will presumably germinate posthumously. Simply bury the urn, and wait . Then.....voila....a tree !!!!!
Now, I understand that you all want to leave with a small carbon footprint. I'm not at all certain which way is the best for that. Somebody else is going to have to figure that out for you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Scientists a Step Closer to Steering Hurricanes.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans two years ago,the alarmists put the blame on global warming, predicting that we haven't seen the worst yet.According to these "experts" we would continue to have more and more Katrina type hurricanes....getting worse as the years went by.

It hasn't happened that way. As a matter of fact, the opposite has occurred. Rome,Georgia where I live, is 500 miles from the Gulf of Mexico but the hurricanes that go on there have a significant affect on our weather. A hurricane there results in a heavy rainstorm here.But, instead of heavy rains, we're experiencing a drought.The lack of rain has caused unprecedented problems.The rivers running through Rome are at an all time low.

Now, according to an article at Telegraph.co.uk, scientists believe they can now steer hurricanes.
I've no idea if their theory will actually work, but, is it really a good idea?

If, as is stated in 'the butterfly effect': "a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the Earth's atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear" do we really want to be pushing hurricanes around?

People love sticking their grubby little fingers where they don't belong.

Moshe Alamaro, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was quoted as saying:

"The social and legal issues are daunting. If a hurricane were coming towards Miami with the potential to cause damage and kill people, and we diverted it, another town or village hit by it would sue us. They'll say the hurricane is no longer an act of God, but that we caused it."

It's even more complicated than even Alamaro states. He isn't taking places like Rome into consideration. Could Georgia sue MIT for the drought? Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been battling it out for years over water. One more lawsuit won't bother Sonny Purdue.

Friday, October 19, 2007

My ( edited ) letter to the Rome Hews Tribune.

Tuesday morning, after posting the entry about My Letter to the Rome News Tribune , I sent an email to the editor of the editorial page to find out if the letter would be published.It's the policy of the Rome News Tribune to call to verify the identity of the author and they hadn't contacted me. I got the phone call a couple of hours after sending the email and the letter was in Thursday's paper.
I knew the editorial staff would edit the letter. It's been my experience that they almost never print a letter exactly as written unless it's very short. Here is the part they removed:
"It is highly presumptuous of him to conclude that he knows how each individual demonstrator feels about the current war. His implication is that being anti-abortion equals pro-war. That’s quite a leap."
Frankly,I expected other sentences to be taken out........I was surprised by what made the cut and what didn't. The letter, as written, did go over their 250 word limit by nearly 150 words. If it was edited for length, those 3 sentences wouldn't have been enough. The letter I sent was not my first draft. I went over it, more than a few times, being careful of every word I put in.
Maybe, that's why the staff was unable to take out more. Taking out any more would have changed the meaning of the letter. As it turned out, I would have liked my comments on the war to have stayed in. But, all things considered, they could have done worse.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Letter to the Rome News Tribune

In keeping with an earlier post [Woodsman Spare That Tree ] I'll be writing more about things going on in my local community.
On Sunday,Oct. 7th of this year, a group of about 50 Pro-Life demonstrators gathered on one of the main thoroughfares of our city to hold a silent protest against abortion.That story can be found here.
In Friday,Oct 12 the Rome News Tribune published a "guest column" from a local resident criticizing the demonstrators. Unfortunately, that column isn't available online so I'm unable to provide a link or paste it here and it's much too long for me to type out. Of course, people with access to the paper can read it. I found most of the writer's criticisms to be beside the point.On Sunday, the 14th I sent a letter to the Rome News Tribune .
I held nothing back in this letter. As of this writing I've heard nothing from the Rome News Tribune as to whether or not my letter will be published.
I've decided to post a copy of the letter below and I'll be posting more about this as the days go by.

While reading Nathan Adler’s most recent guest column in the Rome-News Tribune, a light went off inside my head. Now, I understand why people who vote for and support Democratic candidates do so. I’ve come to the conclusion that these individuals are incapable of having a rational thought and for them, logic is an alien concept.
In all these years, I’ve yet to read a column or letter from Mr. Adler that wasn’t filled with emotional ramblings, absurdities and non sequiturs.
In his column, Mr. Adler was critical of a group of anti-abortion demonstrators because they had failed to hold up signs protesting such unrelated issues as the war in Iraq, minimum wage and the state of our educational system. The validity of the pro-life movement should be determined by analyzing the points made by it’s supporters and not in it’s relation to subjects that are logically beside the point.
I had to ask myself : Should a group of anti-war demonstrators assemble on Broad Street will Mr. Adler write a letter criticizing them for not carrying signs relating to healthcare in this country? I doubt it.
Just as there were no signs among the anti-abortion demonstrators that read “ End the war in Iraq now “ there were none that read “Let’s bomb Iraq “. It is highly presumptuous of him to conclude that he knows how each individual demonstrator feels about the current war. His implication is that being anti-abortion equals pro-war. That’s quite a leap.
He also laments that there were no signs reading “Educate our children, don’t regiment them.”. Does he think that pro-lifers forget about the children once they’re born? He need look no further than to the Christian schools in Rome and Floyd County to see that being pro-life and pro-quality education is not contradictory.
The issue of abortion boils down to whether or not we recognize the unborn as being fully human and deserving of all the rights and protection we give to all others in our society. Yet, by bringing up the issues of minimum wage and credit card debt, Mr. Adler wants to compare abortion to the question of whether or not the government should be interfering in our capitalistic, free market society.
Mr. Adler wrote that abortion is a “useless issue”.
The newspaper points out that Mr. Adler is a retired school teacher. For the good of the school children in our community, I’m thankful that he is retired.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Woodsman spare that tree.

One of my favorite blogs is villageidiotsavant.blogspot.com written by a young man named Dominique Cimafranca.Not only is Dom a talented writer, but he keeps it interesting by writing on a variety of subjects.

I've tried to do much the same thing by writing about such diverse subjects as American politics Nigerian scammers, or prayer in public schools.
I've tried my hand at Satire and I've written on my "home-away-from-home Dumaguete.
One lesson I've taken from Dom's blog is that I should write a bit more about things that are happening where I live. So, to that end, I'm relating a story that happened here a few years back.

The roots of the story go back more than 20 years. Like all U.S. cities, Rome GA has a problem with traffic.To alleviate the problem, the main East/West road ( Turner McCall Ave.) was widened several years ago and a companion-nearly parallel road (Veterans Highway) was built not long after that. To further help ease the congestion, roads were needed to run North/South to connect the two.There was one particular road already doing that. Riverside Parkway.Unfortunately, Riverside Parkway was not wide enough nor straight enough to accommodate the added traffic.

So, it was voted upon more than twenty years ago to provide funds so that the much needed widening could get underway.
This is where the problem started. Almost immediately, a group was formed to stop the road project and court injunctions were filed.One problem with the new project, the group said, was that the large stately oaks growing along the road would be destroyed during road construction.
Finally, in 2005, the case was won by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the work could go on. A compromise had been reached where as a number of the trees would be preserved by means of a median in the road.

As work began,Rome City Manager John Bennett said he noticed that trees that were supposed to have been marked for preservation were being cut down and he asked Public Works Director Kirk Milam to investigate.
“There were some trees the contractor was supposed to take down. He took down the wrong ones,” said Bert Brantley, director of communications for the Georgia Department of Transportation. “We absolutely regret it, and we’re definitely going to look at what we can do to mitigate the situation.”
Needless to say, quite a controversy ensued with allegations of conspiracy on the part of the DOT.

The strangest part of the story, in my view, is what happened after the incident.
About 45 mourners attended a memorial service for the oak trees, which were mistakenly cut down.

According to the local paper:
"The solemn melody of “Taps” rang out over the swishing din of passing motorists on Riverside Parkway as a group of Romans bowed their heads around a stately oak tree and said their good-byes."

The paper goes on to say:
"Members of Rome Federated Garden Clubs Inc. erected nine straw wreaths festooned with golden bows in honor of each fallen oak, and retired preacher the Rev. Warren Jones provided a short eulogy."

One of the residents who had been dedicated to saving the trees for more than a decade, Virginia Jackson, said she was grief-stricken when she drove past the site and saw the trees were gone. “I had a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach,” she said.
Elizabeth Neal, a former president of the RFGC, said she hoped the memorial service will show that people in Rome “care about their trees.”

Let me be clear about something.I am very sorry that the trees were felled by mistake.However, millions of dollars were spent of this.....wasted money.Add to that, it is a sacrilege to have a memorial service for trees as if the trees were like human beings. Playing Taps? Eulogy by a retired minister? Give me a break.

Links to the news reports can be found
here
and here
here
and here.

Update:8/20/2012.
After revisiting this story, I learned that the links to the original news story are no longer available. I've found a copy of the newspaper article at news.google.com

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore, Muslims and Superman

In the DC Superman comics,there is a cube-shaped planet called Htrae - also known as Bizarro World
where everything is the opposite to the normal life on Earth.

Two recent news story should alert us that we may actually be the inhabitants of this bizarre planet.

Story #1: Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming.

Story #2: Muslim leaders ask Christians to give peace a chance.

I guess we'll know for certain if we ever come across a story about Paris Hilton or Britney Spears wearing underwear.

Update:
The link on the Muslim news story not longer works. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Giuliani Clashes With Romney

The Political item du jour is the clash between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani at a Republican debate in Michigan . The stories emphasized policy differences....as if that would have any affect on the final result come November 2008.
During the early primaries, the extremists on the right and the left turn out en masse to support their favorite and at that stage political views have some impact. But, come the final election, the American people will use other criteria for choosing the President of The United States.
As I stated earlier on my post about Hillary Clinton, likability means more than politics. Another important factor for American voters is the candidate's appearance.
Sad to say, height matters. The photo above shows that Romney has the advantage there. The voters will also make their decision based on how the future President looks on T.V.. Again, as the photos show Romney has the edge. The American voter would rather have a President with hair.....thank you very much.
So, my prediction is that Romney will continue to pull ahead of Giuliani.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Looking at the Republican Presidential Candidates

In an earlier post I opined that the Democrat's choice for their 2008 Presidential Candidate would, obviously, be Hillary Clinton .
Predicting who the Republican will be isn't quite as easy.
The conventional wisdom is that the only Republican capable of defeating Clinton is Rudy Giuliani. The conventional wisdom also says that Giuliani's pro-choice views will not sit well with the Evangelicals who may choose a Third Party candidate thereby giving Clinton the election.
But, now it looks as though former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is leading in Iowa where the first caucus will be held in January.
Romney seems to be someone pro-lifers can support. Should he become the Republican candidate, he's sure to get the support of the Giuliani faction and the "anyone but Hillary" crowd.
As I said in the earlier entry, a Republican candidate need only appear more likable than Mrs. Clinton. I don't really know much about Romney but he could probably manage that.
The photo isn't an endorsement of Mitt. I just thought the use of a coffee cup by a Mormon candidate a bit funny.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

First AdSense Check

I finally received my first check from Google for the AdSense ads placed on my blogs and website.
$101.38.
The account was set up around December....about two months after I started the Dumaguete website.
The check came just in time. It's time to renew the account with the site's host.That cost $95.40.It does cover the cost of keeping the website going but I'm certainly not making anything.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I will not chant in class....

Being human,we all get a bit lazy at times and take little shortcuts.This is true in our relationships with other folks as well.We'll pigeon-hole people that we don't really know so well because it makes our life easier.Some secularists I know like to do this with those of us who have strong religious convictions.
A case in point: A co-worker of mine recently sent an email to me with a link to a story which, I'm sure, he thought would send me off into a rant on the evils of modern American society.The link he sent can be found here and the story on video can be found here.
The Reader's Digest version of the story is that another public school is considering eliminating traditional holidays from the school system....or at least, changing the names of Christmas and Halloween to Fall and Winter Festival so as to keep the peace between the Christians and Muslims in the school.
Honestly, I don't have a problem with this.Celebrating Christmas in a private Christian school is fine, but religion has no place in the public schools.Christmas celebrations in public school would only be a secular Santa Claus Xmas anyway.Certainly, not my idea of how the Holiday should be celebrated.
Needless to say, I wouldn't want any government employee leading any sort of school prayer either.It is the responsibility of the parent to instruct his children in religious study.My wife and I will teach our son how to pray....thank you very much.
Keep all government agencies-local, state and federal- out of this.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Attempt to Buy Votes

In a blatant attempt to buy votes,presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.
After coming across the story, I googled $5,000 baby bond program. and have a boat-load of references.
The stories make mention of the fact that nearly 4 million babies are born in the U.S. every year.Do the math. The cost would be close to $20 billion a year.Where would the money come from? Oh yeah, I guess I forgot about The Magic Money Tree growing behind the White House.
Something that isn't mentioned in any of these stories is that, by law, any child born in the United States is an American citizen regardless of the legal status of his or her parents. Should this plan see the light of day, babies born here to illegal immigrants would be entitled to the baby bond.
Of course, even if Clinton is elected, the scheme would have very little chance of passing in Congress.Passage of the legislation isn't her primary motivation in bringing this up ,however.Even if the bill fails, her idea-even if unsuccessful-would show that she "cares". The blame will shifted to someone else.It would be those evil, mean spirited Republicans who stopped her from helping the children.