Oh, Newt!

By , May 20, 2011 1:47 pm

Go here to read the actual press release. Simply amazing that a politician would let something like that see the light of day.

Steven Hawking’s “god” May Not Exist. Mine Does.

By , May 18, 2011 9:20 am

After reading many, many arguments for rejecting faith in God–including some posted today in The Washington Post’s “On Belief” section–I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m safe in my belief. That is, I’ve yet to read any such argument that even begins to touch the pillars of my belief system, the pillars of my faith. Instead, doubters and the faithless, hack away at a straw man religious faith that is always foreign to me, so foreign, in fact, that I often find myself agreeing with the critic.

This Money Is Apparently Not Paying Attention To Those Mouths

By , May 17, 2011 9:39 am

The talking heads have had nothing good to say about Mitt Romney lately, and especially since his healthcare speech in Michigan last week. Are his backers not paying attention? What do they see that the talking heads don’t?

At Least It’s in the Right Direction

By , May 16, 2011 12:02 pm

Only 374 people were murdered in Rio in March 2011, down from 492 during the same month the year before. Compare that with New York City, where in November 2010, the murder count for the entire year to that point was 464.

Interestingly, if we go back to 1990, New York saw 2,245 of its citizens murdered, a rate of 187 a month. Thus, things are much better in NYC. Maybe there’s hope for Rio.

No, That Gap

By , May 15, 2011 7:13 pm

The following passage from Walter Russell Mead‘s essay, Establishment Blues, has caused me to think about and appreciate my faith more than anything I’ve read outside the scriptures in many moons:

The religion gap between the elite and the rest of the country is a big part of the problem — and in more ways than one. I can’t help but notice that the abandonment of serious religion by most of the American elite has coincided with a massive collapse in both the public and private morality of the American establishment. Kids who weren’t raised in church or synagogue or mosque, who were taught that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ were simplistic categories in a complex moral world of shades of gray, who were told that their highest moral duty was to be true to their inner passions, who were the first generation in American history to be raised in a Scripture-free educational medium, turn into self-indulgent, corner-cutting, self-centered adults.

What a surprise! We raised a generation of bright kids without a foundation in religion, and they’ve grown up and gone to Wall Street. We never told them that the virtuous life was both necessary and hard, that character was something that had to be built step by step from youth, that moral weakness was both contemptible and natural: and we are shocked, shocked! when, placed in proximity to large sums of loose cash, they grab all they can.

Religion is no guarantee of righteousness; Elmer Gantry is not the only sticky-fingered preacher in the history of the world. But at least in western history when the culture and habits of mind of an entire social milieu have lost touch with their cultural foundations in ethical monotheism, trouble is usually on the way. The estrangement from religion is also an estrangement from the ideas and cultural values that bind society into a workable whole.

The French aristocrats laughed at the manners and the morals of the common people and ridiculed the faith that lit the darkness and softened the harsh conditions of ordinary lives. Enlightened and cosmopolitan, the establishment mocked the attachment of the ignorant peasants to the king. The well educated, well connected elites accepted no limits on their ability to convert their social privilege into personal wealth; they accepted no limits on the gratification of their physical desires — flaunting their romantic affairs in the same spirit in which they feasted at Versailles while the gaunt peasants starved. They used and abused to the fullest all the privileges that came with their status while mocking and rejecting any sense of duty and obligation.

It was fun while it lasted.

I’ve bolded the parts that have virtually been ringing in my ears since I first read the essay. I’m not sure why. Yes, what Mead says confirms my own beliefs, but the reason his thoughts have so impressed themselves upon mine must go beyond that. Maybe with a little more thought on my own, I can come up with the reason.

This I do know: I am thankful beyond measure for the faith of my father and mother, my grandfather and my grandmother, and–lucky me–my progenitors going as far back as my great-great grandparents on both sides. You see, my great-great grandfathers on both sides marched in the Mormon Battalion across the United States, into Mexico, and on to San Diego–well before The Beach Boys beckoned us all to Southern California. And then they walked back to Salt Lake City and, at least in the case of George Washington Taggart, walked on to Winter Quarters, Nebraska–prodded on by the faith that strengthens me daily.

The Lessons Are Obvious . . . to Some

By , May 14, 2011 2:42 pm

So what does a 51 foot-high floodgate in Japan have to do with our $14.377 trillion dollar debt? Do I really have to explain?

The more important question is who is going to step up and be our Mayor Kotaku Wamura? There’s a surfeit of poseurs. Who’s the real thing?

Let’s Hope So

By , May 11, 2011 5:58 pm

According to Henrique Meirelles, president of Brazil’s Olympic committee, preparation of the Rio Games will result in a new model of public administration by promoting more coordination between all levels of government, municipal, state, and federal.

I’ve interviewed more than a couple of people involved in those preparations, two of them government officials, and Meirelles has his work cut out for him. It’s not an impossible job, and he’s right, the Games will focus attention on the need to work together. Whether he’s up to the task remains to be seen.

Finding God While Losing Your Voice? We’ll See.

By , May 9, 2011 4:57 pm

I’ve been a fan of Christopher Hitchens for at least 10 years, largely because I agreed with his principled stand on Iraq. I’ve since learned that it’s possible he would take a similar stand if someone wanted to invade Utah. He doesn’t like my church, any church for that matter.

A churchman myself, I can turn the other cheek and allow him to slap away. I have this sneaky feeling that he’s a closet Christian. His brother Peter is a believer. What do I base this “feeling” on? Two things. The first was an article in The Washington Post (I think), wherein he talked about how he made sure his children read the Bible because it had such an influence on Western civilization. The second is his recent paen to the King James Bible in Vanity Faire, again for much the same reasons.

The God I believe in is great enough to forgive Christopher’s sins, once Christopher himself sees them.

If he–Hitchens, that is–has the towering intellect attributed to him, he’ll one day recognize them. In this, I disagree with his brother. It’s not the cancer that will bring Christopher to God. It’s the attendant humility.

God, after all, will have a humble people.

And with this, I almost forgot why I began this post. The reason, again in Vanity Faire, is Hitchen’s essay on losing his voice. Essays like this are one reason I respect the man. If he’d only not written that diatribe against my religion.


By , May 9, 2011 9:26 am

This is beyond pathetic. Be sure to scroll down.

Best Blog Post of the Year

By , May 9, 2011 9:24 am

By Ann Althouse.

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