Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Death of a Doctor…and an Activist

May 31, 2009

I’ll keep this short and simple.

Dr. George Tiller, a performer of late term abortions, has been murdered.

Jim Pouillon, an anti-abortion activist, has also just been murdered.

To the Pro-choicers: I hope your fight for your so-called “rights” has been worth it. Dr. Tiller’s death is a travesty and the person (or persons) who did this act needs to be punished. But this man, this doctor, performed abortions because you wanted him to. If we as a society had chosen responsibility and compassion for both mothers and babies, instead of denying the value of life and making excuses for our own irresponsibility, his death might have been avoided, as well as the deaths of so many others. We celebrate death so much in our culture as a means of escape and ‘freedom.’  Well death is exactly what we’ve gotten back.

Look to the 1966 film Alfie, and its controversial abortion scene. The point is not whether abortion is right or wrong. It’s that it never would have happened in the first place, had it not been for Alfie’s irresponsible and callous behavior.

And I hope you will not rejoice in Pouillon’s death. You may not have approved of his position, but our society calls for tolerance and decency, even and especially with people we disagree with. Practice what you so ardently preach.

To the Pro-lifers: I consider myself pro-life. Also a Christian. That’s why I am so disapointed at the level of hate that so often pervades the pro life movement. Jesus said to love our enemies, even when it’s the most difficult thing to do. Can we truly call ourselves Christians?

Do not rejoice in Dr. Tiller’s death; it is murder, the same as any abortion. Loving and praying for your enemy is essential to being a truly decent and honorable human being. The party responsible for this man’s death has potentially damaged the movement we have fought so hard to build. People who might have joined with you will now be disgusted, and rightfully so. Do not hate this man’s memory, the party responsible, or anyone you know who might be Pro-Choice. To do so would make you the same as what you hate.

To both of you: Donate to women’s shelters and to adoption agencies that support both mothers and their babies. Support women who are frightened, unprepared or abandoned in their darkest hours by offering them hope, not death. Stop being fooled by political pundits who only care about you as far as you can vote (speaking to both Democrats and Republicans). Don’t give in to the pessimissm of death. Nor the hatred of each other. Give into hope.

The End.

Obama at Notre Dame: A Good Fit?

May 16, 2009

As the nation slowly makes its way beyond the scandals of beauty pageant contestants, we find ourselves now engulfed in an even more tense and controversial situation. Namely, the protests against Notre Dame University for asking President Obama to speak at their graduation ceremony. The reason behind the protests? Notre Dame is a Catholic institution, and in theory dedicated to the preservation of life in all its forms, including unborn children. Obama, however, is Pro-choice and does not share the Church’s strong feelings on the abortion issue. Therefore, several students have risen up in protest against the President’s appearance, which is being called a violation of Catholic values.

I’m of two minds about this issue, and no that’s not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a sign that I refuse to give myself over to limited partisanship. The moment you give yourself so completely to an ideology, liberal or conservative, is the day you’ve stopped thinking.

On the one hand, I am disappointed in Obama’s stance on the abortion issue. As a bishop recently put it, people fought for Obama’s right as an African American to be free and equal in our nation. Now that he is in a position of power, Obama turns his back on the most vulnerable of our society. In many ways, he resembles our founding fathers who yearned for independence…but only if slavery was permitted to continue. Having rights for yourself should not mean denying the rights of others.

Everyone was once a fetus (trust me, it’s science 😉 ) and we are all here because someone made the choiceto give us a chance at life. Ironically, so many who have benefited from that choice now fight to take that same chance at life away from others. Obama is an intelligent man, and I hope someday he is able to reconsider his position on this issue. However, I still respect him as a fellow human being and wish him well. Jesus did not reject those who disagreed with him, quite the contrary (more on that later).

I admire the Notre Dame protesters for speaking their mind even when the law and society are against them. Whether you’re liberal or conservative, it’s rarely a good idea to adopt a “my country, right or wrong” attitude. Sometimes your country is wrong and when that happens, you must speak up. Frankly, it has never been popular to be Catholic in America. Celebrities like to think they’re gutsy for ridiculing the Catholic Church, when in reality, it’s probably the safest, most acceptable thing in the world to do. Interestingly, according to the recent Gallup poll, more and more Americans say they are opposed to abortion. I do believe this is due in part to the brave protestors over the years who dared to spread the word and never give up.

No, America is not perfect. Still, one of the reasons we have to be very proud of our little nation is our emphasis on free speech and civil exchange of ideas. At times we take this privilege for granted, forgetting that so many citizens of the world can only dream of such a right. As I said in my entry regarding the Miss California controversy, we ought to be able to have serious discussions and disagreements in a respectful manner in the spirit of camaraderie, without declaring war on each other. This is a lesson both liberals and conservatives continually need to learn.

I admire liberals for preaching the values of free speech and equality. But sadly this often only seems to apply to those who agree with them. The words “liberal” and “partisan” seem like automatic contradictions, yet ironically they are all too frequently seen keeping company.

By the same token, I admire The Catholic Church for its undeniable dedication to charity and education over the years (I went to Catholic school my whole life and was always taught evolution, thank you 😉 ). However, it often has a somewhat “our way or the highway” attitude which makes it comes across as overly authoritarian and needlessly intimidating (two things you can never accuse Jesus of being 😉 ).

You know what, though? I think Notre Dame’s graduates can learn from both President Obama and the Pro-life protesters. And now I’m going to shock all of you. I honestly appreciate Obama’s agreeing to appear at a prodigious Catholic college like Notre Dame, despite knowing he disagreed with many of its policies. He could have just as easily brushed the invitation off. Instead he chose to realize that Catholics are a part of this nation too, and deserve his respect and support as President of the United States. Just as Jesus befriended the dreaded tax collectors, so should Notre Dame welcome those who respectfully disagree. To do otherwise would indeed be a violation of Catholic values. 😉

By the same token, the Pro-life student protesters have shown that we are a nation that prizes free speech, free thinking and the ability to critique our leaders (civilly of course 🙂 ). Ah protestors, as an early ’90s “Cotton – Fabric of Our Lives” commercial once put it, “With steadfast stares, the people cry, brave future…new world…” 😉

Furthermore, these brave souls are standing up for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. It’s an American tradition, and not something to be discouraged. As long as they conduct themselves in a civilized manner and not give the naysayers a reason to discredit them. Here I’m reminded of the words of another group of young protestors from the 1992 classic Newsies, “If we get violent, it’s only playing into their hands.” 😉

So in conclusion, I hope and pray President Obama and Notre Dame’s Pro-life protesters can find it in themselves to provide a good example for the graduates of 2009 and for all of our nation. New ideas don’t come from stagnation, they come from exchange. We need it now more than ever.

Shame on you, Christina’s Court…

May 11, 2009

…for displaying a disgusting and quite frankly bewildering lack of priorities and morals.

I admit, I have occasionally found myself watching these court room programs, Judge Judy, The People’s Court, Christina’s Court etc. I suppose you could call it a guilty pleasure (guilty…heh). Because I certainly don’t watch them in order to gain knowledge or support the cause of liberty and justice for all. These programs give so-called “judges” a nice little paycheck to take advantage of vulnerable people, parading and ridiculing them like freaks for all the nation to laugh at. The idea that any of these Mock Trials could win an award is laughable, but somehow it happened. And it says a lot about our society…

Christina’s Court is the paragon of TV virtue that recently took home an Emmy (and they wonder why no one watches these awards shows anymore). Now in recent days, Christina’s Court never fails to remind you of the honor bestowed upon it, as though constantly needing to justify its very existence in our lives.

Why am I being so hard on this particular program? Normally I would just let it go (or change the freakin channel), but today I felt I had to speak out. ‘Judge’ Christina has made it clear time and again that is Pro-Choice. Now she has the right to her opinion, and I’m sure she thinks she’s doing the right thing. However, let’s take a look at what her version of ‘doing the right thing’ has led to.

In today’s trial (heh, I mean episode), the case brought before ‘Judge’ Christina was of a woman who had failed to pay back a friend for helping to pay for her abortion.

Let me repeat this. A woman was pregnant (That is, “having a child developing in the body” (dictionary.com)).  And she made the difficult decision to have an abortion (As in a procedure performed “in order to end a pregnancy (dictionary.com).”  

So wait, if pregnancy is the state of “having a child developing in the body” and abortion is a procedure done “in order to end a pregnancy“, then abortion would essentially be defined as ending the state of having a child in the body. Or, to put it even more compactly, ending the child.Ending”…well that’s a nice euphemism for something else…

In order for Pro-choice activists to correct this issue, they’d have to next advocate to change the definition of “pregnancy.” What a fascinating world we would life in, if being pregnant no longer meant having a child. “Hi, yes I am pregnant, don’t know why, my body just got bigger one day! By the way, my kid was asking me how babies were born…and frankly I’m stuck!”

Anyway, this woman turned to a friend’s boyfriend and asked him to help pay for her abortion. He did so, and now he’s in court because the woman has been slow in paying him back.

Now let me repeat this…A man offered this woman $money$ (As in, “gold, silver, or other metal…issued as a medium of exchange and measure of value” (dictionary.com)). In exchange for his generosity, an abortion took place (as we’ve already deduced, the ‘ending’ of a child).

Now this man is angry, and this woman is on trial. Why? Is it because…

A. They participated in the tragic and difficult decision of ‘ending’ a child?
B. The law states that ‘ending’ a child is a crime.
C. The man wants his money.

If you guessed C, congratulations you have a keen and penetrating understanding of how our materialistic nation and capitalistic government functions. Throughout the trial/episode, it is clear where our priorities are. We hear about $money$. The $money$ that was offered, the $money$ that is owed, the $money$ that should be awarded. What about the tragedy of the woman losing the chance to be a mother? What about the tragedy of a child’s life coming to and ‘end?’  Heh, sorry bub, you’re in the wrong country for that…

And what of our esteemed, Emmy award winning ‘Judge’ Christina? At the very beginning of the trial/episode, the young woman (the one that owes the $money$) explains that normally she is morally against abortion in any form. From ‘Judge’ Christina we hear not a word. No “well that’s your right” or “I have to respect your beliefs.” Nothing, just silence. (Ok, to be fair, shows like this are created in an editing room and you really can’t tell what reactions she might have had. It’s very comforting to know that nothing on this show about the law is real, yes?)

Even when ‘Judge’ Christina does talk, it’s not much better. She proceeds to scold the young woman and make her feel guilty. Not for choosing abortion when she could have chosen adoption. Not for claiming to be against abortion, only to go ahead and do it. No, our illustrious ‘Judge’ makes the young woman feel guilty…for not paying back the $money$.

She offers up such gems as, “Don’t you think it was nice of him to do that for you?” or “Not paying back the money…that’s not a very responsible thing to do.”

……

……

EXCUSE ME? Look, whether you’re Pro-life or Pro-choice, you have to see the insanity here. This young woman claimed to have gotten pregnant “against her will.” She felt uncomfortable telling her parents. After some thinking, she felt she had no other choice but to go ahead with an abortion. Despite being Pro-life, I honestly sympathized with this woman’s plight. Not to mention the child whose life has “ended” so early.  And ‘Judge’ Christina is ranting on about the responsibility of repaying money?

Well, long after the money has been repaid and long after it has been spent again by the “nice” young man, the woman will still have to live with her decision. She said she was interested in starting her “own” family soon (apparently family is something you get to pick and choose at the mall). If she intends to raise her “own” children with the belief that abortion is wrong, she should be prepared for her “own” children to be very confused. Abortion is wrong but let’s not think about the brother or sister you don’t have today. And if you do have an abortion, be sure to pay your benefactor back! 😉

When Pro-choice activists advocated for the rights of women to make their own decisions regarding pregnancy, I doubt this is what they had in mind. For money to become more important than both the woman and the child. But this is what happens when you decided life is expendable. Other things, like money, become more important. What was that definition of money again? Bits of medal “issued as a measure of value.” Well it’s clear just where our values stand. Good job, activists.

Judge’ Christina’s original theme at the start of the show was “She takes the law into her own heart” (it has since been altered since she received her Emmy…heh). I hope she and her heart are very happy…$money$ and all.

Still, I hear her program has recently been cancelled. As a human being, I honestly wish her luck and the best. But I think our society is better off…

Miss California Controversy: Enough!

May 6, 2009

I’ve been very disappointed as of late. No, disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover it. There are no words for the outrage and bitterness I feel. I’m talking about this recent controversy regarding Miss California’s comments on gay marriage, and the aftermath that has sadly ensued.

You know the story by now, if you keep up with such things (if not, consider yourself very fortunate!). At a recent Miss USA Pageant, Miss California was asked by judge Perez Hilton her position regarding gay marriage. Miss California politely but unequivocally made her position clear–she was against gay marriage. Mr. Hilton, looking visibly disappointed and deflated, nevertheless admirably maintained his composure. At the end of the night, another contestant took home the crown. The Miss USA pageant was over, everyone went home, brushed their teeth, petted their dogs and went to bed. End of story.

Well…It should have ended there. I mean, Mr. Hilton’s question was well structured and relevant to the lives of American citizens (though perhaps a trifle out of place at a beauty pageant). Miss California’s answer was diplomatic and considerate to the feelings of all concerned (its motivation perhaps a little confused, but I’ll discuss that later). In every respect, this exchange was everything we should hope for in an intelligent exchange between two citizens of the USA debating a hot button issue. It should have been heralded and celebrated as a shiny example of how two human beings can disagree but still respect each other’s feelings.

It should have been all those things…but because we are fatally flawed human beings, this was not the case. Following the contest, Mr. Hilton chose to further fan the flames by going on his video blog and make disparaging and sexist remarks about Miss California for all the world to see.

In the weeks that followed, other media figures joined the fray, insulting Miss California’s faith, intelligence, even physical appearance. Women’s groups weren’t much help; a so-called “feminist” appearing on FOX News made the amazingly catty comment, “She should get a heart transplant, rather than a breast transplant.” (Rowr!) And as if that wasn’t enough, “racy” photos of Miss California have now mysteriously surfaced and could cost her her crown.

To all these people, frankly you need to go back and reexamine what it means to be liberalIt means you stand up for freedom of speech and equality for all. Not just for the opinions you like, but for all opinions. I can understand why Miss California’s views were offensive to you and your ideals.  And if you honestly feel an opinion is damaging to the equality you hold dear, by all means you speak your mind.  You advocate, you protest, you make your voice heard. That’s what makes you liberal and a vital asset to this country.

But you do not engage in this kind of wanton bullying, hazing and gossip more commonly found in a school playground. You are punishing this young woman, not because she used bigoted or inciteful language (quite the contrary), but simply because you didn’t like her response. It’s wrong…and it’s definitely not liberal. 😉

I consider myself liberal on many issues and I have often engaged people in debate. But no matter how frustrated and annoyed some people make me feel, I always at least try to remain tactful and sensitive, seeing all points of view and using logic to back up my own claims. If I feel like denigrating someone (and let’s face it, we all do sometimes, we’re human), I do it in the privacy of my own home. Not on my Blog, not in a newspaper, not on Television, not anywhere where my emotions could potentially harm the feelings of a fellow human being. That’s not being fake, that’s being an adult.

Now it may surprise you to know that I actually support gay marriage. We make provisions for long-term unmarried heterosexual couples and most importantly their children, and I see no reason why homosexuals shouldn’t get the same consideration. And frankly, while I was impressed with Miss California’s diplomacy, I was not as impressed with her actual answer.

To be specific, I had a problem with this section, “I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman … that’s how I was raised.” Now maybe I’m being nit-picky, but I wish she’s given a more substantial answer rather than “that’s how I was raised.” If she is honestly against gay marriage, it should be because she honestly believes it, not because she was always told to.

A similar issue was addressed recently on the Tyra Banks Show; young people with somewhat racist views using the excuse “I come from a small town, that’s how I was raised.” Ms. Banks wisely pointed out that nowadays, especially with the World Wide Web (emphasis on World), there really is no excuse for ignorance. As you grow into an adult, it is no longer your parents responsibility to choose your opinions for you. You have to learn to make the choices yourself and live with them. Especially when it comes to issue that could harm your fellow human beings and infringe on their rights. Maybe you’ll end up still agreeing with your parents. Maybe not. Either way, it must be you.

Knowing this, it might also surprise you that I consider myself a Christian (and a Catholic at that!). I believe God cares for all of us and that we’re all here for a reason, hetereosexual and homosexual. And while I wish liberals were just as concerned with the rights of unborn children as they are about gay rights, I try to keep the doctrine of loving my enemy close to my heart. Jesus had many enemies, mainly for the crime of speaking his mind. But he never stopped caring about people.

Now religious people don’t have the monopoly on morality. Religious or atheist, we are all capable of being decent people. It’s not religion or atheism that gets in the way of morality. Time and again, it’s our own flawed humanity. Again, I take you back to that stage of the Miss USA Pageant. Both parties involved are not that different. They’re human beings simply trying to find their way through life and trying to do the right thing. In these uncertain times, sometimes it’s hard to know what that is. But perhaps one thing is certain…

As the legendary Captain Kirk once confidently put it, “We’re the same. We share the same history, the same heritage, the same lives. We’re tied together beyond any untying. Man or woman, it makes no difference. We’re human. We couldn’t escape from each other even if we wanted to….the only thing that’s truly yours is the rest of humanity. That’s where your duty lies” (Star Trek, “Who Mourns for Adonis?”).

It’s not too late. Even if these public figures can’t get their acts together, we can learn from their mistakes. We can disagree. We can speak our minds and express our frustration. But we must never forget that we are all part of this world. As someone once said, either we stand together, or together we will fall.

Reminds Me to Never Watch the Oscars Again…

February 23, 2009

I admit, I thought it might be fun tonight to sit and watch the Academy Awards. Having  just finished watching Sunset Boulevardon TCM, I was filled with glamorous Hollywood nostalgia. Silly me, for thinking I’d find it at the Oscars…

Instead, we get Bill Maher and his bigoted, ignorant statements on religion. Now, I respect Mr. Maher as a person and his right to have and share his opinion. His opinion that it is our belief in God that is responsible for the majority of the injustice and devastation in our world.

Well Mr. Maher, fine, let’s forget about religion. Just for you, sir, we’ll cut it right out. And in turn, let us end the multitude of good works religious people and organizations have offered to the needy through the years, often at the expense of their own lives. Let’s let alcoholics languish in darkness because they can find no power greater than the bottle. Let’s tell grieving widows that their spouses are lost forever. Let’s tell our children there is no right or wrong in the universe, and ignore the blatant increase in school yard bulling, drug abuse and depression. And let’s tell them there was never a man who dared to stand up to a corrupt society, teach compassion and love and ultimately give his life to save us. Yes, better to tell them it’s all a fairy tale.

Gee, what a great world we have created without religion. But at least we’ve put an end to oppression and war right? Wrong. Mr. Maher seems to have forgotten the multitude of greedy, power hungry atheistic dictatorships that have come to power and destroyed the lives of their people just in the 20th century alone.

I think what Mr. Maher needs to realize is that it’s not religion or athiesm that’s at fault. It’s PEOPLE. We are all imperfect, all capable of good and evil. If we could just stop judging each other for two minutes, perhaps we’d find some common ground and truly find some peace in this world we all share.

In another matter, I admire Sean Penn for standing up for same sex marriage rights during his acceptance speech, hoping we’d someday finally realize that we are all created equal. I only wish as much attention was given to the rights of the unborn at such an award show. Sadly, our great society still has a long way to go…

There were rumors floating around that the Red Carpet event would be cut this year or next, because it was getting higher ratings than the actual awards show. Is this how the Oscars planned to gain new viewership? Good job, Oscars…I for one, will think twice before watching again.