Precinct 333

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Bishop Julius Jia -- Faith, Hope, And Love In China

Bishop Julius Jia is a leading figure of the underground Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China. He will likely be jailed in the next few days, as he was at Easter, to prevent him from marking the Christmas holiday with his flock, which numbers about 1.5 million.
Government restrictions on the bishop's movements mean that he lives under house arrest in a tiny, whitewashed house near Wuqiu, a poor village where he founded an orphanage for unwanted children in 1991. Yet Bishop Jia frequently circumvents the order by going out to say Mass, often hiding in the back of a car.

His "diocese" is widely acknowledged to have the largest following in the province; in the middle of Wuqiu, a red-brick cathedral has been built, albeit without official approval.

Yet despite the official persecution, Bishop Jia's hope is intact and his spirit unbowed.
The Pope is known to have made one Chinese clergyman a cardinal in pectore - that is, a secret appointment - and Bishop Jia is widely believed to be that man. He is crucial to any further attempts to reconcile Beijing and the Vatican. And while the government harasses Bishop Jia, it has been unable to crush his spirit.

"For my followers, there are great risks, and I do bring them into danger sometimes," he says. "They are never scared so I don't worry. After all we know God will take care of us."

This man's life exempifies the gifts of faith, hope, and love that St. Paul talks about in I Corinthians 13. So do his people. Would that each of us did as well.

I leave you with two requests.

First, pray for the persecuted Church.

Second, ask yourself why the American media doesn't tell us of such human rights abuses.


Dolphins To Interview Minority, Hire Saban

It is an absurd little ballet required by the NFL. Every team must interview a minority candidate for open coaching positions or face a fine. It doesn't matter that you know who you want to hire, that they are well-qualified, and they are ready, willing, and able to come to work for you -- you must interview a minority.

Enter the Miami Dolphins. The team has been a disaster this year, and lost head coach Dave Wannstedt earlier in the season. They have ben courting LSU head coach Nick Saban for some time now. There is nothing standing in the way of a deal that both sides want -- except for the absurd policy. Leading to this absurdity in the Houston Chronicle.
Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga and president Eddie Jones, an LSU graduate, flew to Baton Rouge on Tuesday to meet with Saban. He's expected to be offered a contract worth $4 million to $5 million a year with authority to shape football operations, which could lead to the departure of general manager Rick Spielman.

Jones has said the Dolphins will adhere to NFL hiring policy. Guidelines established in 2002 require teams to interview at least one minority candidate for coaching vacancies.

NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson, representing a group that advocates more minority hirings in the league, said he complained Friday about the Dolphins' search process in a meeting with Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, chairman of the league's diversity committee.

Carson said any interview with a minority candidate would now likely be viewed as a "courtesy interview ... because the Dolphins have already made up their mind."

Well, DUH!!!!!!!!! That is all the policy requires -- and is more than it should require. What do you want-- hiring quotas? They are hiring one of the best coaches in college football today. Why should they need to justify that to anyone, or meet some artificially imposed requirement? Wouldn't YOU be trying to hire Saban, given the chance? I know I would.

Under these circumstances, what self-respecting person, minority or not, would accept such an interview. None -- which is why former Raiders coach Art Shell and University of Miami defensive coordinator Randy Shannon will be the likely interview candidates. Followed immediately by the Saban hiring. Wonder what they get out of it?


Why Not Let The Data Speak For Itself?

The Dallas News, not known for its favorable coverage of religious issues, had a great editorial earlier this week supporting the teaching of Intelligent Design. It notes that famed British philosopher Anthony Flew, a leading proponent of atheism for decades, announced last week that he had become convinced of the existence of some Creator behind the existence of the universe. Why? Because DNA research has convinced him that biological life as we know it could not have come randomly into existence due to its sheer complexity. Darwin and his successors may be able to explain much about the process that followed later on, but they cannot account for the beginning of life itself. As he said when he made this announcement, his conclusion isn't based upon some pre-conceived notion of religious faith.
My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.

Please note -- this isn't some jack-leg street-corner preacher thumping a Bible. This is a serious intellectual whose writings have been cited for years by those who are opposed to religion and supportive of rational materialism. Why, then, are so many folks opposed to even presenting the theory of intelligent design alongside the theory of Darwinian evolution? Why do leading scientist like Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin insist with a fundamentalist fervor that any view that might even hint at the existence of God is unacceptable?
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, and in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so-stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
Lewontin, R., "Billions and Billions of Demons," The New York Review, January 1997, p. 31

No, it is long past time for us to reject the notion that science and spirituality are necessarily at odds with one another. Teach the theories -- both Darwinian Evolution and Intelligent Design -- AS THEORIES and present the evidence for both. Then allow students to follow Plato's Socrates, as did Flew: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.


They'll Be Home For Christmas

Twenty soldiers were going to be stranded at Ft. Dix after their military flight home for the holidays was cancelled. They just could not afford commercial tickets -- at more than $700 each -- to get home to California. They would simply head to Iraq after the first of the year without seeing their loved ones. Enter Congressman Chris Smith.
"At first, it looked like they were going to be stranded, which would be absurd considering they're about to be deployed to a war zone," said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

"I thought it would be unconscionable for these soldiers to be at Fort Dix and making phone calls home when they could actually be home with their families for the holidays," Smith said.

Smith made contact with American Recreational Military Services, a nonprofit run out of the home of Ronnie Micciulla. She donated $10,000 to the cause, enabling all 20 to celebrate Christmas with their families. And New Jersey 101.5 radio host Mary Walter launched a fund-raising effort to reimburse ARMS, so that the Christmas cheer won't require the group to cut back anyplace else. And the Congressman got in touch with Southwest Airlines to arrange for the flights with Southwest Airlines.

And a Merry Christmas will be had by all!


Julian Bond -- Head Case, Or Rebel Without A Clue?

The GOP is "Talibanistic," catering to "right wing" extremists, and seeking to reverse civil rights gains.

Or at least that is what once-admirable civil rights leader Julian Bond is claiming these days.

Black Southerners, Bond said, are just as disenfranchised as in the past because all of the South's electoral votes went to Bush.

Now look at the absurdity of that statement. Blacks were able to vote in record numbers -- because of the Actions of the GOP in fighting the Civil War, passing the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, proposing and/or backing every major federal civil rights law overwhelmingly from the Civil War to the present, and legal action to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by every GOP president in the last 35 years. But they are disenfranchised because 90% voted for the losing candidate despite the fact that this administration has put more blacks in real policymaking positions than any administration in history. I guess that if your vote just didn't count if you didn't win. What does Bond want? Presidential elections open to blacks only?

"[Republicans] have divided more voters than in any other time," Bond said. "We have men versus women, whites versus nonwhites, straights versus gays, conservatives versus liberals, Protestants versus Jews, rural versus urban."

Imagine that. Groups with different interests being divided and voting differently. And it is all the fault of the GOP; despite the fact that the Democrats have been the party of special interest group Balkanization for the last four decades. And in the process the Democrats have managed to lose all but three presidential elections since 1968.

Bond defended the continued use of affirmative action as necessary to counter the advantages of "white privilege" that came from slavery and segregation. He said he supports slave reparations for African-Americans to level the playing field with whites.

Even thought that means we have to divide people based upon race, and then award benefits and privileges based upon racial identity -- in direct contradiction of the clear words of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Go away, Julian -- you are an irrelevant dinosaur who has sullied the great work of your youth with race-baiting in your old age.


Thursday, December 16, 2004

Time For Irreligious Minority To Sit Down, Shut Up

Sometimes a demand for "tolerance" needs to be ignored. Heck, sometimes it needs to be dismissed as an outpouring of bigotry on the part of a minority. This case from Bellevue, Washington, is one such example.

They call it the "Giving Tree". It contains requests from the needy for assistance. Every "holiday season" (no use of the "C-word" in City Hall) it helps raise$25,000 for the needy around the city.
So, you might be surprised that Sidney Stock would look at this tree and say, "I resent it."

Sidney and Jennifer Stock are atheists.

They asked the city council to remove the tree because it represents Christmas, which is a Christian holiday.

Stock says city hall should: "Act as a place where everybody feels welcome. It is impossible for everybody's religious belief to be displayed and non-religious belief to be displayed, so therefore, no religious beliefs be displayed."
Well, as a legal matter he is wrong -- a tree (even one designated as a Christmas tree) has been held to be a secular symbol by no less than the US Supreme Court. So this tree is likely not going anywhere.

But look at his argument. When reduced to its essence, what he says is that because it is impossible to represent the views of the majority and every single minority on government property, the only acceptable result is to exclusively represent the minority belief system held by he and his wife! Never mind the history, culture, and desire of the overwhelming majority -- he wins. Talk about overbearing arrogance!

Sidney, Jennifer, why don't you sit down, shut up, and quit trying to impose your religious values on us. And if you can't, why don't you find some place where atheism is the official policy of the state. I hear that both Cuba and North Korea are nice this time of year -- though neither one of them is open to the sort of public whining against the government that you seem to have made a hobby.


The Bill Of Rights -- Guarantor of Freedom Or Limiter Of Freedom?

Rick Lynch points out the problem with the Bill of Rights -- too many people see it as the full extent of our freedom, rather than simply the starting point. The notion of the people retaining rights not enumerated has been lost, leading most Americans to asume that government has free reign in those areas in which its power is not limited by specific restrictions.

The Founders had a different view. James Wilson of Pennsylvania, signer of both the Declaration and the Constitution, said
"In a government consisting of enumerated powers, such as is proposed for the United States, a bill of rights would not only be unnecessary, but, in my humble judgment, highly imprudent. In all societies, there are many powers and rights, which cannot be particularly enumerated. A bill of rights annexed to a constitution, is an enumeration of the powers reserved. If we attempt an enumeration, every thing that is not enumerated, is presumed to be given. The consequence is, that an imperfect enumeration would throw all implied power into the scale of the government; and the rights of the people would be rendered incomplete."

Unfortunately, too many people now see that neumeration as the limit of our personal freedom. Worse yet, many otherwise intelligent people, such as one of my assistant principals, assumes that we have thes rights because government gives them to us -- and regularly says that before the recitation of the Pledge of Allegience. I make sure my students know better, but am I trying to turn back the tide?


Multi-Culti Mumbo Jumbo In Education

Robert Holland comments on the agenda of the National Association of Multicultural Educators and its leftist agenda.
Surveys by the nonpartisan organization Public Agenda have shown that parents still believe in America as an overwhelmingly good country, and they want their children to believe that as well. A Public Agenda report a few years ago summarized parental attitudes this way:
"We found a clear-eyed patriotism among parents of all backgrounds; a deep belief that the United States is a unique nation, while acknowledging its faults. Parents want the schools to face those faults, but not to dwell on them — the parents we surveyed want history taught with fairness to all groups, but recoil from strategies that they feared might encourage divisiveness."
The multiculturalists, by stark contrast, do not see the United States at all as a good country with common values worth transmitting. They grossly divide Americans into "oppressors" (all whites of European descent) and the "oppressed" (all persons of color from minority cultures).

This is a surprise? I could have told you that 20 years ago, while being subjected to the state-mandated multicultural education class I took at Illinois State University. The one film that offered a "majority" perspective on society was a product of the John Birch Society advocating segregation -- the rest all celebrated ethnic minorities and their cultures, and condemned the oppressive white man. The irony of having the course taught by a white male professor who ruthlessly censored all opposing viewpoints wasn't lost on most of us.

Fortunately, more and more of my colleagues in the classroom are rejecting the approach described above. We love our minority students, but are more interested in educating them than promoting victim status.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Fraud At The Polls?

Is it just me, or is this the most blatant exercise in election stealing in American history?

Seems to me that they are making up rules as they go along, mining the invalid ballots to fet the result they want. After all, this is the same county that miraculously "discovered" 11,000 votes for the Democrat loser to bring the total difference in the vote to just a handful of ballots.


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