Monday, December 31, 2007
Whether or not this makes any difference in the long run as to how Wendy runs her paper, hopefully the people of Santa Barbara who continue to patronize her rag will see it for what it is. Now there are still good people working for the paper and they deserve our support and respect for sticking it out under difficult circumstances.
But three cheers for justice! It just goes to show you that money doesn't always win.
" 'Petty' is the best word to describe him," said Dennis R. Young, a state representative at the time who sponsored the relief measure and had been an early Huckabee supporter. "In these kinds of things, he'd make mountains out of molehills."
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Part of the problem with “unChristian” is the authors’ penchant for equating “Christian” with “conservative evangelical.” While they observe that only 9 percent of Americans are evangelical, no other position is recognized as legitimate. Kinnaman and Lyons worry that the church will respond to its disaffected youth by “hijacking Jesus” and “promoting a less offensive faith.” They’re concerned about balancing a “kindler, gentler” Christianity with one that remains staunchly true to their understanding of the “biblical worldview.” That worldview is narrowly evangelical, fixated on things like the absolute accuracy of the Bible, the perfection of Jesus, and the existence of a personal Satan. Nothing in this definition speaks of God’s love or how we treat one another.
"As a person who has actually been through the Basic Seminar, I am confident that these are some of the best programs available for instilling character into the lives of people," Huckabee wrote in a letter promoting Gothard's prison ministry. Arkansas prisons had been using Gothard seminars and materials since 1996.
Huckabee also endorsed Gothard's "Character Cities" program. Gothard described a meeting in Little Rock as laying groundwork for "the most exciting opportunity I can imagine" to merge his institute's teachings with government programs.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Her death -- a shooting accompanied by a suicide bomb -- places her nation in a difficult place.
I would ask you to join me in prayers for the nation of Pakistan, that justice will of course make its way felt, but also that the nation will remain calm. Perhaps the silver lining will be such horror that the people will choose to sit down and find a way toward peace.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Well how things have changed. Not only are there many more translations available -- I'm partial to the NRSV (see my bookstore in the sidebar) -- but there are many other choices. Stephanie Simon wrote a Column One piece yesterday (Christmas Day) entitled: "Selling the Good Book by its cover." The focus was primarily on Zondervan, which has sought to bring the Bible up-to-date with all numbers of fabrics and colors, as well as niched bibles for every age and interest (personally I'm waiting for a Hugh Hefner edition).
There are Magna bibles and teen fashion themed one. Why all this effort --- well, how else to you get people to buy Bibles (still the number one selling book) to an American populace -- 91% of whose households already own one? The question is how far is too far? And when does the Bible get lost in its wrappings?
One last thing -- there seem to be so many choices out there that half the buyers go home empty handed -- confused. My suggestion is go to my bookstore and buy one of the NRSV's listed!
So, if you've been wondering about all of this -- read the article here and let me know what you think.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Each of us celebrate or choose not to celebrate in our own way. We're with family this year -- last year we went to Vegas. My brother stayed home alone -- his only day off in 2 weeks -- and enjoyed the quiet.
I'm learning that it's more and more difficult to buy gifts - especially for my wife. But you try your best.
So to everyone I say -- Merry Christmas -- and as you consider the day that is ponder the one we honor. Of course we know not the date or time of his birth nor the manner either. We don't even know the place. Tradition says Bethlehem while logic suggests Nazareth. Whatever the case, we celebrate the one in whom God's light is present to us.
On Friday he replied that he considered the alignment with the Southern Cone temporary, "until such time as the Episcopal Church repents."
Monday, December 24, 2007
Reason is advocated by those "who believe that universal logic, principles, and law are the only suitable or even feasible basis for an international system." (p. 405). This vision of the world has its advocates especially in Western Europe and America. They believe that systems need to be developed, which can enforce "the global rule of law." Advocates see things in a very universal way -- focusing on universal human rights and "universally valid legal principles." This is the Enlightenment perspective.
Many in the world believe that religion must be the "foundation for any just international order." You can find advocates among Wahabi Islam, Shi'a, certain Roman Catholics, and many Protestants and Pentecostals. These groups may disagree on the details, but they agree that order in the world will only come by way of revealed religion. Some may accept aspects of Enlightenment ideals, but religion "will have the last word." (p. 405)
Tradition has its place, but what we're talking about here deals with what Mead refers to as "cultural and identity politics." This is the view of the populist nationalists who "believe that their own values and culture ought to be the basis for international life or at least that they must be protected from the soulless internationalism of others." (p. 405) The later is very prominent in large parts of Latin America and Africa.
Ultimately, Mead says that none of these visions can or will win out. The future then is to be found in what he calls the "anglican" vision, one that is able to bring these three seemingly competing visions into a whole.
That is, they will be limited in power, they will proceed from sometimes contradictory assumptions; they will be built in such a way that they can be interpreted and justified from opposed points of view. It will require of us a willingness to think broadly and listen to one another..
Reason involves universal logic, science, the rule of law, concerns about human rights. It's guided by the Enlightenment values. You could say it is very Western and it has numerous advocates in Europe and in America as well.
Appalachian Carol (1934)
Sung here by Vanessa Williams
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The first four years of the administration of George W. Bush were almost a textbook example of the dangers that American foreign policy faces when it ignores the enduring importance of collective recognition in international life. Its European policy trampled openly on the sensibilities of Cold War allies, raising questions about the structure of the Atlantic alliance in ways that seriously reduced public support for that alliance in much of Europe. At times the Bush administration seemed to glory in its relative isolation and its capacity for unilateral action, and it was only too happy to remind countries like Germany and France that they were not the great powers they had once been.
What proved to be an unnecessary and poorly planned war in Iraq reminded America's allies of the limits on America's wisdom. With gratuitous slights and grandiose posturing, men like former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld made American power odious in much of the world. This was not wise; it risked waking old memories and disturbing old ghosts best left to slumber in peace. The chief European allies of the United States are to a large degree former foes: Satans or aspiring Satans brought low by the crushing power of the maritime system." (Mead, God and Gold, p. 378)
December 23, 2007
Today, with my church, I will light the fourth candle of Advent. Like the candles that I and many other Christians have lit in the preceding weeks (candles of hope, peace, and joy), this candle brings with it an important message. The message this candle brings is one of love.
It is said in the Christian Scriptures that love is the greatest of the virtues, and that without love even martyrdom is without any value (1 Corinthians 13). These same Scriptures declare that God is love, and that if one does not love, one does not know God (1 John 4:7-8). It is a sad truth that we who claim to be people of God so often fail to heed this message.
For the majority of Christians who celebrate Christmas a few days from now, the season's message is one of love. If, as Christians believe, Jesus is God in the flesh (incarnate), then those who would truly celebrate his birth and life will be a person who loves. A person, however, doesn't have to be a Christian to understand the principle of love. It is a principle found in some form in just about every major religion. The Jewish Scriptures speak of two great commandments - love of God and love of neighbor (Deuteronomy 6:4; Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:3- 32). And from the Baha'i tradition we hear that: “In the world of existence there is indeed no greater power than the power of love” (Abdu'l-Baha).
What is true of charity is true of compassion. This statement from within the Hindu tradition says it all: “What sort of religion can it be without compassion? You need to show compassion to all living beings. Compassion is the root of all religious faith” (Basavanna).
Jesus spoke of not only loving one's neighbor, but also of one's enemy. To embrace such a principle won't be easy, but that is what this candle we're lighting symbolizes. So, won't you join me in lighting the candle of love and make love visible by working to break down the social and cultural barriers of our world that seek to divide us?
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Now the singing is at times a bit off key, but the words are right on.
Take a look:
Friday, December 21, 2007
The reason the conservative power structure has been so dangerous, and is especially dangerous in opposition, is that it can operate almost entirely on bad faith. It thrives on protest, complaint, fear: higher taxes, you won't be able to choose your doctor, liberals coddle terrorists, etc. One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that's not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists -- it's a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict. It's how you deal with people with intractable demands -- put ‘em on a committee. Then define the committee's mission your way.
Perhaps I'm making assumptions about the degree to which Obama is conscious that his pitch is a tactic of change. But his speeches show all the passion of Edwards or Clinton, his history is as a community organizer and aggressive reformer (I first heard his name 10 years ago because he was on the board of the Joyce Foundation in Chicago, which was the leading supporter of real campaign finance reform at the time), and he has shown extraordinary political skill in drawing Senator Clinton into a clumsy overreaction. If we understand Obama's approach as a means, and not the limit of what he understands about American politics, it has great promise as a theory of change, probably greater promise than either "work for it" or "demand it," although we'll need a large dose of hard work and an engaged social movement as well.
Interview originally published at Faithfully Liberal
As you’ll discover in the interview, before serving in Congress, Lois was a nurse — or better yet she remains a nurse to this day — one of three serving in Congress. A RN, she was for many years a school nurse in the Santa Barbara School District (and for part of that tenure she was the Director of the County’s Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Project). I think that this experience – in addition to her faith – has contributed to the compassionate spirit she brings to her work.
Because Aaron has interviewed a number of people in political life, I decided to invite readers of this site to hear from my Congressional representative. I appreciate her willingness to engage in the conversation and I hope you’ll enjoy her responses.
As a pastor living in your Congressional District, I have heard you speak openly about your faith. I’d like to begin by asking you a couple of questions about how your faith and its relationship to the political realm.
• First, how has your faith formed you as a person?
My father was a Lutheran minister so I grew up in a family where faith was an integral part of our daily lives. I learned at a young age that I derive great personal strength from my faith. Over the course of my life, my deep convictions have seen me through many joyous times, and also times of great difficulty. Personally, my faith reminds me of my priorities and keeps me grounded and grateful for the opportunities I have had in life.
• Following on that question, how has your faith formed you as a politician?
As public servants, Members of Congress are constantly making decisions based on our values, and our faith plays an important role in setting priorities that reflect these ideals. For this reason, I recently held a “Faith Day” in Washington, D.C. and invited leaders of all faiths from my district to participate in a day-long conference focusing on the role of faith and politics. It was truly a rewarding day, filled with much political discourse and ruminations about the role of faith as a uniting, not dividing, force. Unfortunately, I know how divisive political discourse can be on Capitol Hill. I have seen, however, how faith can bring together Members with differing political views to help find common ground. Drawing on America’s diverse religious teaching we find our nation’s common core values and strengths. While it is critical that we maintain a clear institutional separation of church and state as dictated by our Constitution, it is also clear that there is an important place for the voices of people of faith in the public square.
• Much is being made of the leading Democratic candidates God talk. What do you make of this and what does it say about the role of faith in the Democratic Party?
I think my Democratic colleagues running for President are sincere when discussing their personal faith. Each candidate brings unique and significant personal experiences and perspectives on faith into their candidacy. From my experience in Congress, I think faith has always played a large role in the lives of my Democratic and Republican colleagues. At the same time, I do believe Democrats have become much more comfortable in recent years discussing our faith in the public forum.
• In recent years we’ve been told that “values voters” vote Republican, what are the values that Democrats uphold that might change the way that question is answered?
I like to think that we all share certain intrinsic values that transcend partisan politics. Growing up my parents taught me, just as I tried to teach my own children, that we should all work hard and treat others with kindness and respect. I believe these values belong to both political parties. I reject the characterization of “values voters” as a group reflecting a necessarily conservative perspective. I have always found “values voters” on all sides of political debates.
I realize that Iraq and national security are important issues but I know that health care is a matter close to your heart, and so I’d like to focus the remainder of my questions on that issue.
• I guess the place to start is to ask why health care is such an important issue to you?
I think access to quality health care is a basic human right. I’ve devoted my life to providing health care services to others as a hospital nurse, school nurse, public health educator and now on the Health Subcommittee in Congress. From my perspective as a policy maker, I think health care is up there with global warming as the single-most important domestic issue we face as a nation. That is why the issue is close to my heart, and also why I have devoted my life to the cause.
• Is health care a moral issue?
• Several Democratic candidates have proposed health care plans that would cover most if not all Americans. Do you see any plan out there that is not only workable but fair?
I think there are a variety of good plans to improve health care. And I look forward to working with the Democratic nominee for President to produce the most effective health care plan possible.
• Recently the President vetoed the S-CHIP program that carried broad bipartisan support. Despite that shadow hanging over us, what immediate steps could we take that could garner broad support and would help bridge some of the gaps that exist in the system?
We are so fortunate to have an active community that steps in where gaps exist. The most important thing we can do is improve our preventive health care services. The promotion of healthy behaviors from an early age greatly improves the wellbeing of both individuals and families. Our Federally Qualified Health Centers do an excellent job of serving our local population who otherwise would lack access to health care. In San Luis Obispo County, they’ve adopted the Nurse Family Partnership model which provides outreach, education and a series of home visits to at-risk moms lasting from prenatal care through a child’s 2nd birthday. Supporting programs like these is the best way to help.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, now I’d like to end this interview by giving you the opportunity to briefly address one issue of your choice.
We must end the war in Iraq. While we have made progress in the Democratically-controlled 110th Congress, we are far from our goal of ending this war and responsibly bringing our troops home. One of my proudest moments in Congress was voting against the war in October 2002. Since then, I have been an outspoken critic of this war and the Administration’s complete mismanagement of it. I believe the best way to support our troops is to bring them home as soon as is safely possible.
Obama on the other hand has a nice sentiment expressed focused on what unites us as a people. It brings in the whole family as well. Nice touch. Like I said, I'm biased, but I like the video -- check it out:
Thursday, December 20, 2007
While “A Charlie Brown Christmas” gently scolds America for its exploitation of the season, it really centers on the education of its main character. By letting commercialism spoil his Christmas, Charlie Brown becomes the prototypical “Scrooge in reverse.” As Linus wisely tells him, “You’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem.” Charlie must learn how to prevent these annoyances from blinding him to the true meaning of Christmas. And this holiday special stands alone by actually stating what that true meaning is.
There’s no radical transformation in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Our bald little hero doesn’t grow a heart three sizes too big. He doesn’t buy a Christmas goose for Bob Cratchett. Charlie walks home with his head down, carrying his pathetic tree. The Peanuts gang follows him, and while he’s not looking, they spruce up his sad, little tree with some of Snoopy’s ornaments, a symbol of their own unabashed Christmas cheer. “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!” they shout. Charlie quietly sheds his cynicism, and joins them in a chorus of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” The end.
The Anglophones [English speaking countries] have seen themselves as defending and sometimes advancing liberty, protecting the weak, providing opportunity to the poor, introducing the principles of morality and democracy into international life, and creating more egalitarian and more just societies at home and abroad. Their enemies have looked at the same set of facts and seen a ruthless assault on every kind of social and moral decency.
Our enemies are all the wicked me of the world, whether abroad or at home, that are the enemies to the very being of this nation. . . from that very enmity that is in them against whatsoever should serve the glory of God and the interest of his people; which they see to be more eminently, yea most eminently patronized and professed in this nation -- we will speak it not with vanity -- above all nations in this world.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
England's enemies, he said, are all the wicked men of the world, whether
abroad or at home . . . "
"Truly," said Cromwell, your great enemy is the Spaniard . . . through that
enmity that is in him against all that is of God that is in you."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
- In a closed society, people know their place. Custom, morality, law reinforce this sensibility. There is an instinctual nature to religion.
- In an open society, tradition and custom have lost some of their force. The human drive for change fuels life. Women, for instance, have greater opportunities and latitudes. (pp. 192-193)
- Static religion is "the call of instinct, is the force that holds the member of a closed society fast to its precepts and traditions. Socrates was executed for subverting religion; organized religion frequently led the ideological and political resistance to capitalism and democracy in modern European history. In much of the world we can still see static religion seeking to enforce conformity on societies increasingly stirred by capitalist influence" (p. 195).
- Dynamic religion is that force that calls people forward to embrace change and open society. It involves "a feeling of restlessness and unease, a yearning for new experiences, a voice in the head shouting warnings or commands, visions, dreams, or ideas." Expressions of dynamic religion include mysticism and tends to be visionary. It can even carry people beyond traditional religious structures. (pp. 195-198)
An enlightened modernity did not overcome entrenched customary religion in the Anglophone world. Rather dynamic religion infiltrated and supplemented static religion in the religious life of the Anglophones. Goldilocks was able to follow her westward path through dark and threatening woods because, like the Magi before her, she was following a star." (p. 199)
"If we are so politically correct in this country that a person can't say enough of the nonsense with the political attack ads could we pause for a few days and say Merry Christmas to each other then we're really, really in trouble as a country," Huckabee said.
And it’s not that Gibson just went straight to the end of the story. He went right to the most brutal part of the end of the story. He didn’t even cover the final week in the life of Jesus, which Marcus and I examined in our book, “The Last Week.” Now, you really could make a great movie based on our book because it raises the whole question of whether the authorities are going to be able to get Jesus away from the crowd. As long as the crowd is Jesus’ protective screen, they can’t get him without causing a riot. Even though we know how it’s going to end, you really could make a story out of it—one that takes Mark’s account seriously. Here, Jesus goes up to the temple to make a double protestation, and he’s protected by his crowd. And the question the authorities ask is, “Can we get him?”
When I asked you about Verhoeven’s Jesus film last year, you mentioned you were surprised to finally learn the direction he wanted to take it.
Yeah. Basically his whole idea was that Jesus had his conflict at the temple early in his ministry, not at the end, and for the rest of the story he’s running from the authorities, like Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive.”
So he envisioned a thriller, an action film.
I think so—a pursuit movie in which Jesus is the odd man out. Verhoeven once told me that Jesus preached “Blessed are the poor” because he himself was poor, and he was poor because he was on the run. But I suggested to him that a great movie could be made by simply using the Rashomon effect with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, collapsing their four visions and having them interplay with each other. And Verhoeven wrote back saying that, yeah, that’d be very interesting.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Well, apparently in the recent GOP Debate Mike Huckabee made a bit of a goof the other day. In establishing his opposition to Abortion, he recounted the "Christian origins" of the nation -- insisting that that many of the Declaration's signers were clergy.
HUCKABEE: There are some real issues out there in this country we need to be fighting for on behalf of the people. Now, one of them, quite frankly, I do believe, is the sanctity of human life...
... because I do believe that it is one of the defining issues of our culture and civilization in that it expresses our understanding that every single human being in this society has intrinsic value and worth. When our founding fathers put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence, those 56 brave people, most of whom, by the way, were clergymen, they said that we have certain inalienable rights given to us by our creator, and among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, life being one of them. I still believe that.
The truth is only Princeton President John Witherspoon was an ordained member of the clergy.
The Declaration of Independence was the birth certificate for this nation, but the men who signed it knew it could be their death warrant. The closing paragraph states, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance of the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." The 56 Founding Fathers, 27 of whom were trained as ministers, took their pledge seriously. On the morning of the signing, there was silence and gloom as each man was called up to the table of the President of Congress to sign the document, knowing that it could mean their death by hanging.
Again the truth is the colleges at the time were church related and theology would have been studied -- but that doesn't make one a member of the clergy!
Watch this video from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and sign the statement.
On Global Warming
-- Martin E. Marty
The images and prophecies connected with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the biblical book of Revelation seem horrifying enough. But in a "you-ain't-seen-nothing-yet" spirit, Philip Jenkins in December 10th's New Republic warns of disastrous implications for religious conflict after studying the results of climate-modeling by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
More than anyone else we read, Jenkins regularly writes about global Christianity for broad publics. He combines experiences of travel, research, and dialogues on Christianity "north" and "south." In "Burning at the Stake: How global warming will increase religious strife," Professor Jenkins ties projections of Christian growth to what the IPCC foresees. If you'd like to sleep easily tonight, don't read it at bedtime. Rather than occupying a mere four columns upfront in a magazine, it might merit a billboard. Jenkins, fortunately, does not waste readers' time debating whether or when or how global warming is coming about. Instead he anticipates the consequences and notices some new Christian addresses to the situation.
The case? Take only the instance of changes in the water supplies and who will control what's left. In Nigeria, where Christians and Muslims are self-segregated, they might "erupt in a violent tug-of-war over limited water supplies." Coptic Christians in Egypt might be sacrificed to ethnic cleansing as resources dwindle. Uganda and Kenya could reproduce scenes made vivid in Rwanda massacres. "The ramifications for the global warming-driven destruction of equatorial nations are frightening for everyone—but they should be especially frightening for Christians," whose numbers grow explosively, precisely there.
Historian Jenkins reaches back to the "Little Ice Age" between the ninth and thirteenth centuries to show the human devastations caused by climate changes. He may be a bit speculative here, but with creative guesses and some evidence he compares foreseen changes to those that helped bring on the Great Famine (after 1315) and the Black Death (1340s), when one-third of Eurasia's population was killed. Witchcraft trials became a murderous obsession. Bigots of all religions were sure that their God was legitimating their aggressive roles. Christians in revenge against Muslim advances turned murderous. Jenkins thinks that we are heading toward a future alike in violence and horror to centuries in our past.
He sees a glimmer of light and recognition in the West among "morally conservative churches in America [which] form relationships with like-minded churches in the South," and are growing more sensitive to the world's needs. Skipping past Roman Catholic and "World Council type" Protestant and Orthodox involvements, he turns to these conservatives, as in the National Association of Evangelicals, who are mobilizing people, forces, energies, and resources to begin to address the situation and call attention to it. He expects even greater involvement soon by such conservative Christians, who are "combining the themes of world stewardship and protecting Christian minorities," which could lead to new political action. But in the absence of such action, might global warming lead to "medieval levels of misery and doom for the majority of Christians worldwide?" We've been warned.
Martin E. Marty's biography, current projects, upcoming events, publications, and contact information can be found at www.illuminos.com.
This month's Religion and Culture Web Forum features James K. A. Smith of Calvin College on "The Gospel of Freedom, or Another Gospel? Augustinian Reflections on American Foreign Policy." Throughout the month, commentary by Eric Gregory ( Princeton University ), David Schindler (Villanova University), and Paul Williams (Regent College) will be posted on the forum's discussion board.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
December 9, 2007
December is rapidly moving to a close, and a new year is on the horizon. It is full of promise, and yet it's full of uncertainty. Uncertainty often breeds fear and timidity. We can even get a bit cranky - especially during a time as stressful as this current season (whatever you choose to call it).
For me this is still the season of Advent, a season of preparation and self-examination. To this point, I've lit candles of hope and peace, and this morning it's time to light a third candle, the candle of joy. Although the carol “Joy to the World” will be sung in many a church come Christmas Eve (and perhaps earlier), for many this season is anything but joyful. The times are serious and the challenges many. There's the war and the elections (Iowa caucuses just two days after New Year's). The economic situation in the nation distresses many, especially those who are being laid off or perhaps struggle to make ends meet. It is easy to turn into Ebenezer Scrooge at a time like this.
Each celebration - to say nothing of the celebration of the New Year - has its own nuances and complexities, but at least part of each celebration is a sense of joy and happiness. Each has a party of some sort attached to it.
As we light the candle of joy, it's appropriate to step back from our normal routines to relax and rest. We don't do too much of that in our society, so we need to take advantage of our holidays. In fact, we need more of them so we can enjoy life more. “Stop,” they say, “and smell the roses” - indeed!
“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of Joy you must have somebody to divide it with.”
Dr. Bob Cornwall is pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Lompoc (www.lompocdisciples.org). He blogs at http://pastorbobcornwall.blogspot.com and can be contacted at email@example.com or c/o First Christian Church, P.O. Box 1056, Lompoc, CA, 93438.
December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
“What I’ve always found is people who talk about how tough they are aren’t the tough ones. I’m less interested in beating my chest and rattling my saber and more in making decisions that build a safer and more secure world.”
On a frosty January day in 1989, with his first mayoral race looming, Mr. Giuliani assembled his staff in the library at the United States attorney’s office and offered a goodbye salute. The once-chubby prosecutor now was almost gaunt, a thinning shock of dark hair combed across his scalp.
Look, he said, here’s what I have to say about my time here. We may have made our mistakes along the way, but I don’t think we ever made mistakes for the wrong reason.
Mr. Giuliani has held tight to that image, the jaunty chieftain and his legal warriors, many of whom have remained admirers and, in some cases advisers. But those who battled him remember most of all his near-overwhelming moral certitude.
It still troubles some.
“The public wants to see tough prosecutors, but being tough is not always best,” said Mr. McDonald, the former prosecutor who led the Organized Crime Strike Force. “If you’re always concerned with looking tough, you’re not always looking to be fair. I wonder about that balance.”
Friday, December 14, 2007
I am getting the sense that the real issue here is that the Bush does not view the suspected terrorist as a fully human being. This makes the definition of torture technically not apply to them in that sense. It is kind of like the clear discrimination of African Americans under Jim Crow. It was justified because they were not defined as fully human of full citizens. I think this has to do with Bush's understanding that even suspected terrorists are intrinsically evil and this I think is why they are less than human.So in this view of what is fully human, Bush would not think it's torture. Something I think worth considering.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
December 4, 2005
(I am republishing here a column originally published in the Lompoc Record in 2005. It deals with the issues that confound so many and makes December a dilemma to those who are not Christian)
December poses a dilemma for some, though this may come as a surprise to many. I find December to be a joyous and blessed season. I may complain occasionally about the commercialization of Christmas, but I still enjoy the lights, the trees, and the music, especially the carols. I really have no complaints.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus and it reminds me that God has drawn near to us in a baby born in a far off corner of the world. It is a festival that carries a message of peace and good will, of angel's songs and divine visits. Yes, for me, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
If we who are Christian have allowed Jesus to be crowded out of Christmas, then we should make every effort to reclaim him as the reason for our celebration. We can make it a point to attend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. There we will sing the great carols of Christmas and we will celebrate the wondrous message of salvation and grace that is present in Christmas. At the same time, as a Christian, I hope that I will show my neighbor the respect I would want shown to me. If Christmas is about peace and good will (Luke 2:14), then it is incumbent on we who are Christians to live accordingly. If the greeting is happy holiday instead of merry Christmas, I know what is meant, and by showing respect and honor to those who do not share my religious faith I can offer a worthy gift to our community. The public square need not be naked, but it needs to be shared by all.
Dr. Bob Cornwall is pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Lompoc. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 4, 2005