Methodist Bishops Table Policy Change on Homosexuality United Methodist bishops have tabled a proposal that would have loosened restrictions in the church's mostly conservative policies on homosexuality. --by Kevin Eckstrom of Religion News Service at the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly website 5.10.07
U.S. House honors Islamic religious observance
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted for the first time to honor the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, but some conservative lawmakers wanted no part of it.
The language of the resolution sponsored by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) reads: “Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith.” The measure passed 376-0, with 42 members voting “Present.”
Among those who voted present was freshman Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado). “I couldn’t bring myself to vote ‘yes’ on that resolution,” he admits. “I hope that we have more and more moderate Muslims speaking out about the cause of peace in the future.” Lamborn says a recent attempt in Congress to honor Christmas was met with a great deal of opposition.
His colleague GOP presidential candidate and Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) also voted “present” on the measure. Tancredo released a press statement after the vote, citing the resolution as “an example of the degree to which political correctness has captured the political and media elite” in America.
“I am not opposed to commending any religion for their faith,” he says in the statement. “The problem is that any attempt to do so for Jews or Christians is immediately condemned as ‘breaching’ the non-existent line between Church and State by the same elite.”
Representative Scott Garrett of New Jersey says he too was “troubled” by the Ramadan resolution. “There were a number of members who, as we call it down here, ‘stayed off’ that vote and did not support it because I think that they looked at it as something that Congress really should not be doing, should not be picking one faith out and commending that faith.”
Garrett says during his five years in Congress he does not remember the House ever approving a resolution commending Christians for celebrating Christmas or Easter. — from an article by Jim Brown and Jody Brown as found at One News Now (OneNewsNow.com), 10.4.07 as submitted by Muriel McConnon.
The Good Guys
A funny thing. We’re so used to thinking of American troops as good guys that we forget: They’re good guys! They have American class.
And it is not possible that the good people of Iraq are not noticing, and that in some way down the road the sum of these acts will not come to have some special meaning, some special weight of its own. The actor Gary Sinise helps run Operation Iraqi Children, which delivers school supplies with the help of U.S. forces. When he visits Baghdad grade schools, the kids yell, “Lieutenant Dan!” — his role in “Forrest Gump,” the story of another good man.
Some say we’re the Roman Empire, but I don’t think the soldiers of Rome were known for their kindness, nor the people of Rome for their decency. Some speak of Abu Ghraib, but the humiliation of prisoners there was news because it was American troops acting in a way that was out of the order of things, and apart from tradition. It was weird. And they were busted by other American troops.
You could say soldiers of every country do some good in war beyond fighting, and that is true enough. But this makes me think of the statue I saw once in Vienna, a heroic casting of a Red Army soldier. Quite stirring. The man who showed it to me pleasantly said it had a local nickname, “The Unknown Rapist.” There are similar memorials in Estonia and Berlin; they all have the same nickname. My point is not to insult Russian soldiers, who had been born into a world of communism, atheism, and Stalin’s institutionalization of brutish ways of being. I only mean to note the stellar reputation of American troops in the same war at the same time. They were good guys. —excerpted from Peggy Noonan’s column Declarations, in The Wall Street Journal, 8.24.07
The Name of God
Wouldn’t Allah be better? That is what a Dutch Bishop recently wondered aloud when he suggested that people of all faiths should call God by his Islamic designation.
“Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn’t we all say that from now on we will name God Allah?” Bishop Tiny Muskens told a Dutch TV station last week. “What does God care what we call him?”
That may remain a great mystery. Not surprisingly, though, the bishop’s unilateral attempt at interreligious dialogue did not go down well with his own team. In a survey in the Netherlands’s biggest-selling newspaper, De Telegraaf, 92% of more than 4,000 people rejected giving up what is not only a liturgical tradition but a central plank of Western identity.
“Sure. Let’s call God Allah. Let’s then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun,” one reader wrote to De Telegraaf. –excerpted from an editorial in The Wall Street Journal 8.23.07
The current spate of presidential office seekers from both major parties zigzag around the truth as if they were in a race to confuse constituents. Some completely change the stance on their positions on many issues daily. They all occasionally claim to practice some form of religion.
Frivolous lawsuits choke the courts and class action suits have become a money farm for unscrupulous lawyers and law firms. A judge recently attempted to sue a family owned laundry for 54 million dollars because they allegedly returned the wrong suit pants to him.
Immigration issues now should be handled through a particular program of new legislation, as if no set of applicable laws had ever previously made it onto the books. And we now also require “hate” crime legislation for the trailer load of laws previous just don’t apply now and we’re all of a sudden somehow unable to prosecute crimes where hate was a motive driving the actions.
The UN is regularly outed as a bunch of thugs and socialist thieves, and yet they are still allowed to ply their back street trade; and we throw money at them granting them diplomatic immunity along with any deal. We want to sanction them as the arbiter and enforcer of the Law of the Sea.
A World Bank President was forced to resign after being railroaded into a scandal by the same board that had previously both suggested and approved salary and position changes for his “girlfriend,” a long time bank employee.
The head of the EU Exchange refused to leave his position under similar circumstances, and never even called upon to resign.
Several candidates have been reduced to ashes in the maelstrom of confirmation hearings and open kangaroo courts. Where the government panels alone cannot accomplish the reduction of character, the press is more than willing to sign on.
Senators and representatives angle on one side or the other of “critical” blocks of pending legislation all the while as the lobbyists and special interest groups collect funds to influence their perpetually wobbly and swaying votes. Once the checks clear the call for action and any new “must have” legislation or bill stalls only to reappear in time when the coffers need a refill, or when another set of important issues has been trotted out requiring “immediate action.” The votes may never get scheduled, as that is not the center of things. It is the threat or strident call for the legislation that has become the important issue. No tragedy or cause, contrived, potential, real or otherwise will be left behind. All can be used equally to generate funds; all will be used to sooth the elected class.
This is a connivance of the modern statehouse, a legislative action meant to enhance the player’s bank accounts. Most of the legislation (which is not needed in the first place), is simply brought up to liberate money out of the open hands of well-funded individuals and carry it off to the piggy bank of the lobbies with intended final distribution to the legislator’s political action committees or on to other less obvious destinations.
Influence peddling is not new, and power is not so much for sale as is the base desire for cold hard cash. It is an unofficial and undeniable entitlement and enrichment plan for the federal congress and the state legislatures: another form of money-for-nothing, with the intent centered on keeping “statesmen” well heeled. It is an illicit economy of appalling proportion.
Corporate America is not any different. Only the tactics, the plays and obfuscations change.
I’m sure some of the participants in these types of listed shenanigans, these same admirable folks, may regularly gather in a “church” building somewhere to worship the God of heaven. Perhaps they offer up a rousing chorus of “Oh, How I Love Jesus” as they pop a few hundred in the collection plate.
Yet, for the most part, we think nothing of it all. You see it has all been done before. For there is (indeed) nothing new under the sun.