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Some Things Said… (Oct 05) (2)

Islamic Radicalism ‘Doomed To Fail,’ Bush Says

Evoking President Ronald Reagan’s leadership of America’s resolve in confronting communism during his two terms in office, President Bush said today that Islamic radicalism is doomed to fail as communism did.

Bush spoke at the Ronald Reagan Library, in Simi Valley, Calif., for the dedication of the new Air Force One Pavilion at the museum, featuring the 707 jet used by Reagan during his presidency.

America prevailed in the 20th-century contest of wills between American freedom and Soviet totalitarianism, Bush noted. In the 21st century, “our freedom is once again being tested by determined enemies,” he added. Terrorists like those who attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001, “are followers of a radical and violent ideology,” Bush said.

Terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and others of his ilk “exploit the religion of Islam to serve a violent political vision — the establishment of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom,” Bush said.

Islamic extremists distort the concept of jihad, or holy war, to command their followers to murder anyone not in agreement with their principles, including other Muslims, the president said. Like old-style Soviets imbued with the ideology of communism, today’s terrorist leaders “presume to speak” for the masses, he added. –excerpted from, 10.21.05

Straight Talk About ‘Happy Talk’

Is there such a thing as a “good divorce”?

The conventional wisdom on divorce is that while a breakup is hard on children, parents can minimize a lot of the damage with a “good divorce.” Or can they? A new book out this month presents compelling evidence that even a relatively amicable divorce cannot spare children from psychological trauma that affects their self-image and shapes their personalities into adulthood.

“Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce” by Elizabeth Marquardt (Crown), will not come as welcome news to parents who may be seeking a split on the theory that there is nothing worse for children than growing up amid marital discord or unhappiness. The book establishes that the separation of parents bifurcates children’s inner lives, forcing them to become navigators, conciliators and emotional caregivers at an early age, all of which leaves them with a sense of tentativeness and isolation even as adults. Most startling of all are the findings suggesting that children whose parents remain in somewhat unhappy, low-conflict marriages (more common than high-conflict unions involving physical fights or other abuse) fare better in certain crucial spheres than do children of divorce. –from The Wall Street Journal online editorial site, 10.21.05

So That’s the Reason

A scientist blames America’s problems on religion.

The Victorian militant atheist Charles Bradlaugh, who went on tub-thumping speaking tours, used to stride onto the stage, take out his pocket watch and challenge God to strike him dead in 60 seconds. His survival at the end of the minute was, for him, proof positive that God did not exist.

Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, tried to prove the inefficacy of prayer, at least to his own satisfaction, by comparing the life expectancy of the British royal family–whose health was prayed for in churches throughout the land–with that of other members of the aristocracy. Finding no difference, he concluded that prayer was not an effective means of prolonging life.

Very much in the same tradition, Gregory S. Paul, writing in the Journal of Religion and Society, attempts to prove that religious belief, far from contributing to the moral fiber of society, actually causes social disintegration. Mr. Paul is a paleontologist whose previous works have included “Predatory Dinosaurs of the World” and “Dinosaurs of the Air.”

He finds that highly developed countries with the lowest levels of belief in God also have the lowest levels of social pathology and the best physical health; and that the U.S., with its uniquely high level of religious belief, “is so inefficient that it is experiencing a much higher degree of societal distress than are less religious and wealthy, prosperous democracies.”

Ergo, religion is bad, if not for you personally, at least for society as a whole. Mr. Paul’s study has been covered in newspapers from Australia to England and lauded smugly in academic circles. As one University of Southern California student wrote in the Daily Trojan: “The last thing we [Americans] need is any more blind faith.” –excerpted from an article by Theodore Dalrymple, in The Wall Street Journal, 10.14.05.

How much aid?

How much food and medical supplies will bin Laden airlift in to his fellow Muslims reeling from the earthquake? –Victor Davis Hanson, from his essay, “An American “Debacle?” On his website, and at National Review Online – 10.16.05

Former Cadet Sues Air Force Over Religious Rights

An Air Force Academy graduate filed suit in federal court today, accusing some at the Academy of illegally imposing Christianity on cadets, The Associated Press reported. In his lawsuit, Mikey Weinstein claims that evangelical Christians coerced students to attend religious services and to pray at official events. He wants that to change.

The lawsuit asks the Air Force to prohibit members from discussing religion “or in any related way attempt to involuntarily convert, pressure, exhort or persuade a fellow member of the USAF to accept their own religious beliefs while on duty.” Weinstein, who is Jewish, said when they put one religion above another, it is a violation of a cadet’s rights. “My problem is not with Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity or even evangelical Christianity,” he said. “It’s that whenever a religion — in this case a group of people — tries to engage the machinery of the state, it is constitutionally repugnant and violative(sp).” –from Focus on the Family.

Mugabe calls Bush, Blair ‘terrorists’

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday railed against President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, calling them “international terrorists” bent on world domination like Adolf Hitler.

Mr. Mugabe departed from his text at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to accuse Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair of illegally invading Iraq and looking to unseat governments elsewhere.

“Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who, in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed [an] unholy alliance, formed an alliance to attack an innocent country?” he asked rhetorically. –excerpted from an article in The Washington Times, by Philip Pullella, Reuters News Agency, 10.18.05.

Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson

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