Saturday, January 31, 2004

Arizona House Democrats Claim Prayer Is "Disrespectful":

"Rep. Doug Quelland, R-Phoenix, caused a stir on Tuesday when he delivered a prayer on the House floor that took aim at multiculturalism, welfare, abortion and 'alternative lifestyles.'"

So offensive was this prayer to Democrats that an impudent little wet smack named Wally Straughn (D-Phoenix) filed an official protest with the state House. Arguing from multi-faceted levels of relativism he stated "the opening prayer should unite us, not divide us" and that Quelland's prayer "was divisive...pandering, mudslinging" and a "name-calling political statement. It was hateful and mean-spirited." He went on to say that "our unique voices should be respected. Especially during the opening prayer, as members of this body we must set aside our differences and show respect for Arizona in all of its diversity."

Let me see if I understand this. The House, and the constituents the members represent, are a diverse body with many unique voices that should be respected. But not if we disagree with them? Or if it makes appeal to an authority higher than themselves? How positively intolerant! I thought that all speech should be free and unfettered and valued in our diverse age. Even hate-speech, as is charged here. Not to worry though. I'm sure this legislative branch will quickly veer back to opening prayers that are neither offensive or edifying.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

What A Kroc

Yesterday Joan Kroc, deceased wife of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, bequeathed $1.5 billion to The Salvation Army. According to The New York Times "The gift is the largest single donation that anyone in the worlds of philanthropy and fund-raising could recall - and more than the Salvation Army received from all sources in 2002." What a refreshing gift in a time when vainglorious and/or politically correct giving is all the rage.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Former Governor of Vermont and Democratic Presidential hopeful Howard Dean has found Jesus. Or rather, rediscovered Him when the polls showed it expedient to discuss for the sake of Southern voters. So Dean has trotted out a bizarre journey that has him brought up Catholic, marrying a Jewish woman, converting to Episcopalian and then finally resting on the sinking ground of Congregationalism. The reason he left the Episcopalians? They opposed a bike path around Lake Champlain. The compromise he considered in marriage? For both to convert to Unitarians. In fact, his recent support for homosexual unions comes from his theology. Maybe he should have stayed with the Episcopalians a while longer.

Dr. Dean also has political baggage concerning abortion and, after serving as a Board member, was named Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger award winner. Ms. Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, believed in purifying the race through eugenics and advocated birth control and forced sterilization to balance the "fit" from the "unfit." The people Sanger considered unfit were "all non-aryan people." She wrote "Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race" and that inferior races were "human weeds."

Time will tell how palatable this is to Southern Christian voters.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Books Roundup

The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man In Full & Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe. As you can see, I caught up with Wolfe's two novels this year and was delighted by both. From the Wall Street/New York world of Bonfires to the bucolic and urban Georgia setting of Full, Wolfe serves as tour guide sans ├ęgal of Americana. His characters are engaging, his plots interesting, his pacing impeccable. Without reservation I also recommend the Virginia gentleman's newest book of essays, where he is as comfortable talking about modern sculpture (Frederick Hart) as he is current teenage sexual mores. There is next to nothing I can add to the critical praise he's accumulated save the few gaudy bouquets I heave here.
Double Lives, Second Chances: The Cinema of Krzystzof Kieslowski by Annette Insdorf. Polish filmmaker Kieslowski's work was recognized in the West as a smattering when he released The Decalogue miniseries in 1988 and it had become a downpour by the time his magnum opus Colors trilogy was finishing up in 1994 (to critical and commercial success). Less than two years later, retired at his zenith, he died of cardiac arrest in a Warsaw hospital after heart surgery. Far from being a dispassionate writer Dr. Insdorf was a confidante of Kieslowski's and proves an able and absorbing guide to his relatively compact output. Her insight is also captured on the commentary tracks of the Colors trilogy DVDs, which I highly recommend.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Are faith and reason antithetical or do they act as a corollary? Is putting them in the same sentence a contradiction in terms? For millennia faith and reason were considered allies but the post-Enlightenment philosophers put them at odds. Kierkegaard called faith a leap into the non-rational. This New York Times piece gives a bit of history and an agnostic conclusion, but worth the read. If only to get further educated on the subject.