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February 28, 2007

What's Good for the Goose...

Now that James Cameron is making a new documentary suggesting he's found the bones of Jesus, will Andy Rooney now castigate him for making money off of Jesus? He certainly took Mel Gibson to task for this. Think he'll do the same for Cameron?

Yeah, me neither.

Posted by Doug at 05:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Name That Warmonger

Who said this in a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting while questioning John Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence?

I was just wondering, does the military have a plan to, if necessary, to go into Syria to go to the source of any weapons coming from Syria? That are going to Sunni insurgents? That are killing our troops? … I think we ought to take action on all fronts including Syria and any other source of weapons coming in, obviously Iran is the focus – but it shouldn't be the sole focus.

What member of the committee asked if the military had a plan for dealing with Syria and Iran?

Are you sitting down? No really, are you?

The answer is:

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI).

No, really, that Carl Levin. Click here for context and video.

Now, Democrats were indeed talking the tough talk against Saddam Hussein as far back as the Clinton administration, who's official policy was for regime change in Iraq, and then later, when it looked like George W. Bush would actually do something about it, they backpedaled and accused Bush of misleading them. (They were misled by Bush as far back as the Clinton presidency? Amazing!) So this moment of acknowledging reasonable precaution and having a plan for dealing with Syria and Iraq may be short-lived. Nonetheless, it's good to hear some bit of sense from that side of the aisle regarding being prepared.

Just hope he increases his contingent of bodyguards. The anti-war Left ain't gonna like this.

Posted by Doug at 01:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2007

An Amazing Movie: "Amazing Grace"

The movie "Amazing Grace" chronicles the struggle, physically and politically, of William Wilberforce against the slave trade in late 18th century and early 19th century Britian. To this movie review amateur, it is well-written, and very well-acted. And its story is a powerful one, regardless of your religious persuasion.

It is a little hard to follow for some, though. While I was able to follow the timeline of the movie, one of my daughters noted that she had trouble with that. The story starts chronologically, but at one point jumps 15 years ahead to where Wilberforce meets his future wife, Barbara Ann Spooner. At one of their meetings, he spends the night relating to her the events of the skipped 15 years. We are shown what happened, and occasionally jump back to William and Barbara. It allows William to comment to her on what he was thinking at the time without requiring him to recite some soliloquy during the showing of the events themselves. Finally, one he has caught her (and the audience) up to the moment, the movie continues chronologically from there.

Flashbacks aside, the movie holds many ideas for the viewers to contemplate. Some are related to religion, some are related to politics, and some address how the two intermingle. And yes, they can intermingle without becoming tangled. Such are the examples that need to be understood, especially in this present age.

First of all, we see that God honors diligence. Throughout his life, Wilberforce never gave up his cause. This is certainly not to say that he never thought of packing it in given the meager advances early on, but he ultimately kept up the fight until he got his country to turn around. In all his struggle, we see his appeal to what is morally right, a conviction that God gives him and which propels him forward each step of the way. Not as much is made of his religious convictions during the movie as I would have hoped, but there is definitely a point at the beginning where we understand the genesis of this impetus--particularly his own conversion experience of sorts, where he says that God found him rather than vice versa--and a bit more at the end as well. Ultimately, he presses on toward the goal and attains it. God honors his years of perseverance.

But as I said, sometimes his perseverance flagged, and that is where another important idea comes in; that the fellowship of like-minded people is a great help in those difficult times. When they first gather together a group of ministers, former slaves and MPs, it's quite a meager number. But it's enough to bolster Wilberforce's spirits and continue the fight. Notably, not all these participants are of the same religious persuasion as William's, but that's not really an issue and isn't one in the movie. They all share the belief that the slave trade should be stopped. Many times, what's morally right is apparent to those who don't share our same religious beliefs, and sometimes Christians are reluctant to accept the aid of those who are not "one of us". Sometimes that's warranted--underlying motivations can be working at cross purposes--but it shouldn't be an automatic reaction.

Which brings me to the next idea, that not all moral causes are solved by appealing to morality. Wilberforce's speeches regarding the slave trade included the conditions of the slave ships, the deaths involved while on ship, as well as what sort of treatment they'd expect when they arrived, notably in sugar production. All of this, unfortunately, didn't get past the MPs for whom the slave trade was primarily an economic issue. If you think about it (without giving too much away about this plot point), the solution that really sealed the fate of the slave trade had little to do with the ethics of it all. The solution was part economic and part political, but it, too, was in essence morally right and achieved the desired effect. I imagine Wilberforce understood Jesus' words:

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

And in understanding this, we find another idea worth considering; Christians should not fear politics. For many, it is a necessary evil; certainly the Founding Fathers took a dim view of governmental power and the corruption that spread so easily in its confines. Nonetheless, many a confidant, include the author of the hymn "Amazing Grace" himself, John Newton, discouraged Wilberforce from leaving politics after his conversion. To Newton and to Wilberforce himself, doing God's service and serving in Parliament could be entirely compatible, and indeed the former could be accomplished by the latter. There is also an example in this movie about a politician sticking to his or her principles that could be taken to heart. Not everyone is up to the challenge of holding political office, to be sure, but you don't have to be an MP or a Senator to make changes for the good in government. Being involved in politics, even if that just means understanding some of what's going on, is certainly a worthwhile effort for any Christian. One might even say that, while we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, in a representative republic it is our duty to be keeping our eyes on Caesar to ensure he doesn't stumble.

The converse of that thought is also true; politics should not fear Christians. Who a person is and what their beliefs are should not disqualify their ideas. To use the current vernacular, was William Wilberforce trying to shove his view of morality down Britain throat? Should his idea been labelled "theocratic" and dismissed out of hand? Was he unable to properly represent the atheists in Yorkshire because of his religious convictions? If he had been a United States Representative in the 21st century, something tells me he would have been decried as someone who hated our beloved separation of church and state. This is not a blanket approval of all politicians who call themselves Christian, nor a blanket endorsement of their policies. But in far too many instances, terms like "theocrat", "religious right", "homophobe", "Christianist" and so forth are thrown about to cut off the debate. Most of our country's founders were either Christian or held Christianity in high esteem. There may be good reasons why the principles they wrote into our laws are good ideas. Perhaps those religious convictions have some merit.

In the end, there is plenty to take away from this film regardless, as I said, of your religious persuasion, or even if you have no persuasion at all. The fact that the movie itself is of a very high quality makes it more likely that folks will be seeing it, and I certainly recommend that you be one of them.

Posted by Doug at 05:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2007

Religious Freedom Inconvenient for Public Schools

Would you believe that here in the United States, someone would suggest that religious freedom and parental right undermine the public school system? It's happened. A US District Judge has used that as part of his reasoning in a recent ruling.

A federal judge in Massachusetts has ordered the "gay" agenda taught to Christians who attend a public school in Massachusetts, finding that they need the teachings to be "engaged and productive citizens."

U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf yesterday dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought by David Parker, ordering that it is reasonable, indeed there is an obligation, for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.

Wolf essentially adopted the reasoning in a brief submitted by a number of homosexual-advocacy groups, who said "the rights of religious freedom and parental control over the upbringing of children … would undermine teaching and learning…"

This started in 2005 when David Parker objected to the fact that he couldn't get his kindergarten child opted out of, or even notified of, same-sex household issues when they were brought up. The judge's ruling gives them three options; private school, home school, or vote in enough School Committee members to get things changed. Fair enough, but can you imagine a court telling a black man that if he doesn't like being forced into blacks-only restrooms and schools that these are his only choices? It would be unthinkable, but religious freedom, written quite plainly into the Constitution, is being afforded less protection than civil rights laws.

We are losing our constitutional rights at the hands of the judicial branch of government, and few notice, care, or even agree that it's being eroded. The folks with the latter view are the most blind.

Posted by Doug at 05:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

German Govt. Offers Homeschoolers a Deal

Give us the rest of your kids, and we'll call it even.

German authorities who sent 15 uniformed police officers to take custody of a 15-year-old girl who committed the crime of being homeschooled now have suggested a solution that, in their minds, would "resolve" the situation: the parents should give up custody of their other five children.

The situation involving Melissa Busekros has been in the headlines ever since the beginning of this month, when the officers arrived at her parents' home with a court order allowing them to take her into custody, "if necessary by force."
"Melissa’s father, Hubert Busekros, said he and his lawyer were offered a compromise this week that they could not accept," the [Homeschool Legal Defense Association] said. "The authorities wanted the Busekros's to give up custody of their other five children in order to resolve this situation. Hubert said the authorities are considering doing psychiatric exams on the other five children in order to implicate Hubert and his wife as unfit parents and thereby break up the family."

Such actions, the homeschool organization said, are "an outrage."

"There are approximately 40 other cases pending in Germany [against homeschoolers]," the HSLDA said. "Many homeschool families have fled to Austria or another nearby country where homeschooling is legal. The German government is persecuting these innocent families without mercy. The German Embassy has indicated they cannot allow 'parallel cultures.' Christian homeschooling is a 'parallel culture' that Germany does not want."

As always, some of the best updates can be found at the blog "Principled Discovery".

Posted by Doug at 02:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comments Back On

Another spam-a-thon today got our blog software in a knot and it shut down commenings for everyone. I've rectified the situation.

Posted by Doug at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2007

The "Sunni or Shiite" Quiz

I'm proud to say that I got 8 out of 8 right in this ABC News quiz on whether particular persons, organizations and nations are Sunni or Shiite Muslims. I do have to give most of the credit to Mark Alexander's piece, previously highlighted here, that discussed them. (That and a little luck.)

Posted by Doug at 03:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 22, 2007

UN Gives Hizbollah & Hamas Time to Rearm

UN resolution 1701 called for, among other things, the disarming of Hizbollah. The UN is giving it's usual stellar performance. Via the Israel Project:

As Israel and the United States worked together this week to resume peace talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, growing signs indicate a concerted effort by the radical Islamic terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas to rearm themselves in preparation for further conflict.

Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based, Iranian-backed Shiite militant group that initated a war against Israel this past summer after their gunmen crossed the Lebanese-Israeli internationally recognized border, is now receiving weekly shipments of weapons from Iran and Syria. "We know that Syria is trying all the time to smuggle weapons over the Lebanese border to Hezbollah," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told members of the foreign press on Feb. 20.

In an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper on Feb. 3, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah openly declared that Iran is supplying his group with monetary aid and weapons.

(The text is from an e-mail that is not yet posted on their site.)

I said back in August, when this was all being worked out, that the cease-fire that was supposed to solve everything and keep Hizbollah from further aggression was simply going to buy time for them to rearm. Indeed, that's exactly what has happened. The toothless UN resolution is simply giving cover to those who who wanted to do something about it, regardless of how impotent. I'm sure they feel better about themselves for appearing, if not being, tough on terrorists. Unfortunately, the Israeli citizens on the Lebanon border and those within missile range of Gaza aren't any better off for it.

Posted by Doug at 03:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

Surge in Teacher Sex Abuse Against Students

New York State's Education Department has completed an internal study with results that should disturb parents of any state.

The study found the number of accusations against teachers [of sexual abuse to students] doubled in five years, to nearly one case for every day and a half of the school year. Almost three in four of the "moral conduct" cases involved sex between a teacher and student.

Taken together, the cases show a pattern of a small number of teachers preying on adolescents' need for attention, then exploiting their insecurities to keep the secret out of fear of ridicule or long-lasting damage.

The misconduct is part of a system in which other teachers can be reluctant to report colleagues, administrators are reluctant to act on claims that could result in bad press and lawsuits, and state hearing officers are not trained to spot and deal with sexual misconduct.

A state investigator called one case "almost like a type of mind control" often reinforced by e-mails and instant messages.

Of course, the study can't count or document those incidents that don't get reported, and if colleagues are reluctant to report on each other, there could indeed be a large number under the radar.

UPDATE: The original link is now broken. Click here for another copy of the story.

Posted by Doug at 01:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 19, 2007

German Homeschool Parents Get Visiting Rights

Dana at "Principled Discovery" is keeping close tabs on the Busekros family situation in Germany. She has found out that Melissa's parents have now been told where she is and can visit her. For further developments, keep an eye on Dana's page dedicated to news on this situation.

Posted by Doug at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Pro-Life Blog

Russ Neglia has created a new pro-life blog under the Townhall.com umbrella. He calls it "Pro-Life Pro-Logic", and it's aptly named. Each post is well thought out and logically and dispassionately presented. He doesn't post every day, but you'll understand why when you read his articles. These aren't quick hits on topic, they are essays that take a little time to read. He's covered topics such as embryonic stem cell research and did a two-parter on how the death penalty relates to abortion. Check it out.

Posted by Doug at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2007

On Sunnis and Shi'ites

I'll admit to not knowing my Islamic sects, but Mark Alexander at the Patriot Post distills it down to 1000 well-written words. Definitely worth a read.

And while you're there, read the rest of today's digest, which includes news about a push to do and end-run around the Electoral College, notice of a report from UNICEF that says the US and the UK are the two worst places to raise a child, and news of a settlement in a "wrongful birth" case. I suggest you subscribe to their e-mails.

Posted by Doug at 01:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

German Homeschool Student Hidden Away

According to CBN, Melissa Busekros, the German homeschool student taken to the nearby psych ward for alleged "school phobia", has been taken to an unknown location by the German government. The state is not telling the parents where she has been taken.

Posted by Doug at 02:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

That's Why It's Called a "Law"

Of supply and demand, that is. McQ at Q&O discovers that--surprise, surprise--the rise in the minimum wage is, in fact, putting people out of work.

The law which is supposed to help the "working poor" does precisely the opposite.

But it's the intentions that matter, don'tcha know?

Posted by Doug at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2007

How I Learned to Love (the Iranian) Bomb

Are you comfortable with the idea of Iran with a nuclear bomb? Hope you're getting really comfy. All the stern UN resolutions and severely worded reports have done precisely nothing.

Iran will be able to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb and there is little that can be done to prevent it, an internal European Union document has concluded.

In an admission of the international community’s failure to hold back Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the document – compiled by the staff of Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief – says the atomic programme has been delayed only by technical limitations rather than diplomatic pressure. “Attempts to engage the Iranian administration in a negotiating process have not so far succeeded,” it states.

Imagine that; trying to negotiate with radicals has failed. Who would've thought? The result has been that indeed Iran is going to have nuclear materials.
The downbeat conclusions of the “reflection paper” – seen by the Financial Times – are certain to be seized on by advocates of military action, who fear that Iran will be able to produce enough fissile material for a bomb over the next two to three years. Tehran insists its purposes are purely peaceful.

“At some stage we must expect that Iran will acquire the capacity to enrich uranium on the scale required for a weapons programme,” says the paper, dated February 7 and circulated to the EU’s 27 national governments ahead of a foreign ministers meeting yesterday.

“In practice...the Iranians have pursued their programme at their own pace, the limiting factor being technical difficulties rather than resolutions by the UN or the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The problems with Iran will not be resolved through economic sanctions alone.”

If those sanctions had been in place earlier and would've been stronger, then maybe--maybe--they would have had more effect. But everyone's afraid of making the mullahs mad at us. "If we push too hard, it may increase tensions and drive them away from us." Well guess what; they're going their own way anyway, and all the UN resolutions you can muster won't change that.

Not to mention that it's hard to imagine sanctions working when our "allies" like France and Russia were enriching Saddam during the Oil-for-Food program. With friends like these....

The admission is a blow to hopes that a deal with Iran can be reached and comes at a sensitive time, when tensions between the US and Tehran are rising. Its implication that sanctions will prove ineffective will also be unwelcome to EU diplomats. Only yesterday the bloc agreed on how to apply United Nations sanctions on Tehran, overcoming a dispute between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar.

So the diplomatic elite will dither and produce more reports and redundant findings that confirm, once again, that you can't negotiate in good faith with radicals. In the meantime, some say that the military option should be completely off the table, which I'm sure Tehran is very comforted to hear.

What the solution is at this point, I have no idea. I do know, however, that the world, in recent decades, has looked down at the US for its solutions but always lays the world's problems at the feet of the US and scolds us for not doing more long after the world has failed to really do anything. What has Europe really done about the Iran problem? What has the UN done about the North Korean problem? Insanity is sometimes defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. When will the world wake up to the fact that negotiating with dictators and radicals is an insane proposition, for everyone?

Posted by Doug at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 12, 2007

German Homeschool Student Sent to Psych Ward

Since homeschooling is outlawed in Germany, if you do it you should expect the government to get perturbed. However, here's the story of a 7th grader sent to Child Psychiatry Unit of the local clinic and removed from her parents' custody over it. Seems quite an overreaction.

In summer 2004, Melissa was told that she would have to repeat the 7th grade at the Christian Ernst Gymnasium (a high school where one can obtain the Abitur, the highest German high school diploma) due to her bad grades in math and latin. The situation in the class played no small part in creating this state of affairs - the high noise levels and cancelled classes prevented her from receiving the educational assistance she needed during school hours. As Melissa had good grades in all the other subjects, repeating the whole year would be mostly a waste of her time, as well as the fact that she would now be in a class even more problematic than the previous year’s. Thus, it was decided by Melissa and her parents that she would be tutored individually at home to meet her specific needs. At her own wish, Melissa only took part in Music and sang in her school choir. The school and the local school authorities were not satisfied with this solution, and consequently expelled Melissa from the school, allocating her to the local Hauptschule (the lowest in the German three-tier high school system).

So the parents only took her out of public school due to her special needs, trying to avoid the wasted time of going through the one-size-fits-all repeating of an entire grade. The only homeschooled in response to an issue with their daughter. This is not a family that has completely avoided the public system; they have simply responded to the specific issues with their child. Shouldn't parents be allowed to do that. Not in Germany. The state stepped in, though I'd say "overstepped".
On Tuesday 30th January just after 7am, Mrs Busekros and her children – Mr Busekros had already left for work – were startled by the appearance of the judge of the Family Court,social workers and police officials who demanded that Melissa, now aged 15, be handed over to them immediately. They had as authorisation a decision by the Erlangen Court (case no. 006 F 01004/06) of the 29th of January. It stated “The relevant Youth Welfare Office is hereby instructed and authorised to bring the child, if necessary by force, to a hearing and may obtain police support for this purpose.”

Melissa was brought into the Child Psychiatry Unit of the Nuremberg clinic and was subjected to an interrogation in the presence of the specialist Dr. Schanda. After this interrogation, about three and a half hours after she was coerced into the clinic, Melissa was returned home. Her relieved parents and her five younger siblings, who didn’t know when they would ever see Melissa again, as well as Melissa herself didn’t know that the worst was still to come.Melissa (right, top) and her familiy [sic].

On the afternoon of the 1st of February, the judge of the Family Court, representatives of the Youth Welfare Office, along with fifteen police officers, marched up to the Busekros home, to haul Melissa off to the Child Psychiatry Unit of the Nuremberg clinic. The judicial decision authorising this also removed Melissa from her parents’ custody, according to her father, Hubert Busekros.This treatment was justified by the psychiatrist’s finding, two days previously, that she was supposedly developmentally delayed by one year and that she suffered from school phobia. The fact that the less than optimal testing environment and the unexpectedness of the tests could have impacted on Melissa’s performance were not taken into account in this decision. It is not known when Melissa’s parents and siblings will be able to see her again, as the official approach in cases of “school phobia” is to completely prevent the “patient” from having any contact with those closest to him or her, as such contact supposedly enables the phobia.

I guess the state's solution to "school phobia", assuming that's even a valid diagnosis, is to put her back in there. Never mind that, but for bad grades in two subjects, she had done just fine in school, despite this "phobia". No, the government--the Village, so to speak--knows better than the parents.

See also: CBN report and an interview with the father in German (click here for the Google-translation to English).

Posted by Doug at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2007

Christians and Elections

For better or worse, the 2008 Presidential election campaign is already underway. While it's too soon to be thinking too much about specific candidates (I think there were at least 12 candidates the last time I counted), there are things Christians can be thinking about as they try to make wise decisions about who to vote for next year. Mark Daniels has an excellent series on the criteria that Christians should be using in approaching the election. (Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt)

Posted by Tom at 11:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 09, 2007

Same-Sex Marriage Proponents Throw a Tantrum

This would be funny if it weren't intended to be serious (and frankly, I'm not completely sure that's the intent). Same-sex proponents in Washington State, in an attempt to get social conservatives "dosed with their own medicine", have filed an initiative.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - An initiative filed by proponents of same-sex marriage would require heterosexual couples to have kids within three years or else have their marriage annulled.

Initiative 957 was filed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance. That group was formed last summer after the state Supreme Court upheld Washington's ban on same-sex marriage.

Under the initiative, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children in order to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriage would be subject to annulment.

All other marriages would be defined as "unrecognized" and people in those marriages would be ineligible to receive any marriage benefits.

If they were a child under the care of Super Nanny, they'd be sent to the Naughty Corner. Instead, we have adults who didn't get their way and are pitching a fit and putting forth an obviously frivolous initiative. And the organizer of this lets us know precisely what his error is (see the bolded word below):
“For many years, social conservatives have claimed that marriage exists solely for the purpose of procreation ... The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine," said WA-DOMA organizer Gregory Gadow in a printed statement. “If same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because they can not have children together, it follows that all couples who cannot or will not have children together should equally be barred from marriage."

"For many years" this debate has been going on, and he still can't honestly represent his opposition. The faulty logic here is breathtaking, starting with the straw man constructed in the first sentence. When has any mainstream opponent of same-sex marriage ever used the word "solely" in regards to child-bearing in marriage? Even a quote that says it's "primarily" for children or that it is the "best" for children does not imply what this initiative would cast into law, that it must.

In an attempt to sort of sound reasonable, they say they just want a dialog.

Opponents say the measure is another attack on traditional marriage, but supporters say the move is needed to have a discussion on the high court ruling.

They can't talk about it until they get their whining done first. And frankly, the debate was pretty much over in Washington State when the same-sex marriage ban survived the path up to and including the state Supreme Court. This is just the rantings of children who didn't get their way. If you want to talk about it, then talk, and don't waste your neighbors' time and money with ballot initiatives guaranteed to fail.

Posted by Doug at 11:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Wave of Hatred" at an All-Time High

People of middle-eastern descent are being increasingly targeted for hate crimes in Britian. After 9/11 here and the London bombings there, it would be understandable, although completely intolerable, that violence against Muslims might increase in reaction. Except that it's not Muslims that are the targets.

Attacks on Britain's Jews have risen to the highest level since records began.

A study published today shows the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents has almost tripled in 10 years, with more than half the attacks last year taking place in London.

The findings prompted the report's authors to warn of a "wave of hatred" against Jews.

The number of incidents increased to 594 last year, up by 31 per cent on the previous year.

Violent assaults soared to 112, up by more than a third on 2005.

Incidents ranged from the unprovoked stabbing of a Jewish man in north London to the sending of hate mail and the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues.

Hat tip to the Rev. Sensing, who notes that the numbers in the US, while down slightly in 2006, did hit a 10-year high in 2004. While the Anglosphere bends over backward to be sensitive to Muslims, very little anti-Semitism goes noticed.

Make no mistake, violence against either group on the basis of simply who they are is unacceptable, but one group has the West cowed into not showing cartoons and whose radical suicide bombers target civilians, while the other group can take criticism in a civilized manner and whose radical suicide bombers...well...don't exist. I'm not saying that we should accord special protection to Jews over Muslims, but we should give at least the same sensitivity to the Jews, dontcha' think?

Posted by Doug at 11:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comments & Trackbacks Return, and an Upgrade Coming

Commenting may resume.

For the past few days, I've been trying to streamline the spam handling process. There's only so much I can do with this older version of MovableType, so an upgrade is in order. There are some new plugins that come with or are available for the new version that will give us some more control over things, and perhaps be less of a drain on the poor computer hosting the site. That's on its way; details as to when, and some potential downtime, as they become available.

But enough administrivia. On with the blog!

Posted by Doug at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2007

The Screwtape Letters as a Movie?

Walden Media, the company behind the film adaptation of C. S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" and "Prince Caspian" (currently in production) has signed on to take on another of Lewis' classic books (hat tip: Justin Taylor):

Walden Media, the family-friendly and just-a-bit religious company behind The Chronicles of Narnia, has announced plans to make another, non-Narnia film based on the works of CS Lewis. But this time, it’s the turn of The Screwtape Letters. The book takes the form of a series of letters from an experienced demon called Screwtape to his young protégé, Wormwood. Set against a background where demons, out in the world, attempt to turn people away from faith and generally cause mischief, the letters highlight examples of human weakness and chinks in people’s faith that the young demon can take advantage of in order to corrupt and weaken those he targets. It’s a little difficult to see how it would be turned into a film with an actual plot, and there remains the problem of getting the (probably) religious target audience to go see a film about a demon, but it’s an undeniably interesting read and a humourous look at human foibles, so it could work very well, even for those who are less than committed to any religion at all. There’s no word yet on a writer or director, let alone cast, but it’s to be produced by Fantastic Four producer Ralph Winter, along with Randy Argue and CS Lewis’ stepson Douglas Gresham.

Anyone who has read the book (and it is among my favorites of Lewis' works) can see the difficulties that the producers will have in trying to weave this into a coherent story for film. It will be fascinating to see if they can pull it off. I hope they do.

Posted by Tom at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2007

Comments & Trackbacks Down

So much spam is having to be processed by the server that it's slowing down to the point of sloth. We're pretty much a Spam Handler right now. Until the server gets a chance to catch up and I get a chance to streamline the spam handling by MovableType, I'm getting everyone out of the pool.

Watch this space for resumption of festivities.

Posted by Doug at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2007

Making Peace With Religion and Sexuality

A great article on a Christian dealing with homosexual tendencies at Blogger News Network by Warren Throckmorton, PhD, is a must-read. While I think homosexual activity is wrong, this approach to dealing with it in the Christian life makes sense. As I say in a comment to the article, hetero men have the same sexual temptations (aside from the gender), and have to deal with them spiritually and behaviorally. And just because God doesn't heal a particular physical problem--or take away homosexual tendencies--doesn't mean that He can't or that we're bad people.

Loving the sinner and hating the sin goes for sin in our own lives as well. A healthy love of self includes knowing what your weaknesses are. Just continue to seek out God and let Him work through you. Great article.

Posted by Doug at 02:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack