Tag Archives: Politics Articles

Obsession of the Week: Time Magazine; May 20, 2011 Issue

While I didn’t cheer Osama’s death or feel instant satisfaction that this country was on the right course again (“It’s the economy stupid”), this week’s issue of Time magazine had some incredible noteworthy articles in it. The magazine challenged its writers to reflect not just on the news of the day, but on the past decade that began the Bush described “War on Terror.” What transpires in the magazine is some brilliant reporting and fascinating analysis on our modern world. Two articles stand out for me in particular; “When Terror Loses Its Grip” by Fareer Zakaria and Nancy Gibb’s “Second Thoughts” piece entitled “Where Victory Lies.”

Gibb’s piece really brings home the sense ofAmerica’s naiveté prior to 9/11, as she relays a story about her own 7 and 4-year-old daughters on that historic day nearly ten years ago. On 9/11, Gibb was in the car listening to a “safe and sunny” oldies station when the music broadcast was interrupted with news of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center. To which Gibb’s 4-year-old commented on  how the men flying the planes should have been more careful. Gibb’s 7-year-oldquickly instructed her younger sister that it was no accident and that those men meant to knock down the buildings. Gibbs writes:

 “And I wondered. When was it, somewhere along the way, that she had discovered the presence of evil in the world? At 4, it was unthinkable. By 7, it was undeniable. She did not need fairy tales; she knew what evil looked like, smelled like, and I wondered exactly how and when that had happened – and whether it happened sooner for children like her, born into peace and prosperity and then baptized on a beautiful fall day by cataclysm.”

Writing doesn’t get any better than that – period. Gibbs opens her piece with this emotionally real-life metaphor for what the entire country was feeling that day ten years ago. She goes on to state that for all the terrorists’ efforts, we as Americans, at our heart, have been  left mostly unchanged. It’s a gleaming piece about how the terrorists attempted to change our will and didn’t. The article ends with this passage:

“We didn’t seal our borders; immigration actually rose. We still fly, and with e-tickets no less. We’re a more vigilant society but just as rambunctious. We argue with each other, join the Marine Corps and the Peace Corps. And across the world, all through the Middle East, we watch the kids Bin Laden hoped would be his foot soldiers choose peaceful change instead. Our kids learned early about evil. But they grew up learning how it is fought.”

Zakaria’s piece, very  unlike Gibbs take a more in-depth look at what is going on in the Middle East right now and how Bin Laden’s death doesn’t really mean that much to a region who has long since moved on from what he was selling. Zakaria, who famously wrote after 9/11 the article “Why They Hate Us,” paints a remarkable and insightful picture of how the Middle East is changing right in front of us. He writes about how the central issue in the region has been the “stagnation and repression of the Arab world – 40 years of tyranny and decay” which led to the extremists movements of Al-Qaeda and how their venom really had little to do with us directly (Look out – the same thing is happening in most African nations as we breathe).

Zakaria stipulates that these movements only found their grounding in mosques because religion was the only thing dictators couldn’t ban. It was the one place people weren’t censored and thus opposition was born within the walls of the mosques. American became the enemy only because we propped up and sent aid to the oppressive dictators the people hated (think Iraq,Egypt,Saudi Arabia and Pakistan). “Al-Qaeda is a Saudi-Egyptian alliance that was formed to topple the Saudi and Egyptian regimes and others like them.” Their interests weren’t against America but America’s support for the oppression against them.

 Zakaria also details how the “Arab Spring” has shattered what Al-Qaeda hopped to achieve. He even goes as far as to say the nation-building that George W. Bush preached about in Iraq had a direct effect in bringing about the “Arab Spring” of rebellions. People got a taste for freedom in the region and wanted it for themselves.

 The article has some great insight  and paints both the Obama and Bush administrations as having a profound effect on what is happening today in the Middle East and how Al-Qaeda as a global threat has been greatly diminished.

These two articles alone are worthy of the newsstand price. Run out and get a copy. There’s some really great award-worthy journalism between the covers. And, of course, the cover itself is a keepsake. Good stuff! 

Reach Out of the Darkness: New Examiner Series

With this week being the start of the Holy Week of Easter, I am relaunching a popular article series that ran locally on Examiner.com last year. This year the series is entitled “Reach Out of Your Darkness” and is about appreciating differences. The series first ran this time last year as “No Matter Our Differences: God Loves Us All” and was hugely popular. 

This year, I am using the old Friend & Lover song, “Reach Out of the Darkness” as my inspiration. It’s a great song about peace and learning to appreciate our differences. So much of what we focus on these days is what divides us (our religious differences, our political differences, our sexual orientation, our citizenship status, etc…). What the bible reminds us time and time again is that we are all God’s creation. All created for good. This needs to be our theme for this Easter season.

Who did Christ die for this Easter season? A select group? He died for the salvation of everyone. In the spirit of this, I launch this series this week.

Click here to read \”Reach Out of the Darkness: God Loves Everyone!\”

Does Environmental Activism Violate the Separation of Church & State?

Do public school teachers have the right to include their opinions on social issues in schools? If the separation of church and state  in schools protects parents from having their children “educated” on religious values that are opposed to their own personal religious values, what about socially moral values that include “religiously-fervored” beliefs about non-religious issues like the environment, health and sex education? If the principle of the separation of church and state is to hold government institutions neutral on religious issues why not also on social issues that have no place in academia.

There was a recent story in Canada about a kindergarten student afraid of taking his sandwich to school in a zipper-style plastic bag because his teacher had told the class than anyone “caught” using these type of bag would be ineligible for a teddy bear contest the class was having. If this isn’t a clear case of  propaganda that has not association with the fundamentals of education (reading, writing, math, history and science) then I don’t know what does.

In my new article for Examiner.com, I talk about how social issues should be included in the principle of the separation of church and state in public schools. As always, I close the article with a very tongue-in-cheek reference.

Click here to reach \”Does Environmental Activism Violate the Separation of Church & State?\”

 

 

Obsession of the Week: “Little Mosque on the Prairie”

 

This series is a gem because it combines political and religious issues stereotypes in a humorous way. It’s unfortunate that our country, founded on religious freedom, didn’t produce this show first. Canadian CBC airs the hit sitcom “Little Mosque on the Prairie” now in its fourth season (episodes are currently available on Google Videos and YouTube). I recently read an article about the series and the delays in bringing to the United States and decided to check the series out for myself.

The series revolves around a tiny Muslim community living in a small Canadian prairie town. While the humor of the sitcom can be mild, the way the series deals with religious stereotypes is incredibly real and amusing. The show doesn’t shy away from finding humor in stereotypes which have become far too taboo in the politically correct climate in this country. It works for this series because the show’s seven Muslim characters offer a wide range of believers of the faith that include a sexist traditionalist and a white Canadian convert.

The show doesn’t shy away from dealing with non-Muslim stereotypes either.  The cast includes a local radio Rush Limbaugh-type who attacks the Mosque with stereotypical rhetoric and a local resident who always seems to hear something that could be construed as “terrorist chatter”. The show also succeeds in turning the religious stereotypes on its head as some of the Muslim characters make comments about those in the Christian faith in a similarly stereotypical way that Christians make about Muslims.

At the heart of the show is the relationship between the Islamic Imam and an Anglican Reverend who rents out part of his church to Muslims for their new mosque.  Both the show’s premise and ideology promote peace and understanding of a religion most Canadians and Americans don’t really understand.

To stereotype an entire religion as if the entire masses of the faithful is represented by a few extremists is morally wrong whether it be Christians generalizing about Muslims, Muslims generalizing about Christians, or even one race against another. This show uses humor to show its audience that no matter the stereotype, it’s better to get to know a people as individuals so you can better understand their perspective.

Is the U.S. a Democracy Hypocrite?

As the protests turn violent today, the question of the United States not actively supporting democracy in Egypt seems hypocritical. Supporting dictators never seems to be in the best interest of the United States. Whether its support for the Shah of Iran, Saddam in Iraq, or now the Egyptian president, when will the U.S. learn that when we don’t support and push for democracy, we end up the villain.

I’ve written a two-part article today for Examiner.com where I talk about how hypocritical it is for the U.S. to sit by and wait for an outcome in Egypt. Read today’s article and let me know what you think.

Click here to read \”Is the U.S. a Democracy Hypocrite?\”

38th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

I’ve included the video from the CBS News report on January 22, 1973 as the Roe v. Wade decision was made final. It’s interesting to see the spin put on the decision those 38 years ago.

This week, I was asked to contribute an article on this anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Truthfully, I’ve avoided the subject matter entirely over the past year with the column because it’s such a divisive subject matter (even for myself).

I’ve published two articles this morning regarding the Roe v. Wade decision from a principled position I believe in. It’s interesting for me to note that during the early seventies, what the Supreme Court said and ruled on isn’t entirely what we have now. In the midst of the feminist movement, the Roe v. Wade case focused on giving a woman the right to an abortion so that in the case of rape, incest, or to protect  her health, she would not have to carry the pregnancy to term. The case emphasized these potential incidents as the reasoning for granting legal status to women and their doctors and not the government. The Roe v Wade decision was based on this criteria and from a perspective that allowed its use for birth control.

This point is emphasized by Norma McCorvey, “Jane Roe” in the case, because she alleged that she had been raped and was seeking an abortion for that reason. As it turned out, McCorvey later recanted the rape story and was seeking an abortion because she already had a child and didn’t want another (It should be noted that McCorvey actually carried the baby she wanted to abort to term and never had the abortion). The case and reasoning for it were based on fraudulent information. As it is, the decision reads as if abortions are the decision of the woman and her doctor as if that decision is solely based on the health of the woman. When in fact this is rarely the case.

Knowing this information, I decided the articles would focus on the fact that outlawing abortions shouldn’t be the focus of those in the Pro-Life movement. Instead, the focus should be on the education of those seeking an abortion as to what their options truly are with an emphasis outside of having the abortion.

The issue of abortion is not about it being legal or illegal, it’s about education. Statistics prove that through education abortion rates continue to fall. Think of the scene in “Juno” where she is about to get an abortion but a classmate protesting outside the clinic tells her that her baby already has fingernails and she stops. Education is the preventative of abortions in this country.

With the aid of advanced imaging of babies in the womb (including those in 3D), more and more woman are opting to keep their babies than not. By current statistics, abortions are at their lowest rate since the year following the Roe v. Wade decision.

Please read my two recent Examiner.com articles by clicking the links below:

\”Is Roe v. Wade\’s Decision still Viable?\”

\”38 Years After Roe v. Wade: What is Legal Doesn\’t Have to Be Right\”

You may also be interested in reading an article I wrote in October about how the battle to overturn Roe v. Wade has hurt religion.

Change Hearts, Not Laws: How the Battle to Overturn Roe v. Wade Has Hurt Religion\”