Tuesday, February 28, 2006
If you were to cast liberties in order of importance, how would you do so?
With the “Cartoon Riots” raging ‘round the world, it would appear we have a conflict of liberties. Satirists’ freedom of speech versus some Muslims’ narrowly (and dangerously) defined freedom of religious expression (a freedom in their minds - not one I'm suggesting is legitimate).
But, freedom of religious expression ought to stop somewhere on this side of deadly violence, because that is a violation of others’ right to life. This is a clear distinction for most of us most of the time.
If your religious or political beliefs include the notion that sometimes you must kill innocent people, then you are not free to practice those beliefs. It could be considered a restriction of an individual’s rights, but it is a restriction that is nearly universally considered necessary and right.
Generally, we recognize that the liberty to health and life ought to be right up at the top - if my freedom of speech conflicts with your freedom from oppression, you don't have the right to interfere with my freedom to live.
But I think it is a distinction that we don’t often think about and for which we don’t often define intricacies. What are the exceptions or are there exceptions? How would you design such a hierarchy? Or would you?
I think mine would be:
1. Freedom of life trumps most things...
2. Freedom of health (under which clean air and water would fall)
4. Speech (although, I may be cautious about how much "expression" I would include under free speech - I DON'T think giving money to political candidates falls under free speech - or at best it's a lesser form of free speech)
5. Religion (and I put religion this far down not because I think religion is less important than the above, but because I don't think most world religions endorse taking away life, health or speech)
What am I missing? How would you cast the order? What would you add?
I think one caveat I would add is that there are some freedoms to which I don’t believe we are entitled: The liberty of having an easy life, for example, or the freedom of convenience or instant gratification.
What are your thoughts?
Friday, February 24, 2006
A letter writ in anger to our newspaper today:
Here in Kentucky, a bill just passed out of committee and may be voted upon soon that will require that air pollution control district rules and regulations be no more stringent than state or federal regulations.
What this means is that if Louisvillians decide they want their air to have less toxins in it than is currently allowed by federal or state law, we can’t. We don’t have the option of passing legislation or rules that require cleaner air.
This legislation is coming from the conservative Republican senator Dan Seum.
I thought one of the ideals of conservatism was the notion of local autonomy – that individual and individual communities can set their own course of action. I thought conservatives were opposed to rules handed down from the federal or state level.
I thought conservatives were for personal responsibility.
Apparently, I thought wrong.
Shame on Seum and his supporters for trying to block democracy and the will of the people! We must stand up against this as the wrong that it is (and make no mistake – taking away local power is a great wrong).
Conservatives are right –in philosophy if not practice – that local autonomy is critical. Don’t let Seum take away our voice or choice of cleaner air!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Sorry no posts here lately. Busy.
I did manage to spend time today traveling the swirling fogscape of Central Kentucky and enjoying this Indian Winter weather.
"Wander a whole summer, if you can," Muir encourages us. But wandering a whole winter might be nice, too - at least one as mild as this one.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
You know, I'm really wanting to take a break from all this high-strung political stuff for a while and I will soon. I'd like to wax rhapsodic about the dying days of a mild Winter and the birthing of my 43rd Spring. I'd like not to be so concerned about our nation and the direction we're headed, or the state of the Church. And yet, I am.
And so, to go along with the outrage that I'm sharing from Angevoix's site, I'll also share a neat little uplifting blurb from Thoreau's Walking.
I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering; which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the middle ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going à la sainte terre"—to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a sainte-terrer", a saunterer—a holy-lander.
Shall we all go for a saunter?
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Civil-rights leader, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, blasted Bush at Coretta Scott King's funeral with the following statement:
"She extended Martin's message against poverty, racism and war. She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar."
"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor."
The mourners gave a loud and boisterous standing ovation, while Bush squirmed in the background.
Tuesday, February 7, 2006
"Why did the world go to war, Grandpa?" the boy asked.
"It all began with a cartoon," he replied.
With the increasing tragedy, bitterness, destruction and even deaths, am I the only one who finds it weird to read headlines that say, Iran paper plans Holocaust cartoon contest, Four die in cartoon riots and Cartoon protesters storm US base?
I keep picturing cartoon characters running amok in the streets.
Lord, help us.
Saturday, February 4, 2006
If I were to say, “Farting Preacher,” would you know what I’m talking about? If not, then you’ll really want to read this post (or maybe not). And if you are familiar with it, you'll want to read this anyway.
Back about 20 years ago, I was first introduced to the Farting Pastor on a videotape. The Farting Pastor is none other than smarmy televangelist Robert Tilton! If you don’t remember Tilton, he was one of these rip-off artists who made millions bilking the elderly and sick and otherwise impaired out of their money by promising to send them a prayer cloth that God wanted them to have for $1000!
A real slimy kind of guy.
And so it was with some childish glee that I discovered someone had made a video of excerpts from Tilton’s TV show using all the actual video and audio but adding fart noises behind him. I know, sophomoric to the extreme…but don’t judge me until you watch the clips – they are funny! God help me, they’re funny.
It works so well because, like many preachers of this sort, Tilton has all these pregnant pauses, comical expressions and ridiculous phrases that just lend themselves to this sort of stuff.
Okay, I promise something more substantive next entry, but for now, watch and enjoy (and don’t lie and say you watched and didn’t laugh…)
Note: apparently there’s a whole cottage industry of Farting Preacher videos out there. Just do a google search for “tilton farting preacher” and be amazed at the number of responses.
Wednesday, February 1, 2006
"America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," said Bush, a former Texas oilman, in the annual televised State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
And so, Bush and I can agree. Unfortunately, he continued:
"The best way to break this addiction is through technology."And so, Bush and I can't agree for long.
I have two questions:
1. In the official White House transcript of the SOTU address last night, the above phrase is missing. Yet, it is being reported in several newspapers this morning. Anyone know what's up with that? Is this line from some other speech from yesterday? (I'm not suggesting anything untoward, I'm just curious as to the discrepancy.)
2. When you have a heroin addict who's wanting to quit, sometimes they'll take methadone temporarily as a bridge to try to kick the habit. But the methadone is not intended as a permanent replacement for the heroin.
If you have an addiction, the thing to do is get unaddicted, isn't it? Not merely replace it with another less damaging but still harmful addiction?
What say ye, faithful friends?