"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier
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:: Saturday, August 31 ::


According to the article "Lindh seeks forgiveness, met other Western Taliban, lawyers say" by Larry Margasak, Associated Press, 8/31/2002, the American Taliban spends his day in a cell, except for debriefings, family visits, and lawyer visits. He reads a lot. He is still a Muslim. He realizes what a huge mistake he made.

''John has not once exhibited any degree of bitterness or resentment as a result of his situation,'' the lawyer said.

No bitterness. That’s what stood out to me. It’s funny how in the jail cell he may call home for 20 years he seems to enjoy life more than he did when loose in the Islamic world. At least in the jail cell he has the freedom to choose Islam, and to choose the degree he wants to take it to, or to choose to leave it.

It would do American academe, especially UNC-Chapel Hill, some good to take notes here.
:: michael Saturday, August 31, 2002 [+] ::
:: Friday, August 30 ::

I have until now been just a spectator of the brouhaha over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its required reading of Approaching the Qur’an, the Early Revelations.

As a UNC alumnus, I was taken aback but not truly surprised at the news of the requirement. Then I was made aware that a student could choose to write a paper about why he (oh, they taught me that I am supposed to write “or she”) chooses not to read the book.

So the predictable debate goes on and on about forced religious reading at tax-funded schools and the First Amendment and a university’s responsibility to teach students challenging things and so on.

Dr. James Moeser, the head pilgarlic in charge at UNC, writes in an e-mail to UNC faculty and staff:
“We also opened this year with another example of what we treasure and what we stand for -- academic freedom. I need not detail the furor over our Summer Reading Program. I need only say that Carolina rose to the standard it set for itself many years ago as one of this nation's leading universities.”

Academic freedom indeed. That’s almost as trite as saying he’s doing it for the children. Anyone with any common sense knows this is another in-your-face act under the new standards of righteousness, from a university which like most of the others is obsessed with race and guilt and has barely veiled contempt for American values.

That is the religion they are promoting, not Islam, but Dogoodism, which requires all followers to place before the academic alters their sacrifices of symbolic victories over little or nothing of any real substance.

On the other hand, I am critical of those who won’t discuss religion or politics. I see no two more important subjects, so, I am for required courses that study the religions, all of them, so we know what they are and what is going on in this world, and for requiring geography as well. That is different from a force-fed pro-Islam pitch.

* feedback is welcome at mfp@onenetcity.com *
:: michael Friday, August 30, 2002 [+] ::
:: Monday, August 26 ::
Yesterday, with some free time on the net, I read an update on the Roman Catholic Church in an article named below. The title says it all, and I liked what I read. Mentioned was the National Federation of Priests' Councils, so I found its website and an e-mail address. I was motivated to send a supportive message.

About: New York Times article August 25, 2002 "Accused Priests Charge Slander" By Sam Dillon
As a protestant believer in Jesus, well aware of His directive to turn the other cheek, I still support falsely accused priests who file suit against those who slander them.
False accusations clog our court system and are crimes. (And remember: the media demands that the Church report crimes!)
I am sure God would reward a priest taking a stand (as long as it is not for revenge) as much as He would a faithful act of cheek turning. Prayers, Michael Parker, Asheville, NC

I was very pleasantly surprised to read the following personal response today:

Thank you very much for your kind words. Priests are very vulnerable and need to be encouraged to protect themselves. They are hesitant to "go to court" because it inflicts pain on the accuser. But It is simply a matter of justice. We must not confuse the crime of sexual abuse with the crime of false accusation and the destruction of reputation. Both need to be brought to justice. Thank you for taking the time to write your much appreciated note. Father Silva

If you agree, I want to encourage you to send a sentence of support as well. nfpc@nfpc.org

I wonder what the public (media?) opinion is on the turn-the-other-cheek issue. I am sure the priests are agonizing over it, and I am sure the people, generally thinking in simple terms, are saying that priests especially should follow this preached Christian instruction. Those who falsely accuse are certainly banking on them doing exactly that.

Now go back to when NPR screwed up and mentioned the anthrax attacks on the Hart Senate Building and the Traditional Values Coalition in the same breath. TVC is still on the counteroffensive even after NPR's apology. A woman speaking on NPR's behalf said the TVC should forgive since that is what Christians are supposed to do. That struck me as complete mockery, and so is saying that falsely accused priests have no choice but to forgive and forget and continue a ministry with damaged credibility.
:: michael Monday, August 26, 2002 [+] ::
:: Friday, August 23 ::
Reading the headline at Drudge Report about the arrest and felony charges against a Steubenville, Ohio mother for letting her children get too sunburned, I thought I was going to read about the outdoor equivalent of leaving kids in a hot car.

Then I read the quote from Sheriff Fred Abdalla, that the kids "looked like they had been dipped in red paint." As a hater of exaggeration, I suspected right then that something was wrong with the arrest, and that this story was going to end up being discussed along with the man who was jailed for spanking his son in Colorado. Red paint indeed.

Update: felony charges reduced and the hospital downgraded the sunburn to first degree. To sunburn, in other words.

But it has not ended for poor Eve Hibbits, she still has a court date when the judge should have thrown it out and called the Sheriff back to his chambers for a real good talkin' to.

The right thing to have done would have been to assume that this mother did not know better (there are millions of Americans who never get as enlightened as the rest of us) and to advise her. If she then did nothing, then maybe further action could have been considered.

I think people like this sheriff just look for opportunites to be heros, especially saviors of the children, and in the process cause national embarrassment for an undereducated mother whom he could have helped instead of humiliated. I would like to know the robbery and violent crime numbers for his jurisdiction. They should be nothing if he is out playing Sheriff Sunscreen.
:: michael Friday, August 23, 2002 [+] ::