Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Teaching the Bible in Schools

March 5, 2013

I have long felt that the Bible should be taught in public schools. Not as religious scripture, that would be unconstitutional and undesirable. I mean that the literary and historic aspects of the Bible should be taught as part of any effort to acquaint students of their American and Western heritage. Nothing comes even close to the impact that the Bible has had on Western civilization for the last two thousand years and it is all but impossible to really appreciate our cultural heritage without some knowledge of the Bible.It wasn’t that long ago that everyone was thoroughly familiar with the Bible. Public speakers, whatever their private opinions about religion could make allusions to Biblical verses and their audience would understand precisely what they were trying to say. Thus, Lincoln, who may have been a skeptic, could quote Jesus in saying that “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. The founding fathers were a diverse lot regarding religious beliefs and practices, some were orthodox Christians, some were Deists, but the Bible was part of their education and all of them shared a common, biblical, Judeo-Christian worldview, even if any of them explicitly rejected the Christian religion. By effectively removing the Bible from our education and our culture, we have lost something very important.

I am glad to discover that I am not alone in that opinion, as this opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett shows. They make the case better than I could so I hope you don’t mind if I quote it in its entirety.

Have you ever sensed in your own life that “the handwriting was on the wall”? Or encouraged a loved one to walk “the straight and narrow”?

Have you ever laughed at something that came “out of the mouths of babes”? Or gone “the extra mile” for an opportunity that might vanish “in the twinkling of an eye”?

If you have, then you’ve been thinking of the Bible.

These phrases are just “a drop in the bucket” (another biblical phrase) of the many things we say and do every day that have their origins in the most read, most influential book of all time. The Bible has affected the world for centuries in innumerable ways, including art, literature, philosophy, government, philanthropy, education, social justice and humanitarianism. One would think that a text of such significance would be taught regularly in schools. Not so. That is because of the “stumbling block” (the Bible again) that is posed by the powers that be in America.

It’s time to change that, for the sake of the nation’s children. It’s time to encourage, perhaps even mandate, the teaching of the Bible in public schools as a primary document of Western civilization.

We know firsthand of its educational value, having grown up in Europe—Mark in England, Roma in Ireland—where Bible teaching was viewed as foundational to a well-rounded education. Now that we are naturalized U.S. citizens, we want to encourage public schools in America to give young people the same opportunity.

This is one of the reasons we created “The Bible,” a 10-part miniseries premiering March 3 on the History Channel that dramatizes key stories from Scriptures. It will encourage audiences around the world to open or reopen Bibles to understand and enjoy these stories.

Without the Bible, Shakespeare would read differently—there are more than 1,200 references to Scripture in his works. Without the Bible, there would be no Sistine Chapel and none of the biblically inspired masterpieces that hang in countless museums world-wide.

In movies, without biblical allegories, there would be no “Les Misérables,” no “Star Wars,” no “Matrix,” no “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, no “Narnia” and no “Ben-Hur.” There would be no Alcoholics Anonymous, Salvation Army or Harvard University—all of which found their roots in Scripture. And really, what would Bono sing about if there were no Bible?

Teaching the Bible is of course a touchy subject. One can’t broach it without someone barking “separation of church and state” and “forcing religion down my throat.”

Yet the Supreme Court has said it’s perfectly OK for schools to do so, ruling in 1963 (Abington School District v. Schempp) that “the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as a part of a secular (public school) program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”

The Supreme Court understood that we’re not talking about religion here, and certainly not about politics. We’re talking about knowledge. The foundations of knowledge of the ancient world—which informs the understanding of the modern world—are biblical in origin. Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president known more as a cigar-chomping Rough Rider than a hymn-signing Bible-thumper, once said: “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”

Can you imagine students not reading the Constitution in a U.S. government class? School administrators not sharing the periodic table of the elements with their science classes? A driver’s ed course that expected young men and women to pass written and road tests without having access to a booklet enumerating the rules of the road?

It would be the same thing, we believe, to deny America’s sons and daughters the benefits of an education that includes a study of the Bible. Although we are both Christians, the list is long of ardent atheists who appreciate the Bible’s educational heft while rejecting its spiritual claims. It is possible to have education without indoctrination. On this point, believers and nonbelievers should be able to “see eye to eye.” (More Bible goodness.)

Interestingly enough, the common desktop reference guide “The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy” best sums up the Bible’s value as a tool of cultural literacy. Its first page declares: “No one in the English speaking world can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the Bible.”

Can we hear an amen?

It will never happen. Teaching the Bible would mean teaching our Judeo-Christian heritage and the Leftists who control our public education detest that heritage. Besides, the Bible was written by dead, white men and everyone knows that dead, white men have never contributed anything of worth. There is also the danger that some young person may get the idea that there is a higher source of morality than the needs of the state. We can’t have that. They might even find someone other than Dear Leader to worship.

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Pope Benedict XVI to Resign

February 11, 2013

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

I was a little surprised to learn that the Pope is planning to resign at the end of the month. Here are some details from the Wall Street Journal.

VATICAN CITY— Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he planned to step down at the end of this month because of his deteriorating physical strength, a move that hasn’t happened in the Roman Catholic Church in centuries and that is likely to pave the way for a new pontiff by Easter.

In a speech in Latin to cardinals, the 85-year-old German pontiff, who has been in office since April 2005, said that leading the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was a job that required strength of both mind and body. But the pope said his strength had “deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

A papal spokesman added during a briefing with reporters that Pope Benedict had been thinking about the move for some time, saying it wasn’t due to an illness. Father Lombardi, the spokesman, said the pope would retire to a life of prayer and writing. He also said the pontiff had “no fear” of any potential schism in the church as a consequence of the pope’s resignation.

The resignation, which the Vatican said would take place as of 8 p.m. on Feb. 28, will give way to a conclave, a gathering of cardinals who will elect the new pope. Normally, after a pope dies, there is a nine-day mourning period before the selection his successor. This time, the process can begin right away, said Greg Burke, the Vatican’s media adviser. “This means we’ll have a new pope by Easter,” he added. The holiday falls on March 31 this year.

That’s too bad, though I thought he was too old for the job when he was first selected to be pope. Even though I am no longer Catholic, I always rather like Benedict XVI aka Joseph Ratzinger, if only because the liberals and the secularists hated him.  I hope the next pope is a younger, more dynamic man who is up to defending the faith in an increasingly hostile world.

I didn’t know that a pope was allowed to resign and it certainly isn’t common. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, in order to end the Great Schism in which two or more men claimed to be the legitimate pope. From 1378 until 1414, there were rival popes at Rome and Avignon, with eventually a third pope at Pisa. All of Europe was divided between allegiance to one or the other pope until the issue was finally resolved by the Council of Constance, after which all of the popes were made to resign in favor of a new pope, Martin V who became pope in 1417.

That was a completely different situation, of course, and I don’t imagine there will be any trouble of that sort today. In fact, I would imagine that by resigning, Benedict will have more influence in the selection of his successor than he otherwise might have had.

NARAL Picks New President

January 15, 2013

Pro-abortion group NARAL has picked a new president and is trying to get more support from younger women. I read the story in Yahoo News.

NARAL Pro-Choice America announced on Monday it has tapped longtime Democratic operative Ilyse Hogue to serve as its new president as the group seeks to appeal to a younger generation of pro-abortion rights supporters.

Hogue replaces outgoing president Nancy Keenan, who is leaving the post after eight years. In May, Keenan announced she would step down from the group after the 2012 election in order to bring in someone who could appeal to younger voters.In an interview with the Washington Post, Keenan said the group had found an intensity gap among young women who weren’t around when abortion wasn’t legal. She said the group needed to recruit a new generation of pro-abortion rights activists for different roles—including her own.

The move comes amid what the group has described as increasing attacks on women’s rights around the country. According to an NARAL report released earlier this month, 42 anti-choice measures were passed in 25 states last year. The finding came as preparations are made to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down state laws restricting abortion.

Well, the problem is that many of the women of the younger generation who would have been avid supporters of NARAL’s agenda have been aborted. This is not a mean joke. Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto has postulated that women who support abortion are more likely to have abortions and thus will tend to have fewer children than women who are against abortion. He has called this the Roe Effect. It is difficult to determine whether there is any validity to the Roe Effect and it is by no means certain that the children of pro-life mothers will themselves grow up to be pro-life, but the fact that support for abortion has been declining over time may suggest that there is some validity to the hypothesis.

Do you notice, by the way, that the representatives of groups like NARAL don’t really like to say what they are actually for. They argue in vague terms of choice and cast their opponents as being anti-choice. Why don’t they just come right out and say that they are for killing unborn babies?  And why don’t I have any choice about whether my tax dollars go to an abortion mill like Planned Parenthood?

Constitution Replaced by Sharia Law

September 17, 2012

 

Well, maybe not yet, but this story in the Los Angeles Times leads me to wonder how long before it will be imposed on us.

Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies escorted a man believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to an awaiting car. The man declined to answer questions on his way out and wore a hat and a scarf over his face. He kept his hands in the pockets of a winter coat.

Sheriff’s officials could not be reached by The Times, but department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KNBC News that deputies assisting the federal probation department took Nakoula to the sheriff’s substation in Cerritos for interviewing.

Authorities waited until most media had left for the day to take Nakoula in.

Earlier Friday, sheriff’s deputies had to escort attorneys through a scrum of news cameras into Nakoula’s home. When the man was taken away early Saturday, authorities had to dodge only a lone photographer for The Times and a few lingering reporters.

Nakoula has told the Associated Press that he was a logistics manager on the “Innocence of Muslims” movie, not the director. He told a Coptic Christian bishop on Thursday that he had no role in it, the clergyman told The Times.

Nakoula is believed to use the alias Sam Bacile, which was the name a caller who took credit for the film gave to the AP and the Wall Street Journal.

On Friday, U.S. courts spokeswoman Karen Redmond said the Office of Probation in the Central District of California was reviewing whether Nakoula, who has been convicted on bank fraud charges, violated terms of his probation in relation to the video and its uploading onto the Internet.

He had been ordered not to own or use devices with access to the Internet without approval from his probation officer -– and any approved computers were to be used for work only. “Defendant shall not access a computer for any other purpose,” the terms read.

Restrictions were also placed on him enlisting others to get on the Internet for him.

How dare an infidel dog say or write anything the least bit uncomplimentary about the Holy Prophet Mohammed! It’s about time those dhimmis learned their place, right?

The truth is, that this film that no one has seen is not the cause of the unrest in the Islamic world, only a pretext. If this film hadn’t been made, they would have found some other excuse to riot and murder. That is why these acts of appeasement are ultimately futile. Nothing we do will ever satisfy them short of mass conversions to Islam and any act of what they see as weakness will only encourage more atrocities against us.

 

Faster Than Light 2

September 26, 2011
Cropped image from a larger one of Michio Kaku...

Michio Kaku

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, physicist Michio Kaku has something interesting to say about the recent experiments at CERN in which neutrinos seemed to have traveled faster than light.

The CERN announcement was electrifying. Some physicists burst out with glee, because it meant that the door was opening to new physics (and more Nobel Prizes). New, daring theories would need to be proposed to explain this result. Others broke out in a cold sweat, realizing that the entire foundation of modern physics might have to be revised. Every textbook would have to be rewritten, every experiment recalibrated.

Cosmology, the very way we think of space, would be forever altered. The distance to the stars and galaxies and the age of the universe (13.7 billion years) would be thrown in doubt. Even the expanding universe theory, the Big Bang theory, and black holes would have to be re-examined.

Moreover, everything we think we understand about nuclear physics would need to be reassessed. Every school kid knows Einstein’s famous equation E=MC2, where a small amount of mass M can create a vast amount of energy E, because the speed of light C squared is such a huge number. But if C is off, it means that all nuclear physics has to be recalibrated. Nuclear weapons, nuclear medicine and radioactive dating would be affected because all nuclear reactions are based on Einstein’s relation between matter and energy.

If all this wasn’t bad enough, it would also mean that the fundamental principles of physics are incorrect. Modern physics is based on two theories, relativity and the quantum theory, so half of modern physics would have to be replaced by a new theory. My own field, string theory, is no exception. Personally, I would have to revise all my theories because relativity is built into string theory from the very beginning.

In other words, much of what we think we know about the universe is about as accurate as views of the people back in the middle ages who believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and everything was made up of the four elements; earth, fire, air and water. Of course, the most likely outcome is that the findings at CERN are erroneous. Kaku ends his piece by declaring this to be a victory for science however it turns out.

Reputations may rise and fall. But in the end, this is a victory for science. No theory is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything.

So, if a theory as well established as Einstein’s Theories of Relativity can be cast into doubt, what does this say about hypotheses regarding global warming, which are based on very incomplete understandings of the Earth’s atmosphere?

I want everyone out there who believes that global warming/climate change/ climate catastrophe is settled science to repeat after me one hundred times. The science is never settled.

You can find Michio Kaku’s books here.

Conservatives are Hobbits, Liberals are Orcs

August 15, 2011

There has been a certain amount of controversy generated by this article in the Wall Street Journal in which tea partiers are called Hobbits.

But what none of these critics have is an alternative strategy for achieving anything nearly as fiscally or politically beneficial as Mr. Boehner’s plan. The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

John McCain took up this theme and read from the editorial while speaking on the Senate floor. I know both McCain and the Wall Street Journal meant to be derisive of Tea Party efforts to at least address our out of control spending before raising the debt ceiling, but considering that the Hobbits were the good guys who defeated Sauron, I’ll take the term as a compliment.

The Hobbits of Middle Earth are hard-working, quiet and contented people. They obey the laws and respect legitimate authority. They reverence the family and tradition. They do not go out of their way to seek adventures or trouble but they are as fierce as a dragon when cornered. They do not back down when threatened. They vigorously opposed Saruman’s redistribution schemes. In other words they are like conservatives, especially the Tea Party variety. The people who make up the Tea Parties are not the sort who spend their lives going out to protests. Like Hobbits, they would rather stay at home in the Shire. But, when the Dark Lord threatens all that is good in Middle Earth, they reluctantly go off to fight.

Hobbits on their way to a Tea Party

Orcs are dirty, crude and foul-mouthed. They are violent and seek out fights. They do not revere family or tradition but worship only raw power. This is why they willingly follow every evil creature who plagues Middle Earth. They do not like to work for themselves but prefer to take from other. They are liberals. Like Orcs, liberals are foul-mouthed and crude. (Tune into MSNBC if you don’t believe me.) They don’t care for tradition or the family or even the rule of law. And, like orcs, liberals blindly support every genocidal dictator who comes into power.

Liberals

So, there you have it. You can choose for yours, but I would rather be a Hobbit than an Orc, whatever John Grima McCain has to say.

 

Timothy Furnish at Pajamas Media takes all of this a lot further than I have with The Middle Earth Guide to Campaign 2012.

 

Tax the Rich?

June 16, 2011

I have been meaning to write a post on why taxing the rich will not get us out of the fiscal mess we are in. Fortunately Alan Reynolds has done the work for me in a piece in the Wall Street  Journal. The interesting thing is that no matter what the actual tax rates are, the amount of revenue that the government receives remains about the same, as you can see in this chart.

Or as Alan Reynolds writes;

All this nostalgia about the good old days of 70% tax rates makes it sound as though only the highest incomes would face higher tax rates. In reality, there were a dozen tax rates between 48% and 70% during the 1970s. Moreover—and this is what Mr. Reich and his friends always fail to mention—the individual income tax actually brought in less revenue when the highest tax rate was 70% to 91% than it did when the highest tax rate was 28%.

There is more worth reading. If I get the time, I should see if I can find the actual government revenue over the years, in dollars adjusted for inflation and compare it to tax rates.

In any event, it should be obvious, but somehow it isn’t, that the problem is not that we are not taxed enough, it is that the government spends too much.


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