Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Ultimate Conspiracy

I have some friends who are deeply conservative in their political outlook. They are convinced that there is a vast conspiracy to destroy the American way of life. They sincerely believe that President Obama is a part of that conspiracy. Conspiracy theories have been around as long as recorded history so they are nothing new. The amazing thing is that well-educated people actually believe them.

A good example of how easily duped people are can be found at This will lead you to the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division which documents the dangers of this ubiquitous chemical. I urge readers to access that site and enjoy a trip through the ultimate conspiracy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Confederate History Month

The governor of Virginia recently revived a long-standing tradition of celebrating the Confederate heritage of the state by declaring April to be Confederate history month. The purpose is to revive memories of the brave men who fought for the cause of the Confederacy in their state. What angered many people was his failure to mention the role of slavery as a basis for the civil war.

From my perspective, neither the state of Virginia, nor any other state, should be proud of their involvement in that tragic event. It is popular these days to downplay the role of slavery and to identify other issues that might have been the basis of the rebellion. States rights is one that comes to mind. However, there is no question that the right of the white population to maintain the system of slavery was a central focus of the Confederate cause.

Confederate vice president, Alexander Stephens, identified the prime concept behind the Confederacy in his famous Cornerstone Speech. “Jefferson’s ideas were fundamentally wrong,” He stated. “They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error.” Stevens further stated, “our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

From my perspective, Southern politicians of whatever party would be well advised to abandon the cause of the Confederacy and move into the conceptual strength of the 21st-century. The idea of racial superiority has no place in modern America

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Admitting Wrongdoing

The Catholic Church is in a world of hurt these days because of the continuing accusations of wrongdoing by members of its clergy. Every week seems to bring new allegations of child abuse on the part of Catholic priests and charges of official cover-up by the church hierarchy. Even the Pope has come under scrutiny for actions he took or failed to take prior to his elevation to the Holy See.

Most recently the Pope’s own pastor claimed the church was the victim of misuse by the media and compared the lot of Catholic leaders to that of the Jews as they were persecuted during much of history. Jewish leaders have predictably responded with a great deal of anger.

From my perspective, there is no need to bash the Catholic Church. Institutions tend to automatically protect themselves from outside scrutiny when accusations are levied against them. What the church is doing is quite normal even if not defensible.

What is needed is for the Catholic hierarchy to come clean on this issue and admit their wrongdoing. They need to get up front about what really did happen in their own ranks, make restitution to the victims of clerical abuse, and take steps to make sure it does not happen again. Anything less is detrimental to the church and to the society which it intends to serve. Unfortunately the Pope has failed to lead the way on this matter and has only himself to blame for the continuing accusations and bad press the church receives. Faithful Catholics deserve better from their leaders.