The Ground Zero Mosque And Religious Freedom, Part Four

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

I would like to continue our conversation regarding The Ground Zero Mosque, Religious Freedom, and Interfaith Dialog with Islam. Earlier posts on this topic can be found here (Part One, Part Two, & Part Three).

Johan Bonny has written what I consider to be a very helpful article entitled “Christian Witness and Ecumenism in a Society with a Muslim Majority“. (HT Stephen Hand ~ Time Out of Joint)  I especially appreciate how he deals with the issue of violence and how he refers folks to the life of Brother Charles de Foucauld.  I encourage everyone to read the entire article, but here are some highlights for your reference.

Christian and ecumenical witness is first of all related to the heart of the Gospel, to the example and the commandment of Jesus Christ. How can Christians live and profess together the essence of Christian faith: this is the key question in any ecumenical reflection. This question, however, leads to a deeper one: what is then the essence, the very heart of Christian faith? What is the specific genius of Christianity among the three monotheistic religions, that has Abraham as their common father in faith: Judaism, Christianity and Islam?

…The dialogue between Christianity and Islam will certainly become a major challenge of the new millennium. No dialogue, however, has a chance, unless it is based on friendship and mutual trust. How can personal trust and friendship be improved, where Christians and Muslims are living together, day after day?

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Notre Dame 88

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

By Charles E. Rice

Fr. Norman Weslin, O.S., at the complaint of Notre Dame, was arrested in May 2009 and charged as a criminal for peacefully entering the Notre Dame campus to offer his prayer of reparation for Notre Dame’s conferral of its highest honor on President Obama, the most relentlessly pro-abortion public official in the world.  The University refuses to ask the St. Joseph County prosecutor to drop the charges against Fr. Weslin and the others arrested, still known as the ND 88 although one, Linda Schmidt, died of cancer this past March.  Judge Michael P. Scopelitis, of St. Joseph Superior Court, recently issued two important orders in this case.

The first order denied the State’s motion to consolidate the cases of multiple defendants.  That motion would have denied each separate defendant his right to a separate jury trial.  The order did permit consolidation of the trials of twice-charged defendants on the separate offenses with which that defendant was charged; a defendant charged, for example, with trespass and disorderly conduct would therefore not have to appear for two trials.  Judge Scopelitis also denied the prosecution’s attempt to force each defendant to return to South Bend for each proceeding in the case, which would have coerced the defendants to abandon their defense.  Instead, the Judge permitted the defendants to participate by telephone in pre-trial conferences.

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TAC Pro Football Rankings: Week 4

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

Is anyone any good? Jeesh, I know Texas is a horrible place to visit, but surely the Superbowl is worth the incursion? After all, Louisiana is right next door.

Last year was year of the Titans, with the Colts, Vikings, and Saints clearly in another league. This year, everyone has significant problems. The Colts have dropped 2 games. Favre wants to go back to Miss. The Saints have a plethora of injuries and the offense hasn’t looked great.

Each team seems to have an inexplicable loss on their record. The Jets opener against the Ravens, the Pack’s loss to the Bears, etc. After Week 4, you have a pretty good sense usually of where everybody stands. Everyone has significant improvements that need to be made; the question is who can make them in time to get into the playoffs, as it seems that unlike last year, once you’re in the playoffs it’s anybody’s game.

To the rankings!

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Gracious Loserman

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 \PM\.\Tue\.

Here’s an update to my post from last week.  Doug Hoffman has just announced that he is dropping out of the NY-23 House race and has endorsed the Republican nominee Matt Doheny.  His full statement is here.

“It was never my intention to split the Republican vote in the 23rd District.  So today, I withdraw as a candidate from this race.  Under New York State Election Law my name cannot be removed from the Conservative Party line on the ballot. However, I strongly urge and request that my supporters not vote for me and certainly not vote for the Democrat or Working Families Party candidate.

“Matt Doheny and I may have differed on some issues during the course of our primary race. Now, we must put those differences aside and do what is best for our nation. So today, I am asking all my supporters to cast their vote for Matt Doheny on Election Day, November 2nd.

Classy move, and I think the right one.

And yes, I need to work on my headline writing.


He Leadeth Me and Paul Krugman

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 \AM\.\Tue\.

I suppose it may be a symptom of an unbalanced intellectual life, but one question that occurred to me while reading He Leadeth Me (an excellent and moving account of a Catholic priest who was  imprisoned for over two decades in the Soviet Union) several months ago was a question about the failure of the Soviet economic system. In the book, Fr. Ciszek recounts year after year of back-breaking labor for 12-14 hours a day in Siberian labor camps. He and his fellow prisoners lived in squalid conditions, and were provided with hardly enough food to keep them alive. This is all horrible, of course, and I’d recommend Fr. Ciszek’s work to anyone who has a tendency to complain about the difficulties of pursuing sanctification in their jobs.

But it seemed to me that, unless the prisoners were basically digging ditches and filling them back up again,  this type of coercion would increase economic efficiency, given that the inputs required to organize the prisoners were minimal and the workers were producing a great deal. Certainly, Soviet workers in these mines were producing more than unionized U.S. workers of the time. As it turns out, I am not the only who thought this way. As Paul Krugman helpfully explains, claims about the economic superiority of the Soviet Union were commonplace in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and many prominent economists reluctantly concluded that centrally planned economies had unique efficiency advantages:

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Willie Stark and Huey Long

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 \AM\.\Tue\.

In 1946 Robert Penn Warren wrote the great American political novel, All the King’s Men, which detailed the rise and fall of a Southern politician, Willie Stark.  Stark starts out as a political idealist and is utterly corrupted by the political process.  Broderick Crawford in the film adaptation in 1949 gives an astonishingly good performance as Willie Stark and delivers speeches in the film that should be carefully studied by all students of oratory.

Over the years it has been alleged that the book is a thinly veiled look at the career of Huey Long, governor, senator and virtual dictator of Depression era  Louisiana until he was assassinated by a dentist.  Warren rejected the suggestion, and he was correct.  Huey Long was always a cheerful crook and never an idealist. Read the rest of this entry »