Tuesday, November 24, 2009

James Cayler Hale, 9/11/39 - 11/23-2009

My dad passed away last night after a long battle with cancer. He fought very hard, even the last hour. I am very proud of him.

Here's the obit.

Right now, I think we are all just really, really tired. I've got several things I jotted down from the last few weeks --- & I fully intend on blogging about those at some point --- but I think I need to just do nothing for a while.

Thanks to everyone for the calls, the visits, the calls, the everything. My family & I appreciate it greatly.

My hero may have passed from here, but Grace & Peace are enough to still us in His Prescence.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christian-Run Schools in Tennessee?

I saw today where the ACLU of TN (see ACLU press release) has filed a lawsuit on behalf 2 former students & the families of 2 current students against Cheatham County School District. No surprise here since this sort of stuff seems to be fairly common here in the South: passing out Bibles in schools by the Gideons; school prayer at football games & graduation ceremonies; teaching of Creationism in the classroom; history classes taught that the US is a "Christian Nation;" & open evangelism of students by school staff. (See The Tennessean news article.)

I know there are many who actively support that sort of activity to be tax payer funded. There are many, sadly, who want this to be the norm in all schools. Even worse, there are many who believe our Constitution allows for this sort of stuff.

The problem is that the people who want that stuff to be the educational norm: 1) don't know history; 2) don't understand the implications they are calling for; & 3) don't realize this has been a settled question for a long, long time.

No, were are not a "Christian Nation," & I don't think anyone would be comfortable being in a "Christian Nation." While it is true we are majority "Christian" it is not true we are a "Christian Nation." Big difference. And what constitutes a "Christian Nation" anyway? Do we want to be a Catholic Christian controlled land? Westboro Baptist dominated? What denomination does the majority want to define our "Christian" status?

Treat others the way you want to be treated ... we decry the Taliban applying their deeply held religious beliefs on the people there, but we want to allow a religious majority here to do the very same thing?

Would those Christians feel the same way if the Muslims were the dominate faith there & began teaching that Allah created the world, while prayers to Allah were made at graduation & football games as everyone faced Mecca ...

I hope the allegations are not true. I hope this is all hype & just a terrible misunderstanding. If this is true, the admin of Cheatham County Schools needs to go: they are completely inept. This sort of stuff is taught as the Big No-No in all educational programs that award teaching degrees. I remember those classes well & there is no doubt what the courts have ruled on these issues & why. It is made crystal clear & rightly so.

If these allegations are true, I hope the people of Cheatham County, TN, have the good sense to teach of their faith in their homes, their churches, the public forums, the street corners & any private forum where it is allowed & is appropriate. But these Good Christian People need to realize the tax payer is not just Christian, & it is wrong to use non-Christian tax money to advance Christian Faith --- or any faith, for that matter.

Jimmy Madison would be rolling over in his grave.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

South Carolina License Plates Must Follow the Constitution

This was a no-brainer but the Godslingers of South Carolina wasted tax payer money to fight it anyway. (See newsobserver.com article.)

The judge ruled that the state may not give Christianity the Most Favored Status. Pretty simple & straight forward, but not when there is a Righteous Cause --- not to mention the overwhelming religious majority's votes hanging in the balance.

Now there will be an end run of the ruling by placing the name I Believe on an organization, complete with the logo of the rejected tag, & having a tag issued to commemorate the private group. While that is legal, it is very rude as it is a loud & clear message to the religious minorities that the Christian majority really only winks at religious liberty --- Christians really think that non-Christians are second class.

And one day, that religious minority of today, will use that same tactic to have its image & proclamation on auto tags. And one day, there will be another religion that is the majority. And one day, that tactic will be decried as unfair & un-Constitutional by the very Christians who are using that same tactic today.

Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Maybe the Golden Rule is only something these Godslingers talk about on Sunday & they never really intend on living that precept. Amazing.

Liberty Counsel "Naughty and Nice" List

The Christmas Police have officially determined where all you indecisive shoppers can purchase "proper and approved" gifts. Liberty Counsel’s annual Naughty and Nice List has been posted (click here for the pdf.) Oh, Goodie. I couldn't wait.

On it we learn that it’s OK to shop at Amazon because its web site offers a “Christmas Decorations” & "Christmas Trees." But better stay away from American Eagle because "Christmas" is not mentioned on its website! Liberty Counsel tells us that Old Time Pottery mentions the word "Christmas" four times on its web page, making it a Wise Man Favorite. However, Old Navy gets the Herod Antipas Award because "Christmas" is not even mentioned on its website at all. None. Bad, bad Old Navy. Only coal in that Old Navy Stocking!

Read the list and marvel that some people obviously have too much time on their hands. Then, do what mostly everybody else who celebrates the Winter Holidays plans to do this year: Shop at the stores with the best prices.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fundamentalist Honor Killing

There was another "honor killing" last week, this time in Arizona. While an "honor killing" is common & doesn't make the news in some parts of the world, like Iraq where the perpetrator is from, it is rare in the United States. 

In this instance, the Iraqi father was quite upset his daughter was becoming to "Westernized" after she left her husband & moved in with her boyfriend. Evidently a lady who wanted out of a marriage (for whatever reason) deserves death. So, a 20 year old lady is dead & her 48 year old father is in jail on murder charges --- because the Koran says so. (USA Today article.)

Now before anyone starts condemning the Muslims for their uncivilized view of things & the Koran for mandating such a terrible thing, let's stop for a moment & give our own history a glance or two. Remember such things as "defending your family's honor?" Even the infamous Hatfield & McCoy feud was escalated because a young woman left for an affair with the other clan (see Wiki article). In the South there is a common expression: He needed killing --- a statement that means justifiable homicide because the offending individual was so rotten.

This is not something unique to Islam. Don't forget Exodus 21:17: And he that curses his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Or Leviticus 20:10: And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

From a Biblical perspective, the guy followed the command of Scripture.

I'm gonna stop & let that sink in for a moment. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

God in the Classroom

There is a new book by Anne Marie Lofaso detailing the role of faith in the public school setting, & the legal landmines which it may bring. This is an excellent resource, especially for teachers, administrators & board of education members. IMHO, it should be required reading.

The free download is available here in pdf format. 

Here is the Americans United article. Hard copies are available at this link.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Protest Prayers at Football Games

Students at Port St. Joe High School in Santa Rosa, FLA, have discovered how to exercise their Constitutional right of free expression. It seems that after a judge told the principal of the high school that he could no longer actively promote Christianity (see prior posting) the students decided to do an end run & proclaim their faith at the football games anyway by passing out cards before the game announcing that 10 minutes before kickoff, there would be a student led Lord's Prayer recitation. The students would then hold up placards asking the audience to stand & the Lord's Prayer is recited --- all led by the students. Then an announcement is made over the loud speaker that the school in no way promoted or was involved with the public prayer. (See article in the Panama City News Herald.)

It's legal. And it should be. No problem with students exercising their right to pray or expressing their faith freely.

The problem is that what the students are doing is both terribly rude & sets a precedent that these same students will one day not like.

Other faiths will begin to do the same thing at some point. One day, there will be a "Prayer Battle" before the game to see which faith can have the biggest prayer support. That is not good, but that is the scenario this sort of childish action is going to cause. And by "childish" I don't mean the students: I mean the Religious Not Right zealots who are playing these students like puppets in their political game.

Jesus said, "Treat others the way you would want to be treated." Somehow I don't think these same Christians would want to be in a situation where 99% of the crowd is Muslim & all begin a student led prayer to Allah --- & that handful of Christians in the stands will feel an intense pressure to conform. That's not fair. It's not keeping with the command of Christ.

But the bigger question is this: why does anyone feel compelled to do a public prayer before a football game anyway? Don't these people pray on their own, in private? Where in the Bible does it ever talk about football game prayers anyway? Doesn't Jesus condemn public prayers for the sake of being seen anyway? Wouldn't it be more useful if those students --- Ok, adults who are the real instigators of all this --- were mindful of their faith as an ethic instead of a political tool?

Rudeness is a big turn off to a cause. Imagine how people of other faiths feel when they came to see their child participate in a football game, but the Christians in the audience forced the witnessing of a worship service? That is not the way to influence people for a cause but it is a surefire way to alienate people --- & give them every reason to do the same thing to the Christian minority one day.

Godslingers in Santa Rosa: please use your God-given brain to think before you plan anything else. You're not helping.