Saturday, May 31, 2008

Obama: 'Change We Can Believe In Starts with Church'

From the New York Times:

Obama Quits His Church

By Jeff Zeleny

WASHINGTON – Senator Barack Obama is ending his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, a congregation he has belonged to for about two decades and one that had become a lightning rod in his Democratic presidential bid.

Really, now, what else could Senator Obama do? He joined this church, I believe, because he wanted to punch his south Chicago ticket as proof he was a down black politician.

If only the steps he'd learned to dance along with Chicago's radical politico-clerico machine were the same he'd need to take to be a serious national figure, a unifier, and a credible presidential candidate. But, to paraphrase one of Barack's three spiritual advisors, Fr. Pfleger, Obama is telling himself:

"I’m BLACK. And this is mine. And I jus’ gotta get up. And step into the plate. And then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey, I’m Father Pfleger!’ And he said: ‘Oh, damn!’ WHERE DID YOU COME FROM!?!?!"

Fr. Pfleger came from the same place Reverend Wright came from, and Louis Farrakhan, and Bill Ayers, and the rest. They came straight from the grab-basket of Obama's political past, each one of them lovingly selected for what they could do to help a slick, handsome, trans-racial Harvard grad get on the fast track to Destiny, with a starting place in south side Chicago.

But what works in city politics for trading off votes, graft, youth centers, and getting easy laughs from "community organized" congregations somehow doesn't translate to the weightier matters that the leader of the free world has to face. Obama is the living embodiment of the slogan about not needing enemies when you have friends like these. Could he have possibly selected a group better calculated to convince the nation he never met a loudmouthed, obstreperous, idiot he didn't like? (If I hear one more of these jokers say that Jeremiah Wright is one of the most brilliant biblical scholars in the world I'm going to vomit on my keyboard).

Obama's problem today is that he's going through a cycle that most of go through as young people, anywhere between young adulthood and middle age, when we come to a new view of things, and shed some of the foolish associations of the past, and the foolish ideas of our youth. We laugh at ourselves a bit: "I used to think that?! I said that?!" It's all part of growing up.

At least, in Obama's case, he's shedding the foolish associations, with the gentle prompting of the conservative press. And he's doing so at record speed. It's a healthy thing, by and large. Maybe he'll start shedding the foolish ideas soon, too. Everything in good time.

You just don't want somebody still going through that in the Oval Office.

Fordson Principal Pile Drives the First Amendment

“DEARBORN -- A veteran wrestling coach at Fordson High School lost his job amid concerns that his one-time assistant, who is a local minister and parent of a wrestler, attempts to convert local Muslim youths to Christianity.” (“Fordson High coach let go after parent tried to convert Muslims”).

Discussion questions:

(1.) In what year did the practice of personal evangelism by American Christians toward nonChristians lose its protection under the First Amendment?

(2.) In what year did the United States adopt as our public policy that public school personnel are subject to termination for extra-curricular associations with evangelistic Christians?

Let’s get one thing straight: the fired coach, Jerry Marszalek, was not fired for using his public-school coaching job to try to convert Muslims. He was fired because he was friends with a local minister who sees his mission as winning all people to Christianity. And Fordson’s Islamic principal, Imad Fadlallah, and the Muslim parents at Fordson, (also know, with very good reason, as “Hezbollah High,” ), simply don’t like that.

Is this such a big deal?

Then try to imagine you’re the employee. I mean, I happen to be friends with a local minister or two, and many lay Christians, who are extremely zealous, and vocal, about trying to win people to Christ--and they wouldn’t make exceptions about talking to Muslims. Does that mean that someday soon we'll be reading the headline, “Hapless paper-pusher let go after pal tried to convert Muslims”?

Well, you say, that may be, Clancy, but you don’t let your friends come in an evangelize your workplace, do you? No I don't, and neither did Marszalek. Nor did the Christian pastor, Trey Hancock, who says he never spoke about the Lord while at the school or on school activities. (None of the stories offer any facts to the contrary).

That’s why the Detroit News headline, “Fordson High coach let go after parent tried to convert Muslims” while technically accurate, at a first glance is completely misleading. It comes across as if the coach was using practice time to browbeat his captive wrestlers into giving up their 72 virgins in exchange for a starry crown.

But that’s nowhere near what happened. What really happened is that Fadlallah hated Hancock because he talked to Muslim kids about Jesus Christ--(and not even during school activities, and not on school grounds--but apparently where Allah could still see him). Fadlallah ordered Marszalek to fire Hancock as assistant coach, and then to ban him from all the wrestling matches, even though one of the team stars was Hancock’s own son. Marszalek did let Hancock go as coach--three years ago. (News reports actually say that Hancock baptized a Muslim kid three years ago, in 2005, and wasn’t even a Fordson student).

That Marszalek didn't do. So Fadlallah earlier this month told Marszalek “he was being let go because he had ignored his earlier directive to keep the pastor away from the team.” (“Coach's firing draws praise from Muslims”). Fadlallah didn’t want Hancock anywhere near Fordson’s Muslim wrestlers with his Jesus talk, because Sharia strictly forbids that.

The only thing wrong here is we Americans haven’t quite finished transferring over from the U.S. Constitution to Sharia. So while hundreds of Muslim parents at a board meeting may have praised Allah for Fadlallah’s act of jihad, the principal clearly violated both state and federal laws against discrimination based on religion.

It isn’t clear if Marszalek’s going to do anything about it legally, but I hope he does. Some people are trying to say Marszalek's contract didn't have to be renewed, and he was only an at-will employee. But at-will status still doesn't justify an illegal firing, which is what this is. Fadlallah told him he was letting him go for refusing to ban Hancock based on Hancock's Christianity.

If Marszalek doesn't take any legal action, this story won’t be around long, just like so many of the others. We’re too used to this kind of thing now.

Why do we accept this stuff as so matter-of-fact? Why are the news articles expressing shock at what Trey Hancock may have done, instead of what hundreds of Dearborn parents just did?

I think that ever since Desert Shield in 1991, when we first stationed a lot of American military personnel in the Middle East, we’ve been told and told again that we have to be careful of Muslim senisbilities. We had to get along with Saudis, Kuwaitis, Afghanis, and Iraqis, all Muslim nations completely unashamed of demanding we comply with their Islamic proscriptions of evangelism--no Bibles or even necklace crosses for US military guarding Saudi Arabia--and of course we went along with it.

Then there’ve been all those hundreds of hours watching Muslims riot around the globe because some Westerner insulted the Prophet or offended Islam. And nothing’s more insulting to the Prophet than converting a Muslim to Christianity! We Americans have been so conditioned to see applying Great Commission to Muslims as a religious crime we’re almost as offended when it happens as the imams are. (If you think I’m exaggerating, read this and notice the tone of shock: “Iraqis say Marines handed out Christian coins.” You’d think the Marine was handing children DVDs of the R. Kelly sex tape instead of telling these poor people that God loves them.)

It's become second nature to us that Muslims simply aren’t going to tolerate evangelism on their turf.

But even if that made any sense for us to feel that way, it still raises the whole question, is Fordson High School Muslim turf? Or is it a state-financed, Dearborn-taxpayer supported, American public school?

These news stories seem to take for granted that Fordson is indeed part of the Ummah. The Detroit News’s Muslim Affairs Correspondent, Gregg Krupa, describes Fordson High as “a predominantly Muslim school,” not even bothering with the distinction that Fordson is really a public school with a majority of students who are Muslim.

Still, if Fordson’s “predominantly Muslim” parents don’t want their impressionable kids exposed to Christianity, why not just let them fire their Christian staff out of deference to cultural sensitivity?

Well, it looks to me as if that’s what we’re doing.

But don’t forget that it’s still against the law to fire people in this country because you don’t like their religion. And we’ve been serious enough about that historically to reinforce that part of the Constitution by passing a Civil Rights Act banning religious discrimination in the workplace.

Not that those laws mean anything if no one’s going to see they’re enforced.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Oil and Waters Don't Mix

When the Congressional Black Caucus's Rep. Maxine Waters threatened an oil executive last week with nationalizing the oil industry, it wasn't only bloggers who got a kick out of it. Take a look at the faces of her co-committee members, Betty Sutton, D-OH, and Steve Cohen D-TN. Once Cohen realizes where Maxine is going, he leans back to exchange an amused look with somebody, probably on the Republican side. Rep. Sutton's trying not to laugh out loud, and her expression says: "Oh, God, can you believe she just said that!"

I guess even her colleagues have trouble taking "this liberal" seriously.

World Upside Down?

Now we can’t talk about the Kennedy assassinations?

I have to say I’m just not getting it about Hillary’s reference to Bobby Kennedy, even though she’s getting criticized for it from both left and right.

Here's what she said in an interview:

Asked if her continuing fight for the nomination against Senator Obama hurts the Democratic party, Sen. Hillary Clinton replied, "I don't. Because again, I've been around long enough. You know, my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know, I just don't understand it. You know, there's lots of speculation about why it is. "

Keith Olbermann, never hinged enough to now call unhinged, used Hillary’s foo poo as an opportunity to restate the ever-narrowing limits on free speech that we American’s are required to respect:

"The politics of this nation is steeped enough in blood, Senator Clinton, you cannot and must not invoke that imagery! Anywhere! At any time!"

Sounds reasonable. I know I’m always glad to update my Index of Forbidden Speech with the latest image, word, phrase, allusion, or historical event that I’m not allowed to use, Anywhere! At Any Time!

(Here in Detroit they had a very moving funeral for the n-word--never again anywhere! at any time!-- it was presided over by the embattled Mayor--except he dug up the term 2 months later when he needed it to throw around at his State of the City address.)

It's not only Obama's surrogates who are trying to turn Hillary's remark into a Big Deal. At Hot Air, they’re skeptical about Clinton’s defense that she was only referring to the historical fact that previous Democratic primaries have extended into June. If that's the case, they wonder, then “Why didn’t she use Teddy’s run at Jimmy Carter in 1980 instead?” (Here's one answer: maybe because no one remembers Teddy’s 1980 campaign, while all liberals recognize RFK in 1968 as an Icon).

Then Michelle Malkin says “Stick a fork in her. She may, at long last, be done.”

Chris Wallace told Terry McAullife on Sunday the remarks were “tasteless and ghoulish...even to use the word ‘assassination.’” Ghoulish? Even to use the word? Between the two, McAullife made more sense.

Which, of course, is The World Turned Upside Down!

No, I’m afraid I just don’t get this one.

I learned the hard way in chat room debates that once you have to start diagramming declarative sentences, all hope for rational discussion is gone. I also figured out that 90% of intellectual errors in this country are caused by poor reading comprehension.

Suffice it to say I’ve read Hillary’s statement several times, and watched the video, and I find no place that she ever “invoked” RFK’s assassination, (“mention” and “invoke” are not synonyms). Nor did I see where she either threatened Obama with assassination, nor expressed a hope that he be murdered.

Hell, I can’t even find where she said anything clumsy, stupid, or ghoulish. RFK was still in the California primary in June 1968, wasn’t he? (That is, until you-know-what happened. Or am I still allowed to say that?)

I just don’t see the offensiveness in this. But I admit I’m out of touch these days. Maybe this really was the most horrible thing anyone’s said, since, say, “God damn America.”

Apparently, a lot of us are willing to accept the Left’s extra-low threshold for imputing malevolent meaning into remarks that only tangentially touch upon a subject someone's willing to be hypersensitive about. Maybe conservatives are jumping on this too because they’ve got a version of the same derangement about Hillary the Left has had about George W. Bush the last 7 years: give us something, anything, and we'll use it to prove her diabolical pedigree.

But when did “assassination” become off limits? Who exactly is the victim group here? On whose behalf must Sharpton obtain an apology? The Kennedys?

Besides, liberals have been openly advocating Bush’s and Cheney's assassinations for years.

My complaint is that by granting to the Left, and through them the media, the power to impute malevolent meaning into neutral words, the heavier the control of free thought they can exercise. And controlling thought means a lot more to them than merely controlling free speech. You’ll never dare say what you don’t dare think.

When this power was granted to the Left in regards to race, they promptly used it to forbid white Americans from discussing race, even amongst themselves, except under the strict rules laid down by a civil-rights priesthood ordained, and carefully controlled, by the Left.

(And that's why we still can’t have a conversation about race, in spite of Obama’s ad hoc suggestion that we must have one: because a conversation is impossible when one side is forbidden to speak on the subject matter).

The Left has seized power in a similar way to limit thought about homosexuality, about abortion, and now, about the science fiction of global warming.

I have no interest in defending Hillary or her campaign. I see this as defending myself, and all the rest of us who still value what’s left of our right to free speech. And my right to not have any obstreperous son of a bitch telling me what I can and cannot say, Anywhere! At Any Time!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

I was grateful to see this story in Friday's Detroit Free Press:

Iraq war veteran from Michigan describes blast that cost her a leg


"Ladies and gentlemen, freedom is not free."

With that, tearful Michigan National Guard veteran Sgt. Michelle Rudzitis ended an emotional address to the state Senate, in which she recounted losing her right leg to a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 22, 2007.

Rudzitis, who turns 33 on Monday, which is also Memorial Day, was the keynote speaker for the Senate's annual Memorial Day service. She told of coming back to her Army base after a day off and a shopping spree. Her Humvee was the only vehicle in a convoy struck by a bomb that hurls a piece of molten copper through steel.

Two in the crew were killed and two were injured, including Rudzitis, whose right leg was severely damaged. Rudzitis, a former Farmington Hills resident who lives in Traverse City, said the Humvee's extra armor had been removed because it was to be refitted with new shielding.

Her description of the injuries -- her eyelashes were fused by the blast so she could not open her eyes, and she woke up in a hospital with her leg amputated -- brought many in the Senate chamber to tears.

A nine-year veteran of the National Guard, Rudzitis called her service the most important thing she'd ever done. She asked that families who spend Memorial Day gathering for barbecues "please, just take a moment and remember what this day means, and to remember all the servicemen and women who are no longer with us."

She said she spent more than seven months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., recuperating from the blast.

What's so refreshing about Sgt. Rudzitis's testimony is the way she describes her sacrifice and suffering as a triumph, instead of a tragedy--

"Rudzitis called her service the most important thing she'd ever done."

Let's hope that America on Memorial Day 2009 still deserves the likes of her.