Catholic Issues Other
Some Letters to the Editor (accepted or otherwise), and Some
Significant (well, less insignificant, anyway) Entries on Others' Blogs, etc.
January 2006, not printed
Gov. Granholm’s package on Michigan scholarships should, once and for all, repudiate the state-sponsored discrimination currently in place against Michigan citizens studying theology. Of dubious constitutionality to begin with, disqualifying such students for their fair share of scholarship money makes no sense economically. Besides being taxpayers themselves, these young people are attending schools that in turn employ other Michigan tax-payers. Eventually most theology graduates will find employment in their field that Michigan will tax the same way it taxes others who benefited by its educational scholarships. If Michigan finds it passes constitutional muster to incorporate, license, and cooperate in the accreditation of Michigan’s fine schools of theology, why will it not recognize the demonstrable academic talents of its own young people who pursue such worthwhile studies?
Re: Charley Reese and the legalization of suicide.
Charley Reese over at LewRockwell.com has an essay, in classic libertarian form, defending the legalization of suicide. There’s a half dozen things wrong with his position, of course; I only draw attention to one small point: Reese’s chiding assertion that people should not be upset by Clint Eastwood’s film Million Dollar Baby and its endorsement of assisted suicide because, get this, it’s “only” a work of fiction, and fiction’s goal is simple entertainment. Hogwash.
I can just hear Reese-as-slave-trader calming abolition fears among his clients: “Relax, folks, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is only a work of fiction. It’s just entertainment.” Or maybe Reese-as-monopolist, calming fears of his fellow robber barons: “Relax folks, Sinclair’s The Jungle is just a work of fiction, and so is Norris’ The Octopus. It’s pure entertainment.” Oh, really?
Strictly speaking, the Book of Job is a work of fiction (albeit divinely inspired). Its purpose, as was that of the other works listed here (to which countless others could be added), was not “to entertain”, but to teach, specifically, to teach the values of their authors. The genre used is not dispositive, but the values promoted make all the difference in the world. Million Dollar Baby’s values are deathly. And a man of Reese’s intelligence should know better. Posted first at Ignatius Scoop. 8 March 2005.
Re: Michael Crichton Is Hacked! by Jimmy Akin
Crichton, who normally rocks, errs when he says SETI is a religion. Even his own terms don't support that conclusion. Go back and look at them carefully. What he SHOULD have said was: "Belief in ET life is a religion; the search for it is (or can be under the usual conditions) science." Science searches for things all the time that do not in fact exist. Some of those searches are prompted by "religious" beliefs, but that does not render the search unscientific. Elemental mistake by a man who normally gets these things right.
PS: We lent our pc to SETI a few years back, and after taking one of the on-line polls, I was surprised to see that nearly 10% of the people doing SETI AT HOME did not believe in the existence of ET life. And I thought I was the only one. Anyway, I had read the protocols of SETI and concluded it was good science, regardless of the motives that might have prompted the project.
December 15, 2004 08:03 AM
By the way: I think the Drake Equation is horse-hocky, though I still think SETI is good science. I once ran my own Drakey looking at the total number of dry matches in the world and the total number of dry leaves in the world, and concluded that every forest on earth should have burnt to the ground millions of years ago.
December 15, 2004 08:18 AM
Re: The Broken Window Fallacy, by Jimmy Akin
Back in the 1980s, a VERY prominent political writer, complaining about falling American industrial competivity, opined that Germany had an advantage over us because we bombed the daylights out of their factories in WWII, forcing them to rebuild with better post-war technology. I was floored by such thinking, but I wrote to him, and suggested that if that were true, the best thing we could do would be to turn the 8th Air Force loose over Detroit, and shout "Bombs Away" (with a decent warning to civilians, of course!). He sent back a sheepish, "Golly", and never wrote something that dumb again. I don't mention his name precisely because he converted on the point, but you'd all know it if you heard it.
November 26, 2004 02:15 PM
Re: What Pro-lifers should do in the event of ROE reversal, by Jimmy Akin
Roe & Doe are doomed. Only ideologues believe otherwise. But short of a miraculous intervention (to which I am entirely open), the "reversal" of Roe & Doe will effectively leave this kind of homicide to state legislation--as virtually all other homicide matters are currently left. Fifteen states will immediately outlaw abortion, ten will enshrine it in state law, and the rest will fight it out with various degrees of compromise (albeit usually illogical). What pro-lifers need to think about is how to handle that situation.
November 26, 2004 10:44 AM
This goofy story (and others wherein Mary "appears", e.g., in an oil stain on a manhole cover, or in yard light shadows on an adobe house) permits a serious point: Our Lady never appears IN some medium. Her verified apparitions are always HER, not in something that LOOKS like her. If people would keep this simple point in mind, this stupid "I saw Mary in a cheese sandwich" stuff would dry up overnight.
November 17, 2004 05:35 AM
Those figures, if accurate (and Jimmy Akin is not prone to exaggeration), are astounding. Really, simply astounding. Now, we will all go to Judgment some day, but on that day, Karl, Jimmy, and a few others will be able to say “Hi Lord. Now, before You get started—and I know You’ve got a lot to say—let me just remind You, I worked on the Catholic Answers Voters Guide.” And the whole tone of the conversation will change. And so too will it for those whose donations, large or small, made the distribution of the Guide possible, as well as for those who passed out copies, one at a time, or a thousand. A lot of people are going to get to take some shelter under the Guide; it was something they did down here that was good.
By the same token, though, others
attacked the Guide (as opposed to debating its contents honestly, which is
always fair to do). Still others meanly obstructed its distribution, and perhaps
others refused to stand by it when the political heat was turned up. Well, these
folks, too, will get to explain their actions on that Day (as must we all, for
every choice we make in this life) but they will do it, on these points anyway,
in a harsh glare and without the solace of being able to hold the Guide up as
shade for their eyes.
November 10, 2004 06:56 AM
The Denver Post
accepted for 24 October 2004
(but, it seems, did not run)
I was disappointed by the sarcastic tone and general lack of manners shown by your Washington Bureau Chief John Farrell in addressing politics and the Catholic faith (17 Oct, 29A). Having admitted he knows diddly about doctrine, Farrell spends most of his 25 column inches ridiculing a man he does not agree with (Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput), and blaming Catholics for an alleged lack of savvy vis á vis the Republican Party. But does Farrell seriously think, for example, that Republican Richard Nixon will be remembered as a conservative? One might as well claim Democrat John F. Kennedy as a liberal.
Chaput did not endorse George Bush Jr., (not even Farrell quite claims that),
but the prelate’s words go far in explaining how national Democrats have plainly
betrayed their loyal Catholic base in election after election. We read those
words here in Michigan, and cheered. It was, in any case, an angle on which a
writer of Farrell’s talent could have shed light; instead he engaged mostly in
derision. Your Washington man should consider a long vacation back in crisp
mountain climes. If nothing else, the heavy air of DC’s swamps is harming his
good western manners.
Ann Arbor, MI