Friday, November 30, 2007

Duncan Hunter at the YouTube/CNN debate

Even though he only got about a quarter of the time Abortiani and RomneyCare got to speak, Duncan Hunter was extremely impressive. He even handled the loaded question posed by Hillary Clinton's plant--the lavender general--with aplomb and resolution. His answer was perfect. This guy's never been to Mitt Romney's Waffle House.

And Hunter's response the next day to Hillary? "Send more!"

Check it out:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

God King -- Excellent historical fiction for young folks

God King is a very enjoyable and readable historical fiction account of the early reign of Taharka, Pharaoh of Egypt, whose dynasty originated in the kingdom of Kush in present-day Sudan. Young Tarharka is one of the many sons of Shabaka, God King of Egypt. He is neither the eldest nor the most accomplished, but the succession falls to him nonetheless. However, there are schemers in Egypt keen to take advantage of a young king's inexperience. Worse, the mighty Assyrian Sennacherib is gathering his power to the north. Only the Hebrew king Hezekiah holds out against the Assyrians.

In Taharka, the unwilling Pharaoh, Joanne Williamson has created a very sympathetic character. He is naive and trusting at first, yet learns to be strong, resourceful, and merciful. The melding of the scant historical record of the time with the Biblical account of King Hezekiah is skillfully done and the reader truly does get a feel for the time and place.

Overall, this book is a good read for young folks (say, 10 and up) and adults as well. I particularly liked the fact that the book was set in a historical period that is not well studied by your typical 12 year old. Hopefully, it will spur some interest in ancient history among the young. The book is also notable because though Taharka is Black, race never becomes an issue as it often so tediously does in more contemporary fiction for young people. For this reason, I almost hesitate to bring up the subject at all. Let it suffice to say that if more fiction were written from this perspective--where a Black main character is portrayed positively and the other characters are good or evil not based on their race but on their actions--race relations in the real world might actually improve.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Duncan Hunter -- The man who should be our next president

Here's the first part of an extended interview with Republican presidential candidate, Duncan Hunter. The guy's impressive, I'll say that for him. Serious, solid, smart, sincere.

The rest of the interview is posted on there as well.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Our fabulous lavender Jesuits...

Gone are the days when Jesuit priests were virtuous men who fully embraced the Catholic Faith and prayed to be worthy of a martyr's crown. Let's play "compare and contrast", shall we? First, here's a tale from the 1640s in the upstate New York wilderness:
He [Fr. Isaac Jogues] did not yet know the cause of his companion's [Rene Goupil] death; but the old man who had caused him to be slain having invited him, some days later, to his cabin, and giving him food, when the Father came to offer the blessing and express the sign of the Cross, that Barbarian said to him: "Do not do that; the Dutch tell us that that act is of no account. Know that I have had thy companion killed for having made it upon my grandson; the like shall be done to thee, if thou continue."

The Father answered him that this sign was adorable; that it could not do anything but good to those who should use it; that he had no intention of giving it up. That man dissimulated, for the time, and the Father employed no reserve in this devotion,—asking nothing better than to die for having expressed the mark and sign of the Christian. [Taken from The Jesuit Relations]
Now fast forward about 360 years to the cozy confines of a formerly Catholic American university located about 300 miles from the spot where Fr. Jogues was brutally martyred for his devotion to the Catholic Faith:
Before a packed church of some 400 on the campus of the famed St. Joseph's University, Father Thomas J. Brennan announced that he is homosexual. During the Mass he spoke of his homosexuality as one of "the worst kept secrets" on campus....Fr. Brennan, S.J., is an Assistant Professor of English at the University, who on his website lists "lesbian and gay studies" under "general fields of professional interest". The announcement came at the 10pm Mass to a congregation of mostly students and a smattering of alumni. [Source: Lifesite]
And now a brief historical note on how such an announcement might have been greeted in the past:
In that year [A.D. 528] some of the bishops from various provinces were accused of living immorally in matters of the flesh and of homosexual practices. Amongst them was Isaiah, bishop of Rhodes, an ex-praefectus vigilum at Constantinople, and likewise the bishop from Diospolis in Thrace, named Alexander. In accordance with a sacred ordinance they were brought to Constantinople and were examined and condemned by Victor, the city prefect, who punished them: he tortured Isaiah severely and exiled him and he amputated Alexander's genitals and paraded him around on a litter. The emperor [Justinian] immediately decreed that those detected in pederasty should have their genitals amputated. At that time, many homosexuals were arrested and died after having their genitals amputated. From then on there was fear amongst those afflicted with homosexual lust. [Source: Jeffreys, Elizabeth, Michael Jeffreys, and Roger Scott, trans. (1986) The Chronicle of John Malalas: A Translation. Australian Association for Byzantine Studies: Melbourne, p. 253.
Now, I'm not saying that we should bring back the punishment of castration for priests who have a homosexual compulsion. But for Christ's sake (and I mean that quite literally), can not such men who proudly broadcast that compulsion and scandalize the faithful be removed from public ministry? Or at the very least, be removed from contact with young people?

Or have the last 40 years of outrage, abuse, and lawsuits taught us absolutely nothing?

Cardinal Rigali, call your office.