Monday, February 20, 2006

Random Thoughts for February

It has been a busy couple of months, which doesn't excuse my failure to post, but may explain it. Still, now that I have a few minutes, I would like to jot some random thoughts about events that have been going on recently. These are in no particular order of importance or interest.

Mohammed cartoons - OK, so this whole thing has gone far beyond a simple protest of Dutch cartoons. First of all, was it right to print the cartoons that have created such strife? My answer: yes and no. You see, there is indeed such a thing as freedom of speech. There is also freedom of the press and freedom of expression. In that sense, the cartoons were legal. The question then becomes: Was it moral and was it insensitive? There are laws that say that you cannot shout "Fire!" in a crowded movie house, as it would endanger the public welfare. (I've heard that it is also illegal to yell "Movie!" in a crowded firehouse, but I digress.) The fact is that the publication of the cartoons was indeed insensitive toward the beliefs of Muslims. However, newspapers and news broadcasters have never been known for their sensitivity towards people's feelings. One sees this when a reporter sticks a microphone in the face of a woman whose husband has just died and asks her what she is feeling.
One more question arises here: Did Muslims in the middle East overreact? The answer to that is a definite "yes". Here in California, Muslims were unhappy about the cartoons. But rather than riot, they decided that a campaign to educate people about their beliefs made more sense. Bravo to them. That shows what calm minds can do. They not only made their point, but they showed class. However, in the Middle East, the governments and extremists used the cartoons as another excuse to vandalize and take part in acts of violence. Embassies were attacked, as were people. In one African nation, 15 people who were said to be Christian were killed as a reaction to the cartoons. Frankly, this smacks of just another excuse to get violent and another excuse for extremists to cause trouble. They don't seem to care about the grief they cause for moderates who believe in peaceful solutions. When extremists react as they did, they harm other members of their faith and create a cycle of hatred and violence that will not end until one side destroys the other.
Come on folks. If you find the cartoons violate the tenets of your faith, write letters, educate people, but don't use it as an excuse to plunder and pillage. That's just ridiculous.

Hot Cross Buns in England OK, here's another fun one. A school district in England has decided that they will no longer serve hot cross buns in their cafeteria to avoid creating a hostile environment for Jehovah's Witnesses, who find the cross to be another form of idolatry. One commentator described Witnesses as "Russelites" (which is an old, old form of attack against the Witnesses) and that they are oversensitive and want nothing more than the destruction of everything and everyone. (I'm paraphrasing here, because I don't want to give this imbecile any more press than he deserves.) The Witnesses in England never asked the buns to be removed. No, they do not eat them. So? That is their right, just as people who don't eat meat have the right to eat only veggies. The bigger issue here is that some twit with a so-called degree in theology feels the need to attack Jehovah's Witnesses with false accusations and name calling. Yes, I'm resorting to name calling in this blog just to show how ridiculous it is. I don't know this man, so how can I call him names? In the same manner, this man obviously knows nothing of the beliefs of Witnesses and thus has sunk to the base practice of name-calling and lies.
If someone wants to know something about Islam, that person should consult someone who practices the religion. If someone wants to know about the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, he or she should not consult someone who knows nothing of them and should not consult those who, for one reason or another, have left the organization or been removed for unrepentant practices. If you want to know about the beliefs of Witnesses, contact a Witness. Is that so hard to figure out? And for those news reporters who want a story about a belief, will you please quit going to these other folks who are bitter and nasty and lying about the organization? Every time I see an article where a reporter interviews someone from one of these groups and doesn't interview an active Witness, it makes my nerves jump. That is poor reporting that belongs on the pages of the National Enquirer or the Star. Hack Journalism at its finest.

Cop killing - Over the weekend, the State of California witnessed the death of its fifth California Highway Patrol officer in the last year. That may not seem like a lot if you are talking about a war zone, but for a state like California, that is a lot. Two of the five have been officers who stopped a car for a traffic violation, walked up to the driver, and had the driver shoot them point-blank. If you think that this blog is to simply say how wrong that is, then go to your corner and think a little while. No, what I want to say is this: the next time you see a news report where a copy may seem a little rough on a suspect, think about what these guys face every day. Every traffic stop could be an incident of violence. Every disturbance call could lead to a concealed weapon being drawn. You wonder why cops are nervous? Get a clue. They are nervous because these guys have weapons with cop-killer bullets and bullet-proof vests! Folks, the police may seem like they are just out to give you a ticket for travelling 3 miles per hour over the speed limit, but remember, 3 miles over the speed limit is still OVER the limit. You don't want a ticket? Drive under the limit. If you do get a ticket, don't blame it on the cop. Blame it on yourself. Period. And show these guys some respect. The majority of them have earned it. The Bible tells us to obey the superior authorities as long as their demands don't contradict God's laws. Last I checked, speed limits don't conflict. Killing cops does. Give them a break, and if you notice a cop walking by, maybe you could say "thank you". They really could use it right now.

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