MUST BE THURSDAY

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

A new Roman Catholic Doctrinal FirestormTM has recently erupted:

Did Pope Francis tell a divorced and remarried woman that it was okay to take Communion even though her parish priest denied her the host?

That’s the latest kerfuffle created by the “cold-call” pope who on Monday, the day after Easter, called an Argentine woman who had written to him about whether she should receive communion at Mass even though she was divorced and remarried.

“There are priests who are more papist than the pope,” the pope himself reportedly told Jacquelina Lisbona.

Kudos to CNN, which UPDATES the story with reporting from three continents (literally): CNN has a Vatican spokesman confirming that the call did indeed take place, but the Rev. Thomas Rosica provided no details.

“It’s between the Pope and the woman,” said Rosica, a consultant for the Vatican press office.

“To draw any conclusions about this particular situation, that the Pope may be setting an agenda, is incorrect,” Rosica told the network. “The Pope is first and foremost an esteemed pastor, and dealing with a human situation is always complex.”

That’s good to keep in mind, though if the contents of the pope’s conversation with Lisbona are true, then this is a big deal, at least in terms of the example Francis is setting rather than the doctrine that he is not changing.

Here’s the woman’s account of the phone call.

“The phone rang and my husband answered. It was Fr. Bergoglio calling. The father asked to speak to me and my husband asked: ‘Who’s calling?’, to which the voice replied ‘Fr. Bergoglio.’ I asked him if it was really him, the pope, and he said it was and that he was calling in response to my letter dated September.

“Then he told me there are some priests who are more papist that the pope. He was completely normal with me on the phone and I tried to speak to him with the utmost respect. Now I am overwhelmed by the enormous effect this story has had and I feel moved by the fact that I spoke to Francis. I told him I would write to him again when I take Communion again.”

Was this call actually made?  It seems to have been.

Yes, the pope called Jacquelina Lisbona. The real question regards the content of the conversation. If indeed he said those things this would be a big deal because she is still in what the church would call an “irregular” marriage. Her husband is divorced, and they have not been married in the church.

In any case, Francis once again has set an example for the rest of the hierarchy even without changing church law, and it’s in keeping with the pope’s character — Francis has frequently shown little patience with priests who are “little monsters” (his words) who cite “small-minded” rules rather than ministering mercy to people.

Damian Thompson has posts on this story up here and here.  This site’s Catholic readership can hash this out in the comments (in fact, I hope you guys do) but I am, for the most part, going to adhere to MCJ policy about controversial Roman Catholic news stories, hold off for a few days and wait to see how this thing plays out.

But somebody is going to have to remind Francis of the difference between a parish priest and the leader of a great Christian church as well as the reigning sovereign of the world’s oldest, continuous monarchy.  Parish priests have a certain rhetorical latitude that popes do not, indeed cannot, have.

Hate to burst your rose-colored illusions there, Johnson, but divorced people and non-Catholics take Communion in Catholic parishes all the time.  Maybe so but it’s one thing when some parish priest, who’s either not that versed in Catholic doctrine or who doesn’t care, allows this sort of thing to go on.

It’s quite another thing when the Pope hints that it’s really not that big of a deal.

As we Anglicans know all too well, your church can kill one of its doctrines without actually having to kill it.  Ask any given Episcopal squishop whether the Episcopal Organization has changed the definition of marriage and he/she will angrily deny it.

Never mind the fact that homosexual marriages the “blessing of same-sex unions” go on in that squishop’s diocese all the time and that he/she is perfectly happy with the idea; hell, he/she’s even performed a few him/herself.

In the Episcopal Organization, that squishop will remind you, the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is strictly reserved for a man and a woman.  So we obviously haven’t changed Christian teaching on marriage at all and it’s libelous to suggest that we have.

And that’s how it’s done.  You don’t need to get popes to speak ex cathedra or to force through legislation in non-Catholic churches; all you really need to do is to apply the English language in new and creative ways.

TO GOD’S EARS

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments

If even half of this is true, you won’t read a more encouraging thing all week:

After traveling 250,000 miles through Dar al-Islam (“House of Islam”) as Muslims call their world, career missiologist David Garrison came to a startling conclusion:

Muslim background believers are leading Muslims to Christ in staggering numbers, but not in the West. They are doing this primarily in Muslim-majority nations almost completely under the radar—of everyone. In the new book, A Wind in the House of Islam: How God is Drawing Muslims Around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ, Garrison takes the reader on his journey through what he describes as the nine rooms in the Muslim-majority world: Indo-Malaysia, East Africa, North Africa, Eastern South Asia, Western South Asia, Persia, Turkestan, West Africa, and the Arab world. Muslims in each of those regions have created indigenous, voluntary movements to Christ.

“What did God use to bring you to faith in Jesus Christ? Tell me your story.” This was the core question Garrison asked as he traveled and conducted more than 1,000 face-to-face interviews. In his background research, he documented 82 historic Muslim movements to Christ, consisting of either at least 1,000 baptisms or 100 new church starts over a two-decade period. The first sizable movement of Muslims toward Christianity did not occur until the mid-19th century, nearly 1,300 years after Mohammad established Islam. Garrison said 69 of these movements today are still in process:

• In Algeria, after 100,000 died in Muslim-on-Muslim violence, 10,000 Muslims turned their backs on Islam and were baptized as followers of Christ. This movement has tripled since the late 1990s.

• At the time of the 1979 revolution in Iran, about 500 individual Muslims were following Christ. Garrison projects that today there may be several hundred thousand Christ-followers, mostly worshipping in Iranian house churches.

• In an unnamed Arab nation, an Islamic book publisher Nasr came to Christ through satellite broadcast evangelist Father Zakaria. Sensing a call to evangelize, Nasr started a local ministry that in less than one year baptized 2,800 individuals.

In total, Garrison estimates that 2 to 7 million people from a Muslim background worldwide now follow Christ.

NICKNAMES

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Out: America’s Hat.  In: Canada’s Shoes:

The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.

While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

Although economic growth in the United States continues to be as strong as in many other countries, or stronger, a small percentage of American households is fully benefiting from it. Median income in Canada pulled into a tie with median United States income in 2010 and has most likely surpassed it since then. Median incomes in Western European countries still trail those in the United States, but the gap in several — including Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden — is much smaller than it was a decade ago.

QUESTIONS

Monday, April 21st, 2014 | Uncategorized | 37 Comments

At Religion News Service, Kimberly Winston wonders if you can be a Christian if you don’t believe that Jesus physically walked out of the tomb:

“On the third day, he rose again.”

That line, from the Nicene Creed, is the foundational statement of Christian belief. It declares that three days after Jesus died on the cross, he was resurrected, a glimmer of the eternal life promised to believers. It’s the heart of the Easter story in seven little words.

But how that statement is interpreted is the source of some of the deepest rifts in Christianity — and a stumbling block for some Christians and more than a few skeptics.

Did Jesus literally rise from the dead in a bodily resurrection, as many traditionalist and conservative Christians believe? Or was his rising a symbolic one, a restoration of his spirit of love and compassion to the world, as members of some more liberal brands of Christianity hold?

To James Martin SJ, if you don’t believe in the actual, physical Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, you might as well stop wasting your time and start sleeping in on Sunday mornings. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 and all that.

“More people have problems with Easter because it requires believing that Jesus rose from the dead,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of the new book, “Jesus: A Pilgrimage.”

“But believing in the Resurrection is essential. It shows that nothing is impossible with God. In fact, Easter without the Resurrection is utterly meaningless. And the Christian faith without Easter is no faith at all.”

Scott Korb, on the other hand, goes the Episcopalian route and invents a “resurrection” with which he’s comfortable.

Scott Korb, 37, has a different take. Though he now describes himself as a non-practicing Catholic, he once wanted to become a priest. At that time, he believed Jesus literally rose from the dead, but now finds himself accepting the story only symbolically.

“The miracle of a bodily resurrection is something I rejected without moving away from its basic idea,” Korb, a New York University professor, said. “What I mean is that we can reach the lowest points of our lives, of going deep into a place that feels like death, and then find our way out again — that’s the story the Resurrection now tells me. And at Easter, this is expressed in community, and at its best, through the compassion of others.”

And that change — from a literal to a metaphorical approach — has given the story more power, he said.

“There is only one story to be told of a single man who dies and then rises,” Korb said. “But if we think about the metaphor of the Resurrection, that allows us to return to the story year after year and find new meaning in it.”

So a metaphor is more powerful than a dead guy rising to life again?  Maybe to you, Scotty.  But not to anybody else with a functional intellect.

Personally, I don’t find your view of the Resurrection the least bit powerful, moving, significant, interesting or worth any of my time.  And what would a piece like this be without a contribution from this megalomaniacal old fraud?

Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, best known for his famously liberal interpretation of Christianity, does not adhere to Rivett’s literal view of the Resurrection. His 1994 book, “Resurrection: Myth or Reality?” caused a dust-up when it asked, “Does Christianity fall unless a supernatural miracle can be established?”

For Spong, 82, the answer is an emphatic no.

“I don’t think the Resurrection has anything to do with physical resuscitation,” he said. “I think it means the life of Jesus was raised back into the life of God, not into the life of this world, and that it was out of this that his presence” — not his body — “was manifested to certain witnesses.”

Like Rivett, he too thinks the Resurrection must be placed in context to be interpreted and understood — something he tried to do as a young priest in the Bible Belt through yearlong Bible study classes culminating in the Easter story, he said.

“I tried to help people get out of that literalism,” he said. “But you don’t do it in a single sermon. You need time to lay the groundwork and for people to process it, ask questions. You have to begin to build it.”

Spong’s Bible studies were enormously popular, attracting 300 people to each session, he said. His congregations grew as a result.

“When people hear it, they grab on to it,” Spong said. “They could not believe the superstitious stuff and they were brainwashed to believe that if they could not believe it literally they could not be a Christian.”

A Christian, Spong said, is one who accepts the reality of God without the requirement of a literal belief in miracles.

Sure your congregations grew, John.  Because who isn’t attracted to a religion defined by assumed theological superiority and arrogant pseudo-intellectual condescension? 

Whatever that religion happens to be.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?

Sunday, April 20th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments

 

 

 

 

 
Because you might want to learn.  Just sayin’:

It is said to be China’s biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the Cross.

The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a “miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church”.

The £8 million building is also one of the most visible symbols of Communist China’s breakneck conversion as it evolves into one of the largest Christian congregations on earth.

Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.

Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

“It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”

China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.

JUSSSSSSSSSST GREAT

Sunday, April 20th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments

This country has far too many drunk drivers.  Thanks to liberalized chronic laws here and there, we’ll soon have an epidemic of baked drivers.  After that, we’ll get this:

As of now, this is approved. The federal government approved this brand of powderized alcohol a few days ago, on April 8, 2014. The reviewing agency is TTB  (not FDA, as some press accounts have said). TTB is a sub-unit of the US Department of Treasury.

First and for a long time, alcohol was just liquid. And now alcohol is powderized.

I am not astonished that this is a real product — but I am absolutely astonished that this is approved. TTB approved seven versions of this powdered alcohol within the past few days.

Jim dandy to the freakin’ rescue.  Thank God that I don’t drive any more.

UPDATE: NEVVVVVVVVVVER mind.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S SAD?

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 19 Comments

I’ll tell you what’s sad.  What’s truly sad is that there are certain alleged Christians, living mostly in the West, who believe that parts of the Bible are nothing more than ancient Middle Eastern poetry, as inapplicable to their modern lives as Gilgamesh or the Iliad.

WHAT IS THIS?

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Mathematicians refer to this object as a Pelosi bottle.  It graphically illustrates the outstanding, off-the-charts, pedal-to-the-metal, positively otherworldly ability of the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives to talk out of her own ass:

To “honor the dignity and work of immigrants,” Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi helps Bishop Marc Andrus wash the feet of two children Thursday at Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco.

Pelosi also used the occasion to talk about passing HR15 – bipartisan immigration legislation that her office says would “reduce the deficit by nearly $1 trillion, secure our borders, unite our families, protect our workers and provide an earned pathway to citizenship.”

Nanner McBotox went on to say that passage of HR15 will also:

(1) Reduce the greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere by 50-75% in two years.
(2) Guarantee that Social Security and Medicare will not merely become solvent but will run annual multi-trillion dollar surpluses until at least the year 4379.
(3) Reduce the cost of new iPads to $6.75.
(4) Turn the entire United States of America into a free wireless hotspot.
(5) Give mankind the ability to domesticate any animal he wants (although the advantage of this escapes me if Webster Groves demands that people clean up after their pets and I’m out walking my pet grizzly bear Auberon some evening).
(6) Discover a method for turning human urine into automobile and heating fuel, thus providing the poor, those on fixed incomes or the middle class with entrepeneurial opportunities out the wazoo.
(7) Get a movie or two or three made based on the cool American TV series Leverage.
(8) Invent wind-up automobiles!
(9) Move Rutherford B. Hayes up the US presidential assessment list from “crappy” to “surprisingly underrated.”
(10) Find me a date.

Among other things.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Friday, April 18th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

The good people at Think Maoism Progress direct your attention to a “scientific” study which claims to have detected high levels of bigotry and intolerance in a substance not previously thought to have contained them.  Here’s a hint: you inhaled quite a bit of that substance yesterday and will continue to inhale that substance for as long as you live:

A study produced by the University of Minnesota concluded that race is a determining factor in who is most affected by air pollution. Specifically, non-white people breathe air that is substantially more polluted than the air that white people breathe.

According to Julian Marshall, who led the University’s research, race outweighed income in regards to who is most affected by poor air quality. When low-income white people were compared to high-income Hispanic people, the latter group experienced higher levels of nitrogen dioxide. Altogether, people of color in the U.S. breath air with 38 percent more nitrogen dioxide in it than their white counterparts, particularly due to power plants and exhaust from vehicles.

“We were quite surprised to find such a large disparity between whites and nonwhites related to air pollution,” Marshall told the Minnesota Post. “Especially the fact that this difference is throughout the U.S., even in cities and states in the Midwest.”

Other evidence has also pointed to disproportionately high levels of air pollution in low-income and non-white communities. A 2012 study conducted by Yale University researchers revealed that “potentially dangerous compounds such as vanadium, nitrates and zinc” exist in locations with high concentrations of people of color, including African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians. Unfortunately, people of color contribute the least amount of air pollutants, despite being the most heavily impacted by them.

Racist air.  The United States of America has racist air.  A concept so titanically and bonecrushingly stupid that only True Leftist Believers like Think Lenin Was A Great Man? Boy Howdy, So Do We!! Progress could take it seriously.

It would be easy but awfully time-consuming to point out all the logical flaws in this concept.  Like the fact that bad air automatically migrates to where minorities live and never leaves.  Or the fact whites have somehow stolen all the good air, leaving crappy second-class air for non-whites to breath.  Or the suggestion that a homeless white crack addict still breathes better air than a black or Hispanic neurosurgeon.

You can see why we’re having a tough time buying all this unadulterated crap, Think North Korea For Your Next Vacation Getaway Progress.  But that may not matter.  Jeff Goldstein points out the definite public-policy implications.

I noted here some time back that the feds under Obama, specifically via HUD, were tracking neighborhood “diversity” with an eye toward “fixing” the “problem” of segregated neighborhoods through some future social engineering policies that would most likely look to create neighborhood quotas based on race. And now it’s clear how they plan to do this:  by appealing to  “public safety” (air quality among minorities is worse than air quality in places where air-stealing whites are coughing out their poisonous CO2) and a more pristine “environment.”  Call it “air-quality inequality,” have Nancy Pelosi (and Colin Powell) declare it almost certainly racist, and run with it!

Forget the fact that social engineering created the kind of low-income, racially-divided housing projects that have been a blight on so many “liberal” cities.  Because that was then, and shut up, racists!  Now, the progressives are again the “civil rights” champions who will fix what they started out in good conscience to do — create a safe, affordable space for people of color — that it turns out has been a failure precisely because of the racism they now find embedded in global warming. Which they are alone willing to fight.

If this idiocy gains traction, expect leftist “churches” like the Episcopal Organization, which passed this at GenCon 2006, to weigh in sooner rather than later.  Were I a betting man, I’d wager that a resolution dealing with this very subject is being written as you read this, will make it to the floor of next year’s GenCon and will pass overwhelmingly.

Because this country has just got to do something about its racist air.

WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments

He was smiling when he said it so one fervently hopes that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joking.  But for some reason, I suspect that he wasn’t:

Mr. Bloomberg was introspective as he spoke, and seemed both restless and wistful. When he sat down for the interview, it was a few days before his 50th college reunion. His mortality has started dawning on him, at 72. And he admitted he was a bit taken aback by how many of his former classmates had been appearing in the “in memoriam” pages of his school newsletter.

But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

“Hello?  Hello?!!

“May I help you?”

Why is this gate locked?!!

“Well, we generally keep it locked because we can’t have just anybody wandering in.”

DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!! OR WAS?!!

“Don’t you know who you used to be?”

“I am…was New York City Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG?!!

“Oh yeah, I heard you just bought the farm.  Nice to meet you, Mike.”

Mayor Bloomberg!!

“Mayor Bloomberg.”

“And you are…were?

“Esther P. Winkenmueller, Goodland, Kansas.  Uh…formerly.”

“Are you a saint?  I’ve never heard of you.”

“Nah, I was just a church secretary at Pool of Siloam Baptist Church in Goodland.  We Baptists never went in for that saint stuff.”

“Listen, I’m…”

“As far as I’m concerned, the only people who should be ever to be considered saints are people who, if you ask them while they’re still alive if they should be considered saints after they die, scream in terror at the suggestion and start throwing things at you to make you go away.”

“Doesn’t St. Peter usually do this job?”

“We don’t use the term ‘saint’ here.  Seems kind of pointless.  But yeah, Peter takes a turn at the gate now and then.  We all do.  Even Mary, sometimes.  I’ve got no idea how that “St. Peter meets you at the gates of heaven” thing got started.”

“That’s great but…”

“Fact is, Peter was supposed to be here right now but he and Paul got a chance for a round of golf with Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.  And what sane person turns that opportunity down, am I right?  So I told him I’d delighted to fill in.”

“All right, listen!!  I’m supposed to be in there so I would greatly appreciate it, you repulsive little non-entity, if you’d unlock the gate RIGHT NOW!!

“Love to, Mike…”

‘”MAYOR BLOOMBERG!!

“Mayor Bloomberg, but you’re not on the list.”

“I’m not on the…what do you mean, I’m not on the list?!!

“You’re not on the list.  The management here is pretty strict about that.  If they’re not on the list, they don’t get in.  No exceptions.”

I’m going to need to talk to your supervisor!!

“Let’s see.  Okay, okay, okay, blah, blah, blah, hey, here it is.  Well, what do you know?  Seems that my Supervisor did leave a message for you.”

Out with it!!

“It says, ‘I never knew you.  Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

WET CLEAN-UP ON AISLE THREE!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 50 Comments

At Salon (natch), Adam Hamilton Episcopalians all over everything:

I want to say a word about Jesus. Some are quick to point out that while Jesus never addresses homosexual relationships, he does describe heterosexual marriage as God’s will. That is true, but the context of these passages is never in reference to loving same-sex relationships. The context of his reference to heterosexual relationships is, if I remember correctly, always about divorce. I don’t think we can take Jesus’s silence on this issue as approval of same-gender relationships. But it is important, given that Jesus is God’s definitive Word by which all other words about God are judged, that he does not speak to this issue at all.

I have suggested above that the handful of passages in the Bible that seem to speak directly to a prohibition against same-sex marriage and companionship could be prohibitions against something entirely different from what we mean today when we talk about two people sharing their lives as loving companions. But even if they are directly condemning same-sex relationships, we’ve seen already that not everything explicitly taught in scripture captures God’s timeless will. Some scriptures seem clearly shaped by the cultural norms and the theological and social presuppositions of their authors. They do not seem to reflect the heart of God revealed in Jesus Christ. We have seen that the New Testament church took the bold step of acknowledging that much in the Old Testament did not reflect God’s continuing will for his people, setting aside circumcision, kosher laws, and much more.

Dear LORD.  We know that You can create entire universes while we can’t create anything anywhere near as impressive as that.  And we claim to believe Your Holy Spirit inspired the writers of Holy Scriptures.  But some of the Scriptures that Your Holy Spirit inspired, “seem clearly shaped by the cultural norms and the theological and social presuppositions of their authors,” and do not reflect Your continuing will for your people.

Ramen.

Adam?  Big man?  If the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of male-female marriage as God’s will, as you quite correctly assert that He did, then why in name of Frank freaking Griswold should “the context of…loving, same-sex relationships,” assuming that such things existed in that time, which they didn’t, matter in the slightest?

Do you really want to trot out that “Jesus never directly addressed homosexual activity” cliche again, Adam?  After all, Jesus never directly addressed lots of issues.  Racism, sexism, polluting the environment, “homophobia,” genocide, overdue library books, etc.

If that’s the standard now, A, I hope you have some great “theological reasons” lined up as to why that man, that woman, that additional woman and that Ford F-150 pick-up over there can’t “marry” inside of a Christian church.  Because you can be damned sure that they’ll use your “theological reasons” for homosexual marriage against you.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Monday, April 14th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Seriously, South Fayette, Pennsylvania School District?

SERIOUSLY?!!

The mother of a South Fayette High School student convicted of disorderly conduct for recording classmates bullying him wants a judge to reverse the decision and the district to apologize.

Shea Love, 40, of South Fayette questioned why school officials contacted police to discuss a possible violation of wiretap laws but refused to confront the students whose voices she says were captured on an iPad tormenting her son.

Love requested the identity of her son, 15, a sophomore diagnosed with a comprehension delay disorder, ADHD, and an anxiety disorder, be kept private out of fear of retribution.

“The whole thing has been a horrible nightmare,” Love told the Tribune-Review on Sunday. “This whole ordeal has made my son miserable.”

Asked to discuss the case, school board President Len Fornella said: “I can’t comment on that.”

Other school board members, Superintendent Bille P. Rondinelli, high school principal Scott Milburn and assistant principal Aaron Skrbin did not return calls or could not be reached during the weekend. South Fayette police could not be reached.

According to a transcript of a March 19 hearing before South Fayette District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet, the boy said he made the seven-minute recording “because I always felt like it wasn’t me being heard.”

He said classmates harassed him for several months, and even though he told his mom, he didn’t have anything to show for it.

“I wanted some help,” he said. “This wasn’t just a one-time thing. This always happens every day in that class.”

Milburn called South Fayette police Lt. Robert Kurta on Feb. 12 requesting he come take a report because he believed he “had a wiretapping incident.” State law generally prohibits secret audio recording.

After questioning the boy, district officials forced him to erase the recording and punished him with a Saturday detention, which he served, according to the hearing transcript. Kurta, who testified that he did not hear the recording, charged him with disorderly conduct, a summary offense.

Kurta did not return calls. He told the judge that he didn’t think the case warranted a felony wiretapping charge but made the decision to pursue a summary charge “because I believe that he committed a crime.”

McGraw-Desmet found Love’s son guilty. She fined him a minimum of $25 and ordered him to pay court costs. McGraw-Desmet could not be reached.

Love said her son is appealing the judge’s decision.

The family intends to file a civil lawsuit against the school district.  If this had been my son, the only damages I would ask would be the deed to the property of South Fayette High School and enough money to hire a wrecking crew to tear the entire building down while I watched.  Then I’d drive to a local fast food establishment and order lunch just so I could listen to South Fayette HS’s former principal ask me if I wanted “fries with that.”

But I’d pay for my lunch with my own money.  I’m not greedy.

FREE VERSE

Monday, April 14th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Furniture companies have dozens of nail guns
in their wood shops as a result of how great they succeed.
That way they will have more chances of landing a job and of
moving forward to higher career goals. Reaching the
perfect horizontal or vertical line is not that easy
with the traditional accessories such as bubble leveler.

From today’s comment spam.

ADVENTURES IN MISSING THE POINT

Monday, April 14th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Kyle Smith put together a list of what he considers to be the five most overrated sports movies.  I can’t argue with three of his selections although I (slightly) dispute the inclusion of Rocky IV.

That’s because just about everybody knows going in that most movie sequels are complete wastes of time.  Of all the movies I’ve seen in the Sequel Era, the only sequel I ever saw that was better than the original was Superman II.  The rest were either blindingly obvious, disappointing, painfully embarrassing or all three. 

Ghostbusters II, anyone? 

So when you get to the third sequel of your movie series, you’ve been a cartoon for a long time so you might as well have a little fun with the franchise.  Stallone was a genius at coming up with great villains and he invented an outstanding one here.

Admit it.  When Ivan Drago finally went down and didn’t get back up, you screamed with joy at the top of your lungs and shouted, “U. S. A.!!  U. S. A!!” as loudly as you could.

Silently and inwardly, of course.

But with his choice for the most overrated sports movie of all time, Smith goes completely off the rails:

Sorry, sports fans, but God doesn’t waste His time organizing fantasy old-timer baseball games, and sentimental rubbish like [Field of Dreams] trivializes belief in the Almighty. This is a brain-dead ghost story that could have been written by the staff of a Hallmark commercial.

Kyle?  Buddy?  Hate to burst your bubble here, champ, but Field of Dreams was never a sports movie and was never intended to be.

Ladies?  Here’s a little Inside Male for you.  If youve never seen Field of Dreams before, you’re watching it at home with your Significant Male Other some evening and he starts crying at the very end, you can infer two things about your guy. 

Your old man didn’t have as great a relationship with his father as he wanted to have.  And he’d enthusiastically give up everything he owned if he could somehow change that. 

Or just have one more game of catch.

RE-EDUCATION

Sunday, April 13th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Tolerance has had a bad stretch lately.  The new CEO of Mozilla, the makers of the Firefox Web browser, which I do not currently and will never again use, was forced out after less than two weeks when it was discovered that he had contributed to the campaign for the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which attempted to legally codify the definition of marriage in that state as between a man and a woman.

World Vision, a Christian charitable institution, recently changed its policy and declared that its branches were now free to hire the same-sex married if they so desired, only to reverse itself a day or so later after a firestorm of criticism from Christian traditionalists.

WV’s second reversal caused the left to accuse conservative Christians in general and World Vision in particular of WANTING TO KILL EVERY SINGLE CHILD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD while simultaneously affording brain-dead, leftist drama queens like Rachel Held Evans the chance to publicly sob into their fainting couches.

And recently, Brandeis University, which used to be a pretty liberal college, caved in to pressure from Big Islam and withdrew its award of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali,* a woman described by Big Islam as an “Islamophobe” and someone who has been a fierce critic of both Islamic religion and Islamic culture.  With outstandingly good reason.

What’s going on here?  Are we seeing the rise of some sort of new radically-activist American Bolshevism?  Not at all, says Tom Krattenmaker.  It’s just that some of you people have absolutely no understanding of what tolerance really means:

Following revelations that recently appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich had supported California’s anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8, he is out. And so is tolerance in this country — at least according to critics of the pressure campaign that led to Eich’s involuntary resignation, and other campaigns like it.

For those involved in the religion, culture and politics debates, the Mozilla episode has sparked new rounds of recriminations. With it has come the now-customary rhetorical question from conservatives: How do gay-rights liberals get away with calling themselves the “tolerance” people when they show such nasty intolerance toward anyone who disagrees with them?

How? Because they believe in tolerance — a good thing — and it only makes sense that they not tolerate actions and words that exclude gays or represent other forms of intolerance.

So if you’re intolerant of what you, and you alone, consider to be intolerance, you’re tolerant.  Right.  Almost immediately realizing how bonecrushingly stupid that assertion is, Krattenmaker then proceeds to walk it back.  A bit.

There is much to argue with here, but Tooley’s and Dreher’s perspectives are right in one respect. Sometimes liberals — and conservatives too, as Dreher admitted — take their principles to extremes and turn them into rigid ideologies and purity tests.

This can be downright counterproductive. At no time was that more apparent than when Toms shoes, which donates millions of free pairs to poor children, faced a boycott drive for having the temerity to consider a distribution partnership with Focus on the Family. Toms had broken the cardinal rule that states that thou shalt never cooperate with an evangelical group that actively opposes gay marriage. Never mind shoes for the needy kids.

See if the following sounds familiar.

From the viewpoint of this principled tolerance, it is utterly ridiculous to expect a shrug and “whatever” in the face of disrespect and bigotry against racial or sexual minorities. This tolerance can tolerate a lot — pretty much everything, in fact, except intolerance. But here’s my call to tolerance champions: Except in the direst situations, please confine the condemnations to actions, ideas and words, and resist the temptation to write off entire individuals, organizations and religious movements. Sometimes a little patience is in order too. Those with strong religious beliefs about marriage are not all going to change overnight.

If you’re scoring at home, the fundie term for that is “hate the sin but love the sinner.”  Krattenmaker’s not at all happy about having to borrow that concept in its entirety.

There’s a saying associated with evangelicals and homosexuality that goes, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” It’s highly debatable whether the coiners of that phrase live up to the “love” part, but there’s something in that notion that the tolerance brigade might well appropriate and apply the next time word seeps out about a CEO or anyone else in the spotlight who opposed, or still opposes, gay marriage:

Intolerance for the offending act, and tolerance for the person.

But Tom knows that it’s the only way that he can make his ridiculous “argument” work.

*This, by the way, is what Ms. Ali would have told Brandeis students.

UPDATE: As bad as things are here, they’re way worse in other places.  Fuinseoig?  You’re up.

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