What Bill of Rights?

This afternoon I was talking with someone about faith and work. I told him I thought this was an interesting time in our country. I see Catholics and Christians in general being more vocal about their faith and their right to participate in the public sphere. At the same time, I see more opposition than ever against people of faith in this country, specifically Christian faith.

I considered that a bit more and realized that trend of Christians being more outspoken is in response to the trend of trying to deny Christians their right to participate in public affairs. I found the proof of that a few hours later. The state of Connecticut has taken the lead in trying to disenfranchise Catholics. Earlier this year some Connecticut legislators introduced a bill to force the Catholic church, and only the Catholic church, to change its organizational structure. The bill was unconstitutional as the first amendment prohibits government from interfering with the exercise of religion. A state mandating the organizational structure of a church is so obviously the exact kind of interference that the first amendment prohibits that the sponsors were forced to withdraw the bill after attention was drawn to it. The archdiocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut was instrumental in leading the opposition.

Not content to just violate one clause of the first amendment, the state of Connecticut has upped the ante. Its Office of State Ethics has launched an investigation into the archdiocese’s actions in opposing the unconstitutional bill last March. The government claims that the archdiocese acted as a lobbying organization for higher buses to take people to protests and using its web site to encourage church members to contact their legislators about the bill. The government is claiming the archdiocese was required to register as a lobbying organization.

Bridgeport’s Archbishop William Lori calls the investigation a violation of the first amendment’s guarantee to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. I says that it is also a violation of the right to petition the government. Requiring people or organizations to register as lobbyists, especially when they are targets of proposed legislation prohibits those organizations from exercising their right of petition.

Who would have thought that in 2009 there would be overt government action in this country to suppress a churchi? Yes, Christians are being more vocal because they must if they want to preserve their own rights.

Clinton accepts award named in racist’s honor

Last night Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood. The award is the organizations “top honor” and is named after their founder.

I find some irony that the Secretary of State serving the first black U.S. President is accepting an award named in honor of Margaret Sanger considering her racist views.

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The mostsuccessful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if
it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
— Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America . New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.

“Today eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.”
— Margaret Sanger. “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda.” Birth Control Review , October 1921, page 5.

Sanger advocated forced sterilization of African-Americans (among others). She believed African-Americans were “unfit”. Not only would she have not voted for Barack Obama, she believed he should not have even been born. Yet President Obama’s Secretary of State accepted an award in honor of her.

Why there is no outcry over this racist award is scandalous.

Racquetball practice

I take Bailey to her Tiny Tots gym class on Friday mornings. The rec center’s racquetball courts line the hallway that leads to the gym. Bailey likes to look in the windows while we pass and watch people play.

This afternoon we were killing time at home. She picked up her big green ball and a stick then asked me to play racquetball with her. I switched out her stick for an actual racket. We did this for over a half-hour. Here’s a taste. Good times.

She doesn’t know it yet but it will be tennis for her before racquetball. Promising forehand though, don’t you think?

A new age? Not yet.

President Obama was inaugurated yesterday as the 44th President of the United States of America. No, it was not the signal of an ending to racial prejudice. If there was any hope that it would be, that was banished by Rev. Joseph Lowery when he closed the inaugural ceremony benediction by saying:

we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

The reverend forgot that over 350,000 men (overwhelmingly white) from the Union side died in the Civil War fighting for an end to slavery. Yes, discrimination continued and it was whites who walked with Martin Luther King Jr. to obtain equal civil rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by a congress and signed by a President that was again overwhelmingly white.

Notice how Lowery portrays race relations. Black, yellow, and red have no obligations to act while white people are assumed to be universally wrong and the contributions of those white people who struggled against racial prejudice are ignored. Who is the racist?

A new President.

President Obama was inaugurated yesterday as the 44th President of the United States of America. I was in a training class and later had an unexpected invite to go to a Denver Nuggets game (to sit in a suite no less) so I didn’t have time to write on that momentous day. It is time for me to note my observations now.

Our training class did get a break to watch the swearing in and the inaugural address. It was a great moment to be an American. And I’m not talking about Obama’s race. Yes, it was historic to see the first black man sworn in. I’ve also said before that true racial equality won’t exist until there is a “first black to do X” and not be labeled as the “first black to do X.”

What I appreciated even more was witnessing the 43rd consecutive peaceful transfer of executive power in this country – a streak the runs over 200 years. That is a stretch unparalleled in the world.

I disagree with Obama’s stated economic policies. I’m convinced his Keynesian economic policies will only worsen our economic recession like FDR’s policies extended the Great Depression.

Even so, our society has accepted that elections determine which leaders. Those who claimed that “Bush is not my President” were wrong, just as those who want to say “Obama is not my President” are wrong. Obama is my President. I will vote against him in 2012 but that doesn’t change the reality that I am an American and we one President – no more, no less and that President is Barack Obama.

Let us pray that God grants him wisdom.


Last week I posted about the annoying comparison of a football contract to a marriage. The AP continued that yesterday:

Favre retired in March, but then decided he still wanted to play. After a messy divorce with Green Bay, the Packers traded him to New York, where he’s going through his 18th training camp.

Our media culture can’t tell the difference between a sports contract and a marriage. No wonder the institution of marriage is in trouble. I think this comes from an emerging idea that marriage is nothing more than a civil contract to be dissolved when at least one party finds the continuation of the contract to be inconvenient.

So the question, is our society’s outlook of marriage to low, or our view of sports too high?

Drinking straws rated

Drinking straws are an important aspect of the fast-food beverage experience. Here is how I see them stack up.

5. Taco Bell – horrible straws. Too narrow. Who can drink through these things? Also I’ve found that I frequently have to get a replacement because of a split in the straw or a manufacturing defect at one end hampering the suction.
4. Subway – Acceptable diameter but their plastic wrapping can be annoying to remove (no one-handed pound on the counter to expose the top of the straw). The covering is also hard to crumple to throw away; again, not a one handed job.
3. Wendy’s – A good all-around straw. Not flashy, but serviceable. A little narrow for my taste but not nearly as bad as Taco Bell.
2. Arby’s – Good diameter for suction but see-through plastic can leave unsightly residue visible iin the straw.

And the best fast-food drinking straw is:

1. McDonald’s – The McDonald’s drinking straw is the gold-standard for all drinking straws. It is sturdy with enough width to get a good draw on any drink including a thick milkshake. The white and red color hides any residue in the straw and goes well with their cup designs. The McDonald’s straw streamlines the drinking experience. No other straw comes close.

Is it the economy stupid?

The price of oil hit $134/barrel today. Labor figures show 5.5% unemployment. The Democrats have decided to exploit this situation for their political advantage. They want to press Republican presidential nominee John McCain by bringing up legislation to extend unemployment benefits (how this benefits the 94.5% employed, I don’t know), give federal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, and promote and undefinded plan to address soaring gas prices.

Unemployment is still near historic lows. Most homeowners are not in foreclosure. Our economic woes are due to energy prices, not low unemployment or home foreclosure.

Democrats need to stop blocking energy development here at home. You can’t legislate low energy prices. You can take the restrictions off and let industry produce it though. Now is not the time to exploit bad news for political gain.

We are not in an economic crisis, we are in an energy crisis. It’s the energy stupid. Take off the chains of beauracracy and let us develop our own resources to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.
That is how we will solve the energy crisis.


It’s halftime at the Superbowl. I love the Superbowl. Its truly a piece of Americana.

The Patriots are ahead 7 – 3. So far its been a good game. Right now I’m stuffed on ribs, chips, and about a gallon of soda pop. Mmmm. What a great day to be an American.

Update: The Giants beat the formerly undefeated Patriots. Good game even though I’m a little disappointed that the Pats couldn’t finish out their historic year.