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Religion
05/13/2010
IconPolice authorities are on a nation-wide search for a mother and her 13-year-old cancer-stricken son who fled after refusing chemotherapy that doctors say could save the boy's life.' The two left their Minnesota home after a doctor's appointment and X-ray showed his tumor had grown.' A court has issued an arrest warrant (ruling the mother in contempt of court), and has ordered that the boy be placed in foster care and immediately evaluated for treatment by a cancer specialist .'His parents insist on alternative medicines, citing religious beliefs.' That led authorities to seek custody, as the court ruled that the boy's parents were medically neglecting their son, as his form of cancer is considered highly curable with chemotherapy and radiation.The parents believe in the philosophy of the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water and such.' However, lately the dad has jumped ideological ships and is now agreeing that his son needs the best treatment with a doctor of medicine.All over the blogosphere, you can read arguments as to whether or not the court should be able to countermand the parents.' My opinion?' Absolutely yes...when it is clear that the child is in imminent harm and there are the means to rescue him.This child is in imminent harm because of his parents and the cancer itself.' Since the cancer is likely curable, it is unconscionable for his life to be taken by parents who choose some extreme religious views which put their child on the road to death.' Secondly, the child, 13, cannot read due to some learning disability.' I question whether or not the parents helped him with that problem either.' Since the boy cannot read, he is relying on the "wisdom" of his parents, who are not giving him the truth, which is "chemo will save you and herbs will let you die in pain."Personally, I am very respectful of most (not all) religious views.' I am completely dis respectful of religious views which result in taking the life of an innocent - in this case, robbing the life of an innocent child. More >>

Tags: AbuseChild NeglectChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthParentingReligionValues
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05/13/2010
IconDuring his recent African trip, Pope Benedict XVI said that the distribution of condoms would not resolve the AIDS problem.' The Pope has made it clear that abstinence is going to be the best way to fight AIDS.Google "Pope" and "condoms," and you'll never run out of reading material excoriating the man for his observation and opinion.' Many health advocates have gone ballistic in their criticism of his comments.' They feel it is one thing to promote abstinence as part of the Catholic religion, but that it is an entirely different thing to preach it to the world.On a person-by-person basis, wearing a condom does, of course, offer some protection against contracting various venereal diseases and (of course) unwanted pregnancy.' It is also true that condoms sometimes break, slip, or are put on incorrectly (taut to the very end).' Everything has its limitations...except abstinence.I remember listening to a rabbi describing a situation that occurred to his kosher family.' His 7 year old child was invited to a birthday party for a classmate at one of those fast-food hamburger establishments.' When he came to pick up his child at the end of the party, one of the mothers - clearly annoyed - chastised him for the pain he caused his son.' "All the children had hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and dessert, and your little boy had to sit there and eat none of it.' Imagine how terrible your son must have felt?' How could you do this to him?' Food is food.' There is nothing sinful about food.' What you are doing to him is just cruel."' Just about at the end of her tirade, his son bounded up to him, gave him a huge hug around the waist, and said "I had a great time.' This was a fun party."The woman blanched and walked away.' The rabbi followed her and gently told her the following:' animals will eat whatever is around, even if it will make them unhealthy.' Humans are to rise above animals and become masters of their urges.' Imagine my son in a dorm room where harmful illicit drugs are being passed about.' We already know that peer pressure and urges will not force him to relent and give in to the impulse.' Learning at his early age to control impulse and desire is not a harmful trait - many times, it might be a life-saving one.' Look at him.' He enjoyed the company of your son and the rest of the children without giving up his values.' He looks happy and satisfied.' We really need to bring up our children to be masters of their instincts, not slaves to them, don't you think?The woman scowled, but listened to him.Yes, in any one instance, a condom could protect, but in the overall scheme of humanity, why do so many people wish to push away the enormous protective power of moral values?When the Pope suggests that human beings are best off saving their sexual passion for the stability of a covenant of marriage, he is making a statement that the act of sexuality is elevated by the context, and ultimately protects both man and woman from a myriad of hurtful consequences from venereal diseases to unwanted pregnancies (complete with abortions, abandonment, single-parenthood, and homelessness to name a few).The naysayers all have one thing in common:' they refuse to want, believe or accept that human beings can commit to a higher spiritual state of thought and behavior.' The Pope believes in us more than that.I am not Catholic, so this is no knee-jerk defense of my spiritual leader.' The truth is that he is simply correct and too many people don't want to hear it, because they want to live lives unfettered by rules.' It is sad that they don't realize that this makes them a slave to animal impulse versus a master of human potential. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-Consciencechoose wisely - treat kindlyChoose Wisely-Treat KindlyDatingHealthMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityReligionSexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010
IconHow did we as a people get so "knee jerk" about going into therapy every time we face a challenge or disappointment?One caller to my radio program was having her three year old son tested for muscular dystrophy, a devastating illness, and the results wouldn't be coming for two weeks.' She wanted to know how to "cope" with the two week wait.' I told her that she was simply going to feel stressed and scared - that was normal, and was to be "endured."' She, like many others realizing they had to feel some emotional pain for a while, asked if she should go into therapy!I asked her what she thought the folks who blazed the trail west in covered wagons did when people died of illness or accident, or if the Indians attacked or food got scarce?' Did they all line up in front of a therapist's tent to express their pain and look for a magic cure to get through the sometimes unpleasant realities of life, or did they pray, hold onto each other and ultimately....endure?She laughed, and said, "I see what you mean." We are sturdier creatures than we take credit for.' I am a licensed therapist, and there are, indeed, situations in which individuals cannot endure, due to a distinct compromise in a person's ability to be rational, such as mental illness or severe trauma.' In these situations, I refer people to mental health professionals.'But most things in life that we must deal with often are best served with some love, some advice, some prayer, and an acknowledgment that sometimes life just doesn't feel good for a while.I have told innumerable callers that there is no quick fix for a bad situation - and sometimes, there is no "fix" at all.' I tell them also to turn to each other (family and friends), rather than turn on each other with resentment, frustration, or anger.Much of life must be endured.' There is still always beauty, such as seeing the flowers among the fertilizer, and there is always light (hope and alternatives). More >>

Tags: AttitudeHopePersonal ResponsibilityReligionValues
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05/13/2010
IconI have always been impressed with the mentality of the Mormons with respect to the issue of charity.' I had a tour of their main charity facilities, and was amazed at what I saw and learned.' There are absolutely no handouts ' they barter !Here's how it works:' if you could lose your home, or if you need food, clothing, medicine or toys for your children, the Church takes financial care of your needs.' In exchange , you provide services to the very mechanism that rescued you .' This means that folks in the bakeries are people who have benefited from the charitable services; those helping in the stores that sell thrift clothing, housewares and food are those who have benefited from the charitable services, and so on.The basic concept is to preserve a sense of dignity and pride in those who have temporary need by giving them an opportunity to use their skills in the service of others.' Walking around the premises, I felt the uplifted attitude of all who were there:' smiles, waves, and straight backs.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints provides for people all over the world ' not only with goods and goodwill, but with the opportunity to not lose a sense of self when 'things' are lost.'I probably sound like an advertisement for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.' I am not a member of their religion, but I am impressed with their charitable philosophy, because I believe it teaches our children their real value, while motivating and uplifting them at the same time.Their young people who graduate high school are expected to go on two-year 'missions,' reminiscent of the Peace Corps.' These young people come back much more mature, as they've experienced the pain and need of others, and have sacrificed two years of their own comfort to be of service to others.Other youngsters just don't want to skip a beat in their acquisition of iPods, cell phones, and other 'Internet in your hand' gadgets.I believe that the economic disaster our country is in right now is a kind of blessing in disguise with respect to values. Without values, life just provides us with 'things,' but not necessarily with any profound meaning. More >>

Tags: CharityEconomyFinancesMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesReligionValues
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Tags: CharityEthicsFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingReligionValues
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05/13/2010
IconI am a woman of certain habits. I like the same breakfast everyday (raisin bran with blueberries and skim milk and one fried egg inside a toasted English muffin....for those of you who are curious), and I love to have my before-radio-show lunch while watching re-runs of Law & Order on television.Yesterday, they played an episode which was timely, considering the recent Islamic terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India targeting innocents in general and citizens of Britain and America and Jews in particular - the latter who were tortured before being murdered in cold blood.' Over 200 persons were murdered; about 400 injured.' Nine of these Muslim terrorists were killed by Indian commandos.' One has been captured and has given information about this highly organized conspiracy and its training roots in Pakistan.'For my purposes here...one ray of sunlight: 'All of the Muslim cemeteries have refused, according to a Wall Street Journal account, to bury these nine Muslim terrorists.' How about that!Now back to the parallel with yesterday's Law & Order re-run.' A Muslim- American is found dead...beheaded.' It is all set-up to look like bigoted Americans killed him just because he is Muslim.' It turns out, after a lot of posturing about prejudice against Muslims, that this man was killed by his own cousin: a bona fide terrorist trying to bring uranium into the U.S. to deploy in Manhattan to kill as many Americans as possible.' The beheaded man was informing on his cousin and all of those in the neighborhood conspiracy.' That's why his own people killed him.The Imam, the local religious leader, is lying to the police to protect the murderous cousin because they threatened to kill him if he didn't.' The Imam is measuring his importance to the community against his responsibilities to the laws of America -- laws of decency and morality, really.In a touching interaction between the Imam and the District Attorney, the DA asks the Imam if he is a Muslim first or an American first.' The Imam struggles with that, saying that he has been working very hard to keep young people in his mosque from getting recruited into terrorism and he would lose that.' The DA points out that the dead man's wife lost everything.' It is left there.In court, the black defense attorney, playing into the "race card" questions the Imam about his client's whereabouts during the murder.' At first the Imam lies. Then he tells the entire truth: about the uranium, the murder, and the plot to decimate all of New York City.' The murderer is convicted, but the Imam's mosque is burned to the ground -- retribution from some in his community.There is a last minute angry exchange in Arabic as the murderer is removed from the court.' The DA asks the Imam what they both said.' The murderer said, "Burn!"' To that, the Imam had replied, "I love America."To that "fictional" Imam and to those who run the Muslim cemeteries in India refusing to accept the bodies of mass murders my admiration, my respect, my appreciation, my prayers, and my hope that more will join you to "out" or "reject" those who perpetrate evil. More >>

Tags: BudgetEconomyReligion
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05/13/2010
IconAds proclaiming, "Why believe in a god?' Just be good for goodness' sake" will appear on Washington D.C., buses starting this week and running through December.' The American Humanist Association recently announced the controversial $40,000 holiday campaign.Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group told the Associated Press: "Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion." No matter what side of the Christmas and God wars you may be on, that is one lame excuse for challenging the majority of people in the United States who are "believers" (92% according a poll by the Pew Research Center).'I am Jewish and have never felt "alone" because the end-of-the-year holiday event of the country was "Christian"; Christmas is a lovely spectacle no matter what your beliefs, and for those who are seriously Christian, it is additionally a sacred time.Last month, the British Humanist Association upped the ante with their bus sign campaign, which said: "There's probably no God.' Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." At least the American version still holds to the idea of doing good , while the British version is like letting kids go wild in a candy store claiming there are no such things as cavities or obesity.''''American Family Association president, Tim Wildmon, calls the American Humanist's ad, "...stupid.' How do we define 'good' if we don't believe in God?' God in his word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong.' If we are each ourselves defining what's good, it's going to be a crazy world." Don Feder, editor of the "Boycott The New York Times" website, demanded equal space in the New York Times for the display of religious symbols as he perceives the paper to have a "relentless drive to secularize society." Feder writes: "The New York Times gives the game away when it insists that public property 'must be open to all religions on an equal basis - or open to none at all.'' In other words, a town that chooses to display the Ten Commandments - which are sacred to 90% of the American people and an integral part of our nation's heritage - has to give equal space to every other faith and New Age sect that's out there.' In reality, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was intended to prohibit a state church, like the Church of England.'"If the Founders thought giving one religion preference was odious, why was Congress's first official act to hire a Christian chaplain?' And why did the first Congress appropriate sums of money for Christian missionaries to the Indian tribes?' What about 'In God We Trust' on our currency and 'One Nation under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance - which clearly give preference to Judeo- Christian tradition over Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Summunism?" To read more from Don Feder's point of view: www.boycottnyt.com and www.aim.org . More >>

Tags: ChildrenParentingReligionValues
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05/13/2010
IconNewark, New Jersey's Roman Catholic archbishop, John Myers,' is upset that part of Bill Maher's movie, Religulous (a combination of the words "religion" and "ridiculous"), was filmed at a Bergen County parish under false pretenses.' Maher told the parish's Very Reverend Charles Grandstrand that he wanted to film his Jewish mother there, because the church was such a big part of her life.' His father was a Catholic.' Maher told the parish folks that the movie he was making would be called A Spiritual Journey .Recently, during his appearance on Larry King's CNN program to promote his activities, Maher said: "This is funny.' Religion accusing me of deception.'' Religion, the greatest scam in the history of the world...selling the invisible product for thousands of years, accusing us of deception? [he laughs] We don't lie to people.'' What we didn't tell people [i.e., when he was producing the movie] was that it was me doing the interview.' They didn't ask, and we didn't feel an obligation to tell them." This is such hypocrisy that I can hardly type.' Hypocrisy, for those who use it as a daily epithet towards somebody whose point of view they simply don't like, is a behavior of espousing and living in counterpoint.' He accuses religious folks of lying about the divine and about faith, while he lies to people to use and embarrass them.' And this, my friends, gets you a television show, after losing another one for calling the September 11 terrorists braver than Americans. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingReligionValues
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05/13/2010
IconAndrew Klavan, an award-winning author of mystery novels, wrote a brilliant op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal (7/25/08) in which he stated exactly what I believe.'He pointed out that liberal Hollywood films about the war on terror ( In the Valley of Elah, Rendition , and Redacted ) have all failed, largely because they propose to make the actions and philosophies of terrorists and coalition forces moral "equivalents," because they disrespect the military, and "seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism." These films depict "good" guys as indistinguishable from "bad" guys, ultimately "denigrating the very heroes who defend us." Klavan points out that the big blockbuster The Dark Knight , is a conservative movie about the war, like 300 before it, and these films value morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right.' Liberal, ultimately anti-American, films are realistic and direct, while conservative, pro-values films are usually fantasies using comic-inspired heroes ( Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Spiderman 3 ).What makes the real world difficult is that "good" guys must defend values in a world that does not universally embrace them, and that puts "good" guys in the awful position of sometimes having to be intolerant, unkind, and brutal in order to ultimately defend the "good" values we love.As a psychotherapist, I talk to people on the air every day who try to keep out of the way of conflict, confrontation, and judgment, so they will be liked and seen as "good" guys.' I remind them that "good" guys risk, and sometimes cross the line, to stand between evil and the innocent who need protection from the few.Instead, as Klavan points out, "When heroes arise who take those difficulties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness.' We prosecute and execute the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve." That means that sometimes good men have to kill ("murder" is to kill an innocent) to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate values in order to maintain those values.' That's just a fact of real life in which good and evil have always co-existed. More >>

Tags: CharityInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMilitaryMovie ReviewMoviesParentingReligionValues
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05/13/2010
IconTwo year ago, a Danish journalist/cartoonist gave his political opinion with a newspaper cartoon that depicted a caricature of Muhammed, and there were death threats and rioting by those who described themselves as "offended."' The cartoonist was arrested on charges of discrimination against Muslims.A Paris court also handed down a $23,325 fine against Brigitte Bardot, the former screen sex symbol and current animal rights campaigner.' She was also ordered to pay $1,555 in damages to MRAP, a prominent French "anti-racist" group which filed a lawsuit over a letter she published in her animal rights foundation newsletter and which she also had sent to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.' Evidently, she had criticized the Muslim feast of Aid-el-Kebir, which is celebrated by the slaughtering of sheep, and had expressed her concern that Muslim laws were beginning to dominate French culture and jurisprudence. French anti-racism laws prevent the incitement of hatred and discrimination on racial and/or religious grounds.' Bardot had previously been convicted four times for "inciting racial hatred."' Her attorney said, "She is tired of this type of proceeding.' She has the impression that people want to silence her." No kidding.English courts are now becoming a popular destination for libel suits against American authors.' The cases have largely been brought against American writers and scholars for criticizing Islam or "naming names" of those who appear to support and fund terrorism.' To avoid costly litigation, some American publishers are withdrawing the publication of those books.' Unlike in American law, in Britain, the burden of proof in libel cases is on the author , since British law considers the disputed information as false until proven true.'Here in the United States, Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Joseph Lieberman (Ind/D-CT) have introduced the Free Speech Protection Act of 2008, which bars U.S. courts from enforcing libel judgments issued in foreign courts against U.S. residents, if the speech would not be libelous under American law.' The bill also permits American authors and publishers to countersue if the material is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.' This legislation wouldn't protect those who recklessly or maliciously print false information, but it would ensure that Americans are held to and protected by American standards.According to Specter and Lieberman as quoted in The Wall Street Journal (7/14/08) : "The 1964 Supreme Court decision in NY Times vs. Sullivan established that journalists must be free to report on newsworthy events unless they recklessly or maliciously publish falsehoods.' At that time, opponents of civil rights were filing libel suits to silence news organizations that exposed state officials' refusal to enforce federal civil rights laws.' Now we are engaged in another great struggle - this time against Islamic terror - and again, the enemies of freedom seek to silence free speech.' Our legislation will help ensure that they do not succeed." The anti-free speech forces have accomplished a lot in Europe and in our own universities (with their tyranny of the "politically correct").' This is the time to draw that line in the sand. More >>

Tags: Morals, Ethics, ValuesparentingRacismReligionSocial IssuesValues
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