Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sundry News Items

Have you been following the stuff in the news about all of the uproar over health care stuff and it providing means for contraception? It's not just any contraception - it's preferred contraception. Planned Parenthood receives over $300 million a year, so I'm pretty sure that if someone wanted to get a condom, they could find it. But what's more interesting is the various reactions some people are having around the country. At one university (not sure which), the health care offered by the university does not provide for preferred contraception, and so one female student spoke at and talked about how it was her preference, and she believed it to be her advantage to attend that university, but she felt that she was choosing between an inferior education but superior health care options to what she was being offered by her current university. Can you believe that? Thankfully, one person/organization spoke out against those type of comments stating that self-control is actually the first choice that a person has and people are not so helpless that they can't best protect themselves by simply practicing some self-restraint.

Have you heard about the uproar in Afghanistan? The issue is over some burned Korans. I didn't know much of the details until I read this article by Andrew McCarthy. He is probably the most knowledgeable person about all things Middle East. So the issue is the burning of Korans, only the military didn't know that they were Korans. They were books being passed around by prisoners that contained coded messages to each other that had to do with with escape plans and such, so the soldiers took the books and burned them to prevent them from communicating to each other. McCarthy raises the right question: how is it an appropriate response for some people to riot and kill other people when someone did  something unintentionally wrong? And why isn't it also defiling the Koran to write in it and raise insurrection? Because it serves their purposes. I posted that brief item last week, but Islamists (different from Muslims) are wackos. They will be a thorn in our side for a long time. An excerpt:

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention.

Of course, these facts may not become widely known, because no one is supposed to mention the main significance of what has happened here. First, as usual, Muslims — not al-Qaeda terrorists, but ordinary, mainstream Muslims — are rioting and murdering over the burning (indeed, the inadvertent burning) of a book. Yes, it’s the Koran, but it’s a book all the same — and one that, moderate Muslims never tire of telling us, doesn’t really mean everything it says anyhow.

Muslim leaders and their leftist apologists are also forever lecturing the United States about “proportionality” in our war-fighting. Yet when it comes to Muslim proportionality, Americans are supposed to shrug meekly and accept the “you burn books, we kill people” law of the jungle. Disgustingly, the Times would inure us to this moral equivalence by rationalizing that “Afghans are fiercely protective of their Islamic faith.” Well then, I guess that makes it all right, huh?

Then there’s the second not-to-be-uttered truth: Defiling the Koran becomes an issue for Muslims only when it has been done by non-Muslims. Observe that the unintentional burning would not have occurred if these “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Afghans had not defiled the Korans in the first place. They were Muslim prisoners who annotated the “holy” pages with what a U.S. military official described as “extremist inscriptions” in covert messages sent back and forth, just as the jihadists held at Gitmo have been known to do (notwithstanding that Muslim prisoners get their Korans courtesy of the American taxpayers they construe the book to justify killing).

Mitt won Michigan and Arizona yesterday. Good for him. I'm still hesitant about him, mostly because he just doesn't seem to inspire the base, so I'm afraid of how he'll fare in a general election. It may be the Obama is so vulnerable that almost anyone can beat him, but I feel like I'm rooting for a dark horse to come up at the GOP National Convention. I like him the most of what's out there, but there's a part of me that feels like there may still be someone better than him that hasn't been made available yet. We'll see next week with Super Tuesday.

Last, this article by Jeff Jacoby about LDS proxy baptism for Jews. Jacoby is one writer whose views I completely line up with, and this piece is no different.  An excerpt:

So now there’s a whole new commotion, with some prominent Jewish voices once again loudly expressing indignation.

“Holocaust victims were killed solely because they were Jews,’’ fumes Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “And here comes the Mormon Church taking away their Jewishness. It’s like killing them twice.’’ The Simon Wiesenthal Center, pronouncing itself “outraged,’’ declares that the latest proxy baptisms “make a mockery’’ of Jewish-Mormon relations. Wiesel himself insists that Mitt Romney, as “the most famous and important Mormon in the country,’’ has a moral obligation to tell his church: “Stop it.’’

But if anyone should be told to “stop it,’’ it’s men like Foxman and Wiesel, whose reactions to this issue have been unworthy and unfair.

For one thing, the Mormon Church promptly apologized for the listing of Anne Frank and the others, and firmly reiterated its policy: “Proxy baptisms of Holocaust victims are strictly prohibited.’’ Leaping to take offense at something the church has unequivocally repudiated is cheap grandstanding.

More odious by far is the accusation that a posthumous “baptism’’ to which no Jew attaches any credence is tantamount to a second genocide (“It’s like killing them twice’’). What an ugly slander. Even to the most zealous Mormon, proxy baptism is simply the offering of a choice — it gives non-Mormons in the afterlife a chance to accept the gospel, should they wish to. You don’t have to buy the theology — I certainly don’t — to recognize that its message is benign.

As a Jew, I am less interested in what other religions teach about the fate of Jews in the next world than in how they affect the fate of Jews in this world. Rafael Medoff, a scholar of America’s response to the Holocaust, notes that Mormon leaders were outspoken supporters of efforts to rescue Jews from Nazi Europe at a time when many mainstream Christians were silent. For example, Utah Senator William King — among the most renowned Mormons of his day — strongly backed legislation that could have saved Anne Frank and her family.

Outraged by proxy baptisms? Count me out. As my stunted family tree attests, the Jewish people have very real, very dangerous enemies. Mormons undergoing peaceful rituals in their own temples aren’t on the list. 

While listening to some interviews last year at the COB, one rabbi expressed a similar point of view. He stated that if he were to get outraged by proxy baptism then that would mean he was giving credence to a belief in a religion that he doesn't subscribe to. Makes sense, right? He felt that all the outrage came less from practicing Jews and more from the liberal ones. Thought that was interesting though.


Lisa said...

Interesting, Chris. I like stopping by to get my news here.

Sarah Walton said...

Same here! haha . . . I've heard about all 3 of these stories, but I love the article excerpts you posted. Definitely some interesting stuff going on.