Moral Contradictions

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"...don’t impose your religion on them"

The Virginian Pilot has a write-up about the debate and subsequent death of constitutional amendment (HJ537) that would open the door to organized prayer in school. Del. Charles W. Carrico, SR. (R-Grayson), the bill's sponsor, said the amendment was needed because

"The Christian faith in this country has been grossly persecuted in the past few years...The secular world has said, 'You can only profess your faith within the four walls of the church you are in.'"

As Del. Carrico hopefully learned in a debate with Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax, who is Jewish, that this would open doors to all religions. Saslaw noted that he attended a public school in D.C. where school prayer and Bible reading was allowed. A certain amount of uneasyness existed between Jews and Christians.

Saslaw then asked Carrico "What do you tell these other people that don’t read from your Bible ... What do you tell those Muslim parents?”

Carrico: "I don’t know what I would tell them. I tell my children that you respect people of other faiths."

Saslaw: "If you respect those other beliefs then you don’t impose your religion on them."

As a side note, another reason legal scholars and law makers didn't pass this bill was because they determined that individual religous rights were already protected under a host of judicial decisions and other laws penned by George Mason and Thomas Jefferson.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Jesus a Jew? But He was a good person!

Slate has an article titled Bible Belt Upside the Head - Why the Constitution tries so hard to protect the Buddhist kid.

Dahlia Lithwick summarizes what's going on and then deconstructs the main arguments offered by those wanting to allow students time away from school to receive religious instruction.

One great quote at the bottom about why a Sunday School teacher opted her child out of the program: "I asked them [her Sunday School students] whether Jesus was a Christian and they said 'yes.' When I said, 'Jesus was a Jew,' one girl said, 'But Jesus was a good person.' "

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Banging your head against the wall causes headaches

MSNBC runs an article printed in Newsweek by Judith Garner entitled "Mommy Madness". She provides an in-depth look at the "Modern Mom" and all the stresses and anxieties that come with fulfilling multiple roles. At first I was skeptical because of course life is hectic if you're a working mom... that's a choice. Garner doesn't portray it that way... she refers to the economic squeeze of the middle class where the wife has to go to work just to make ends meet even if they want to stay home. She mentions that with women working an average of 40 hours and men working 51 hours per week that Americans have the longest work-week in the world.

Some of her conclusions: (found on page 6)

  • We need incentives like tax subsidies to encourage corporations to adopt family-friendly policies.
  • We need government-mandated child care standards and quality controls that can remove the fear and dread many working mothers feel when they leave their children with others.
  • We need flexible, affordable, locally available, high-quality part-time day care so that stay-at-home moms can get a life of their own.

    Folks, family values are not just telling kids not to have sex until they're married and not to drink until they're 21... it's providing the means for families to live comfortably and without worry. It means higher real-wages for both men and women (the rate of increase has significantly dropped since 1975). It means more affordable housing. It means affordable healthcare.

    I don't have the answers to how we can achieve these things. However, I know politicians would be making a more worthwhile investment investigating these questions instead of telling us how far down we can wear our pants.

  • Thursday, February 10, 2005

    Virginia's on crack!

    A column in today's Washington Post raises a good point about the General Assembly of Virginia... how can a state that does not want to enact red-light cameras, ban guns in child care centers, or restrict teenagers from using their cell phones while driving all because of privacy issues... how do we justify fining someone for wearing their pants too low?

    The columnist explains the commonwealth is willing to dictate what you do in your bedroom but (heaven forbid!) won't enforce public safety laws when you run a red light because we're concerned about your privacy.

    Let me get this straight... Virginia can restrict what you do in private, yet protect your privacy when you're in public?

    "You're looking for consistency?" said Del. Brian Moran (D-Alexandria). "As long as it matches their views, they're more than happy to get into our lives. Searching for intellectual consistency won't get you anywhere."

    The funny thing is, a Democrat introduced the bill.

    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    Uniquely American?

    Here's the text as reported by the Drudge Report between President Bush and a middle-aged woman during an audience participation session covering Social Security reform.

    MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

    THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

    MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

    THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

    I don't quite see the humor. I mean, all props to Ms. Mornin for working hard for her children and well-being. However, should she have to do this? Does she have a choice? From what little we know, she was dealt a hard life that she most likely was unplanned. A divorce is hard enough to deal with, but to raise a mentally challenged child can be daunting. Just to pay bills and put food on the table, she has to work 3 jobs and as President Bush alluded too,doesn't sleep much. We can also assume that she cannot pursue an education to get a better job without stretching herself thinner than she is now.

    We can also infer that she probably doesn't get to spend that much time with her children. How much time (or energy) does she have to help them with their homework, go to soccer games, put a bandaid on a bloodied knee?

    The bigger question is how many other Americans are in similar situations? How many American families, married or divorced, are forced to choose between food and quality time with their children? As the middle class continues to get squeezed by higher gas prices and lower real wages, how can Republicans legitimately say they are the party of family values?

    I pray the church find ways to minister and serve people like Ms. Mornin. Perhaps family night activities once or twice a month or more marriage and family enrichment seminars to prevent divorce and all the fall-out from that. Anything and everything to ease the burden of reality that "Uniquely American" is exhausting and unhealthy.

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Virginia does it again

    Yes, in all of it's profound wisdom and well-thought moves, as reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the House of Delegates of Virginia approved a measure to create a license plate with the words "TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE" and a symbol of two interlocking rings on a heart.

    Surely the pro-family groups are cheering. Having this statement on a license plate is really going to change society. Heck, I bet if Jesus was alive and owned a car He would get this plate! Obviously He would see that family would be stronger because of this license plate and would agree that it was a step in the right direction!

    Contradiction: A prominent Christian organization in Richmond has a policy with its employees that is anti-family. While the Bible sits in plain view, Moral Contradictions has learned that this organization considers an employee that works 39 hours "part-time". Thus, no benefits. That policy has the resulting employee and their spouse in a situation where they live paycheck to paycheck. Both are in graduate school (both pursuing a Master of Divinity, no less!) and the employee may not be able to attend classes this semester because of financial concerns.

    Which of these policies will hurt families more?