Sunday, July 31, 2005

God and Science

On the subject of stem cell research, I think the logic of science dictates that we should work within its laws rather than against them.

Amid all the uproar over embryonic stem cell research, one crucial fact is ignored. Remarkable progress towards cures is being made using umbilical and adult bone marrow stem cells.

To me, this makes perfect sense.

Human pride and short-sightedness have prompted our lawmakers to decide that we know better than natural law. We alone can build a better mousetrap of cures for disease by pouring billions of dollars into the killing of our own embryos. We overlook the probable fact that, in the beautiful symmetry of Nature, the answers to disease are embedded by the Creator within the miracle of life itself, waiting for us to discover and unlock their power.

To believe that human life must be destroyed before it can be saved contradicts not only common sense, decency, and dignity, but also the perfection of science. Answers, yet unknown, are there for discovery. Do we human beings have the patience, and the faith, to find them in a respectful and moral manner?

The work already in progress on adult and umbilical stem cells is well on the way to providing solutions that we need for many diseases, including Parkinsons and diabetes. In Australia, the Sydney Archdiocese is funding a $100,000 grant for research on stem cells.

"The achievements to date in this area far surpass anything that has been attained in the area of embryonic stem cell research," Cardinal George Pell said. "The Catholic Church always supports good science working from a good ethical foundation, and the Archdiocese of Sydney is delighted to be able to collaborate with researchers making inroads in this vitally important area."

Diverting our current path into the destruction of innocent life not only delays results, it destroys the inherent goodness and nobility of seeking cures. If one can view God and Science as two sides of the same coin, as I do, they can be seen working together, always for good. From either a scientific or spiritual viewpoint, embryonic stem cell research is a bankrupt endeavor that will impoverish us both ethically and intellectually.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hitting Fast

"Hit hard, hit fast, hit often."
~ Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., USN

The U.S. Navy commissioned a new destroyer, Halsey, at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, California, today. My daughter had the opportunity to attend the ceremonies and deemed them "awesome."

Equally awesome is the quick response of London law enforcement officers to apprehend terrorists in the wake of the July attacks upon their city. Despite the tragic misstep of killing a Brazilian man, the apprehension of suspects has progressed at a remarkable rate. (And I can't help but think that the unfortunate man would certainly be alive if he had not run.)

Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch, had this to say about law enforcement's race against time:

"Despite the progress that has been made with the investigation, we must not be complacent. The threat remains, and is very real."

If Mr. Clarke continues to follow Admiral Halsey's advice with such rapid success, Londoners may soon feel more comfortable about taking the tube to work.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Good News Comes to Those Who Wait

I had been disappointed--make that disgusted--by Seattle's Judge Coughenour's tepid sentence to would-be terrorist Ahmed Ressam and outraged by his Honor's ridiculous remarks:

"This sentencing is one that I have struggled with a great deal, more than any other sentencing that I've had in the 24 years I've been on the bench."

Why? What's to struggle over? The man came here for the sole purpose of murdering as many Americans as he possibly could. What's hard about sentencing him?

Coughenour droned on, "Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense. Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detentions, no denial of counsel."

Yeah, and the horse you rode in on. His Honor never stopped pounding his chest long enough to evaluate the wisdom of a 22-year sentence, with time already served counting against it. Do the math, Ressam will be free to bomb Americans again in less than 15 years.

But that was yesterday. Today, I read the excellent news that a Yemeni cleric has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for supporting Islamist terrorism. Now, that's more like it. If you want a fair sentence for a terrorist, take the trial downtown to New York City, where they understand the results of terrorism better than most.

Expecting a light sentence from a judge in NYC? "Fugget-a-boud-it!"

And there was more good news today. A fatwa, or legal pronouncement on a single issue, was issued by an American Muslim organization, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), denouncing Islamic terrorism. Now, keep in mind that fatwas are not like papal edicts. They don't apply across the board. Fatwas, rather than binding all of Islam, pertain only to those leaders who issue it and to their followers. Even so, this is an important step in a positive direction.

From Pakistan, to China, the FCNA's action had media coverage. A German iman issued a similar statement today in Hamburg. The evidence is that Islam is starting to communicate worldwide on this topic. This sudden, deliberate movement of the international Muslim community to differentiate itself from Islamo-terrorism is a promising beginning on a very sore subject, one that has been neglected for too long. It's way overdue that we hear from Muslims themselves, speaking out against the hijacking of their faith by blood-thirsty murderers.

The fatwa stated that "those who commit terrorism are 'criminals' not 'martyrs' and that it is both the civic and religious duty of Muslims to "cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians."

Judge Coughenour has some catching up to do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Education Online

If you aren't reading Victor Davis Hanson's website on a regular basis, you are not as well equipped as you could be to understand current events.

I'll bet a paycheck that you won't find a more valuable source of in-depth geopolitical history, accompanied by a laser-like analysis that interweaves all the threads in a common sense tapestry that defies argument. Read his website. It's free, and it will make you smart in spite of yourself.

Iraq the Model today posted a translation of the draft of the Iraqi Constitution, with commentary. Considering that two Iraqi brothers living in Baghdad write this blog, theirs is a crucial perspective to help keep us informed and aware of events in the war.

Froggy Ruminations brings the military mindset to the reader in a blog that can crackle with spicy wit or shoot bitter venom, depending upon the occasion. Froggy can also write with the raw soul of a warrior who has lost brothers-in-arms. When he does, the tears he prompts have the power to teach us to honor and respect the incalculable cost our troops have paid in the War on Terror.

One can never have too much knowledge. The trick is to know where to go to get good information. In my opinion, that place is no longer the major daily newspapers. The three tried-and-true internet sources cited above are, for me, a daily part of my continuing education.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The People's Cross

Today I voted, for the third time in 14 years, to preserve the cross atop Mount Soledad.

I'm hopeful that Proposition A will pass. Just a few days ago, a judicial ruling changed the necessary votes from a simple majority to two-thirds, which is a daunting percentage to reach in such proximity to the election. But the polls closed a few minutes ago, and I saw the earliest returns on TV. So far, 75% of the votes counted are in favor of preserving the cross.

When one disgruntled atheist can be successful in challenging the majority wishes of an entire community, we no longer resemble America. I'll wait to see how the results shake out in the morning light. It just might look like America again, after all.

UPDATE: Proposition A passed with three quarters of the vote. Both a judicial review of the constitutionality of the vote and yet another legal challenge by San Diego's most obsessive atheist are scheduled next month.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Finding Our Way

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
~ Romans 12:21

In the wake of the tragic shooting of an innocent youth suspected of terrorism in London, we are left with the immensely difficult challenge of how to face the dangers of our time without harming the innocent. We have learned that we must pick our way carefully through a shadowed maze of wrong turns before we can find our footing. And it is with great sadness that we realize we must sometimes stumble and fail before our feet reach a sure path.

I have been reading the books of John Paul II since his death last April. I remember when Crossing the Threshold of Hope was on the bestseller list. Although I was interested in reading it, my life was at a particularly overstressed point at that time. I finally caught up with it, and it has proved well worth the wait, especially in view of our troubled current events.

John Paul the Great was more that a holy man unparalleled in our time. He was a scholar, a historian, a philosopher, a writer, a teacher, and a visionary of the future. The pages of this book are saturated with his strong yet gentle wisdom as well as his rock-bound faith.

I was especially fascinated by his discussion of different religious faiths and how he perceives them fitting into God's plan. And yes, indeed, John Paul II speaks of Islam in this book, telling us on page 93 that, despite their “very distant” theology vis-a-vis Christianity, “the religiosity of Muslims deserves respect”.

The emphasis upon those words was the Holy Father’s.

In the closing chapter of Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium, John Paul II discusses his brush with death from the bullet of a would-be assassin’s gun. In this riveting discussion of his suffering in the aftermath of the shooting, John Paul makes this statement of faith from which we can all draw hope today:

There is no evil from which God cannot draw forth a greater good. There is no suffering which he cannot transform into a path leading to him.

It would do us all good to reflect upon those very wise words in light of the heavy sorrows this July has seen. We need the downtime for a moment. We very much need to find that path.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Required Reading

As always, Victor Davis Hanson nails it down for all to read. Anyone who truly wants to understand what we are struggling against in the GWOT needs to read the entire piece.

As incentive, below is one of several payday quotes:

"So far global jihad avoids two billion Indians and Chinese, despite the fact that their countries are far tougher on Muslims than is the United States or Europe. In other words, the Islamicists target those whom they think they can intimidate and blackmail."

July 22, 2005
And Then They Came After Us
We’re at war. How about acting like it?
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

Friday, July 22, 2005

Now We're Getting It

Unfortunately, this may be the only approach that will work. Striking back in no uncertain terms against senseless violence, as London police did on Friday, may be the only answer in the fight against worldwide terror.

I found this quote from the title article most interesting:

Muslim leaders expressed concern about Friday's shooting.

"I have just had one phone call saying, 'What if I was carrying a rucksack?' It's vital the police give a statement about what occurred and explain why the man was shot dead," Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said.

It's equally vital that the Muslim Council of Britain issue strong, frequent statements of support for their homeland--that would be Britain--and its efforts to crush Islamo-terrorism, including actions taken by police to protect innocent citizens from attack. In this case, that protection involved a shooting. And while the spokesman is "expressing concern," he might want to toss in a warning to all of the Muslim youth in Great Britain to think carefully before pursuing any bomb-related endeavors. Yes, that might be something the Muslim spokesman would want to be concerned about.

By virtue of this shooting incident, London may be leading the way to a worldwide wake-up call in dealing with brutal and merciless terrorist threats.

And today, Egypt has terrorist bombings to cope with. If worldwide terror events continue in this violent vein, it may not be too long before the honey glaze comes off that Gitmo chicken.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Voice of the Law

The nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) brings long-awaited relief and hopeful elation to a large portion of the American public that is weary of waiting for its figurative day in court.

We have been patient, enduring some of the most outrageously inappropriate judicial decisions in our nation's history. The majority of Americans, speaking through the ballot box, do not want same-sex marriage accepted as normal. They do not want it to be legal to crush an infant's skull and suck its brains out in partial-birth abortions. They do not want their teenaged daughters undergoing abortions without their knowledge and consent. They do not want their children to sit down at a library computer and be a click away from accessing pornography.

Although it might come as quite a shock to most liberals, this majority of Americans comprises the "mainstream" of our nation.

With the nomination of Judge Roberts, mainstream Americans have been given the comforting prospect of having a Supreme Court Justice on the bench who not only understands the law, not only respects the law, but one who reveres the law enough to allow it to speak for itself rather than for any special interest or political group.

I'm looking forward to hearing what the Constitution has to say for a change, instead of partisan opinions along Constitution Avenue.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Question To Ponder

Hugh Hewitt had quite a discussion going on his program this afternoon, regarding Congressman Tommy Tancredo's rash remark on a talk show about bombing Mecca.

The callers who agreed with Tancredo were getting Hugh more spun up than I can recall in recent memory. Many, including military callers, were agreeing with the spirit of Tancredo's hypothetical argument. This left my favorite talk show host extremely agitated and alarmed.

I thought of a question as I listened to all the various viewpoints being called in. What if the Japanese kamikaze warriors of WWII had grown up in Seattle, or San Francisco, or Phoenix? What if they had lived exemplary lives as good students and neighbors, within the bosom of America, and then one day, on a dime, answered the call to suicide bomb us into oblivion?

That's what happened in London on July 7. Young British Muslim men, who had grown up enjoying all the gifts, benefits and riches of Western life, turned on their countrymen and killed them in cold blood. Unbeknownst to their neighbors, they were Islamo-fanatics.

What conclusion can I draw from all this? Well, I certainly don't agree with Tancredo's thoughts about bombing Mecca. I think that was an extremely unfortunate statement by Tancredo, but that's not my issue here. My issue is trust. Until the "vast majority of Muslims who are loyal Americans" that I hear about so often begins to speak up, I will be very careful about what trust I place in anyone of the Islamic faith.

This is not to denigrate that faith. But it is to issue a challenge and a plea to that "vast majority" which thus far has been so silent, to speak out against the insanity of terrorism.

If you stay silent, you make me wonder frightening thoughts. Will I see you one day, on a train or a trolley, and learn too late that you've brought me my death in your backpack?

If I have nothing to fear from you, tell me so. I will believe you. But if you remain silent, I will stay suspicious of your motives. In view of the pain and suffering that this tiny minority of Islamo-fanatics have deliberately, even gleefully, brought into the world, I would be stupid not to be uncertain.

Am I missing something in this equation? If so, please tell me. I and the rest of my countrymen are eager to hear from you.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blog Slog

The Lost Post

I had it written, all linked and done,
But just as publishing had begun
I saw my screen start flickering black--
I knew my blog was under attack.

I tried to save, to no avail
The server crashed, to my sad wail.
It's Sunday late, I'm worn and tired;
In blogging limbo I am mired.

I'll try again tomorrow night
And hope, this time, I'll get it right.
Goodnight, meanwhile, to one and all
Please come again to One Clear Call.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Soul Debt

Froggy Ruminations has a riveting first hand account of the Hawaii memorial service for the SEAL team that fell under fire in Afghanistan. If you can read it without a tear in your eye, a chill up your spine, or a lump in your throat, you've got icewater in your veins.

These particular heroes symbolize all the fallen warriors in this War on Terror in a vivid, high-profile way. Theirs was a secret mission, it went terribly wrong in a dramatic way, and their casualties were crushingly heavy. They were Special Ops forces, our best of the best. Yet I have confidence that the lost SEAL team would agree that every soldier who dies in the line of duty in the Middle East, in every branch of the armed services, deserves our eternal homage and respect.

Our troops are dying for us. They are dying for you, for me, for every American who walks the earth in freedom. Recognition of that unshakable fact creates within me an umreimbursable soul debt, one that does not bear forgetting. Nor should any of us forget the imponderable price that has been paid by our military men and women to protect our home and loved ones.

It is impossible to express sufficient gratitude for their sacrifice. We can pray, we can donate to the survivor funds, we can adopt fighting troops through Soldiers Angels. But we can never even begin to repay them.

Being vigilant about honor and respect towards our heroes, both fighting and fallen, is one small interest payment on our debt. Granted, it's not much for us to give back, but at least it's something.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

History Class

Victor Davis Hanson's July 12 piece in the National Review Online, "The Iraqi Wars: Our 15-year conflict with Iraq" will educate those who are strong enough to read it and insightful enough to accept its truth.

In this concise history, VDH explains ever so clearly why there is no acceptable alternative to our victory in the Iraqi conflict. Read the facts, learn their implications, and understand the consequences of defeat.

"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it."
~ George Santayana, The Life of Reason

Monday, July 11, 2005

Something To Think About

Mark Steyn points out an aspect of terrorism that is rarely mentioned, and if it is, it's in an apprehensive whisper: Muslim complicity.

It's a very striking dimension to the War on Terror that somehow always gets a pass. The Vatican is always front and center denouncing terrorist violence and calling for prayers, as are various and sundry heads of state. However, you don't hear many mullahs (if any) condemning the brutal murder of innocents, murders that are perpetrated by their own kind.

As Steyn very cogently notes:

"...When events such as last Thursday's occur, two things happen, usually within hours if not minutes: first, spokespersons for Islamic lobby groups issue warnings about an imminent backlash against Muslims.

In fairness to British organisations, I believe they were beaten to the punch by the head of the Canadian Islamic Congress whose instant response to the London bombings was to issue a statement calling for prayers that "Canadian Muslims will not pay a price for being found guilty by association".

In most circumstances it would be regarded as appallingly bad taste to deflect attention from an actual "hate crime" by scaremongering about a non-existent one. But it seems the real tragedy of every act of "intolerance" by Islamist bigots is that it might hypothetically provoke even more intolerance from us irredeemable white imperialist racists..."

It boils down to another chorus in the one-note song, "America's To Blame." Every evil visited upon mankind since September 12, 2001, is immediately set on the America's doorstep. I find it distressing, but strangely fascinating, that so much of the world is able to shut its eyes, cover its ears, and hum this misguided tune.

I also find it indicative of a much larger problem, one that is serving the terrorists very well, and one in which I'm sure they take great delight and solace. Much of the Western world simply can not accept the magnitude of the evil with which we are dealing. It's as though Neville Chamberlain, with his disastrously naive assertion that Hitler wasn't such a bad guy, has replicated millions of times over to plead the terrorists' case for them. The Chamberlain folly of appeasement is there in Congress, in MSM, in liberal circles, in foreign governments, telling us that we're making a huge mistake in picking a fight in Iraq, all these poor downtrodden terrorists need is some TLC and a free meal or two.

Right. And don't forget the freshly-sharpened machetes, and what about laundry service for those blood-soaked orange jumpsuits? Westerners make a terrible mess during slaughter. Of course, so sorry, that's our own fault.

It seems to me to be a psychosis bordering on insanity, this refusal to see the necessity of purging the snake pit before our families, friends, and homes are annihilated. But then again, it could be as simple as cowardice. The overwhelming fear of looking evil in its glittering eye and seeing it for what it is can be paralyzing. Some people will never have the fortitude for it. For them, perhaps, it is easier to look over their shoulders and blame their own country rather than to look forward and see the dark, inescapable tunnel of evil that yawns ahead. A tunnel whose long, difficult, merciless length must be navigated with strength, determination, and courage if we are ever to be safe again.

Or perhaps we should just cooperate nicely, sit down, and die. That, too, would be our own fault.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Good Connection

I'm going to let Eagle and Elephant do my blogging for me today. The July 8-9 posts say all I could hope to much better than I can.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next post, prayers to London and to our troops.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Circling Left

The title link will give you all you need to know about how convoluted is the left's thinking on the threat of terrorism.

It's a transcript of Tom Oliphant's radio interview with Hugh Hewitt on July 8. You'll see an absolutely stunning refusal and/or inability to face facts on Oliphant's part. He sounds like a nice enough guy with positively no grip on reality. The debate looped in so many circles that I got dizzy just listening. Oliphant agreed with half of the first point, disagreed with the second half of the first point...claimed there are three different "strains" of terrorism...insisted that maybe the terrorists would have used nukes if they had them, but then again, maybe not.

And maybe the moon is made of green cheese.

Check Hugh's July 8 posting for a roster of the intelligence successes that have been achieved in the War on Terror. This is the type of news that, if reported at all by MSM, gets buried in small type on page A18. Front pages always seem to be reserved for "worsening conditions, " "heavy losses," or "tragic setbacks."

And for the piece de resistance, read Radioblogger's transcript of the Ron Reagan/Christopher Hitchens exchange on MSNBC's Connected: Coast to Coast. Hitchens totally skewers Reagan with his own ignorance, as was his right. Hitchens is British, the day after 7/7, sitting there as a guest, listening to Reagan essentially telling him that Great Britain brought the attacks on itself. After reeling off a solid list of examples of Saddam Hussein's complicity with international terrorism, to the incessant interruptions and denials of Reagan, Hitchens delivers the payday quote:

"How can you know so little about this, and be occupying a chair at the time that you do?"
~ Christopher Hitchens to Ron Reagan

A very good question, indeed. Probably one that should be asked more often.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Stupid Alert

I'm starting to think that the terrorists are considerably more stupid than I had previously thought. And that's saying something.

Think about it. They perpetrate a heinous act of butchery upon innocents in London, capital of the U.S.A.'s staunchest ally. Now, British people have grown up steeped in terrorism--the I.R.A., the Nazis--and it has not changed them. They have resilient steel in their spirit and unshakable pride in their nation. Brits are gritty, tough, and they have long since proven they are not a people who bow to cowardly killers. Quite the opposite is true.

So, by murdering and maiming the British people in typically gutless terrorist fashion, what exactly did the terrorists expect to achieve? Are there no history books in the Middle East? Is the enemy really so ignorant of British perseverance under attack? Did they expect survivors to come rushing out of the underground screaming "Pull the troops out of Iraq!" To borrow a Brit phrase, "Not bloody likely."

Whoever the chief terrorist of this operation was, I'll bet he's in for a shock. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to increase British troops in the Middle East. And President Bush's resolve is certainly all the more strongly reinforced by this massacre of innocents in America's closest ally.

Of course, there's a bit of fear in all of us at what these monsters might do next. After all, they are homicidal maniacs. We'd have to be a little nuts ourselves not to be nervous. But I think we're much more angry than we are afraid. And the anger makes us more determined to destroy this insane and evil threat to our survival and our way of life.

Righteous anger, plus fierce determination, plus bonded allies, plus wide resources equals very big trouble for terrorists. When evil actions are this stupid, it's easier not to be afraid.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

All One War

"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end...we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. "
~ Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 4 June, 1940

In London today, terrorism lifted its cowardly, covered face yet again. The anonymous army of hatred once again slaughtered unarmed, unsuspecting innocents as they were enacting the routines of their peaceful daily lives.

Today the terrorist front was in London, with fiery destruction erupting from trains and buses. Last year, Madrid's trains and a Beslan school were the targets of brutality. In 2003, Casablanca and Jakarta were attacked by these gutless savages called terrorists. Nearly four years ago, on September 11, 2001, it was in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. that suffered at the hidden hands of terrorism.

The list of cities and the names of innocent victims goes on. It will continue in this tragic vein until the world unites in understanding that these barbarians mean to annihilate us. These monsters want us dead. They want to destroy as many of us in as gruesome a manner possible for the sheer glee it gives their evil black hearts.

Does anyone truly care about the reasons the terrorists hate us, outside of a misguided left wing fringe that refuses, or is unable, to recognize pure evil, even as it bleeds across our television screens? I think most people agree, as I do, with Mark Steyn:

"...when you're dealing with a situation where a guy is trying to kill you, you don't really care what his motivations are. You need to be able to stop him from killing you."

I can't think of a better way to phrase the reality of what we're facing. This is real. The terrorists mean business, and they want to kill us. Call me crazy, but I say let's kill them first.

As for our British friends who are suffering tonight, we are with you in spirit. Our nations and our people are in this fight together. It's called the GWOT--Global War on Terrorism--for a very good reason. It is all one war.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

No Justice

Mark Steyn has some acerbic words of wisdom on the recent Supreme Court rulings regarding public Ten Commandments displays and the issue of eminent domain.

Eminent domain now means that everyone's property is up for sale to the highest bidder if the government says so. I wonder, just how many back flips can the Founders do in their graves before the ground starts shaking?

The time is long past due for a judge to be assigned to the highest Court. Not a politician, not a special interests representative, not a celebrity. A real judge. Someone who will look into the text of our Constitution and see exactly what is written there, not what he or she thinks should be written, or what might be nice if it were written, or worse yet, what would probably be written in Europe.

The gauntlet has already been flung down. The fight for confirmation will be furious. It will be ugly. But we musn't be deterred. We need a judge.

If President Bush fails to appoint a real judge, We the People will continue to find no justice on the Supreme Court.

Monday, July 04, 2005

In Their Honor

"I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'"
~ President John F. Kennedy, 1 August 1963, at the U. S. Naval Academy.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

"I'll Take It From Here"

Remember, this Independence Day weekend, that we are at war. Remember, too, that this war is all of one piece. Sparked by the horror of September 11, it is not a fight we can afford to lose. This war is a single great conflict, the manifestation in our time of the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Remember especially our military heroes, fighting and fallen, who place themselves between us and all the hatred of the enemy to protect our freedom, who take the battle to the enemy and away from their countrymen.

Our fighting men and women will take this fight as far and as fierce as it needs to go.

Sleep well, fellow Americans. We're covered.

Drawing by Jeff Grier

Friday, July 01, 2005

Our Native Land

"Patriotism is a love for everything to do with our native land: its history, its traditions, its language, its natural features. It is a love which extends also to the works of our compatriots and the fruits of their genius. Every danger that threatens the overall good of our native land becomes an occasion to demonstrate this love."
~ Pope John Paul II, 2005, Memory and Identity

The late John Paul the Great knew of what he spoke in the patriotism chapter of Memory and Identity. Having survived the Nazi invasion of Poland and suffered through the terrors visited upon his nation during World War II and the Cold War, John Paul understood love of country as few of us ever can.

The political angst within the United States is a luxury that few nations are afforded. We have not gone hungry to the brink of starvation. None of us fear the midnight knock of the secret police. Judging by the morning newspaper and television newscasts, we are certainly unafraid to speak out against the government and its policies.

We have lost no family members to mass executions. We are not arrested or mutilated because of our jobs. Our children grow up free to choose their paths in life and to pursue whatever dreams they wish.

We can walk the streets in sunshine and have not a care in the world. In short, we have not suffered.

Because we have not suffered, or been called upon to sacrifice for our homeland, we have grown soft and spoiled. Many of us have forgotten that the lives we are privileged to live in these United States, which is the most comfortable and wealthy lifestyle in the world, was purchased at an incalculable price. The blood upon the hot sands of Iwo Jima and Normandy and the icy crust of Korea are but a few of the sacred fields of honor in which soldiers of freedom made their stands and gave their all. Gave all, so that we could be safe and enjoy our good lives.

And we should enjoy them. It honors their memories, all our war dead back to the Minute Men, if we are able to be happy as Americans.

It is Independence Day weekend. Monday is the Fourth of July, a day holy to our nation. On that day in 1776, we told the world we were free. Because of brave men and women, we remain free today.

Honor the fighting men and women who have made it so easy for us to be content and secure, so easy to forget that freedom isn't free.

Go ahead, have your barbeque, drink your beer, play volleyball, ride bikes, swim in the pool or at the beach. Watch the fireworks. Have fun.

But please, remember what it all means. Stop for just a moment--maybe while you're filling the ice chest--to remember our fallen heroes and the valiant love they have demonstrated for our native land.